2021 Lexus LS500

In 1989, Lexus rewrote the rulebook with the original LS, showing the establishment how reliable, durable, user-friendly and refined a luxury sedan could be. It was also terrific value.

By Isaac Bouchard

The latest LS500 conserves many of these attributes, while adding cutting-edge style to the mix. Its sumptuous skin stands out in a sea of SUVs, and its interior aesthetic is stunning. It falls behind the best in a few areas, however. The ride quality of this latest Lexus isn’t up to the level of some competitors; potholes, expansion joints and other road blemishes make their presence known a bit too much for truly serene progress, which is a shame, as road and wind noise are well suppressed. The LS500 is no longer powered by a silken V8; now a twin-turbo, 416hp V6 is the top engine. While this may have helped with the EPA ratings, it is neither as refined nor pleasing to a power plant as those in BMW or Mercedes top sedans.

Likewise the transmission; it works fine in normal driving but is not as responsive to commands as others when the Lexus is driven hard. The LS500 offers most all the tech expected in a flagship sedan—from four or five years ago. The 12.3in infotainment screen is huge, but its graphics are not as pleasing as those in the new Mercedes S-class or even the aging BMW 7-series, and its interface is harder to use. The Lexus has very comfortable seats, but they are not as configurable as those in some competitors, either. Offsetting these demerits, the LS500 is significantly less expensive than those rivals. And based on historical precedent, it is likely to be more reliable. It offers full size accommodations and considerable presence for the price of top midsize models. If value and durability are the primary considerations, the Lexus is still the way to go.

EPA Ratings: 17/27/21mpg

0-60mph: 5.0sec (est)

Price as tested: $88,885

3 Stars

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