The 2021 Lexus LS facelift range has just been launched in Australia. Four variants form the line-up – the LS 500 F Sport and LS 500h F Sport both go for AUD$195,953 (RM613k), while the LS 500 Sports Luxury and LS 500h Sports Luxury versions retail at AUD$201,078 (RM629k). Prices are up slightly, but only by about AUD$1,200 (RM3,752) to AUD$1,800 (RM5,629).

Design-wise, the updates are fairly minor, but noticeable. New here are the arrow-shaped LED DRLs with sequential indicators, revised front intakes, classier spindle grille (with a dark metallic finish), new tail lights with gloss black accents, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Standard kit include full LED headlights with BladeScan Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), keyless entry with smart key card, soft-close doors, powered tailgate with foot sensor, illuminated door handles with front puddle lights, and a total of 11 exterior colours, including the new Lustre Shadow.

Cabin niceties include a full-sized powered moonroof, digital rear view mirror, 12.3-inch widescreen infotainment display that’s paired with a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with subwoofer, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, colour head-up display, 28-way powered front seats with memory function, and a three-inch multimedia touch display to go with the Lexus Remote Touchpad controller. Hand-pleated upholstery is available as an option.

Now, the F Sport models get 20-inch dark metallic wheels, F Sport badging, Lexus High Performance Brake package, dynamic rear steering, variable gear ratio steering, active front and rear stabilisers, LFA-style 8.0-inch digital instrumentation, leather accented seats and ornamentation, and 10 airbags.

The Sports Luxury derivatives take on a more elegant look with a different set of 20-inch “hollow chamber” alloys, quad-zone climate control, 8.0-inch digital display, semi aniline leather interior, front seat relaxation system, twin 11.6-inch high-definition rear displays, powered outboard rear seats with memory function, rear cooler box (except for the hybrid), and rear passenger seat with full recline and Ottoman functions.

Like before, the LS 500 is powered by a 3.5 litre twin-turbocharged Dynamic Force V6 engine that’s mated with a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The LS 500h, on the other hand, gets the 8GR-FXS naturally-aspirated 3.5 litre V6 that is augmented with an electric motor and an improved Multi-Stage hybrid transmission. The total system output is 359 PS, good for a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds.

Lexus says it also made upgrades to the turbocharged mill. The engine now benefits from redesigned pistons, which are said to reduce engine noise when the engine is cold. Power remains unchanged from before – it makes 421 PS at 6,000 rpm and 600 Nm from 1,600 to 4,800 rpm. That’s good for a century sprint time of 5.0 seconds, while fuel consumption is rated at 9.7 l/100 km.

One big feature that is missing in the Australian LS models is Lexus Teammate advanced driver assist system. As shown in previous technology demos, the system essentially provides a high level of autonomous driving on expressways and other roads that the feature supports, from entry to exit. This essentially enables the car to take full control of the accelerator, brakes and steering, but it isn’t recognised as Level 3 automation just yet.