A mid-life refresh for the brand's flagship keeps it competitive.
It's been almost four years since the fifth-generation Lexus LS 500 and LS 500h flagship sedans were launched, and for the 2021 model year, they're receiving a series of mid-life updates to keep them competitive. The 2021 Lexus LS looks largely the same from the outside as the general focus was on improving overall comfort and refinement as well as the addition of AI technologies.
The exterior features slightly tweaked headlights that now include adaptive high-beams first introduced on the 2019 Lexus RX, a reworked front bumper, and a standard dark metallic mesh color in the spindle grille. The taillights have also been slightly changed and there's a new Piano Black trim instead of chrome trim and new alloy wheel designs, such as a set of 20-inch wheels for the F-Sport version, pictured here.
Inside, the interior remains largely unchanged though the new LS does come with a new high-resolution display for the digital rearview mirror while the infotainment system housed in the 12.3-inch touchscreen display is now compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The center console now has a switch for easier accessibility to activate the heated seats and steering wheel instead of relying on only the touchscreen. A black finish has been applied to the controls on the steering and center console for improved visibility.
Comfort was one of the main targets for improvement for the 2021 model. Examples include an optimized adaptive suspension with upgraded stabilizer bars and engine mounts. The seat coverings were even updated with deeper stitching points while low-resistance urethane on the seat pads provides even greater comfort. Lexus says the seats are softer and better at absorbing vibration.
Under the hood, both versions retain the same powertrains (still no V8?). The LS 500's 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 now offers improved initial torque and improved gear shift times. The LS 500h's hybrid system, meanwhile, has been upgraded with better battery assistance for greater acceleration response. Both versions, however, come with updated Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement systems to reduce cabin noise.
Lastly, the Lexus Teammate assist suite is making its official debut on the LS. These driver-assist systems include Advanced Drive and Advanced Park. The former is capable of estimating the car's position, calculating its lane and position, adjusting speed when deemed necessary.
Advanced Park is a form of parking assistance that automatically controls acceleration, braking, and gear changes through a system of cameras and ultrasonic sensors. What's more, Lexus Teammate will get better over time thanks to regular software updates.
The 2021 Lexus LS will go on sale in Japan at the end of this year and in other markets sometime in 2021. Pricing will be announced closer to that time.