Sep
29
2021 Lexus LS 500

2021 Lexus LS 500 AWD in Matador Red Mica

2021 Lexus LS 500 AWD

Class: Premium Large Car

Miles driven: 488

Fuel used: 27.0 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 18.1 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/27/21 (city/highway combined)

Fuel type: Premium Gas

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB-
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB-
ValueC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyB
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs416-hp 3.5-liter
Engine TypeTurbocharged V6
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Base price: $79,250 (not including $1025 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Lexus Safety System + A ($3000), adaptive variable air suspension with rapid height ($1400), digital rearview mirror ($200), 20-inch split 10-spoke alloy wheels with gloss black and machined finish ($920), 24-inch head-up display ($1200), Executive Package ($17,580), Mark Levinson 23-speaker audio system ($1940), panorama glass roof ($1000), Panoramic View Monitor ($800), premium wood trim ($800), heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel ($410), illuminated door sills ($450), rear bumper applique ($95), door edge guards ($155)

Price as tested: $110,225

 

Quick Hits

The great: Sumptuous, high-quality interior; good selection of comfort and convenience features

The good: Dramatic styling inside and out; capable handling for a large car; respectable fuel economy

The not so good: Occupant space isn’t outstanding for a flagship large car; our observed fuel economy was a bit below EPA estimates

More LS price and availability information

 

CG Says:

When Lexus’ flagship luxury sedan was redesigned from the ground up for the 2018 model year, it gained sleek, swoopy new styling that made it one of the most dramatic looking vehicles in the premium large car class. For 2021, the LS gets a light refresh the includes some welcome revisions and enhancements, two of which—an updated infotainment system and a retuned suspension—directly address a couple of our editors’ primary complaints about the car.

Though the unloved Remote Touch console-mounted touchpad remains, it’s now essentially a redundant control interface. The 12.3 infotainment screen gains touchscreen functionality, and it’s housed in a new, “tablet-esque” panel that places it a bit closer to the driver for easier access. Android Auto connectivity is a new standard feature, joining the existing Apple CarPlay capability. For LS drivers (us included) who found the touchpad interface awkward and tricky to use, this is a big improvement.

The LS’s ride quality was another minor sore spot—it seemed that Lexus erred on the side of dynamic handling rather than optimal bump absorption. In our previous LS test drives, we experienced some impact harshness over sharp bumps and an occasionally jittery feel over rough pavement that wasn’t really befitting of a flagship luxury sedan. For 2021, updates such as revised spring and damper rates and larger liquid-filled bushings front and rear make for a notably smoother, more-stable ride, as does the updated optional Adaptive Variable Suspension (which our test vehicle was equipped with).

Happily, the ride-quality improvements don’t noticeably compromise the LS’s handling capabilities, which are decent for a large car—Lexus says that front and rear anti-roll bars have been “optimized” to better control body roll in turns. Other improvements for 2021 include a larger, higher-resolution digital rearview mirror, additional padding in the seats and armrests, and minor efficiency-focused revisions to the LS 500’s powerplant and 10-speed automatic transmission.

The LS’s other virtues carry over intact—you can check our previous test-drive reviews of an LS 500 F Sport and a hybrid LS 500h for more info. The cabin ambiance is dazzling in terms of both design and materials—particularly with the Executive Package, which tacks on an eye-opening $17,580 and adds 28-way power-adjustable driver and front-passenger seats (with massage), Ultrasuede headliner, 4-Zone Climate Concierge, power front seat buckles, and butterfly front headrests. The Executive Package also steps up the rear-seat luxury via a power rear sunshade, and 22-way power rear seats (which include butterfly headrests, memory, heat, massage, and a 7-inch touchscreen control panel housed in the center armrest), and a power-reclining passenger-side rear seat with a sliding ottoman.

 

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