Gaze upon the Lexus LS 500, a full-size luxury sedan befitting a big-city corporate executive, approximately the complete opposite of what I am.
The four-door five-passenger LS 500 is the company’s flagship. The original Lexus LS launched the brand in 1989 and the current LS 500 version was introduced three years ago.
For 2021, suspension and chassis modifications have been done to enhance ride quality, cabin comfort and quietness, handling stability and performance. Front and rear exterior styling has been freshened and a new 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on all models.
Available in LS 500 and LS 500 F Sport trim levels, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive choices for both, 2021 pricing starts at $77,025 including destination charge ($1,025) for an LS 500 RWD. The F Sport RWD comes in at $80,625. All-wheel drive adds an extra $3,250 to both trims.
The standard powertrain is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 engine joined to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its output of 416 horsepower is delivered seamlessly. With rear-wheel drive, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph can transpire within 4.6 seconds.
EPA fuel economy ratings with RWD configuration are 18 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. The numbers for AWD are 17/27/21 mpg.
Looking for large-style Lexus luxury with better fuel economy? There’s an LS 500h hybrid for that. It delivers 25/33/28 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 23/31/26 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The LS 500 F Sport model has an assortment of elements jazzing up the sedan including unique grille styling, 20-inch alloy wheels with sportier tires, specially tuned suspension, and upgraded interior features.
Three pricey options on my F Sport test car were a 24-inch head-up display, 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, and a panoramic glass roof.
The F Sport’s interior styling gets an A-plus for artfulness. Designers obviously wanted to make a statement and they pulled it off, using a perforated-grill pattern on seating surfaces and Naguri aluminum trim accents, along with the already splendid look of the standard interior.
Changing the LS 500 infotainment system for 2021 to make the display a touchscreen was a good move by Lexus. Ideally they would have obliterated my mortal enemy, the touchpad controller, but at least the new touchscreen provides an intuitive and easy to use alternative. The two-in-one control knob for tuning and volume adjustment is brilliant and also helps assuage the touchpad.
Any great thing to be said about the 2021 Lexus LS 500 pales compared to its godsend of a climate control system. You might have noticed the little heat wave we had last week? After sitting in full sun in 110-degree heat with soul-crushing humidity, the LS 500 air conditioning vents were blowing fully cold air less than one minute after pushing the engine start button.
2021 LEXUS LS 500 F SPORT AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $81,650
Price as driven: $88,885