From the plusher seats to the retuned suspension, the latest LS aims to pamper its occupants.
At some point in the distant future, maybe the Mercedes-Benz S-Class won't be the benchmark full-size luxury sedan anymore, but we haven't yet seen this happen. For now, then, the Lexus LS remains one of the more left-field alternatives in this corner of the market, but that's part of this sedan's appeal.
While the changes to the refreshed 2021 Lexus LS were first announced back in July, we now have even more information about the updates Lexus has made, along with pricing. Both the LS 500 and LS 500h enjoy a retuned suspension, refined engines, a more comfortable cabin, and an improved infotainment setup.
Outside, the subtle upgrades include a new front bumper and a restyled front fascia, including lower radiator air intakes with a square shape. A dark metallic treatment for the prominent Spindle grille and three-projector LED headlamps adds to the look.
At the back, chrome trim has been traded for Piano Black, while Iridium joins the color palette. F Sport versions come with 20-inch alloy wheels, a dedicated color for the grille, and other sporty adornments.
The cabin was already a model of superior craftsmanship, but it's now even better. Common touch points have received more foam and the front seats feature more generous cushioning, both changes which enhance comfort. The infotainment system has been upgraded with a new 12.3-inch touchscreen and both Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are inclusive. The digital rearview mirror now comes with a more expansive HD display, improving visibility.
An available 24-inch color head-up display negates the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road to view key information. Typical attention has been paid to the finer details, such as a new Palomino leather cabin treatment and available Kiriko glass ornamentation.
F Sport versions boast Naguri aluminum trim inlays and seats with a perforated-grill pattern. On the safety front, the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 is standard and encompasses lane departure alert, radar cruise control, and available intersection turning assist.
Under the skin, there have been numerous changes as well. While Lexus went to great lengths to make the smaller and sportier IS more enjoyable to drive, the focus for the more luxurious LS has been on comfort.
A retuned chassis and suspension provide a plusher ride, while spring and damper rates have also been revised. Bigger front/rear liquid-filled bushings further contribute to a smoother drive.
Under the hood, the Lexus LS 500 retains a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, but it is claimed to be even quieter thanks to a new piston with a specific lip shape. The 10-speed automatic gearbox has recalibrated shifts for improved engine responsiveness.
For the LS 500h, a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and two electric motors are used. This 354-hp powertrain has also been retuned for greater responsiveness.
For now, the pricing of the hybrid model hasn't been announced, but the LS 500 begins at $76,000 in RWD guise, with the AWD variant going for $79,250. The LS 500 F Sport RWD costs $79,600 and the LS 500 F Sport AWD carries a price tag of $82,850. These models will arrive at dealers later this month, while the hybrids will be available from early 2021.