Facelifted Lexus LS available to order in the UK now

Lexus’s revised flagship saloon features some extra technology, a few chassis tweaks and more driver assistance systems

Lexus has launched the facelifted version of the fifth-generation LS saloon in the UK. It’s available to order now, with prices starting from £78,900 – and Lexus hopes the technology and performance tweaks it has applied will be enough to keep the LS competitive with the next-generation Mercedes S-Class.

Buyers have their choice of three trim-levels – a base-model, a middling F-Sport variant and the flagship Takumi model. Standard equipment includes automatic LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, a 12-speaker Pioneer stereo system and a pair of electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated leather seats.

The LS F Sport is priced from £86,600 and adds a host of “sporty” tweaks, including a more aggressive body kit, a unique set of 20-inch alloys, an air suspension system and sports seats. Technology gets a boost, too, with heated rear seats, an electrically operated boot lid and a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

Finally, the flagship Lexus LS Takumi can be yours for £105,365. For the money, you get all the aforementioned equipment, along with all-wheel-drive, an even more comprehensive suite of safety equipment, a digital rear-view mirror, rear sunshades and a pair of 22-way electrically adjustable and massaging rear seats.

Lexus also offers a few option packs on top of these three specifications. The Premium Pack can be added to the base model for an extra £7,700, improving the saloon’s spec with four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated rear seats, a suede roof lining, an automatic boot lid and the same stereo as the F-Sport model.

For an extra £7,600, Takumi models can also be upgraded with Lexus’s Nishijin and Haku trim option. The upgrade is inspired by traditional Japanese metalworking and weaving techniques, adding damascus-styling ornamentation to the LS’s door cars and handle surrounds.

Facelifted 2021 Lexus LS: design and platform

The updated Lexus LS looks almost identical to the outgoing model, but look closely and you’ll find a slightly reprofiled front bumper, subtly reshaped headlights and the option of a new Lunar Silver paint finish. The old car’s radiator grille has also been swapped for a darker unit, while there’s some fresh alloy wheel designs for the F-Sport model.

However, these subtle design tweaks are deliberate; the Japanese manufacturer has instead focussed on improving the saloon’s technical ability. So, there’s a couple of comfort-biased chassis tweaks, an all-new infotainment system and a fresh arsenal of driver assistance technology.

Lexus’s engineers have equipped the LS with a new “Adaptive Variable Suspension” system whose dampers feature a larger reservoir, which the company says has improved the saloon’s ride comfort over rough road surfaces. The LS’s anti-roll bars have also been adjusted to make the car more comfortable when cornering.

There’s a fresh set of engine mounts, too, while the seat padding is now made from a more supportive urethane rubber – and features an additional cushion and deeper stitching. Lexus says that both of these tweaks will make the LS better at absorbing vibrations.

Lexus has even given the LS’s powertrains a tickle, in an effort to smooth out some of their lumpiness. So, In the LS 500h hybrid, the drivetrain has been altered to rely more on battery power and less on the petrol engine at low speeds, which the company says has improved refinement and made accelerating away from a stop more seamless.

Facelifted 2021 Lexus LS: infotainment and technology

Inside, Lexus has swapped out the old LS’s slightly fiddly iDrive-style infotainment system for a new 12.3-inch touchscreen unit. It’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and it features a new call-up switch, which gives the driver instant access to their most frequently used controls.

The revised LS also adopts Lexus’s BladeScan adaptive LED headlight technology, which was first fitted to the latest RX SUV. Rather than projectors, the system uses moving mirrors to automatically adjust the headlight beam – and is coupled with a larger digital rearview mirror, which eliminates glare from following road users.

The technology upgrades continue with a new fully automated parking system, which can recognise and store details on spaces which the driver uses regularly. The system is paired with a 360-degree camera and can even operate even if a space hasn’t been marked with lines or if there are no adjacent vehicles.

Elsewhere in the cabin, there’s a couple of new trim options for the door cards which are supposedly inspired by traditional Japanese decorative arts. Buyers can choose from two faux weaved metal foil designs, which are set on laser cut open pore ash backgrounds. 

Would you choose an LS over an S-Class? Let us know in the comments section below...

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