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Lexus gives flagship LS a tickle for the New Year

Lexus LS limousine gets mechanical, chassis and safety upgrades for 2021

18 Jan 2021

LEXUS Australia has raised the stakes of its flagship LS luxury upper-large sedan, treating the opulent four-door to a series of mechanical, platform and cabin upgrades to maximise both “driveability” and refinement.

 

Starting from the front and working back, both the existing twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre petrol V6 in the LS500 and the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid powertrain in the LS500h have been upgraded for the new model year, especially the force-fed unit.

 

Featuring a new lip design on the upper surface of the piston, new one-piece aluminium intake manifold and hydraulic control for the inlet side of the dual variable valve timing system, the engine has been made both lighter and quieter than before while still maintaining its 310kW/600Nm peak outputs.

 

The hybrid meanwhile has been treated to a range of software tweaks and changes designed to increase the amount of electrical assistance channelled to the wheels and offer more torque lower down in the rev range.

 

Peak power also remains steady at 264kW.

 

Lexus says the result of these changes is more “linear acceleration in city driving and the need for less throttle pressure when negotiating twisty or hilly roads.”

 

Matching the increased refinement of the drivetrain, the adaptive suspension fitted to all variants as standard scores revised linear solenoids and enlarged flow path inside the control valve in a bid to marginally soften the ride but enhance steering feel.

 

Things inside the cabin have taken a far more modest approach to the new model year where the biggest and only notable change across the line-up is a new 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen while the Sport Luxury variants also score updated seat cushions.

 

Safety gear however has taken a few more sizeable steps especially on the F Sport variants which have inherited various safety goodies previously reserved for the upper-tier Sports Luxurys.

 

Active steering assist, advanced lane tracing assist, front cross-traffic alert and a radar that can detect vehicles approaching diagonally in front of the vehicle now all comes as standard on all variants, as does intersection turning assist.

 

As is usually the way with a model year update, Lexus has also tweaked the styling of its biggest passenger vehicle with all variants featuring a new grille, front bumper, tail-light accents and LED headlights.

 

According to Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson, the LS is the epitome of Japanese luxury and that the updated model has lifted its benchmark to new levels.

 

“Lexus experts have pored over every detail of the new LS, raising its performance and driver engagement, ride comfort, quietness and technologies to new heights,” he said.

 

“Complemented by our exclusive Encore Platinum Owner benefits program, the new LS delivers immaculate choice for the most demanding Lexus customers.”

 

Despite the wealth of changes – some bigger than others – price increases across the range have remained relatively steady and have actually been streamlined with the F Sport versions both now costing $195,953 before on-road costs while either of the Sports Luxurys can be had from $201,078.

 

Just like before, the Sports Luxuries roll on lighter, more aggressive wheels than the F Sports to mark them apart from their lesser stablemates.

 

Lexus sold 18 examples of the LS nationally last year, accounting for just 2.8 per cent of the $100,000-plus upper-large car segment which was dominated by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, occupying a 25.5 per cent (163 units) share.

 

2021 Lexus LS pricing*

LS500 F Sport (a) $195,953
LS500h F Sport (a) $195,953
LS500 Sports Luxury (a) $201,078
LS500h Sports Luxury (a) $201,078

*Excludes on-road costs


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