Making its debut in New York, the 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport brings a news measure of performance to the automaker’s new flagship LS sedan. Also available in more eco-friendly Lexus LS 500h F Sport form, this latest variation on the all-new-for-2018 LS 4-door travels the familiar F Sport path of adding distinctive upgrades to the mix. And this time around, buyers opting for the conventional rear-drive LS 500 will be able take the enhanced dynamics a step further with a new dedicated handling package.   

Beyond an exclusive Ultra White exterior color and bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/45 front/275/40 rear tires, key visual changes to the new LS F Sport are primarily confined to a bolder front fascia where a more aggressively rendered grille insert is flanked by larger outboard air intakes. Rounding out the mix are slicker side sills and a dedicated trunk molding set off with F Sport badges on the front fenders.

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Inside, LS F Sport has a unique steering wheel and driver-selectable digital instrument cluster inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar. There's also deeply-bolstered front buckets covered in a perforated-grill pattern leather with Ultrasuede inserts. Whether rendered in standard or F Sport-exclusive Circuit Red, the enhanced cabin includes scored-aluminum trim elements as well as alloy sport pedals.

Solid and spirited performer

The new LS F Sport leverages gains in strength and stiffness of its new Lexus GA-L (Global Architecture for Luxury) platform with the latest iteration of the automaker’s Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that optimizes the powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems. All F Sport models also benefit from bigger front and rear brakes. For the ultimate F Sport experience, the optional handling package adds a sport-tuned air suspension plus Lexus Dynamic Handling that includes variable gear ratio steering and active rear steering.

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There are no changes to the drivetrains of either LS F Sport model. The 500 packs a 415-horsepower twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 backed by a 10-speed automatic that drives the rear or all four wheels and gives the car a 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds in RWD form. Like the new LS 500h Hybrid, the gas/electric F Sport matches its 3.5-liter naturally aspirated Atkinson Cycle V6 with the new 2-motor Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission in a combo than cranks out 354 total horses and can propel rear-drive versions to 60 mph in 5.2 ticks.

Like the other members of the new 2018 Lexus LS family, the 500 F Sport and 500h F Sport will be arriving in dealers late this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date. 

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