The 2021 Lexus LS 500 is now on sale to South African customers, benefiting from design and technology advances that deliver ever greater refinement, comfort and safety. The changes reinforce its status as the flagship saloon in Lexus’s range of cars.

Lexus has advanced the relentless evolution of its flagship LS sedan, applying meticulous engineering improvements to renew the benchmark for refinement and quietness while even further leveraging incredible Japanese craftsmanship.

The new LS adopts wide-ranging yet intensely-focused improvements – the result of Lexus engineers obsessively poring over the smallest details from powertrain and suspension components to tyre construction.

Significant engineering changes were dictated by the new Lexus Driving Signature initiative, a philosophy that applies detailed tuning and component upgrades to deliver a new standard of vehicle control, balance and driver confidence.

The 310kW 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine in the LS 500 benefits from enhancements that deliver greater responsiveness and reduce noise. In the LS 500, the earlier production of engine torque leads to greater acceleration response from lower speeds in particular.

Improved shift timing for the 10-speed automatic transmission, and a wider acceleration range for each gear, results in less-frequent downshifts and improved refinement. Quietness has also been improved by lowering the maximum available engine speed during the take-off phase of acceleration.

The new LS also adopts Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement tuning, while a revised engine-mount interior, alters damping characteristics to further reduce powertrain noise and vibration.

A series of suspension changes further complement the hushed new engine and transmission tuning measures while enhancing handling capability.

Dynamic performance benefits from more rigid front and rear stabiliser bars, tuned to deliver the natural and neutral vehicle posture targeted by the Lexus Driving Signature.

A newly-developed solenoid for the standard Adaptive Variable Suspension reduces damping force, aided by reduced stiffness of the run-flat tyres to create even more harmonious and quieter ride quality.

Its 3.5-litre V6 engine has been designed specifically for the new LS, providing both high power and excellent fuel efficiency.

The engine is indicative of the more dynamic approach taken by Lexus, offering V8-level power without sacrificing fuel economy whilst minimising noise and vibration.

The LS output figures are 310kW and 600Nm of torque at 6000rpm. The engine’s long stroke and optimised stroke-to-bore ratio contribute to high-speed combustion and the efficiency of the twin turbos, helping the LS post a projected 0-to-100 km/h acceleration time of 5 seconds.

For both the F Sport and Luxury variant, the driver is able to tailor powertrain response and feel by selecting Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport S+ drive modes, with just enough of the exhaust note being audible to enhance the sporty feel.

Torque converter lock-up is activated in all ranges, except when starting off, to provide a direct feel, while at the same time supporting fuel efficiency. Top speed for the LS is electronically governed to 250 km/h. Fuel consumption is listed as 10 litres per 100 kilometres.

The driver can execute shifts using paddle controls, but many will prefer to use the advanced electronic control system, which anticipates the driver’s input. The system chooses the ideal ratio by monitoring the acceleration, braking and lateral G-forces.

Lexus has also enhanced the opulent seating of the LS to support the under-skin improvements.

The ultra-plush yet supportive seats in the LS now feature deeper stitch points and low-resilience urethane for the padding, with vibration absorption measures and softer positioning contributing to even greater comfort.

Long renowned for impeccable fit-and-finish and indulgent furnishings, the highly acclaimed interior design of the new LS also benefits from upgrades that leverage the best of Japanese artisan craft and high-precision production techniques.

Interior trim colours available include Black as well as Crimson and Black. The LS also adopts a forward-mounted positioning for the 12.3-inch infotainment screen, with the addition of touch-display functionality joining the Lexus Remote Touch Interface for the first time.

An electrochromatic (EC) rear-view mirror is available which features a large high-resolution display for improved visibility of the area behind the vehicle. Building on the daring coupe silhouette of the fifth-generation LS, the updated model gains a fresh appearance with newly-designed, compact, three-bulb headlamps that feature an accentuated “L” design.

The headlights adopt a BladeScan adaptive high-beam system too (first seen on RX). This technology delivers more precise illumination to avoid blinding other drivers while providing a broader distribution of light to illuminate areas that would not normally be visible with a conventional high-beam system.

The deep headlamps and squared-off sub-radiator grilles positioned to the outside help to advance the confident nature of the vehicle’s stance. The grille mesh is now a dark metallic colour for an even more elegant appearance. Trim within the rear combination lamps has been switched from chrome to piano-black, further enhancing the vehicle’s sense of presence.

Lexus designers didn’t hold back when giving the LS its coupe-like silhouette and dramatic rendition of the Lexus signature spindle grille that shows even greater intricacy in the design. The F Sport’s more dynamic image is distinguished by the garnish for the sub-radiator grilles wrapping around to the sides, and the adoption of a dedicated colour for the spindle grille and 20-inch wheels.

New exterior paint colours are available across the range and this comprise Lustrous Silver and Sonic Iridium, which continue the Lexus tradition of developing innovative silver paint finishes.

In summary, there are some noteworthy distinguishing features on the F Sport model in comparison to the LS 500 Luxury launched initially. These are as follows:

  • Exclusive mesh-design F Sport spindle grille and design concept
  • F Sport 20-inch wheels
  • F Sport badge for distinction
  • Unique F Sport interior package 
  • Steering wheel with F- Sport logo
  • F Sport Pedals
  • Sports seats + F-Sport logo
  • Finished in 3-spoke leather, the gearshift design matches the steering wheel to create an exciting sports ambience
  • Suede roof headlining
  • Fabric Illumi door trim ornamentation
  • Smooth leather seat cover material
  • Resin side trim
  • Aluminium door trim
  • Simulated leather door arm rest

Interior trim colour options for the F Sport model grade include White, Black and White and Flare Red.

While the focus of the F Sport model is on driver dynamics, the LS 500 is more luxury-biased and includes features such as the vibrating seat massage function for the front and rear seats as well as front and rear seat ventilation among others.

A moon roof which opens externally is naturally standard on both grades.

The Lexus LS 500 Luxury retails for R2 204,200, while the LS 500 F Sport has a price tag of R2 397,900. The LS has best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. The vehicle’s service intervals are at every 15 000km, alternatively once a year.

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