A legit alternative to segment leaders. For five generations, the Lexus LS has sat atop the brand’s sedan lineup, but never has it been as luxurious as it is now. With the fifth-generation LS redesign, Lexus took a legitimate swipe at the 7-Series and S-Class and got in some clean body shots with its massaging seats, crystal glass trim, virtually limitless seat adjustments, and potent V6 powertrain.

Find out below if the 2021 Lexus LS is now a legit budget alternative to the 7-Series and S-Class or if it’s just a cheap executive-car wannabe.

Potent engine lineup, but it’s no AMG in the corners. The 2021 Lexus LS 500’s standard twin-turbo V6 setup delivers 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels or all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. This adds up to surprising acceleration for such a bulky sedan.

Plus, the LS 500h hybrid with its 354-hp electrified powertrain isn’t far behind its powerful twin-turbo brother. The problem is the hybrid also includes overly synthetic engine noises that we can live without.

Where the LS loses its fun is in the corners. Sure, it’s not what we’d call flabby in the twists, but its suspension is set up for a comfy highway ride and not corner carving. Buyers seeking that combination of comfort and performance may want to look toward the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

As luxurious as a Lexus gets. The 2021 Lexus LS’s standard features are plentiful and include 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, navigation, a 12.3-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 12-speaker audio, and 16-way power front seats with heating and cooling.

But it hits its luxury stride when you add in the $23,000 luxury package. The Luxury package is as advertised with its Kiriko glass door trim, super-soft semi-aniline leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, massaging front and rear seats, 28-way power front seats, 22-way power rear seats, and much more.

The LS with all the options checked is the true life of luxury in a brand that skews toward the conservative side. But this also drives the price to the $110,000 range for a car that otherwise blends in. Yes, the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class can get far pricier with similar features, but they are premier luxury sedans that do anything but blend in.

lexus ls interior

A touchscreen; a glorious touchscreen. Finally, after countless years of moaning and groaning about Lexus’s finicky joystick- and touchpad-controlled infotainment systems, it’s finally given into the masses and installed a touchscreen in the LS.

Yes, a 12.3-inch touchscreen comes standard in the 2021 Lexus LS. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a bazillion times better than a spastic cursor randomly bouncing around while you attempt to rein it in via a tiny touchpad or finicky joystick. For those feeling nostalgic, Lexus still offers a redundant touchpad as a reminder of just how good you have it these days.

Final thoughts. With its super-comfortable seating, massaging features that’ll quickly put you to sleep, a mighty powertrain that’ll wake you back up, and all the interior room any executive needs, the Lexus LS is finally a legit budget alternative to the 7-Series and S-Class.

Granted, the 2021 Lexus LS may not have the brand cachet of a Beamer or Mercedes, nor does have the cornering capabilities. But when’s the last time you asked your driver to drift that corner while closing a million-dollar business deal in the back seat?

Plus, you avail all its premium features for a tick under $110,000, which is far less than any German metal. Your board of directors will be quite pleased with your sudden frugalness.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach and want some fire to go with your class, you’re better off skipping the Lexus dealer and heading straight to Audi, BMW, or Mercedes.

Check prices for the 2021 Lexus LS »