Lexus LS saloon - Interior & comfort
Comfort and equipment are Lexus LS 500h virtues, even if design won't be to all tastes
When full power isn't called upon, the LS 500h is a quiet car to travel in. The engine is naturally muted, while active noise-cancelling technology is on hand to further drown out mechanical noise. Around town, where the electric motors are most likely to be used alone, the Lexus is quieter still. Aside from a ride that's occasionally unsettled by drain covers and potholes, the LS 500h makes a very agreeable urban limo.
Lexus LS 500h dashboard
The LS500h has a very different interior style to its German rivals. The inside environment is exquisitely put together and constructed from truly first-class materials, but its appearance is something of an acquired taste – and that's before you add the optional £7,600 decoration pack of hand-pleated fabric and cut glass-inspired inserts.
The driver sits behind three separate colour displays, the central off which presents a single digital-analogue dial with a number of different settings, very similar to that used in the LC 500 coupe. There's a very sophisticated and information-heavy head-up display in the driver's line of sight, too.
As with the LC 500, LS 500h infotainment duties are performed by a large, high-resolution central display controlled by a centre-mounted touch-pad, which can take some getting used to in operation. It's a little baffling, too, that such a high-tech and expensive car should be offered without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto even as an option.
You'll not find a meanly-equipped LS 500h in the line-up – even entry-level models have 20-inch alloy wheels, full LED exterior lighting, 20-way power-adjustable front seats, a 12-speaker stereo and dual-zone climate control. However, stepping up to the Luxury and things start to get really opulent.
This grants you adjustable air suspension, heated and ventilated seats all round, a 23-speaker stereo from hi-fi specialists Mark Levinson, and a finer grade of leather for the seats. It also gives you a system called 'Climate Concierge', a fantastically sophisticated system that monitors individual passenger's body temperature to ensure the climate control settings suit everybody on board. Luxury versions also offer four-wheel drive.
Those who prefer a sportier feel can choose the F-Sport, with a motorsport theme to the exterior, with gloss-black detailing on the side skirts and bootlid, unique 20-inch alloy wheels and a different treatment to that eye-catching 'spindle' front grille. It also brings a perforated leather steering wheel. Available with rear-wheel drive only, it offers Lexus' Dynamics Integrated Management system, which sets out to increase agility and feel.
Top of the range is the Premier, which can only be taken with rear wheel drive in the UK. Among its specification highlights are a Shiatsu massage function for front and rear passengers, and an 'ottoman' front passenger seat that can be whisked out of the way electrically to allow over a metre of legroom for whoever sits in the rear left seat.