2021 Lexus LS LS 500 AWD Features and Specs
Heated & Ventilated Front Bucket Seats -inc: 16-way power-adjustable front seats and power-adjustable front headrests
Front Seats w/Leatherette Back Material and Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar
8-Way Driver Seat -inc: Power 4-Way Lumbar Support
8-Way Passenger Seat -inc: Power 4-Way Lumbar Support
Bench Front Facing Rear Seat
Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
Power Rear Windows
Heated Leather Steering Wheel w/Auto Tilt-Away
Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
Power Fuel Flap Locking Type
Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 4 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
Remote Releases -Inc: Proximity Cargo Access and Power Fuel
HomeLink Garage Door Transmitter
Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
Distance Pacing w/Traffic Stop-Go
Voice Activated Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts, Headliner/Pillar Ducts and Console Ducts
Illuminated Locking Glove Box
Driver Foot Rest
Interior Trim -inc: Aluminum Instrument Panel Insert, Genuine Wood Door Panel Insert, Genuine Wood Console Insert and Aluminum/Metal-Look Interior Accents
Full Cloth Headliner
Leatherette Door Trim Insert
Leather/Metal-Look Gear Shifter Material
Leather Seat Trim
Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination, Driver And Passenger Auxiliary Mirror
Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage and 3 12V DC Power Outlets
Front And Rear Map Lights
Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor Mats
Carpet Floor Trim and Carpet Trunk Lid/Rear Cargo Door Trim
Cargo Space Lights
Memory Settings -inc: Driver And Passenger Seats, Door Mirrors, Steering Wheel and Head Restraints
FOB Controls -inc: Cargo Access, Windows and Sunroof/Convertible Roof
Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0
Navigation System w/12.3" Touchscreen -inc: high-resolution split-screen multimedia display, full-screen map capability w/3D city views, speed limit display on road traveled, voice-activated navigation, complimentary 3 years of Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation and remote touchpad
Instrument Panel Covered Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
Delayed Accessory Power
Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
Redundant Digital Speedometer
Outside Temp Gauge
w/Tilt Front Head Restraints and Manual w/Tilt Rear Head Restraints
Front Center Armrest and Rear Center Armrest w/Storage
2 Seatback Storage Pockets
3 12V DC Power Outlets
The LS is the sedan that launched the Lexus brand, but the 2021 model wears a much sharper suit than the 1990 original. Going up against established luxury four-doors such as the Audi A8, BMW 7-series, and Mercedes-Benz S-class is just as much of a challenge today as it was when the LS first rolled onto the scene, but the Lexus charms with its Japanese aesthetic and standout design. A twin-turbo V-6 is standard, but those concerned with fuel efficiency can upgrade to a hybrid powertrain—although its lumpy power delivery isn't particularly luxurious. The same could be said of the LS's driving experience: It lacks the athleticism we've come to appreciate in several of its competitors. But the LS's interior is every bit as quiet and nearly as comfortable as those of its German rivals, and you'll still look like a boss when you pull up to the valet stand.
What's New for 2021?
Lexus has made some slight alterations to its flagship luxury sedan for 2021. The LS receives new headlamps and trim surrounds on the exterior, and Lexus says it's quieter inside thanks to a tweaked active-noise-cancellation system. The biggest improvement, however, comes in the form of a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, which replaces the fussy no-touch display that irked us for so many years.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd stick with the standard twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and rear-wheel drive, if only to reserve funds for optioning the LS's coolest features. We'd spring for the Luxury package—it's expensive but worth it—as it adds heated and cooled front and rear seats with semi-aniline leather upholstery; 28-way power-adjustable front seats with massage; rear buckets; a rear center console with touchscreen controls for climate, audio, and seat functions; four-zone automatic climate control; and power sunshades in the back. The optional adjustable air suspension, 20-inch wheels, a 360-degree camera system, real wood interior trim, and a wood- and leather-trimmed heated steering wheel are all required to add the Luxury package. This pushes the LS500's price up $17,000, but that's still cheaper and better equipped than the base Mercedes-Benz S-class.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard engine in the LS is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 that delivers a silky-smooth 416 horsepower. It sounds refined and powerful while under heavy throttle but hushed when cruising. A 10-speed automatic handles gearchanges. Performance is more than enough for this car's luxury mission, but V-8-powered variants of the BMW 7-series and the Mercedes-Benz S-class proved to be quicker at the test track. Models badged LS500h feature a hybrid powertrain that uses a 3.5-liter V-6 and two electric motors to make 354 horsepower. While the standard twin-turbo V-6 operates smoothly, the hybrid arrangement feels unrefined and altogether not luxurious. The engine sounds raspy and coarse, and the transmission—a mashup of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a regular four-speed automatic—steps through preset gear ratios with all the crispness of a soggy cornflake.