The Lexus LS has always been a big, comfortable sedan with perfect build quality and a luxurious interior. But up until a few years ago, we wouldn’t ever say that the LS looked exciting. The current generation Lexus LS is far more stylish and sportier than previous generations. For the 2021 model year, Lexus has given the LS 500 some small styling updates and even bigger updates inside.
The big news with the 2021 Lexus LS 500 is the new 12.3-inch infotainment display, which can be operated with a touchscreen. That’s big news, since we’ve all hated the trackpad, which is hard to use when you’re driving. The trackpad is still there even with the new infotainment system, but at least now you can ignore it and just tap the screen. We found ourselves never using the trackpad, so we wish that Lexus had redesigned the center console to get rid of it and find room instead for a wireless charging pad.
While we like the fact that the LS now has a touchpad, the infotainment system’s software feels old. The graphics are dated, but at least it has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility, although there’s no wireless Apple CarPlay. Lexus recently unveiled its new infotainment system in the 2022 NX, so we expect that the rest of the brand’s lineup will soon get the much more modern system.
Just like before, the LS’s interior is a first class experience with soft leather, massaging seats and even a reclining rear seat. Everything is top notch, although the design of the interior isn’t too exciting. Rear seat passengers can stretch their legs and there’s room for three to fit comfortably back there.
Moving back to the outside, the updates to the 2021 LS 500’s exterior are minimal, so much so that you probably won’t even notice the changes. The biggest updates are a new front bumper, new adaptive headlights and piano black trim added to the rear. Lexus didn’t need to do much to the exterior of the LS 500, since it’s still just as stylish as it was when this generation was introduced.
Under the hood you won’t find a V8 engine. Instead the LS 500 is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The LS 500 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option. The V6 packs a nice punch and you can select the Sport or Sport Plus modes to make it a bit more fun. In the Sport modes the throttle response improves and the adaptive suspension tightens things up a bit. Lexus says that the LS 500 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
Although the V6 is up for the task, the transmission prefers a more leisurely pace with its smooth shifts. We also miss the sound of the old 5.0-liter V8, the V6’s soundtrack isn’t nearly as good. Lexus also says that it updated the suspension with revised spring and damper rates and new front and rear anti-roll bars. The LS glides down the road with a comfortable ride, but if you prefer a sportier suspension the Sport modes tighten things up a bit.
The LS is rated at 18 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, the all-wheel drive version is rated at 17/27/21 mpg. If you want to spend less money at the pump, there’s also the hybrid version, which gets up to 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.
The 2021 Lexus LS 500 starts at $78,575, including destination. All-wheel drive adds an extra $3,250 and if you want a slightly sportier look there’s the F Sport model, which starts at $81,750. That pricing puts undercuts the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Where the Germans out do the LS is that they offer more powertrain choices and better tech inside.
If you’re in the market for a big, luxury sedan, you can’t go wrong with the 2021 Lexus LS. It’s a stylish sedan with a spacious and first class interior and now it’s even better with a new infotainment system.