2021 Lexus LS facelift revealed

Lexus lifts the drapes on its facelift for the 2020/2021 LS which includes new technology and chassis and suspension changes.

Lexus has revealed an updated version of the current fifth-generation LS flagship sedan, facelifted just ahead of the arrival of the brand-new 2020 Mercedes S-Class.

Sales of the new LS will commence in Japan later in 2020, and while no other markets have been confirmed yet, it’s a Lexus model already sold here in Australia, so we expect local sales to follow.

Design changes are very few and far between, with the mid-life update focussed instead on improving on the strengths of the LS – ride quality, comfort, refinement and on-board technology.

As such, visual changes only include a very minor nip and tuck to the front bumper, new headlight signatures, a darker tint for the front grille, a change to piano black trim rather than chrome elements within the taillights, some new grille colours and wheel designs for F-Sport models and uniform black colouring applied across the switchgear and steering wheel buttons. A new silver paint finish called Gin-ei Luster is also available.

Under the very minor design changes, the brand’s chassis engineers have equipped the LS with a new suspension system coined Adaptive Variable Suspension with reduced damping forces, in a bit to eliminate any harshness on imperfect road surfaces.

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The engine mounts have also been changed to reduce vibrations transmitted to the cabin. The seat stitching is deeper and the padding in the seating is made from a new material, which the brand claims is better at absorbing vibration.

In the LS 500h hybrid, the drivetrain has been altered to rely more on battery power and less on the petrol engine at low speeds, to improve refinement and make accelerating away from a stop more seamless.

In the pure petrol LS 500, that isn’t sold in Britain, engineers have aimed to improve engine response by improving initial torque at “often-used driving speeds,” and have worked on improving the shift timing of the automatic gearbox.

Technology updates are headlined by the arrival of Lexus Teammate, which is a new advanced driver assistance and safety package enabling more reliable and feature packed semi-autonomous driving on motorway style roads than before. With Teammate enabled, the LS is capable of taking on lane changes, lane splits and overtakes automatically, and the system can receive automatic over-the-air software updates.

Elsewhere, the LS adopts the BladeScan adaptive LED headlight technology fitted on the latest RX SUV, which uses moving mirrors to automatically alternate the headlight beam rather than projectors, and a larger digital review mirror. Inside, the infotainment display is brought forward to the hand’s reach. The new 12.3-inch unit features touchscreen input for the first time, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

While Japan is the only market confirmed for the LS so far, launches in international markets – possibly including Australia- are expected to follow in 2021.

James Brodie

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