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel-economy estimates for the hybrid are indeed better than the nonhybrid LS500's figures, so if you're looking to save a buck at the pump, we suppose that's the one redeeming quality of the LS500h's powertrain. Whereas the rear-wheel-drive LS500 claims 30/19 mpg highway/city, the rear-wheel-drive LS500h earns 33/25 mpg ratings from the EPA. In our real-world testing, an all-wheel-drive LS500h managed a 30-mpg result on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test. An all-wheel-drive LS500 F Sport managed 26 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Flowing lines, intricately patterned fabrics, and rich leather upholstery fills the cabin of the LS. If you really want to go all out, spec the real wood trim, artful glass inserts, and cleverly pleated door panel fabric. Passenger space is generous for four adults. Adding a fifth person in the standard three-across rear bench would deny passengers a true luxury experience, so we recommend selecting the optional bucket seats. The rear seatbacks are fixed, so bulky cargo items may not easily fit in the LS. The trunk, however, for the LS500 and hybrid model is generously sized, each holding six carry-on suitcases. Both the Audi A8 and the Genesis G90 accommodated the same amount of luggage.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All LS models come with Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay capability, navigation, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, all controlled through a new 12.3-inch touchscreen. That means the fussy touchpad on the center console is no longer the only way to adjust vehicle settings, switch audio sources, or set a destination in the navigation menu. The system also recognizes some voice commands. That said, is it too much to ask for physical buttons for things like seat heating? Lexus apparently thinks so. In order to activate this feature, users must turn to the screen.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
As with most other Lexus models, the LS comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 suite of driver-assistance features. A more advanced semi-autonomous driving-mode feature is an option. For more information about the LS's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Lexus offers longer powertrain coverage than BMW or Mercedes, but doesn't match up to Genesis's plan of 100,000-mile coverage. At least the first maintenance visit is provided free of charge.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2021 Lexus LS 500
front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
RWD, $77,025; AWD, $80,725
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
210 in3, 3445 cm3
416 hp @ 6000 rpm
442 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Wheelbase: 123.0 in
Length: 206.1 in
Width: 74.8 in
Height: 57.1–57.5 in
Passenger volume: 99 ft3
Trunk volume: 17 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 4700–5100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.8–5.2 sec
100 mph: 11.9–12.3 sec
1/4 mile: 13.2–13.4 sec
Top speed: 136 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 21–22/17–18/27–29 mpg
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Lexus LS (XF40)
For an overview of all LS models, see Lexus LS.
|Lexus LS (XF40)|
|Production||August 2006 – October 2017|
|Assembly||Japan: Tahara, Aichi (Tahara plant)|
|Designer||Yo Hiruta (2003, 2004)|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Platform||Toyota N platform|
|Related||Toyota Century (G60) (for LS 600h L)|
|Hybrid drivetrain||Power-split Hybrid (THS)|
|Width||1,875 mm (73.8 in)|
|Predecessor||Lexus LS (XF30)|
|Successor||Lexus LS (XF50)|
The Lexus LS (XF40) is the fourth generation of the Lexus LS line of full-sizeluxurysedans. Lexus debuted the model line at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, with variants including the standard wheelbase LS 460 (USF40) and long wheelbase LS 460 L (USF41); the chassis codes (USF40/USF41) are derived from the fourth generation XF40 platform code and UR series engine designation. In development from 2001, the final design was selected for the V8 models in late 2003, with the hybrid variant's design finalized in 2004. Introduced at the 2006 New York International Auto Show, all-wheel drivehybrid models, the standard wheelbase LS 600h (UVF45) and long wheelbase LS 600h L (UVF46), joined the lineup in the 2008 model year. The LS 460 and LS 460 L models feature a 4.6 L UR series V8 and an 8-speed automatic transmission, while hybrid models are powered by a 5.0 L UR series V8 engine equipped with electric motors, with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive versions of the non-hybrid LS 460 (USF45) and LS 460 L (USF46) models were introduced at the 2008 Moscow International Automobile Salon. The XF40 received updates for the 2010 and 2013 model years.
Since its introduction, multiple fourth generation Lexus LS models have been sold worldwide, including standard, long wheelbase, hybrid, and all-wheel-drive versions. At its introduction, the LS 600h L became the most expensive sedan produced in Japan, with a sticker price of approximately US$125,000.
Design and engineering
The fourth generation Lexus flagship was the first LS to receive the styling cues of Lexus' new design direction, L-finesse. The design features body forms running the length of the car, with wheel arches, arrow-shaped chrome trim, a grille set slightly below the level of the headlamps, and a fastback rear decklid. Compared to the previous generation LS, the forward and aft coefficient of lift was reduced to 0.02 and 0.01, respectively, while aerodynamic drag remained the same (Cd 0.26). Exterior-wise, the LS 460 L has a similar profile as the LS 460, with identical overhangs in both front and rear; the rear passenger doors are noticeably longer in the stretched model. Design patents for the vehicle's exterior design, including front and rear fascias, side windows, and lights, were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on 3 October 2005.
Additional details of the design include adaptive headlamps housed in hand polished surrounds designed to look like Baccarat crystal tumblers, chrome exhaust vents integrated into the rear bumper, and "L"/"S" curve shapes. The fenders are produced using a 5200-ton press, which when introduced made it the world's strongest stamping press. The model's new paint finish is applied to bare-metal body panels which are first prepared by a six-axis buffing robot with 3D movements, the entire paint finish is wet-sanded twice by hand between layers of paint application. Both front and rear window frames are each constructed from a single die-castzinc piece, plated in chrome and then polished by hand.
