India-bound 2021 Lexus LS hybrid vs. 2018 Lexus LS hybrid – In Images

After three and a half years, Lexus has revived the 5th generation of the Lexus LS luxury sedan with a handful of updates. These seem relatively minor, but they help the LS stay competitive in a segment largely dominated by the Mercedes S-Class that is switching to the next generation later this year.

This story is a visual comparison of the new LS (top) and the outgoing model made using the images and information released by Lexus.

Exterior

Visually, there are a few but significant changes. The front bumper gets freshness with pockets in a squared shape. In comes a pronounced radar sensor module in the LS’s spindle grille (colour now in a dark metallic shade) with its integrated washer. The headlights are now newly designed three-bulb lamp units which are more compact than before. Lexus calls them BladeScan AHS and this system illuminates the road by shining LED light onto a blade mirror spinning at high speed. It can control the light distribution by synchronizing the rotation of the blade mirror. This system helps to illuminate areas that might be difficult to see with traditional high-beam setup, such as the shoulder of the road. Drivers will be able to recognize pedestrians and road signs much sooner, without disrupting the visibility of oncoming traffic. Lexus had introduced this system first in the 2019 Lexus RX.

2021 Lexus LS front vs 2018 Lexus LS front
The colour of the grille mesh is now in a dark metallic for a more elegant appearance, says Lexus. The bumper structure is modified to look like three silos, whereas the DRL is repositioned higher. Also note the new small ‘intake’ behind the front wheel arch that is actually a radar.

The new colour on offer is the ‘Gin-ei Luster.’ Its a shade of silver that has a mirror-like finish to it because of a process of painting called sonic method and this paint is exclusive to the LS range.

Interior

The infotainment system is updated and now sports a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a significant upgrade over the earlier system’s touchpad controls for easier operation on the move. This system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Smart Device Link. Customers can link their Android smartphones and iPhones to the system for more convenience. The controls for heated seats and steering wheel feature on the touch display for improved operability. Controls on the steering wheel and centre console have been painted black for enhanced visibility. The LS also now gets a high-resolution display for the digital rearview mirror.

2021 Lexus LS side vs 2018 Lexus LS side
The new openings on the sides of the Lexus LS have been introduced to house the radar required for Lexus Teammate.

Lexus Teammate

Lexus Teammate is Lexus’ branding for its new suite of autonomous driving technologies. It operates using input from the radars positioned all around the vehicle. Visually, these radars bring a noticeable change on the sides of the Lexus LS. The new openings on the front fenders may have one mistake them for air inlets but are carved out to house the radar.

Lexus Teammate is built around five characteristics: ‘Perceptive’, ‘Intelligent’, ‘Interactive’, ‘Reliable’, and ‘Upgradable’. It comprises of Advanced Drive and Advanced Park currently.

Adavnced Drive is responsible for peripheral recognition, estimating vehicle position, calculating vehicle lane and position, adjusting speed and other requisite tasks for autonomous driving on the road. The new Lexus LS can maintain its position in its line, maintain a certain distance with the vehicle ahead and the distance from lane splits, change lanes and overtake vehicles, but only on expressways and other motor-vehicle-only roadways.

Advanced Park makes parking easier by automatically controlling acceleration, braking, and gear changes. It also shows the ideal steering wheel positions to the driver on the touchscreen infotainment system.

2021 Lexus LS rear vs 2018 Lexus LS rear
The chrome trim in the rear combination lamps now comes in Piano Black to give the vehicle a slightly different presence.

Lexus Teammate can be seamlessly updated by future software updates that allow functions to get added continually and performance continually upgraded. Initially, it will be available in Japan.

For those wondering what level of autonomous driving the 2021 Lexus LS allows with Lexus Teammate, it is Level 2. Tesla, the company that’s extraordinarily bullish on autonomous driving technologies, is very close to reaching Level 5 and expects to accomplish that feat this very year.

Powertrain upgrades

Lexus says the LS 500h hybrid now gets increased battery assistance during acceleration to give a bit more punch for a strain-free acceleration. The quietness and NVH have improved by lowering maximum engine RPMs during initial acceleration.

The ride is better thanks to a newly developed Adaptive Variable Suspension solenoid that reduces damping force, while the stiffness of the stabilizer bars is tuned for optimum performance. The orifice inside the engine mounts has been upgraded to alter damping characteristics, reducing the vibrations transmitted to the vehicle’s cabin, claims Lexus.

2021 Lexus LS interior vs 2018 Lexus LS interior

The powertrain remains the same. The hybrid setup combines a 3.5-litre V-6 and a pair of electric motors integrated with the transmission to produce 354-hp. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is also available.

India launch

We have no official information from Lexus India on the plans for the new LS (the model is sold in India in the LS500h variant), but we expect the improved car to be available next year.