Lexus LS gets a mid-cycle update for 2021 that refines ride experience, keeps touch pad

The new Lexus LS has most of its refinements underneath its hood and body.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

It's been around four years since the current generation Lexus LS was revealed and now the company is showing off a variety of updates to the car for the 2021 model year.

The latest round of upgrades focuses on three areas: comfort, soundproofing, and refinement. "The entire team united and tenaciously searched for elements that needed to be improved," said Yoshiaki Ito, Lexus International. "Placing importance on people's sensibilities, we thoroughly addressed every detail of the components and control systems related to driving performance, including quietness and ride comfort, ranging, for example, from the internal structure of the tires to the feel experienced when sitting in the seats and the acceleration response in daily driving."

2021 Lexus LS The automaker has implemented new paint technology that allows them to offer a fresh version of the typical silver paint job.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Underpinning the car is a new adaptive variable suspension that combines comfort with performance, allowing both to be translated to the driving experience. The vertical spring rate and run-flat tires combine with the stabilizer bars to execute this balance.

Lexus has changed the orifice inside the engine mounts allowing for less noise and vibration from the beating heart of the flagship to permeate the cabin. The models have undergone active noise control and engine sound enhancement refinement as well to deliver a quieter interior.

Lexus IS giving the LS the same adaptive high-beam system that debuted on the 2019 Lexus RX. Additional refinements to the exterior of the car include a vertical-themed character line at the corner of the front bumper with chrome trim wrapping around the lower edge of the bumper and up the sides. Deep headlights and quarish sub-radiator grilles sit on the face while the grille mesh has been changed to a dark metallic color. Chrome trim within the rear lights has been changed to Piano Black.

LS 500 F Sport models get a dedicated spindle grille and 20-inch wheels in a dedicated color.

2021 Lexus LS LS F Sport models get a dedicated dark paint color for the wheels and grille.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Buyers can get the car in Gin-ei Luster, a new exterior color that is enabled because of fresh paint technology. The paint is applied using the Sonic Method, a process that condenses the paint volume. It employs a aluminum evaporation coating that is spread over the surface at high density resulting in a smooth, mirror-like texture.

The LS 500h, the car's hybrid battery system delivers improved initial engine torque to deliver greater acceleration response. The car's shift timing has also been adjusted resulting in an automatic transmission that downshifts less frequently.

The LS features upholstery with deeper stitching points and underlying seat pads are made of low-resilience urethane, which helps absorb vibration and enhance comfort. New Nishijin & Haku ornamentation is available, taking its deign notes from a "path of moonlight on the sea".

2021 Lexus LS Rear seat riders can have an executive car experience.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus has also altered the controls on the steering wheel and center console, making them all black. Also, a switch for displaying on the touch display the controls for the often-used seat heaters and steering wheel heater has been added to the center console.

Additional features include a rearview camera mirror, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen.

Lexus is giving the LS Advanced Drive and Advanced Park driving assist technologies. Advanced Drive performs like many other hands-on advanced driver assist systems like Nissan's ProPilot Assist and Tesla Autopilot, allowing technology to guide a vehicle in its lane, maintain vehicle-to-vehicle distance, change lanes, and overtaking other vehicles when driving on expressways. According to Lexus, "The driver is freed from operation of the accelerator, brakes, and steering, allowing a reduction in driver burden during long drives and enabling safe driving in which the driver is able to pay better attention to the surroundings."

2021 Lexus LS New Nishijin & Haku ornamentation, seen here one the door panels, is available.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park technology utilizes integrated cameras and ultrasonic sensors to park a vehicle. The system takes control of the car's steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes while the infotainment screen displays the ideal steering wheel positions for a safe parking experience.

The car will go on sale in Japan later this year with additional markets to follow.

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Acura is revealing its next-gen MDX slowly, first with this, the MDX Prototype.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The MDX is the best-selling Acura in the lineup. It's also America's best-selling luxury three-row SUV. But that's not good enough.

Acura is redesigning the MDX and as it prepares to enter a fourth generation, a prototype of the new SUV will be shown on October 14. This looks to follow the same pattern as the TLX launch, which saw a prototype revealed about six months before the true model debut, just after the PMC Edition was put on sale.

Acura says that the next-gen MDX will usher in " new levels of Acura design, performance, technology and craftsmanship, assuming the mantle as the brand's new flagship model". And that's a good thing. The brand revolution that started with the RDX and continued with the TLX looks to go even further in a bid to re-establish Acura on its premium model throne.

The ofirst MDX was the industry's first three-row SUV based on a unibody platform, a design that has since gone mainstream as crossovers and lifestyle SUVs overrun a vehicle type that started as rugged off-roaders and family trucksters. Since it's debut, the MDX has garnered praise from buyers and critics alike including winning the 2001 North American Truck of the Year and 2001 Motor Trend SUV of the Year awards.

Over the past two decades, cumulative sales have surpassed 1 million units, securing MDX's place as the best-selling Acura model, accounting for roughly one-third of the brand's U.S. sales since its launch.

"We're accelerating Acura's commitment to Precision Crafted Performance and this fourth-generation MDX is the most ambitious and consequential redesign of an Acura core model in our history," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. "This all-new MDX will take us into new territory in terms of performance, prestige and emotional appeal."

The teaser image (above) and video (below) that were released today highlight the sharply sculpted beltline running the perimeter of the wider, lower and longer MDX, connecting the Jewel Eye LED headlights at the front to the Chicane LED taillights in the rear.

The MDX Prototype pulls heavily from the RDX and TLX with design nods to each. Still, it's unmistakably a three-row SUV. Though we don't know for sure what's under the hood, expect the MDX to have more a dynamic driving style when it debuts, following in the vein of the RDX and TLX redesigns.

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The material Jaguar Land Rover is adding to its vehicle interiors is called Econyl.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

As automaker work toward more sustainable business practices, Jaguar Land Rover is working with Econyl nylon to develop high-quality interiors made from ocean and landfill waste. The automaker promises that next-generation Jaguar and Land Rover models will feature floor mats and trims made with Econyl fiber from recycled industrial plastic, fabric offcuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as 'ghost nets'.

Econyl nylon was created by Aquafil. It's already been sued in the high-end fashion, sportswear, and luxury watch industries to create handbags, backpacks, swimwear, and watch straps. In one year, the company recycles as much as 40,000 tons of waste, making it in to the nylon. For every 10,000 tonnes of Econyl raw material produced, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tons of carbon emissions equivalent are avoided.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Jaguar Land Rover has committed to including more sustainable materials in its interiors.Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Turning to sustainable materials isn't a new idea. For years Ford has been incorporating all manner of materials into its vehicles including tomatoes, soy, and coffee chaff from McDonald's. General Motors recently showcased a breakdown of how recycled materials are used inside their automobiles.

Bentley's facility in Crewe, England is collecting rainwater for use in its office building allowing the company to not have to draw from the local water system.

Each year automakers release their sustainability report, which champions all the ways that the company is moving forward in its resources conservation plans. This year's GM report sets forth numerous goals. Among them, by 2030, 50 percent of the parts used in General Motors vehicles will be made with sustainable materials. Additionally, GM's Spring Hill plant in Tennessee will run solely on solar power by 2022.

FCA made big strides in 2019. Their 2020 sustainability report touted their 40 percent reduction in water use and 27 percent carbon footprint reduction per vehicle.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

This week Polestar announced that its Precept concept vehicle is headed into production. When the Precept debuted a few months ago, the company bragged about its sustainable interior.

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