Interior features include a 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System, Gracenote, and a 30 GB HDD with room for 2,000 songs. The fifth generation HDD-based Lexus navigation system features XM NavTraffic, a real-time traffic monitoring system with dynamic rerouting (in the U.S., and similar systems elsewhere). Keyless SmartAccess with push-button start, Optitron instrument panel with TFT multi-information display, auxiliary MP3 player input, and a 5-position tire pressure display are standard equipment. A 24-hour concierge/emergency aid service, Lexus Link (later Lexus Enform), was offered in North America, with the analogous G-Link system offered in Japan. Japanese market LS sedans also feature MiniDisc compatibility, television reception, onboard security surveillance cameras, and remote cellphone access.
Comfort and convenience features range from a 16-way adjustable heated and cooled driver seat to a rear cabin with power reclining memory seats, a cool box, and five powered sunshades. Certain versions of the LS can be equipped with climate control features such as first automobile ceiling air diffusers, air purifiers, air ionisers, and four-zone climate control with infrared body temperature sensors. The leather on the seats and steering wheel are made smoother than previous models, due to being buffed longer in production, the steering wheel is buffed for three hours and incorporates a whip stitching pattern. Upgraded materials (such as a headliner made out of ecsaine, a suede-like material used by couturierYves Saint-Laurent) are offered for the interior. Inside the wood veneer trim has been laminated to aluminum instead of fiberglass by Yamaha's piano craftsmen. A special-order "Executive" seating package on long wheelbase models includes a rear seat DVD entertainment system with ceiling fold-down LCD screen, fixed center console with a swivel tray table, and a passenger-side shiatsu and shoulder massagingottoman seat.
2006 Lexus LS interior (original).
2013 Lexus LS interior (refresh).
The Intelligent Parking Assist System feature (also called Advanced Parking Guidance System) can parallel-park or reverse-park the LS into a preselected space with minimal brake input at the push of a button. This feature utilizes the backup camera and parking sensors. Other drive-assist features include Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which can accelerate and brake while monitoring traffic (similar to Mercedes-Benz's Distronic Plus), a Brake Hold button, which prevents creeping forward motion when the driver's foot is off the brake pedal, and the Automatic Parking Brake, which can engage the parking brake simultaneously whenever the transmission is shifted to Park.
The Lane Keeping Assist (not available on the LS 600h due to conflict with LED headlamps) feature includes the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keep (LK) systems. When activated, the LDW system will issue an audiovisual warning and LK will apply a brief corrective steering response when veering motion is detected. The LK system (activated when the radar cruise control is engaged) will actively provide continued steering assist.
Debuted on the fourth generation Lexus LS, the next-generation Pre-Crash System (Pre-Collision in the U.S.) offers forward and rear protection. The Frontal Pre-Crash system will activate a warning buzzer and red dash lights to alert the driver if a potential hazard is detected in the vehicle's path. If the system detects a potential collision, the system will adjust steering and braking responsiveness. If a collision is determined to be unavoidable, the seatbelt pretensioners will activate, and the brakes will automatically engage to slow the vehicle. The Rear Pre-Crash system, the first active rear collision safety feature in an automobile, utilizes trunk-mounted obstacle detection and warning systems; if a rear collision is deemed unavoidable, sensor-equipped Pre-Crash Intelligent Headrests in the front seats will adjust position upwards up to 25 mm (0.98 in) and forwards up to 60 mm (2.4 in) to cradle the head during impact, reducing whiplash. The rear Pre-Crash system in the U.S. market waited for FCC regulatory approval. For 2010, the LS hybrid further incorporated an all-TFT instrument panel display, which featured the addition of a night vision capability with pedestrian detection.
A new active safety feature called the Driver Monitoring System debuted on the LS 600h L sedan. The Driver Monitoring System uses a CCD camera placed on the steering column to track driver attentiveness by eye tracking. Using infrared detectors, this system will respond if a collision is imminent and the driver not paying attention (a warning alarm will sound followed by a brief automatic application of the braking system).
Standard active safety features also include electronically controlled braking (ECB), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and traction control (TRAC). The stability/traction control system, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) (with disable button), incorporates Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB), Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) active safety systems with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Electric Power Steering (EPS) and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) systems. VDIM integrates these systems to improve vehicle responsiveness to driver input and prevent loss of control. An Emergency Steering Assist system acts to minimize body roll and improve vehicle responsiveness in sudden maneuvers. This system reduces the steering gear ratio and prompts the suspension to adopt stiffer settings, helping make emergency maneuvers more stable and controlled. Passive safety features include eight to ten standard airbags (depending on model, up to eleven with upgraded rear seats), passenger detection systems, front and rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, and a reinforced steel body. Dual-stage driver and twin-chambered front passenger airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and Thorax-Abdomen-Pelvis (TAP) airbags are also installed.
