If you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to fly business class you could just hop in to the back of the new Lexus LS 500 and you will get the experience you are after. This is what my husband expressed as I chauffeured him to Du Doorns for the weekend. Chair fully reclined, 17-inch telly screen on, music blaring, munching on sour worms he “stole” from the Lexus launch, he was in his element. And so he should have been…he had the coolest chauffeur in town: Me!
This is the fifth generation LS 500 and competes with the big guns such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. And because we are such badge snobs, the LS 500 too often falls to the wayside. It shouldn’t though, it is an excellent product and as Lexus likes to put it, it’s about “amazing experiences”. This is a car for the typical CEO who wants something a little bit unique, someone who appreciates attention to detail and who wants something that can be tailor-made to their specific requirements. The attention to detail and craftsmanship within this cabin is truly something to behold. Even the lighting is inspired by traditional Japanese Andon lanterns, it’s a place of beauty.
It has a 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine under the bonnet which propels it to 100 km/h in just 5 seconds. It produces 310 kW of power and 600 N.m of torque which is sent to the rear wheels via the first ever 10-speed automatic transmission found in a premium passenger car. But this car is not all about performance, for me, it is all about the luxury. It is about the tech found inside that makes you go, “Holy shit that’s cool.” This Lexus LS 500 has a LOT of that going on. And, unlike its German rivals, all the fancy tech comes standard. There are no optional extras for this car. You don’t need them because they are already jam-packed inside.
There are far too many cool features for me to list here, so I will list a few that I think are pretty dope. (I don’t think I have ever used the term ‘dope’, unless referring to something you smoke, but I think I pull it off, don’t you?)
This Lexus LC 500 features a 23-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system. TWENTY THREE speakers I said. Twenty three! Where they are all hidden I will never know, but they do create a marvellous sound inside the cabin. My husband is in the music industry and even he was left impressed, in fact, I think his exact words were, “F^&% this is an insane sound system.” A professional’s very professional opinion confirms it then.
The back is the place you really want to be though. The seats can be position in three ways; “Business” which is upright as per usual, “Entertain” reclines the seats so that you can watch telly on the 17-inch screens in front of you (yislaaik if they had this when I was a kid for road tripping…ah one can dream), and “Relax”which reclines the ottoman so that you are comfy enough to have a good old nap. And if you are really struggling to relax, no probs, just turn on your Shiatsu massage and drift off to dreamland. Everything is operated via the touchscreen in the centre console between the two rear seats.
If you didn’t already feel safe enough with cocooned inside this large beats, never fear, because standard safety features include a pre-crash system, active cruise control, lane keep assist (and lane departure warning) and an adaptive high-beam system to name but a few.
What does this kind of luxury cost? Well it ain’t cheap, but it is competitive (although, if you specced some of the competitors to the level of the Lexus, you will more than likely pay a lot more). The LS 500 will cost you R2 141 400 with a best-in-class 7-year/105 000km warranty and full maintenance plan.
This might be the last LS we see, people are moving away from showing off their wealth, but there are a few of those left who want the world to know exactly what their payslips can buy them. I can’t say which of these two types of people I would be (or I don’t want to admit it) but I sure as shit wouldn’t mind being chauffeured around in one of these for the rest of my days.