Minor nips and tucks for the LS flagship

The LS is Lexus. Or Lexus is LS. Whichever you want to put it. The luxury sedan debuted in 1989 and marked Lexus’ entrance on the U.S. market, but it also went on to become the company’s main pillar and foundation.

After more than 30 years, the Lexus LS is still doing battle against the German trifecta made of BMW’s 7 Series, Audi’s A8, and Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class. That’s why Lexus won’t compromise when it comes to its flagship sedan. Hence the updated 2021 LS we’re about to discuss.

  • 2021 Lexus LS
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    416 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    442 @ 1600
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    136 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2021 Lexus LS - What’s new?

2021 Lexus LS Exterior
- image 918203

Well, it’s mostly about technology, functionality, and design, to some extent. Truth be told, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We believe the LS has matured to a stunning visual appearance and it only needed some subtle tweaks here and there, so let’s see what changes.

The highlight as far as we’re concerned is Lexus’ decision to bump up the LS’ tech credentials. And by that we mean the introduction of a new touch-based multimedia setup that’s been developed around a 12.3-inch display.

The unit is compatible with both Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa but most importantly, it integrates neatly into the superbly crafted interior. That’s quite important because Lexus doesn’t believe luxury should be defined by large screens, regardless of how crisp a graphic and user experience they offer.

2021 Lexus LS Interior
- image 918241

Designers also tweaked the button arrangement on the steering wheel, making it more visible and neat-looking. And speaking of designers, the LS’ cabin is available for the first time in Nishijin & Haku trim, essentially a metal leaf pattern. Comfort-wise, there’s a new noise-cancellation setup that Lexus said is fine-tuned for quieter drives.

left right

On the outside, the newcomer paint is a Gin-ei Luster, a silver hue that Lexus believes “invites color to be perceived as a texture.” New headlamps are also on the menu.

Mechanically speaking, the 2021 Lexus LS rides on an improved adaptive variable suspension that is now said to offer better damping and optimized performance when running on run-flat tires.

2021 Lexus LS Exterior
- image 918205

What’s more, in the LS 500h, the level of battery assists kicks in earlier and harder during acceleration at what Lexus calls “often-used driving speeds.” The LS 500 gets a similar tweak, in the sense that initial engine torque delivery is heftier at often-used speeds for smoother and quicker accelerations.

2021 Lexus LS - What doesn’t change?

2021 Lexus LS Drivetrain
- image 918242

Mostly, the powertrain. The LS can be had in two guises in the U.S., namely LS 500 and LS 500h.

The LS 500’s 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 with aluminum block and cylinder heads is good for 416 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque between 1600 rpm and 4800 rpm.

It can be had with either all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, the solely transmission choice being a 10-speed automatic.

A RWD LS 500 can take you from naught to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and all the way up to a top track speed of 136 mph, while returning 19, 30, and 23 mpg around the city, on the highway, and combined, respectively.

2021 Lexus LS 500 specifications
Engine twin-turbo V-6
Displacement 3.5 liters / 3445cc / 210.2 cu.in.
Bore x Stroke 3.37 in. x 3.94in.
Compression Ratio 10.476 :1
Horsepower (SAE) 416 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 442 lb.-ft. @ 1600-4800rpm
Transmission Type 10-speed automatic
0-60 mph Acceleration 4.6 seconds
Top Track Speed 136 mph
Estimated Fuel Economy* (City/Hwy/Combined) 19/30/23 mpg RWD 18/27/21 mpg AWD
2021 Lexus LS Drivetrain
- image 918255

Lexus’ electrified LS, the 500 h hybrid, makes do too with a 3.5-liter V-6, but one that’s assisted by a pair of electric motors. Power output for the ICE is 295 horses, while the whole hybrid system produces 354 horsepower sent to the wheels by a fancy CVT. 0-60 mph takes 5.1 seconds in the RWD model and 5.2 seconds in the AWD one, while top speed is capped at 136 mph.

2021 Lexus LS 500 h specifications
Engine V6, aluminum block and cylinder heads
Displacement 3.5 liters / 3,456 cc / 210.9 cu. in.
Bore x Stroke 3.70 x 3.27in.(94.0 mmx 83.0 mm)
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Horsepower (SAE) 295 @ 6,600rpm
Total System Output 354 hp
0-60 mph Acceleration 5.1 seconds (RWD) 5.2 seconds (AWD)
Top Speed (electronically limited) 136 mph

Price and Availability

2021 Lexus LS Exterior
- image 918211

There’s no price tag associated to the 2021 Lexus LS, but the 2020 model starts at $75,450. That’s the RWD LS500, though. AWD will cost $78,670, the F-Sport will demand at least $81,450, while the LS 500h hybrid starts at $80,010 in RWD guise and $83,230 with AWD.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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