Lexus made numerous updates to the LS in a bid to turn it into an even more comfortable cruiser. Unveiled online, the redesigned model gains a quieter cabin, new driving aids, and a handful of minor styling tweaks.
Engineers turned their attention to parts of the fifth-generation LS that a majority of owners never think about in order to achieve a ride that’s markedly quieter and smoother. They notably fitted a new solenoid to the adaptive suspension that reduces damping force, redesigned the motor mounts to prevent mechanical vibrations from entering the cabin, and changed the stiffness of the run-flat tires as well as the rigidity of the stabilizer bars. These changes come together to cement the sedan’s positioning as the cushiest model in its category.
Deeper stitch points and seat pads made with low-resilience urethane further enhance comfort, according to Lexus, but the biggest upgrades found inside are technology-related. The LS receives a digital rear-view mirror as well as a 12.3-inch touchscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Users can also control the display screen and audio functions using their phone once they’ve paired it to the infotainment system.
LS buyers in select markets will be able to order the company’s Teammate technology. It’s a semi-automated suite of driving aids that bundles lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control while allowing the car to change lanes and pass slower vehicles. It does not turn the LS into an autonomous car; it merely helps motorists when driving becomes tedious. The system can only be used when the right conditions are met, and Lexus hasn’t announced plans to offer it in the United States. The latest generation of park assist technology is available, too.
The visual changes are relatively subtle. Up front, stylists redesigned the lights and gave the bumper a new look. Out back, eagle-eyed car spotters will notice the lights and the lower bumper have been slightly revised. It’s the same story inside, where the most noteworthy change is the addition of the aforementioned touchscreen.
Lexus expanded the color palette with a shade of silver named Gin-ei Luster that stands out with a smooth, mirror-like finish. And, the cabin gains an optional package called Nishijin & Haku that, in the company’s own words, relies on silver and platinum accents to express “the existence of a path of moonlight on the sea.”
There are no major mechanical changes to report, meaning the lineup still consists of the LS 500 with a 3.5-liter V6 and the LS 500h with gasoline-electric hybrid technology. Both drivetrains receives minor improvements (such as improved shift timing to reduce downshifts) to run more quietly while delivering quicker acceleration.
As of writing, little suggests the rumors claiming the LS would get its V8 back were accurate. The same report suggested Lexus would offer an entry-level, four-cylinder-powered model in overseas markets where large-displacement engines are heavily taxed, but there’s no mention of it for the time being.
Lexus will begin selling the updated LS in its home country of Japan in late 2020, and the sedan will gradually make its way to other global markets, including the United States. Details about the America-bound model haven’t been released yet, though it will presumably land in showrooms as a 2021 model to mark the nameplate’s 32nd anniversary. Autoblog reached out to Lexus, and we’ll update this story if we learn more.