The 2009 (2010 model year) refresh added redesigned forward and rear fascias, updated interior, an active Eco Mode energy-saving capability, and redesigned chassis and drivetrain components to the non-hybrid models. The interior received additional chrome trim for the center console, an optional DVD entertainment system behind the center armrest (versus the ceiling drop-down version available before), and in certain markets, an all-digital instrument panel with night vision capability. The "Executive" seating option gained a five-seat configuration, and vibrating massage for both outboard rear seats was introduced. The exterior paint gained a self-repairing clear coat.
Introduced in 2009 for the 2010 model year was the LS 460 Sport, a performance package available only on the rear-wheel drive standard wheelbase model, equipped with a sport-tuned air suspension, Brembo brakes, forged wheels, paddle shifters, body kit, and a unique two-tone interior. The LS 460 Sport featured the Sport Direct Shift transmission, also found in the Lexus IS F, which allows for faster shift times. The torque converter can lockup from 2nd to 8th gears. 
Also debuting in late 2009 for the 2010 model year was the revised LS hybrids, including refreshed front and rear fascias, a four-bar grille, the addition of side mirror turn signals, and new wheel designs. The 2010 models also were the introductory year for the LS hybrid in the Middle East and Indonesia. For the Japanese market, the 2010 models saw the introduction of an interior customization program called "L-Select", which allowed owners to have hybrid and non-hybrid LS models built to their material trim specifications.
2010–2011 Lexus LS 460 (USF40R; Australia)
Lexus released an official photograph of its restyled XF40 series in July 2012 which will be released for the 2013 model year. The substantial update incorporates the new Lexus corporate fascia, comprising the "spindle" grill and consequently sees the fitment of a redesigned hood, reshaped front fenders and headlamps, plus a new bumper. These styling revisions see the retention of the side profile and doors, including rear fenders. Thus, the newly designed tail-lamps, trunk lid, and rear bumper are only partially modified. The sport package, still only offered on the standard wheelbase variant but now including all-wheel drive as well as rear-wheel drive, is now known as the F-Sport.
Reportedly, the refresh involved 1000 engineers and replaced 3000 out of 6000 new parts.
2013 Lexus LS 460 (USF40; Europe)
USF40 / USF41 (2006)
Introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, the redesigned LS was based on the LF-Sh concept vehicle and used an all-new platform. The initial models, the LS 460 (USF40) and long wheelbase LS 460 L (USF41), featured a brand-new 4.6 L 1UR-FSEV8 producing 283 kW (380 hp; 385 PS) and 498 N⋅m (367 lb⋅ft) of torque. The LS 460 introduced the first production eight-speed automatic transmission and an automatic parking system.
The LS 460 and LS 460 L first went on sale in Japan on 19 September 2006. It was the first time the car was sold under the Lexus marque in Japan, and identified the next phase of Lexus' launch as a global premium brand. Its exclusivity is shared with the Toyota Century and the Toyota Crown Majesta, which are only sold at dedicated Toyota Japanese dealerships called Toyota Store .
The LS 460 and LS 460 L arrived at dealerships in the United States on 20 October 2006. Sales of the LS 460 began in Europe in late 2006. In early 2007, the redesigned Lexus LS reached the Middle East and other Asian countries. The LS 460 arrived in Australia in mid-2007. The U.S. launch of the 2007 Lexus LS model was accompanied by special presentations at "460 Degrees" art galleries in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Miami, and New York City, and an outdoor vehicle art display at the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan.
The previous double-wishbone front suspension was replaced with a dual joint multilink design, with an all-electric system. To increase rigidity and lower unsprung weight, forged aluminum is now used for the suspension links, front steering knuckles, and rear hub carriers. along with a single-piece hollow die-cast aluminum front subframe with machined mounting points, and approximately half of the body uses high-tensile steel. Overall the amount of laser welding has been doubled compared to the previous model.
The LS 460 L, the debut vehicle of the LS line at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, sports an added 4.8 inches (121.9 mm) of length, affording passengers a more capacious rear compartment, and adds more features. Standard amenities on the LS 460 L (some optional on the LS 460) include a power open/close trunk, heated steering wheel, backup camera, navigation system, XM NavTraffic in the U.S., Bluetooth, semi-aniline leather interior, and heated/cooled power memory rear seats. The LS 460 L offers the Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) and the Adaptive Variable Suspension performance upgrades; the air suspension features normal, comfort, and sport modes. Compared to the standard wheelbase LS 460, the LS 460 L adds up to 113 kg (250 lb) of weight while still matching the 0–97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration of its lighter stablemate, listed at 5.4 seconds. The "Executive Class Four-Seat Package" with massaging rear seat is an option for chauffeured customers.
