It's hard to believe the latest generation of Lexus LS is already ready for a midcycle refresh, but time sure is flying these days. Lexus' big-body sedan picks up some pretty solid updates for the 2021 model year, including one piece of modernization that's sorely, sorely needed.
Lexus on Tuesday unveiled the facelifted 2021 LS sedan. It's worth noting that this is a global debut, and we haven't yet received any materials specific to the US-spec LS, which Lexus said should come later this summer. So take the updates seen here with a grain of salt, as not all of them might end up Stateside, but there's a pretty good chance we'll see most of 'em.
Stylistically, you won't see much different, at least on the outside. The exterior is pretty close to its forebear, with a few adjustments to the bumpers to enhance its visual stance on the standard model. The F Sport variant picks up some unique tweaks, too, including its own version of Lexus' massive "spindle" grille. A new paint color called Gin-ei Luster uses a complex painting process that involves aluminum, and it's said to result in a mirror-smooth finish, although that's kind of hard to convey in pictures.
The LS also gets a new adaptive high-beam system that first showed up on the RX. It shines LED light on a spinning mirror to paint the road ahead and partially illuminate areas to avoid dazzling oncoming cars or pedestrians. This system likely won't come to the US, as it didn't on the RX, thanks to our draconian headlight regulations.
Currently, you can option the LS with some expensive interior trim made of cut glass. The 2021 model will further enhance its top-tier innards with the introduction of new fancy-pants finishers made of Nishijin brocade and platinum leaf. The steering wheel also gets new buttons, and the screen pushes its way out of the dashboard with a new "floating" appearance. That's all well and good, but the most important update here is the addition of a touchscreen, which is great, because the trackpad Lexus uses is quite horrendous.
Lexus' driver-assistance systems also get a big boost in the 2021 LS. Lexus Teammate is a suite of active and passive aids that combine to take some of the stress out of the daily commute. Its Advanced Drive feature will hold the vehicle in its lane on the highway and keep pace with traffic, while Advanced Park will control the steering, brakes and throttle to slide into a parking space with minimal human input. This tech is upgradeable through software updates, so Lexus expects its capabilities to expand over time, too. It's unclear if this stuff will make it to the US, but here's hoping.
There's more, too. Lexus upgraded the LS' adaptive suspension to reduce vibrations in the cabin and offer a cushier ride, and that absorption is reflected in different seat cushion materials, too. Both the gas and hybrid variants get improvements to their noise-cancellation and engine-sound-enhancement systems. The LS 500 has different shift timing and more torque at common driving speeds, while the LS 500h hybrid gets more battery assist at lower speeds for more efficiency and comfort.