Lexus LS gets F-Sport and handling packages

Since its debut three decades ago, the Lexus LS has stood apart due to powertrain and ride qualities that are both among the smoothest and quietest in the industry. In more recent years, Lexus has attempted to inject some sporting qualities into the mix with the availability of an F-Sport package.

Lexus’ fifth-generation LS introduced for the 2018 model year has now received its F-Sport package, though before you get too excited note that this isn’t a dedicated performance car we’re talking about. Rather, Lexus’ F-Sport packages are designed for regular models and add sharper handling without hurting comfort.

The F-Sport package for the LS is said to build upon the superb groundwork laid by the car’s GA–L platform—the stiffest ever fitted to a Lexus sedan—and sharpens not only the car’s handling but also its looks.

Available on the LS 500 and LS 500h, the package adds a sportier tune to the onboard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system which controls electronic chassis systems such as the stability and traction control as well as the braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension. There are also larger front and rear brakes (6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston at the rear) as well as staggered 20-inch wheels with (245/45RF20+ tires at the front and 275/40RF20 at the rear).

Buyers of the LS 500 equipped with the F-Sport package can also opt for a new Handling package that adds four-wheel steering and sport-tuned adjustable air suspension.

In the styling department, the F-Sport package adds a more distinct look thanks to revised grille said to aid cooling. Lexus says the designers adjusted 7,100 individual surfaces to achieve the desired look and texture, compared to 5,000 for the standard grille. And moving to the side, catching the eye is a set of side skirts which continue to the rear bumper. Lexus will also offer an F-Sport-specific white paint finish.

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The F-Sport package adds some exclusive items to the cabin, too. The list includes seats with better bolstering, perforation for the leather trim, and a few aluminum dash accents. There is also an F-Sport-specific steering wheel and a speedo and tacho in a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information, just like in the LFA supercar. A red interior theme will be available to LS buyers selecting the F-Sport package.

No changes are made to the powertrains, which means the LS 500 continues with its 415-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 and the LS 500h with its 354-hp 3.5-liter V-6-based hybrid setup. The LS 500 is the quicker of the two, needing just 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. The LS 500h isn’t far behind, needing 5.2 seconds to achieve the same feat.

Lexus is also likely to add an F-Sport package to the related LC range at some point. We’ve also heard that a high-performance LC F model is in the works. Previously, Toyota’s in-house tuner TRD released some mild performance mods for the svelte coupe.

Lexus is presenting the F-Sport package for the LS at the 2017 New York auto show, which starts Wednesday. For more coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

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