UVF45 / UVF46 (2007)
Launched at the New York International Auto Show in April 2006, the LS 600h L (UVF46) is the first production V8-powered full-hybrid vehicle. The LS 600h (UVF45), a standard wheelbase version destined for Asia and Europe, was launched in Japan in May 2007. Both models are equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive, featuring a 5.0 L 2UR-FSE V8 engine mated to two electric motors with nickel-metal hydride battery packs. The first motor has two primary functions, starting the gasoline engine and charging both the second motor and the nickel-metal hydride battery; the second motor is a high-output generator capable of 165 kW (221 hp; 224 PS) alone. The entire system generates an official output of 327 kW (439 hp; 445 PS). This total figure does not combine the V8 engine and the electric motor standalone power figures. The powertrain uses a two-stage L110Fcontinuously variable transmission, featuring a three-mode power switch for control of torque output between hybrid (normal), power, or snow modes; an additional EV mode allows for silent driving under full electric power.
According to tests by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on the European combined cycle, fuel economy is slightly higher overall than the lower-powered non-hybrid LS; the LS 600h L also receives a U.S. Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating. European emissions standards testing has listed the LS 600h L's CO2 emissions at 219g/km, and the vehicle is listed under the United Kingdom's Vehicle Excise Duty tax band F. According to EPA testing, the LS 600h L earns an energy impact score of 16.3 barrels of petroleum gasoline per year, with a carbon footprint of 8.7 tons of CO2 emitted per year. Japanese drivers pay the top level road tax, the same amount that Toyota Century owners pay.
Standard equipment on the LS hybrids includes all-wheel drive, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and an Adaptive Variable Air Suspension, plus an optional Active Stabilizer Suspension System (an upgrade to the standard multi-link front suspension expressly developed for the LS hybrids). Hybrid-only features include the first production low beam LED headlights in the U.S. market, a leather-trimmed dash, and blue-tinted badging; the standard SmartAccess key fob can also be substituted with a 3.35 mm (0.132 in) thick wallet-sized "smart card". Designers visited Beverly Hills and South Florida as part of the LS hybrid development process. To reduce noise, vibration, and harshness, the transmission gear teeth and engagement points were finished to within micrometres, a sound-absorbing cover was employed, and acoustic analysis was performed to evaluate noise emissions.
Aiming to compete with top-specification versions of rival luxury sedans, designers billed the LS hybrids as having "the performance of a V12, but the efficiencies of a V8", opting for the hybrid approach to meet performance, fuel efficiency, and emission targets. The LS 600h L, based on the long-wheelbase LS 460 L introduced with the new LS 460 platform, aimed to compete with the Audi A8 L W12, BMW 760Li, and Mercedes-Benz S 600, whose prices approach or exceed US$120,000. This market featured separate engineering and engine designs for added power, with the most common powerplant being a 12-cylinder engine. After its press debut, the LS 600h L's price was speculated to be higher than any previous Lexus, and in April 2007, Lexus announced that the base price for the LS 600h L would be over US$104,000, surpassing the V12-equipped Toyota Century as the most expensive Japanese flagship sedan ever produced. With a price reaching six figures, the LS 600h L placed a Lexus vehicle in the U.S. "ultra-luxury" segment for the first time.
By March 2007, the initial allocation of LS hybrids in the U.S. was nearly sold out, with 1,850 preorders placed months before debut. As of October 2007, Lexus sold 6,093 LS 600h's worldwide. When the LS hybrid originally went on sale in July 2007, Lexus initially targeted 7,000 total units worldwide for the first year, and 2,000 annually in other markets.Ward's Auto and other media outlets reported that the Lexus LS 600h first year's (2007) allocation was entirely sold out and that there was a one-year backorder as a result. Positioned as the halo vehicles of the LS line, the LS 600h and LS 600h L saw corporate purchases for emissions reductions, along with use as an official state car. In 2008, a redesign of the rear battery area increased trunk space by 20%.
USF45 / USF46 (2008)
All-wheel drive, specifically the LS 460 AWD (USF45) and LS 460 L AWD (USF46), was added to non-hybrid models for in 2008 for the 2009 model year with the addition of front passenger memory function.
Specialty department store Neiman Marcus offered 100 individually numbered LS 600h L "Launch Edition" sedans for early 2007, available only through the Neiman Marcus catalog for InCircle members. These special models came in an exclusive Truffle Mica color with Alabaster interior, with chrome wheels and a customized Italian leather luggage set. The limited units were symbolically chosen to coincide with Neiman Marcus' centennial anniversary.
For the 2009 model year, the LS 600h L was produced in a 50-unit "Pebble Beach Edition" in partnership with the Pebble Beach Company, operator of the namesake golf courses and resorts. These vehicles featured Pebble Beach badging and tags, a two-tone interior, and the choice of a travel or merchandise package. The special edition was first shown at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Salone del Mobile
The 2006 Salone del Mobile (Milan Design Week) exhibition at the Museo della Permanente in Milan, Italy, featured an LS 460 art model with a sculpted body along with a fiber-optic "Evolving Fiber" landscape. At 2007's Salone del Mobile, Lexus presented an "Invisible Garden" exhibition at the city's Zona Tortona featuring a frosted LS 600h hybrid model. The model was later shown at the Salon International de l'Auto (Geneva Motor Show).
