2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport: After These Driving Thrills, I Won’t Get Fooled Again

Beautiful luxury sedan or spirited performance car? Don't let the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport's quiet demeanor fool you. This is what high performance feels like, and you'll be glad you found out.

Feeling On Top Of The World After Driving The 2023 Lexus Ls 500 F Sport.
Feeling on top of the world after driving the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport. Photo: Allison Bell Credit: Allison Bell

Mild-mannered, full-size sedan with a superhuman alter ego.

Never have I ever been so wrong about a car as I was about the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport. My initial assessment of it proved so wildly inaccurate that it makes me cringe in embarrassment. Ugh. If I could rewind to Day One with this beautiful, luxury full-size sedan, there’s so much I’d want past Allison to know. So much I wish she’d understood. Sadly, I spent too much time living beneath my privileges with this car. Instead of wallowing in my regrets, I’ve decided to share my newfound wisdom with the world in the hopes that anyone lucky enough to sit behind the wheel of the LS 500 F Sport doesn’t make the same mistake.

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Front View Of The 2023 Lexus Ls 500 F Sport.

Front view of the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT. Photo: Allison Bell

First impressions definitely aren’t everything

I’m deeply ashamed to admit this, but initially, I was not a fan of the LS 500 F Sport. And it was for a very petty reason, too: It didn’t have enough cup holders. Aside from two in the center console, I couldn’t find an extra cup holder in the whole cabin. There wasn’t even a spot for water bottles in the door storage area. And unless I opened up the center armrest, there wasn’t anywhere to put my phone and keys either. This initial annoyance led to some nitpicking on my part. I expected it to include heated seats in the back and a surround-view camera system but was disappointed when it “only” had heated front seats and a backup camera. The nerve

Beyond visual attractiveness (many, many people complimented the way this Lexus looked) and a comfortable ride, I was beginning to wonder what the appeal was. What justified the $88k price tag? Well, I soon found out.

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Hard Not To Smile After Taking The 2023 Lexus Ls 500 F Sport For A Spin!

Hard not to smile after taking the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport for a spin! Photo: Allison Bell

My absolute favorite feature (that I wish I’d used sooner)

I’ll be honest — in most cars I’ve driven, I haven’t noticed a significant difference between Normal and Sport mode, which has gradually made me a little cynical of this particular feature. Sure, maybe the steering felt a little tighter and the car was ever-so-slightly more responsive. But overall, Sport mode has failed to impress. So it was with great skepticism that I finally decided to try it out after a few days with the LS 500 F Sport. I merged onto the freeway, reached up to the knob on the dash and popped it into Sport mode. Sure enough, it felt a little different — but I wasn’t blown away.

Then I tried Sport S+ mode. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was a complete game-changer. It was like the Lexus threw off its glasses, ripped open its button-up shirt and revealed the super suit underneath because that thing suddenly took on a new form. The engine emitted a deeper, throatier growl (it’s an artificial sound, but still effective) and the driver information even changed to a bolder, red, black and orange-toned theme that let you know you were no longer driving a mild-mannered luxury sedan.

In Sport S+ mode, changing lanes and accelerating felt as smooth as cutting through a slice of cake. The car was so responsive and fun to drive that for the first time ever, I loved driving on the freeway. As I got off my exit, I impatiently waited for red lights to turn green and for an opportunity to move around slower cars that were throwing off my groove. I wanted to punch that throttle! I wanted to whip my way through winding roads! I wanted to get back on the freeway and feel that flying sensation again! Who was I? Suddenly, all those drivers I’d deemed “jerks” because they zipped in and out of lanes in their fancy shmancy sports cars made much more sense to me. I’d been bitten by the same bug and was becoming one of them. If this is what high performance feels like, I finally get it.

Second-Row Passengers Each Get Their Own Lighted Mirror.

Second-row passengers each get their own lighted mirror. Photo: Allison Bell

I won’t get fooled again

My biggest regret with the Lexus LS 500 F Sport is that I didn’t appreciate its full potential until the last couple days I had it. If I’d only tested out those driving modes — particularly Sport S+ mode — sooner. (Sigh.) A tough lesson learned. On my last day with the luxury full-size sedan, I connected my phone to the wireless Apple CarPlay, cranked Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who on those impeccable Mark Levinson speakers and flew up and down the hills as if I were prepping for the next Top Gun sequel. As I cruised around in my favorite driving mode with a huge grin on my face, I promised myself that the next time I get an F Sport in my driveway, I’d waste no time enjoying myself. I won’t get fooled again.

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I Wish There Would Have Been Another Cup Holder In The Doors But They'Re So Pretty That Its Lack Was Forgivable.

