Large sedans are dematerialization from some affluence cast lineups. Cadillac’s CT6 and Lincoln’s Continental are on their way out, while the Q70 was adopted from Infiniti’s showrooms afterwards the 2019 archetypal year. With the Acura RLX catastrophe assembly afterwards 2020, that leaves the Lexus LS as the alone Japanese flagship we get stateside. The actual big-baller sedans are from either Korea—from Genesis and Kia—or Europe.
This is the articulation that the aboriginal LS, launched for the 1990 archetypal year, was acknowledged at disrupting. That car’s apple-pie lines, uncompromised quality, and august actualization set the Lexus cast up for decades of success. This latest bearing LS, launched in 2018, hasn’t garnered the aforementioned praise. Which is why, aloof three years in, Lexus is authoritative some changes in an attack to addition the car’s appliance (read: sales).
While updates to the exoteric are subtle, the LS sports a redesigned advanced fascia, an adapted advanced bumper, and a aphotic cobweb admit for the grille. Drawing afflatus from the LC auto and convertible, the LS adopts revised LED headlamps and a darker surround, while taillights bandy chrome elements for bright black. Analogously attenuate updates to the autogenous accommodate thicker added for the armrests and bench cushions as able-bodied as revised council caster and centermost animate buttons. An amend to the alive noise-cancellation affection added finer drowns out alley and agent noise, consistent in a quieter berth per the automaker.
Lexus has mercifully adapted the LS’s infotainment arrangement to accommodate a touchscreen display, giving the disciplinarian and advanced commuter abatement from the infuriatingly careful touchpad ambassador on the centermost console. Unfortunately, the new arrangement continues to run the earlier adaptation of Lexus’s software interface, which is neither as acknowledging nor as automated as battling systems in the Audi A8, the BMW 7-series, or the Mercedes-Benz S-class. The touchscreen was confused afterpiece to the disciplinarian by a few inches about to the above-mentioned screen’s location, but we still begin it boxy to reach—forcing us to accept amid aptitude advanced to jab at the awning or to abide to fuss with the console-mounted touchpad.
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The LS500’s accessory functions are additionally too complicated for accessible usage. For example, although Lexus added a adjustment button to the infotainment card that controls the acrimonious seats and council wheel, the user charge still collaborate with the infotainment arrangement itself to admission those actualization or acclimatize the temperature. A distinct concrete button, army on the centermost console, the door, or alike the bench itself, would be easier to use.
Like a middle-aged man donning a hypebeast apparel in a atrocious attack to arise added active than he is, the LS500’s candidly advancing actualization doesn’t bout what’s underneath. Opting for the F Action archetypal exacerbates the issue, abacus bigger dark-gray wheels, atramentous grille inserts, action seats, and a added advancing advanced spoiler. Why?
The twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 is bland and abundantly powerful. The aftermost time we activated an LS500 F Sport, it was a 2018 archetypal with all-wheel drive. That car delivered a 5.0-second zero-to-60-mph time and completed the quarter-mile in 13.4 abnormal at 106 mph. Lexus recalibrated the car’s 10-speed automated manual for 2021 to accumulate the agent spinning at a added optimal allotment of its powerband, and the aggregation claims that a rear-wheel-drive LS500 is able of accepting to 60 mph in aloof 4.6 seconds. We couldn’t verify that, back we were clumsy to accomplish it to our analysis clue during our abrupt time with the car.
In Comfort and Normal alive modes, burke acknowledgment is aerial and the LS delivers an effortless, amenable blazon of luxury. Switching into one of the car’s two action modes (Sport S and Action S ) dials in some sharpness, but the aberration is trivial. The LS500 is a big softie. The council is calibrated for the sedate activity of a ample affluence sedan, and the LS serves up a serene ride and a whisper-quiet cabin.
And it’s a about bargain. The berth offers costly basement for both advanced and rear occupants, acceptable legroom, and high-end abstracts and features. Long-haul alley trips would assuredly be accomplished with nary a aroma of fatigue. A well-equipped all-wheel-drive F Action model, with the alternative across-the-board sunroof, 23-speaker Mark Levinson stereo system, and 24-inch head-up affectation rings in at $88,460—which is about area appraisement begins for rivals from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. While it is accessible to run up a added big-ticket tab, the LS500 consistently represents a appropriate amount hypothesis back compared to analogously able German competition. An all-wheel-drive Genesis G90 3.3T Premium, though, starts at $76,475. Genesis wants to be Lexus—not accepted Lexus but 1990 Lexus, agitation the foundations of the old-world affluence hierarchy.
On paper, the LS500 seems like it ability accept the compound to bake that aboriginal LS400 mojo, but an exoteric architecture so out of footfall with a car’s alive dynamics leads to an breathless all-embracing picture. The touchscreen retrofit to the infotainment arrangement didn’t abundant advice affairs there, either. It ability be time for the LS to assuredly carelessness the amount comedy and go for full-on extravagance. Lexus absolutely knows how to do it. Aloof attending at the LC auto and convertible, both of which bigger body the role of a flagship for the brand.