The Lexus LS sedan is the icon of Japanese luxury. It was revolutionary when it came out 31 years ago, the arrival of the Japanese car into what had been Mercedes and BMW territory, and Cadillac and Lincoln before that – big boat luxury. The LS brought power and quiet to luxury cars with the guarantee that not only would it never break down, but if there ever was a problem it would be handled quickly and with minimal inconvenience.
Now, 31 years later, the Lexus LS is still the Toyota division’s luxury flagship, and in 2021 it gets further refinements aimed at making it handle better and ride even quieter.
“The key refinements on the latest LS include evolving the tuning of the suspension and chassis to help achieve a smoother, more comfortable ride without sacrificing any of the current model’s dynamic character,” Lexus said.
To achieve that, we’re given a somewhat vague list of the new car’s chassis changes. Engineers revised the spring and damper rates for improved performance, but we don’t know whether they were stiffened or softened. Front and rear antiroll bars have been vaguely “optimized.” Larger liquid-filled bushings front and rear improve ride. Linear solenoids and control valves in the Adaptive Variable Suspension have been “revised” for “added suppleness and enhanced stability.” And the air suspension has been “enhanced.” We’ll assume that will result in a slightly sportier ride.
The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine in the LS 500 still makes 416 hp and 442 lb ft of torque, but is just a little more efficient thanks to a slightly revised piston and updated wastegate controls. The 10-speed automatic is recalibrated to stay in lower gears a little longer for more sporty performance. All Lexus LS sedans are available in rwd or awd configurations.
The two electric motor/generators in the hybrid LS 500h, meanwhile, are tuned to give more boost under acceleration in the 2021 model. The automatic transmission is recalibrated to take advantage of the extra oomph off the line. Combined system hp is 354, good for a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds.
The LS F-Sport continues, with subtle changes to the grille surround and spindle grille itself. The bigger brakes, more dynamic handling and variable ratio steering, rear steering and active stabilizer suspension carry over, as do unique 20-inch wheels with 245/45RF20 tires in front and 275/40RF20 tires rear.
Inside, there’s more foam in the armrests and other touchpoints, while the seats get revised springs and their own extra layers of soft foam. Apple CarPlay is now standard on LS models, as is a 12.3-inch touchscreen. The screen is also Android Auto- and Alexa-compatible.
Outside, there’s a new front fascia, while the rear taillights do without their chrome inserts for 2021.
Pricing ranges from $76,000 for the LS 500 rwd and tops out at $82,850 for an LS 500 F Sport awd. Look for the 2021-model LS 500s in showrooms by the end of this month.
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