The above photo does not do justice to the Atomic Silver paint job on this 2019 Lexus 9140A LS, and not just because you can see my legs reflected just left of the front door handle.
I suspect no camera lens can perfectly capture to color visible to the naked eye. It really announces the elegance of this luxury hybrid.
What’s even more amazing is how, for a hybrid, this sedan handles the “chop.” That term is officially reserved for choppy coastal waters boats navigate through, but I also borrow it for wide ranging road conditions, including winding lanes and steep inclines one encounters while driving to, oh, I don’t know—how about Big Bear?
Wouldn’t you know it: Big Bear is where I drove this stunning Atomic Silver 2019 Lexus 9140A LS hybrid sedan up to from the flats.
The handling in the mountains was outstanding, and my overall impression was this Lexus drives more like a muscle car than a hybrid. I know that gasoline/electric engines have come a long way when it comes to commuter cars, but I was not expecting the performance I got during my week with the test ride.
I’d actually compare it to my recent engagement with the 2019 Cadillac CTS V-Series Sedan, only without the feeling I was lying on the ground as I’d experienced with that Caddy and a 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe. Which reminds me that I should probably get this out of the way before some of you get too attached to this Lexus: It’s total price tag exceeds the $99,230 Vette and the $106,180 Caddy. (You’ll have to read through to discover the exact cost of what is now the priciest Ride Me entry so far.)
The chop-moshing engine is a 24-valve, 3.5-liter V6 that achieves 354 total hybrid system horsepower. Drive modes for the automatic transmission include Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+, which sharpens the ratio for the electronic power steering system so the handling is more dynamic.
My only knock about the engine involves the noise I’d hear when the cabin was silent and I was taking off from a stop. It’s a whir that’s akin to an old police siren off in the distance. It took me awhile to get used to not looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights approaching.
Keeping you from getting into too much trouble is an array of standard safety features, including 10 airbags, intelligent LED headlamps, stability controls, electronic and anti-lock braking and various assists to keep you in your lane, out of collisions and away from cyclists and pedestrians. Lexus even includes rain-sensing variable wipers and a first aid kit.
Of course, the real name of the game with Lexus is luxury, and the combination audio/visual sound/streaming/navigation system is, of course, top of the line. The color touchscreen is an impressive 12.3 inches. For the first 10 years of ownership, buyers get Lexus Enform wi-fi (4GB), navigation, an app suite, destination assistance and a remote with smart watch and Alexa Skills integration—all of which is Alexa Compatible. (Yes, she rides with you now, too.)
But Amazon isn’t the only player in this sedan, which is also Apple CarPlay compatible and it takes non-Alexa voice commands. If you’re not barking, you are pushing buttons to start/stop, open or close the trunk, open or tilt the sliding moonroof or make one of 18 powered adjustments to the front seats.
The interior door design and Lexus nameplates on the floorboards carry on the luxury feel, while leather seats and armrests throughout enhance the sense of comfort.
Now, I’ve left out some things for reasons that will soon become clear, but for everything mentioned and more, the base price for this Lexus is $79,710. But there were more than $30,000 worth of extras on my particular test sedan.
Heading these is the $23,080 Executive Package, which includes rear seat knee airbags, an Ultrasuede headliner, power front seat buckles, four-zone climate control, power side window shades, a 7-inch touchscreen controller, heated and power-reclining rear seats and what provides the most elegant look of all: attractive stitching on leather surfaces as well as the hand-pleated and Kriko Glass interior door trim.
A $3,000 Lexus Safety System + features enhanced lane change assistance, pedestrian and front cross traffic alerts and pre-collision assist with active braking and steering.
The next most-expensive extra is the $2,450 20-inch split five-spoke forged alloys wheels, which replace the standard 19-inch alloys. A 2,400-watt Mark Levinson sound system with 24 speakers—and a $1,940 price tag—takes the place of standard 12-speaker Lexus Premium system. Next is the $1,500 Adaptive Variable Air Suspension with Rapid Height.
An optional 24-inch head up display comes in at $1,200, while my tester also had as extras an $800 panoramic view monitor, a $410 heated wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and a $300 LED and adaptive front lighting system.
All the extras, plus a delivery/processing/handling fee of just over a grand, pushed the total manufacturer’s suggested retail price up to $115,415.
Ah, but you’ll save some dough driving a hybrid that gets 33 miles to the gallon on the highway and 25 mpg in the city for a combined 28 mpg.
Lexus also offers generous warranty packages and membership with that family of cars includes other privileges. A dealer will explain them better than I can.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.