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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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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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A diamond mesh grille fronts the 2022 Kia K8.

PhPhoto courtesy of Kia Motorsoto courtesy of Kia Motors

Goodbye, Cadenza. Hello, K8. The Kia Cadenza is one of those cars that is easy forgotten about (if you ever knew about it in the first place) and frequently passed over in favor of the Toyota Avalon or the like. Still, most every automotive journalist who has driven it likes it.

So, Kia's taking the lessons learned from the Cadenza and some from the K5 and Stinger, and rolling them into a new large sedan, the 2022 Kia K8. This week the company unveiled the first official images of the car ahead of its debut. This is the first vehicle named the K8 in Kia history.

2022 Kia K8 The K8's headlights have integrated turn signals.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

2022 Kia K8

"Following our recent company rebrand, we keep moving toward our new brand values with a new model – the K8. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core," said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. "While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world's most technically advanced yachts."

As seen in the photos, the car wears Kia's new logo on its badging, and has design lines reminiscent of the vehicles it has taken lessons from. There's a frameless tire nose grille with diamond lattice, turn signals integrated into the headlights, an elongated side profile, chrome finish along the bottom of the doors, and a roofline that trails off into the trunk. It's all very much from the Kia sedan lineup.

Kia promises that the car will have a "first class" interior that establishes "new benchmarks in premium quality". The sedan will deliver a high-performance driving experience yet be comfortable to ride in, according to Kia messaging.

The rear of the Kia K8 features elongated taillights.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K8 is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year but the U.S. might not get it until after it's arrived in Korea and Europe.

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