LS 600h L Landaulet
In 2011, an LS 600h L was converted to landaulet configuration for use at the wedding of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene Wittstock. The conversion was handled by Belgian coachmaker Carat Duchatelet in collaboration with Lexus. The LS 600h L Landaulet's rear cabin featured a transparent bubble roof with no additional reinforcement, and the vehicle received a bespoke, water-based blue livery. The car was used to transport the royal couple on the day of their wedding, and afterwards put on display at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.
Further information: Lexus LF-Sh
The Lexus LF-Sh concept previewed the appearance of the fourth generation USF40/USF41 design of the Lexus LS. This concept vehicle debuted at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. The designation refers to Lexus Future-Sedan hybrid, and the vehicle took the form of a hybrid standard wheelbase sedan model with all-wheel drive, LED headlamps, and integrated exhaust tips. No interior was shown. Lexus subsequently debuted a production hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive with the LS 600h/LS 600h L.
A specialized Lexus LS 460 is used in a warehouse-sized driving simulator at Toyota's Higashifuji Technical Center in Shizuoka, Japan. This vehicle is mounted inside a 4.5 by 7.0 m (14.8 by 23.0 ft) high dome, and surrounded by a 360° projector screen. This setup is used to simulate the audiovisual and vibration aspects of driving.
Simulator data is directly transmitted to a strut/track-mounted driver occupant dome containing the forward cabin of an LS 460, creating the impression of forward movement in a three-dimensional environment. The occupant dome further simulates vehicle motion. The driving simulator is used for testing and development of automotive safety features in a secure environment.
LS 460 ITS-Safety
For the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS-Safety) 2010 exhibition at the MirRed Lake, Minnesotan museum in Tokyo, the LS 460 ITS-Safety concept was shown. The ITS-Safety concept included road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle information-exchange technologies. The LS 460 ITS-Safety concept was equipped with radar cruise control and automatic parking driver-assist systems.
In September 2011, photos were taken of a heavily modified LS, later revealed to be the LS TMG (Toyota Motorsport GmbH) prototype spotted on the Nürburgring. Aside from a redesigned aero package, the LS TMG contains a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 478 kW (641 hp; 650 PS) and 710 N⋅m (524 lb⋅ft) of torque, giving the car a top speed of around 200 mph and a 4.2-second 0–60 mph (97 km/h) time.
Further information: Lexus LS specifications
Different models based on the standard (USF40) and long wheelbase (USF41) platforms are sold worldwide. From 2007, rear-wheel drive is offered with the 4.6 L gasoline powered V8, and all-wheel drive is featured with the 5.0 L hybrid V8. Some markets receive a modified 4.6 L V8 engine without direct injection. The standard (UVF45) and long wheelbase (UVF46) hybrid models feature a two-stage planetary-gearcontinuously variable transmission (CVT). The LS 600h L is sold in major global markets in North America, Asia, and Europe, while the LS 600h is sold in Asian and European markets.
|Production model variants by region|
|Chassis code||Model no.||Production years||Drivetrain||Transmission||Engine type||Engine code||Region(s)|
|USF40||LS 460||2006–||RWD||8-speed |
|4.6 L petrol V8||1UR-FSE||N. America, Asia, Europe, Oceania|
|USF41||LS 460 L||1UR-FSE||N. America, Asia, Europe|
|USF45||LS 460 AWD||2007–||AWD||8-speed |
|USF46||LS 460 L AWD|
|UVF45||LS 600h||L110F CVT||5.0 L hybridV8||2UR-FSE||Asia, Europe|
|UVF46||LS 600h L||N. America, Asia, Europe, Oceania|
|Performance specifications by model|
|LS 460||LS 460 L||LS 460 AWD||LS 460 L AWD||LS 600h AWD||LS 600h L AWD|
|Displacement||4,608 cc (4.6 L)||4,608 cc (4.6 L)||4,608 cc (4.6 L)||4,608 cc (4.6 L)||4,969 cc (5.0 L)||4,969 cc (5.0 L)|
|Power||280 kW (375 hp)||280 kW (375 hp)||270 kW (362 hp)||270 kW (362 hp)||327 kW (439 hp)||327 kW (439 hp)|
|Torque||493 N⋅m (364 ft⋅lbf)||493 N⋅m (364 ft⋅lbf)||469 N⋅m (346 ft⋅lbf)||469 N⋅m (346 ft⋅lbf)||520 N⋅m (384 ft⋅lbf)||520 N⋅m (384 ft⋅lbf)|
|Top speed||0–250 km/h (155 mph) (electronically limited)|
0–100 km/h (62 mph)
|5.7 seconds||5.7 seconds||6.3 seconds||6.3 seconds||6.3 seconds||6.3 seconds|
|Fuel consumption||11.1 L/100 km (21.2 mpg‑US; 25.4 mpg‑imp)||11.1 L/100 km (21.2 mpg‑US; 25.4 mpg‑imp)||11.6 L/100 km (20.3 mpg‑US; 24.4 mpg‑imp)||11.6 L/100 km (20.3 mpg‑US; 24.4 mpg‑imp)||9.3 L/100 km (25.3 mpg‑US; 30.4 mpg‑imp)||9.3 L/100 km (25.3 mpg‑US; 30.4 mpg‑imp)|
|CO2 emissions||261 g/km (14.8 oz/mi)||261 g/km (14.8 oz/mi)||274 g/km (15.6 oz/mi)||274 g/km (15.6 oz/mi)||219 g/km (12.4 oz/mi)||219 g/km (12.4 oz/mi)|
At the 2007 New York International Auto Show, the LS 460 received the World Car of the Year award, selected by automotive journalists from twenty-two countries. The panel commented that the LS was "the embodiment of the Lexus brand's 'pursuit of perfection.'" Other awards include International Car of the Year (2007 ICOTY),Japan Car of the Year (2006–2007 JCOTY), and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2007 "Best Engineered Vehicle" award. In 2007, the LS 460 was named Luxury Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show and was selected as the Best Luxury Car at the Fleet World Honours. Notable awards won by the LS 600h include Top Gear's Limo of the Year (2006),Fleet World Honours' Best Luxury Car (2007, 2008), World's Most Beautiful Automobile (Limousine category), L'Automobile più Bella del Mondo awards (2007), Japanesque Modern Awards List,MotorWeek Best Dream Machine (2008), and Chauffeur Car of the Year (2008). The LS 600h L has also received the Canadian Automobile Association's CAA Pyramid Award for Safety Innovation, and has been named to Forbes' list of the Top Ten Least-Polluting Luxury Cars.
