There was one glaring problem with the Lexus LS 500 prior to this year's refresh: the Remote Touch infotainment system. To put it simply, it was a nightmare to use and a potential deal breaker. As it does in other Lexus products, Remote Touch featured a large display controlled by a laptop-like touchpad that was difficult and distracting to use. Lexus has surely tired of hearing the complaints from reviewers and customers alike, and for 2021, there's a touchscreen. Hurrah!
That's clearly the biggest update for the 2021 Lexus LS 500, but the four-door flagship is treated to a number of other improvements for its mid-cycle freshening as well. Considering the totally new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is bearing down in the Lexus' rearview mirror, it's smart timing. Lexus allowed us to live with both the 2020 and 2021 LS 500s for a couple days to ensure we'd notice every last difference between them.
Lexus launched production of the LFA, a limited-edition supercar still venerated in 2020, in December 2010. While fans would undoubtedly love to see a second-generation model to mark the occasion, the Japanese firm is celebrating 10 years of LFA production by releasing a paper model that enthusiasts can print and build at home.
500 units of the life-sized LFA were made by hand in Japan between 2010 and 2012. The paper model will be hand-made, too, but builders need to arm themselves with scissors and glue instead of wrenches, and production isn't limited. Anyone can print out the templates (which are included in our gallery) and put the car together.
We know there are plenty of people out there with more than enough money in the bank to surprise their significant other with a brand-new car for Christmas. And we're also sure that Lexus' annual "December to Remember" sales event must be successful enough that the automaker commits to running it each and every year. But for the vast majority of Americans, the idea of slapping a big red bow on a crisp white Lexus remains little more than a pipe dream.
Apparently, we're not the only ones wondering who is surprising their loved ones with new cars. The crew from Saturday Night Live — Beck Bennet, Heidi Gardner and host Timothée Chalamet — put together a very humorous skit that reminds us of the fact that this December is a wee bit different than past Decembers, and that maybe an expensive purchase could have negative side effects. And in fact, end-of-year sales campaigns from many industries have been reframed as the pandemic rages on.
In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. They kick things off discussing the old-school body-on-frame SUVs they've been driving recently including the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and the 2021 Lexus GX 460. After that, they talk about the continuation Bentley Blower and help a listener spend some money.
Identifying a new or a late-model Lexus is child's play: Look for the giant spindle-shaped grille. It's a styling cue that defines all of its recent models, and designing an electric car is evidently not an excuse to get rid of it. Lexus published a dark teaser image that previews an electric concept that will usher in its next design language.
Like parent company Toyota, Lexus has long resisted the shift towards electric cars by fervently arguing hybrids make more sense. But, as even its home country mulls a blanket ban on internal combustion technology, it's left with no choice but to go electric. It already sells a battery-powered variant of the UX in Europe, but the concept it previewed on its social channels was designed as an electric car from the get-go.
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is a blessing in the form of a car. Its 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 makes one of the best sounds in automobiledom, and one look will have anybody's jaws on the ground. Climb inside, and the hits don't stop coming.
In our specific test car, the first thing we notice are the miles of Toasted Caramel leather. It's everywhere, and its expensive feel and quality are second to none at this price point. You can get black or red leather, but the Toasted Caramel tan is the classiest option available for the Convertible. Shades of tan on the doors, seats and headrests give it a mild two-tone look, making the color combo even more pleasing.
For time immemorial, or at least the past six years, Toyota and Lexus have sat at the top of Consumer Reports' annual survey of vehicle reliability. It was almost as much a given as blue skies and taxes. Not any more. Mazda has dethroned them both, ascending to the No. 1 spot for the first time.
According to the report, Mazda nabbed the top spot with powertrains and that used durable (and more fun) six-speed automatic transmissions instead of CVTs, which tend to be more fragile. Mazda also didn't rely on overly fancy infotainment systems, instead bucking industry trends with cockpits that discourage screen use during driving and encourage buttons and dials that can be handled without taking your eyes off the road. The most reliable Mazda was the MX-5 with a score of 98 out of 100, followed by the CX-30, CX-3, and CX-5, all scoring 85 or better.
Lexus introduced an updated version of the LS, its flagship sedan, earlier in 2020, but it left out details about the American-spec model. As expected, it announced our version of the car will get several improvements for 2021.
Now in its fifth generation, the LS receives an array of small but significant changes that come together to make the ride quieter and more comfortable. Engineers explained they revised the spring and damper rates, increased the diameter of the anti-roll bars, and added larger liquid-filled front and rear bushings for an even cushier rider.
In our experience, there's a notable overlap between enthusiasts of fine automobiles and aviation. Lexus seems to think so too, which is why it is releasing a plane-themed version of its flagship sport coupe. The Lexus LC Aviation will come in both LC 500 and LC 500h form, and features an aeronautic-inspired centerpiece on the rear decklid.
That would be a curved carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) spoiler that follows the trailing edge arc of the trunk, with two downturned winglets on either end. Lexus says the winglets are functional, generating a vertical vortex that smooths out the turbulence generated from airflow along the car's flanks. The result is improved yaw and steering response, comfort, and stability at high speed.