Monday, 12 October 2020

2021 Lexus LS Review

2021 Lexus LS


The LS is the sedan that launched the Lexus brand, but the 2021 model wears a much sharper suit than the 1990 original. 

Going up against established luxury four-doors such as the Audi A8, 2021 BMW 7-series, and Mercedes-Benz S-class is just as much of a challenge today as it was when the LS first rolled onto the scene, but the Lexus charms with its Japanese aesthetic and standout design. 

2021 Lexus LS

A twin-turbo V-6 is standard, but those concerned with fuel efficiency can upgrade to a hybrid power-train—although its lumpy power delivery isn't particularly luxurious. 

The same could be said of the LS's driving experience: It lacks the athleticism I've come to appreciate in several of its competitors. 

But the LS's interior is every bit as quiet and nearly as comfortable as those of its German rivals, and you'll still look like a boss when you pull up to the valet stand.

2021 Lexus LS

What's New for 2021?

Lexus has made some slight alterations to its flagship luxury sedan for 2021. The LS receives new headlamps and trim surrounds on the exterior, and Lexus says it's quieter inside thanks to a tweaked active-noise-cancellation system. The biggest improvement, however, comes in the form of a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.

2021 Lexus LS

Pricing and Which One to Buy

I'd stick with the standard twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and rear-wheel drive, if only to reserve funds for optioning the LS's coolest features. 

I'd spring for the Luxury package—it's expensive but worth it—as it adds heated and cooled front and rear seats with semi-aniline leather upholstery; 28-way power-adjustable front seats with massage; rear buckets.

A rear center console with touchscreen controls for climate, audio, and seat functions; four-zone automatic climate control; and power sunshades in the back. 

2021 Lexus LS

The optional adjustable air suspension, 20-inch wheels, a 360-degree camera system, real wood interior trim, and a wood- and leather-trimmed heated steering wheel are all required to add the Luxury package. 

This pushes the LS500's price up $17,000, but that's still cheaper and better equipped than the base Mercedes-Benz S-class.

2021 Lexus LS

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The standard engine in the LS is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 that delivers a silky-smooth 416 horsepower. It sounds refined and powerful while under heavy throttle but hushed when cruising. 

A 10-speed automatic handles gearchanges. Performance is more than enough for this car's luxury mission, but V-8-powered variants of the BMW 7-series and the Mercedes-Benz S-class are quicker. 

2021 Lexus LS

Models badged LS500h feature a hybrid power-train that uses a 3.5-liter V-6 and two electric motors to make 354 horsepower. While the standard twin-turbo V-6 operates smoothly, the hybrid arrangement feels unrefined and altogether not luxurious. 

The engine sounds raspy and coarse, and the transmission—a mashup of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a regular four-speed automatic—steps through preset gear ratios with all the crispness of a soggy cornflake.

2021 Lexus LS

Fuel Economy

Fuel-economy estimates for the hybrid are indeed better than the nonhybrid LS500's figures, so if you're looking to save a buck at the pump, I suppose that's the one redeeming quality of the LS500h's power-train. 

Whereas the rear-wheel-drive LS500 claims 30/19 mpg highway/city, the rear-wheel-drive LS500h earns 33/25 mpg ratings from the EPA.

2021 Lexus LS

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Flowing lines, intricately patterned fabrics, and rich leather upholstery fills the cabin of the LS. If you really want to go all out, spec the real wood trim, artful glass inserts, and cleverly pleated door panel fabric. 

Passenger space is generous for four adults. Adding a fifth person in the standard three-across rear bench would deny passengers a true luxury experience, so I recommend selecting the optional bucket seats. 

The rear seatbacks are fixed, so bulky cargo items may not easily fit in the LS. 

The trunk, however, for the LS500 and hybrid model is generously sized, each holding six carry-on suitcases. Both the Audi A8 and the Genesis G90 accommodated the same amount of luggage.

2021 Lexus LS

Infotainment and Connectivity

All LS models come with Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay capability, navigation, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, all controlled through a new 12.3-inch touchscreen. 

That means the fussy touchpad on the center console is no longer the only way to adjust vehicle settings, switch audio sources, or set a destination in the navigation menu. The system also recognizes some voice commands. 

That said, is it too much to ask for physical buttons for things like seat heating? Lexus apparently thinks so. In order to activate this feature, users must turn to the screen.

2021 Lexus LS

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Crash-test results for the Lexus LS are not available from either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at the time of writing this post. 

As with most other Lexus models, the LS comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 suite of driver-assistance features. A more advanced semi-autonomous driving-mode feature is an option. 

Key safety features include:

  •  Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  •  Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  •  Standard adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist
  • 2021 Lexus LS

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Lexus offers longer power-train coverage than BMW or Mercedes, but doesn't match up to Genesis's plan of 100,000-mile coverage. At least the first maintenance visit is provided free of charge.

  •  Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  •  Power-train warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
  •  Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles.
  • 2021 Lexus LS


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