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2021 Lexus LS500 First Test: Weird in a Good Way
The updated Lexus flagship gains improvements and keeps some quirks.Lexus LS Full Overview
"Who is this car for?" That's what my buddy Mike asked as he looked around the 2021 Lexus LS500. Mike was in from out of town, tasked with housesitting a hilltop pad in ritzy Bel Air—a locale where luxury automobiles like the LS blend in. He likes cars, so I brought the big Lexus over for him to check out. It impressed Mike, but left him confused. Later, I drove home along sweeping Sunset Boulevard. As soothed as I was by the seat massager, that question still bounced around my head. Who is this car for?
We had similar uncertainty when the fifth-generation LS arrived for the 2018 model year. It fit the mold of a luxury full-size sedan, but its stiff ride, harsh powertrain, and snug back seats were atypical of that category. Simultaneously, its sport-sedan-like agility made us wonder if the LS was suffering from an identity crisis. What's more, the touchpad infotainment interface was endlessly frustrating.
For 2021, Lexus gives the LS a refresh aimed at making it a more compelling flagship. In a rare opportunity, Lexus provided us with pre- and post-refresh models so we could compare the changes back to back. After a week in each and a trip to the track, I'm still not sure if I can answer Mike's question. But this much is clear: The updated LS500 feels different.
What's New With the 2021 LS500
First, a recap of the relevant 2021 updates. Not much changes outside. The signature spindle grille, now coated in a darker finish, still dominates the front end. It's flanked by vents with a more rectangular shape, and headlights that now integrate the LED accent strip. Around back, the taillights swap chrome detailing for black trim. Inside, the seats and armrests gain thicker, plusher foam cushioning, but more noteworthy is the addition of a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen—more on that later.
Under the sheetmetal, the spring and damper rates are retuned, different anti-roll bars are installed, and the liquid-filled bushings become larger. Both of our review cars rode on the optional air suspension, which raises and lowers more quickly in the 2021 model. As before, the twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 produces 416 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, but the 10-speed automatic behind it gains new shift logic. Subtle as these changes may seem, they revealed themselves quite clearly.
How Quick Is the LS500?
Some may scoff knowing that the LS500 is equipped with a mere six-cylinder engine, but it delivers. Our rear-wheel-drive 2021 car's zero-to-60-mph time fell to 5.0 seconds from the 5.3-second time we previously measured from a comparable model. Likewise, this LS did the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 106.0 mph, a blink ahead of the earlier 13.8-second, 102.8-mph sprint. (Side note: Acceleration was nearly identical in an all-wheel-drive LS500 we tested.) As engine output is unchanged, it's possible that the gearbox revisions helped shave those tenths. Nevertheless, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana praised the powerplant, deeming it a "strong engine that launches hard."
Indeed, on the road it gets the LS500 moving swiftly. Just off idle it doesn't quite have the effortlessness of a V-8, but by 1,600 rpm full torque has arrived. Keep the pedal buried and the transmission's new programming makes good use of the gearbox's tightly spaced cogs. Where the 2020 LS hesitated to downshift, the 2021 readily drops gears and accentuates the engine's power. Still, shifts aren't invisible; the first-to-second upshift in particular can jerk slightly, especially when the drivetrain is cold.
Against the lively engine, the brakes feel tuned unapologetically for comfort. This being a luxury sedan that's not necessarily an issue, but as before, the brake-by-wire system responds inconsistently. There isn't great correlation between pedal pressure and actual stopping force. Nevertheless, stops are smooth. "Very smooth," according to Ayapana (emphasis his). Its best 60-to-zero-mph braking result measured 118 feet, longer than the 110-foot stop we got in earlier testing. With no major changes made to the brakes in the refresh, the 2021 car's different Bridgestone Turanza tires—now mud-and-snow-badged, and with a V speed rating instead of the faster Y—could be to blame for the discrepancy.
