Take one glance at the 2021 Lexus LS 500, and you’ll still see a large, luxurious flagship that’s taking on some minor tweaks as it ages. A major redesign isn’t on the table here — the current-generation LS did only debut three years ago — but subtle changes aim to improve several aspects of the brand’s S-Class rival. To wit, Lexus International president Koji Sato said, “In developing the new LS, we furthered the evolution of the exceptional quietness and comfort that has been a steadfast constant since the model’s first generation” (emphasis added).
To that end, styling changes among to a slightly revised front bumper, new headlights and new black trim replacing the chrome around the rear lights. Those headlights echoes those of the new IS, where the daytime running lights are integrated into the headlight assembly, rather than the “check mark” style striking out from underneath like the old one.
Refined for comfort, but the 2021 Lexus LS 500 still has an F Sport option
Underneath, the 2021 Lexus LS 500 and LS 500h also get more refined suspension. Engineers changed up the spring and damper rates, fitted thicker anti-roll bars and used larger liquid-filled bushings. The net result, according to Lexus, is a more compliant and comfortable ride. Their emphasis with this flagship is more on stability and suppleness over out-and-out sporting character.
The powertrain in the 2021 Lexus LS 500, to that end, is the same as before. The 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine pumps out 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission is still standard fare. Rear-wheel drive is still the default as well, although all-wheel drive is available for $3,250 over the standard models. Lexus says the 0-60 time for the RWD model is 4.6 seconds. Again, not that acceleration or spirited driving is really the focus, at least with the standard version. The LS 500h, for its part, also retains the same 3.5-liter V6 engine with two electric motors and a 354 horsepower output.
You can still spec the updated model with an F Sport package, shown in these photos. That adds a more aggressive mesh grille, 20-inch wheels, and larger brakes to the mix. If you aim to tune your LS more toward sporty driving, there’s also a Dynamic Handling Package that takes things a step further with Variable Gear Ratio Steering, Active Rear Steering and Active Stabilizer Suspension.
As you’d expect, the 2021 Lexus LS 500 and LS 500h come laden with standard safety equipment. Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 brings bicyclist detection to the frontal collision avoidance system. Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, and radar-enabled dynamic cruise control and Active Steering Assist are also standard.
One area that has changed, though, is the car’s infotainment system. The 12.3-inch system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto right off the bat. Unlike the older cars, Lexus has finally relented on using its trackpad as the sole means of controlling it. The new model has a touchscreen display, offering a bit more flexibility over media and climate controls.
With minor changes in store, pricing for the 2021 Lexus LS 500 hasn’t moved much from the outgoing model. The base rear-wheel drive version starts at $76,000, while the all-wheel drive variant that up to $79,250. Opt for the F Sport package, and the rear-wheel drive model costs $79,600. With all-wheel drive, the conventional V6-powered model starts at $82,850. Hybrid pricing is not available at the moment, but it currently runs about $4,600 more than the standard LS 500, so expect a starting MSRP somewhere in the $81,000 range.
Add in some optional extras, though, and you can easily price an LS 500 over $100,000, as this car in the video below demonstrates: