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Freshened 2021 Lexus LS gains powertrain refinements, quieter cabin, bigger screen

The Lexus LS has been refined for the 2021 model year with a good roster of improvements.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The 2021 Lexus LS is getting a mid-generation refresh. A roster of changes aim to make riding in and driving the company's flagship sedan a quieter, smoother, and more high-tech experience. Though this announcement was made earlier this year, we now know exactly which changes are coming to U.S. models.

Lexus will continue to sell the LS in two grades: LS 500 and LS 500h. The LS 500h will remain the hybrid option for buyers. An F Sport package will continue to be offered.

The new model year brings a fresh front bumper that houses redesigned fascia. Lexus has altered the color of the spindle grille to appear more elegant while new three-projector LED headlights sit at the corners.

2021 Lexus LS The car gets new headlights for 2021.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Taillights have been stitched to Piano Black to enhance the vehicle's presence. Lexus will offer the 2021 LS in a new exterior color, Iridium, which is also now available on the fresh 2021 Lexus IS.

The 2021 LS 500 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The engine has been refined for the new model year to be more refined when operating cold and reduce the amount of emissions. Lexus pairs the engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which has been recalibrated to be more responsive.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the LS 500, which has a zero to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sport S, and Sport S+ drive modes are standard. All-wheel drive with variable torque distribution is available.

Lexus LS 500h models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is mated to two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery. The automaker has given serious consideration to the system's power distribution for 2021 allowing the car to utilize more power under acceleration rather than focusing on distributing power while cruising. This change means the car's total system output of 354 horsepower will enable the car to hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.1 seconds.

2021 Lexus LS Lexus will continue to offer the LS with the F Sport package, which adds darkened accents to the exterior of the model.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Addition improvements have been made to the suspension and chassis to give the LS a smoother and more comfortable ride. This includes larger anti-roll bars and liquid-filled brushings. The company has also enhanced the available ride-height-adjustable air suspension.

Inside the car's cabin, armrests, seat cushions, and the center console armrest have all received additional padding for 2021. The front seats have new seat springs and thicker cushioning material.

Lexus has changed all steering wheel controls to black while a switch for displaying controls for seat heaters and the steering wheel heater has been added to the center console.

Buyers will get a new interior color scheme and ornamentation options for 2021. Buyers are invited to check the Palomino Leather box and choose from new Black Laser Special or Open Pore Black accents, which join Kiriko Glass, among others.

2021 Lexus LS The LS's steering wheel has had all its buttons turned to black for the new model year.Photo courtesy of Lexus

At the center of the dashboard is a new 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen. All LS models come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa capability. Drivers can add a 24-inch head-up display to their model. For 2021, the car's digital rearview mirror offers a larger, high-resolution display. Lexus includes a complementary three-year Dynamic Navigation system trial with every LS purchase.

The Executive Package now comes with heating and massaging functionality for rear seat passengers. Additionally, the passenger-side seat can be reclined up to 48 degrees.

Lexus continues to equip the LS with Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard, which features a number of safety and driver assist technologies.

2021 Lexus LS

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The 2021 Lexus LS 500 will begin arriving at dealerships later this month with a starting MSRP of $76,000, a $550 jump over the 2020 price. The 2021 Lexus LS 500h will make its way to the U.S. in early 2021. Pricing for that model will be announced at a later date. The 2020 Lexus LS 500h starts at $80,010.

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The new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is coming soon to a LEGO store near you.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The Jeep Wrangler has fans the world over. For those fans whose extracurricular activities include LEGO building along with Jeeping, there's a new LEGO Technic model they'll want to take a look at. The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the first LEGO model of a Jeep SUV.

Ask any Jeep Wrangler owner and they'll tell you that their vehicle is just a bigger version of this new LEGO set," said Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design. "The design of the Jeep Wrangler allows them to take it apart, top off, doors off, reconfigure it, add new pieces from our Mopar team, and then put it back together again. This LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler should bring a new level of joy to our Jeep enthusiasts and help inspire future designers to the brand."

LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The 665-piece model features all the classic Jeep hallmarks - a performance 4x4 system, rugged tires, fold-down rear seats, and a seven-slot grille. It features a button operated front steering system and axle-articulation suspension. It has a yellow-and-black color scheme.

"The Jeep Wrangler is an icon in the off-road world" says Lars Thygesen, Designer, LEGO Technic. "The Rubicon has a lot of the iconic details loved by 4x4 fans the world over, so it was important to me to pack as many of the authentic, powerful features of the real vehicle into the LEGO Technic replica. I hope LEGO fans and vehicle lovers enjoy all aspects including the suspension, winch and open air design that we developed alongside the talented Jeep design team."

The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler is designed for Jeep and LEGO fans alike, aged 9 and above. It will be available from January 1st 2021 from LEGO.com, LEGO stores and other retailers globally, priced at [49.99€/49.99$/£44.99].

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Audi is only making the car for U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2021 Audi R8 Panther special edition is one of the rarer gifts you can get for your garage this holiday season. With a limited run of 30 coupes in the works, the R8 Panther edition models are the first available units in the R8 rear-wheel-drive model line and available only for U.S. customers.

If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because it should. The R8 Panther edition joins the 2019 RS 5 Panther edition, which was also a limited run and featured the same paint color and interior upholstery.

2021 Audi R8 Panther The hallmarks of the model include its black paint job and red-edged wheels.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The unique 2021 R8 Panther comes covered in an Audi-exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint job with carbon exterior mirror housings. Its badging has been coated in black. The model rides on 20-inch five-double-spoke dynamic design wheels that have been milled cut, finished in matte black with red trim, and wrapped in summer performance tires.

Your neighbors will hear you leaving the cul-de-sac thanks to the car's sport exhaust system, which amplifies the sound of the V10 engine. LED headlights and LED taillights, with dynamic turn signals will help their eyes follow your path on the way out as they peer out their windows.

The R8 Panther is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V1 engine that produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It has a top track speed of 201 mph.

The chassis of the R8 Panther edition has been specifically adapted for rear-wheel drive, including using solid rear axles as opposed to hollow, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber.

2021 Audi R8 Panther

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model has a full black leather interior with Crimson red stitching. Its racing shells seats are covered in red Nappa leather and have power height and manual fore/art seat adjustment. The car's gear selector and parcel shelf are covered in Alcantara, and the headliner features a diamond-stitched Alcantara. Audi has given the model a brand-exclusive steering wheel with leather/Alcantara and 12 o'clock marker as well as exclusive R8 floor mats with Crimson red leather edging.

Audi virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone interface, Audi phone box with signal booster, navigation, a 13-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system, and illuminated door sill inlays are included.

A carbon exterior package adds carbon fiber to the engine compartment and carbon sigma sideblades while the carbon interior package adds carbon fiber high-gloss surrounds for both the virtual cockpit and the air vents, as well as the center console.

The 2021 R8 Panther edition will be available in select dealerships this month with an MSRP of $183,300. There is an additional $1,495 destination charge, $1,700 gas guzzler tax, sales taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

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