We're not ones to complain when a car handles well. But the pre-refresh LS500's reflexes and ride quality seemed incongruent with its luxurious mission. Although smooth, it rode with a pervasive coarseness, able to minimize but not erase road chatter. It struggled with larger imperfections, slamming loudly over drainage troughs and potholes. Odd, since it crossed speed bumps as if they were half as tall. For as accurate as its steering felt, it produced quite a bit of body roll. As I was constantly aware of the car's length, rounding tight corners became a calculated exercise.
Not so in the 2021 model—this thing can boogie. Its slightly quicker turn-in and stronger resistance to lean yield improvements in confidence and control. The result? I can't say it better than road test editor Chris Walton after his run on the figure-eight course: "Ha! I wasn't expecting this to be so fun. Steering weight and precision is just right. I can dance it on the edge of over- and understeer and do a glorious controlled slide on corner exit. Whee!" Its result of 26.2 seconds at a 0.68-g average is close to the 26.3-second, 0.71-g average figure-eight lap we recorded from the pre-refresh LS500. Look, numbers don't tell the whole story—from behind the wheel, the updated LS500 feels like a very different car. Expect the F Sport model to hone that edge further. One doesn't typically think of the LS as a sport sedan, but now, if you drive it like one, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
What numbers also can't communicate is that, despite the tighter handling, comfort is enhanced as well. The ride is calmer, and the cabin feels more insulated from impacts large or small. Fat cats in the back seat will enjoy near-zero gut jiggle and head toss. For the driver and passengers, the LS's updated chassis is better all around.
Unusual, Awesome Interior
It feels like a smaller car, but the 2021 LS is the same size as before—which is to say, it could be a little bigger. Head- and legroom remain inexplicably tight for a car of this size, particularly in back. Heated, ventilated, reclining, and massaging rear seats aren't as relaxing without space to sprawl. It's better up front, as those thrones offer the same amenities and more adjustments. That new thicker cushioning is the first thing I noticed when I got inside. One plutocratic nitpick: The massage function switches off after 15 minutes. Lexus, my massage should end when I want it to, thank you very much.
Regardless of space or lack thereof, the interior décor is stunning. The layered trim and dramatic sculpting makes competitors' cabins seem plain. How our test car's gorgeous "Art Wood" veneer is produced is worth watching. Functional necessities are artfully crafted—check out the air vents integrated within the lines flowing across the dashboard, or the katana-shaped door handles. The upholstery below the gear selector might be the industry's tiniest piece of leather. Wonderful details like these help the interior feel truly special.
High-Tech and Behind the Times
Less artful is the new infotainment setup, which at last adopts touchscreen functionality. At 12.3 inches, the display is no larger, but the experience is much improved compared to the previous touchpad-controlled system. No longer is it necessary to swipe endlessly to make a selection—just touch and go. However, its enclosure looks a bit tacked on, an adaptation needed to put it within reach. The trouble is the screen is so large its right side still requires a stretch to access. The touchpad remains, so at least there's redundancy to work with. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard.
Some of the LS's tech reminds how far things have come in a few short years. The digital gauge display looks small compared to what's found in some new economy cars, and offers less functionality. An available head-up display behind it provides more information, albeit arranged in a confusing jumble. The driver-assistance suite isn't as refined as newer systems; its lane-keep assist ping-pongs between the lines. Our test car's digital rearview mirror helped, but oddly magnified the view behind. And a CD player is standard—need I say more? All this aside, the optional 23-speaker audio system is magnificent, drenching the cabin in layers of rich, immersive sound.
How Much Is a LS500?
Prices for the 2021 LS500 start at $77,025, and the grand total for our option-rich refreshed test vehicle came to $101,790. A palatial sum—but against the competition, a potential bargain. The Audi A8 starts at $87,545, and the BMW 7 Series at $87,795. The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class commands—ready for this?—a whopping $110,850. With the Kia K900 now dead, only the $73,975 Genesis G90 is cheaper in the segment. Note that, besides the Benz, all of these vehicles are standard equipped with smaller, less-powerful six-cylinder engines than the LS500's. If you're willing to pay, though, they all do offer far more powerful engines, which the LS does not.
So, Who Is This Car For?
Sorry, Mike—I don't have an answer for your question. Those who want a car to be driven in should try on something with more spacious rear seats. Others who seek a more involved driving experience have better options in the luxury midsize sedan category. The LS500 remains a quirky outlier stuck between those strata. But what I can tell you is this: Its 2021 refresh is a success. I came to liken the LS to a four-door gran turismo, a whimsical machine that's a pleasure breezing down a motorway or winding through a scenic bypass. It's not everything for everyone, but for a certain someone, it's superb.
|2021 Lexus LS500|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$101,790|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.4L/416-hp/442-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,925 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||206.1 x 74.8 x 57.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.0 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.4 sec @ 106.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||118 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.83 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.2 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||18/29/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||187/116 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.89 lb/mile|
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