My 2021 is here

Ian Schmidt

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LS500 AWD, Nightfall Mica exterior, Palomino interior with Artwood trim, the Luxury package, LSS+A, and HUD.

The digital rear-view mirror is pretty wild in person, I didn't know it was going to have that until it arrived. The ride is a bit more compliant than the 2018 and NVH is improved in general. Touch control for CarPlay is a great improvement. And I like the new wheels.


LS2.jpgLS3.jpg
 

Ian Schmidt

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Amazing inside/outside colour combination, congratulations @Ian Schmidt !
Thanks! Nightfall Mica is one of my favorite current Lexus colors (I'm really happy the photo I got shows how amazing it looks!) and kudos to Lexus of Towson for fighting for me to get one in that color. If I understand correctly, it was one of the final 2021s off the line in Japan.
 

Gecko

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@Ian Schmidt I have an LS 500 on loan from Lexus right now and definitely notice the improved low speed transmission response, but am curious to hear your thoughts on the overall driving experience and powertrain compared to your 2018. Anything you can share?
 

Ian Schmidt

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@Ian Schmidt I have an LS 500 on loan from Lexus right now and definitely notice the improved low speed transmission response, but am curious to hear your thoughts on the overall driving experience and powertrain compared to your 2018. Anything you can share?
I haven't driven it a ton yet (about 130 miles on the odometer) but overall it's an incremental improvement over the 2018. Better low speed response, more aggressive shifting, and the boost comes on with less throttle input than before. It's still very much a turbo engine and lag is very much present, but it's more like how it should've been. NVH and ride comfort are also incrementally better - it's not as harsh on bad surfaces, and generally closer to the 4LS than the 2018 was.
 

Gecko

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My quick thoughts after ~350 miles:

Low speed drivability is greatly increased… it’s butter smooth and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t a V8. I also feel like they might have dampened the sound even more because I feel like I hear less of the engine at WOT. The issues I had with the 2018-2020 “not feeling like an LS” in this regard are gone.

Same as before, the engine will get up and scream once you’re moving, thanks to the turbos.

However, there’s a vast gap between those two where the transmission struggles to pick the right gear and turbo lag is still pretty bad. I think it’s exacerbated by how smooth the transmission is - it almost feels like a CVT and shifts can be imperceptible. So if you nail the throttle to the floor, the car takes a split second to read your input, takes another split second to downshift, and then it starts to pick up speed but you hit turbo lag… and THEN it hits its sweet spot and starts to take off. But because the gear shifts are so smooth + turbo lag, it almost just feels like 1-2 seconds of nothing which can be very frustrating and lead to some “oh ****” moments if you’re trying to merge or pull out across traffic.

So… below 4/10ths , the car is very happy and a pleasure to drive. It feels more like an LS to me now than it did before. If you ask for more than that, it’s still difficult to drive and requires planning before you need acceleration because the car has a mind of its own in how/when it delivers power. Even if the LS 500 is more powerful than previous LSs, the delay in responding to driver inputs + turbo lag makes it feel less responsive when you want acceleration. Outside of that, it’s definitely superior to any LS before. Sort of an odd dichotomy.
 

Ian Schmidt

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The 2018's engine sound was loud enough to the point where I wondered if it was enhanced in some way. The 2021's much, much better in that regard.
 

LS500-18

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I had an ES300h loaner for 3 days recently. Honestly I think it's a better car in terms of around town performance. It's gas engine shut off very often, it was extremely efficient and is better off the line. It doesn't have the upper power that the LS has but yeah... around town it's better. I don't think I could give Lexus LS money anymore for turbo engines. Get 80% of the car for 50% of the price (ESh) and no turbo lag.
 

Ian Schmidt

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I get that - I've said before if they made an RX450h with the same mechanicals but a more upscale interior I'd get one (and Gecko made similar comments on the podcast recently). The ES doesn't tickle my fancy in that way, but there are good reasons that Lexus sells a ton of them.