By Randi Payton
Toyota launched its luxury division with the LS sedan in 1990 to compete with BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lincoln, Cadillac, and other upscale automakers. Since then, the Lexus division has introduced a range of vehicles, including SUVs, sport, and full-size luxury sedans.
For 2021 Lexus introduced an upgraded LS with new exterior and interior tweaks. On the outside are new headlamps and trim. In addition, it comes with a new noise-cancellation system that reduces noise on the inside and, most notably, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.
I spent a week in a Manganese Lustered LS500 with an artsy black wood interior which produced 416 horsepower from a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, which included an intelligent electric variable valve timing. It was mated to a 20-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel-drive (RWD).
The ride was silky-smooth thanks to twenty-inch wheels and front/rear multi-link adaptive variable air suspension that produced a comfortable ride, even on rough surfaces.
Models/Pricing: Lexus LS500 ($77,025), LS500 F Sport ($80,625), and LS500h Hybrid ($91,525).
Power: The Lexus LS500 model, powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine, delivers a turbulent 416 horsepower, while the LS500h has a hybrid engine and two electric motors that produce a combined 354 horsepower.
Fuel Economy: The Lexus LS500 averages an estimated fuel economy of 18 mpg in the city, 29 highway, and 22 mpg combined. Estimates vary for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. However, the fuel economy significantly improves in city driving with the LS500h hybrid, which averages 25 city/33 highway mpg. The RWD averages 19 city/33 highway mpg, and the AWD F Sport gets a combined 26 mpg.
The 2021 Lexus LS500 offers a multitude of new luxury technology and safety features. New exterior tweaks include triple-beam LED and cornering headlamps, auto-dimming mirrors, and 20-inch multi-spoke noise-reduction wheels.
Once inside the cabin, premium materials surround you with natural wood, suede leather trimming, and designer stitching. Drivers and passengers can reduce stress and relax in the plush seats with massage. A 12.3-inch touchscreen has a striking presence and is easily accessible, and there’s a 7-inch touchscreen for back seat passengers.
Standard interior functions include sport and customized driving modes, push-button start/stop, intuitive parking, dynamic sound, noise controls, a remote touchpad, and much more. A few of the many luxury options include adaptive air suspension with rapid height function, UV glass, rear sunshades, and a panoramic view monitor.
Some of the safety features in the LS500 include auto-braking, emergency and roadside assistance that connects to a Lexus Enform response center operator, a pre-collision system, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control that adjusts speed on curves, and lane-keeping assist.
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