Lots of automakers are in the on the big grille trend started by Audi (hi there, BMW). Understandably, some may not be fans of this look. One can argue it robs a car of its “face”, and that’s one of the largest reasons for the criticism directed at the Lexus LX 600. However, there is another big luxury car option from Lexus if you hate the LX’s looks: the IS 500.
Plus, it’s got something almost totally unique to the rest of the Lexus lineup, with a big V8 and RWD.
The Lexus LX 600 is a Land Cruiser at heart
First, back to the Lexus LX 600 for a moment. In effect, what you’re looking at is a meme-worthy controversial Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s no secret that the Land Cruiser often has a Lexus counterpart. That whole trend started back in the early 1990s with the J80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.
Given that the Land Cruiser won’t be back in the US, at least for some time, the LX is as close as we get. It’s the plushest Lexus SUV you can get. Not a bad thing, but the looks are certainly something some disagree with. The Lexus LX 600 has the same problem as the BMW M3: its grille takes up far too much of its face. Thankfully, that’s where the Lexus IS 500 comes in.
How much is a Lexus IS 500
The Lexus IS 500 starts at $67,500 MSRP. In contrast, the Lexus LX 600 starts at $87,000. Obviously, there’s a few more major differences between the two. For starters, the IS gains two cylinders and loses two turbos over the LX’s twin-turbo V6. That means the IS 500 gets 472 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque from its naturally-aspirated V8. Notably, that’s the same powerplant as the LC 500.
Then there’s the most obvious difference: size. You might be saving $20,000 by buying an IS 500, but you’re also losing a mountain of ground clearance, a nicer interior, and lots of practicality. Not to say a four-door family sedan can’t be practical, mind you. But that just isn’t why you’d buy an IS 500.
The Lexus IS 500 won’t be here for long
The Lexus IS 500 is all about that V8 motor. There’s no sky-high V8 M3-esque redline, but the noise is otherworldly. It’s also a noise that just won’t be around for long. How long can Lexus feasibly make a N/A V8 RWD sports sedan in a world of twin turbos, hybrids, and EVs like the Tesla Model S? Not much longer. It’s impossible to cross-shop between the Lexus LX 600 and the IS 500, but if you’re after something with a lot more style and a little bit of practicality, the IS 500 has your back.