I wish there would’ve been more cup holders in the doors, but they’re so pretty it’s forgivable. Photo: Allison Bell

Why I think the 2023 Lexus LS 500 F Sport is one of the best luxury cars for the money

In a matter of one week, my opinion of the Lexus LS 500 F Sport completely turned on its head — in a good way. I went from thinking it might be a bit overpriced to laughing at what a ridiculously good deal it was. Why? Because it feels like you get two cars in one. It’s a sleek and stylish luxury sedan by day and a punchy supercar by night (or, you know, whenever you want to engage that Sport S+ mode). Other cars in its class charge well above six figures, so coming in just under $90k fully loaded feels like a steal.

Heated And Ventilated Seats, A Heated Steering Wheel And A Good, Clean Center Console Are Just A Few Things To Love On This Lexus.

I loved the heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel and clean center console in this Lexus. Photo by Allison Bell

What this car costs

The 2023 Lexus LS (which stands for “Luxury Saloon,” in case you didn’t know) comes in three trim levels: LS 500, LS 500 F Sport (my tester) and the hybrid LS 500h. The MSRP ranges from $78,535 for the base LS all the way up to $114,635 for the LS 500h AWD. 

  • Starting at $78,535, the LS 500 loads you up with luxuries like a heated steering wheel, LED headlights and tail lights, six USB ports, a power rear sunshade, in-car WiFi, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Lexus Safety System+ 2.5. It has a 3.4-liter, twin turbo V6 engine that makes 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. 
  • The LS 500 F Sport starts at $83,235 and includes F Sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension, F-Sport styling and performance-styled instrumentation.   
  • All-wheel drive comes standard on the LS 500h but you can add it to the other trims for $3,250.
  • The Interior Upgrade Package (only available on the LS 500) costs about $3,530 and adds a quilted-stitch perforated semi-aniline leather interior trim, leather-trimmed door armrests, heated rear seats, an Ulstrasuede headliner, power lift-up buckle and a wood- and semi-aniline leather-trimmed center console to this beautiful Lexus sedan.
  • The Luxury Package (only available on the LS 500) costs about $12,000 and adds everything from the Interior Upgrade Package along with massaging seats, cushion extenders, a 7.0-inch touch screen controller for the rear armrest, power side-window shades, power-reclining rear seats and rear cushion airbags.
  • The Executive Package (only available on the LS 500) costs about $17,000 and adds everything from the Luxury Package plus butterfly retractable headrests, a right rear power reclining with a Shiatsu massage function and massaging, heated seats.
  • For $23,000 you can get the Executive Package with Kiriko glass. 
  • The Dynamic Handling Package (available on LS 500 and LS 500 F Sport) costs $7,800 and adds variable gear-ratio steering, active stabilizers, active rear steering and a panoramic view monitor.
  • The Cold Weather Package (available for the LS 500 and LS 500 F Sport) costs $220 and adds a windshield wiper de-icer, a fast response interior heater and headlamp washers.

With an added head up display, Mark Levinson speaker system and panorama glass roof, my F Sport tester rang up at $88,545. 

Pov When You'Re Driving A Car That Doubles As A Luxury Sedan And A Speedy Supercar.

POV when you’re driving a car that doubles as a luxury sedan and a speedy supercar. Photo: Allison Bell

Who this car is for:

  • Luxury car lovers looking who have a sporty side
  • Drivers who appreciate high performance at an affordable price
  • Timid drivers who want a safe, responsive vehicle
  • Business types who want to make a good impression
  • People downsizing from an SUV who sometimes have rear passengers

What we loved:

  • Attractive exterior 
  • Sport S+ mode is a blast
  • Steering wheel paddle shifters
  • Heated steering wheel and heated front seats
  • Speedy off the line (zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds)
  • Easy to use 12.3-inch touch screen display
  • Comfortable ride around town
  • Quiet and spacious cabin
  • Ample room in the trunk
  • Excellent suite of safety features (automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, etc.)
  • Impressive sound system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
2023 Lexus Ls 500 F Sport Monroney Sticker

2023 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT Monroney Sticker

What you need to know:

  • 2023 Lexus LS 500 AWD F Sport Base MSRP: $83,235
  • Price with head up display, Mark Levinson speaker system and panorama glass roof: $88,545
  • 3.4-liter twin turbo V6 
  • 416 horsepower
  • 10-speed automatic transmission 
  • 17/27/21 mpg city/highway/combined
  • Limited cup holders and storage space in the cabin
  • It seats five but will more comfortably fit four adults.
Who Knew That The Iconic Four Door Sedan Could Give Drivers Such A Thrill?

Don’t be fooled – this iconic Lexus sedan gives drivers a thrill every time they get behind the wheel. Photo: Allison Bell

Disclosure: Lexus provided the LS 500 F Sport for this review. All opinions are my own. 

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Allison is a freelance writer, a mother of two, and the wife of a car-obsessed husband who got her... More about Allison Bell