Vital Stats

Engine:
4.6L V8
Power:
386 HP / 367 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
5.4 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH (limited)
Drivetrain:
Rear- or All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,600 LBS (est)
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
16 City / 19 HWY
Japan's Premier Luxury Cruiser Now Comes With An Enthusiast Option



In 1990, Nissan and Toyota both entered the luxury market with two new brands, each boasting a flagship premium full-size sedan. The Infiniti Q45 was aimed at the enthusiast with a powerful V8, limited-slip differential and a multi-link suspension. The Lexus LS 400, on the other hand, was all about luxury. The automaker surrounded its buttery-smooth V8 with aerodynamic (if banal) bodywork and lined its cabin with premium leather and fine wood.

Thanks to a clear message, a strong advertising campaign and a product solid enough to back both, Lexus sold more than 40,000 units that first year. Infiniti, in sharp contrast, was never able to capture the same momentum. By 1995, Lexus had introduced an all-new second-generation LS, followed by an all-new third-generation model six years later – and each introduction only served to drive the nails deeper into the Q45's coffin. By the time the fourth-generation LS arrived in 2007, the Infiniti Q45 was gone, and Infiniti nearly with it.

The Lexus LS continued to develop. What was originally a rear-wheel-drive sedan evolved into a model range of rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, short- and long-wheelbase, with a choice of gasoline or hybrid drivetrains. The automaker's flagship continued to lead with technological innovation and unsurpassed luxury – but it still lacked a sporty quotient, a model seemingly necessary to run head-to-head with the Europeans.

All that will change in 2013. After a minor update in 2010, Lexus has unveiled a significant refresh for the new model year that encompasses all seven models in the lineup. But most importantly, the LS range now includes its first-ever performance-oriented model, the F Sport.
2013 Lexus LS side view2013 Lexus LS front view2013 Lexus LS rear view

Look back over the past two decades and one will realize that every generation and subsequent refresh of the LS has been evolutionary – until now. Thanks to a bold new exterior, its character buoyed by the automaker's prominent signature 'spindle' grille, the LS no longer appears bland and boring.

It arrives with a drag coefficient of just .26, making it again one of the slipperiest entries in its segment.

From the exterior, about the only part carried forward from last year's model are the doors. Bright chrome surrounds the new grille, and the bottom edge of the radiator opening and front bumper have been lowered. The hood features a raised bulge (purely cosmetic), traveling down its center, and the headlights are shaped more aggressively. Along the side, the sculpted lower rocker panels carry the new theme rearward. Out back, the sedan's tail is dramatically tapered in an effort to maintain uniformity with the front fascia and its dramatic new look.

The freshly sculpted exterior pleases more than just the eyes. Lexus has always been an innovator with regards to vehicle aerodynamics, and the freshened LS continues the trend. By paying attention to the small details, such as underbody air management and small stabilizing fins to control air rushing along each side, the Lexus arrives with a drag coefficient of just .26, making it again one of the slipperiest entries in its segment.

2013 Lexus LS headlight2013 Lexus LS wheel2013 Lexus LS taillight2013 Lexus LS exhaust tip

Lexus has also addressed exterior illumination. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are standard (and two projector lamps at each front corner) with incandescent bulbs in other locations. However, customers may choose an optional all-LED setup with light-emitting diode front headlamps (utilizing three projector lamps behind each transparent cover) and LED bulbs in the turn signals, marker lights, brake and taillamps. Even the fog lamps are LED (a configuration that provides a clean, uniform color across all front illumination).

Those familiar with the cabin of the new Lexus GS will feel quite at home – their similarity is striking.

The interior has been completely reworked too. The objective was to deliver "confidence-inspiring spaciousness worthy of the Lexus flagship," says the automaker, and it looks as if they have achieved their goal. Compared to its predecessor, the new interior is more spacious, upscale and ergonomics have been improved. Those familiar with the cabin of the new Lexus GS will feel quite at home – their similarity is striking.

Drivers now peer through the new three-spoke steering wheel to find four easy-to-read Optitron analog gauges, with a large tachometer and speedometer taking center stage (a 5.8-inch full-color TFT multi-function display splits above the two). Over in the middle of the dashboard, last year's touchscreen navigation has been replaced with a larger 12.3-inch multimedia display unit that has been set higher and further rearward (its interface is now the Lexus Remote Touch haptic feedback joystick). The HVAC, beneath the center vents, features a high-contrast 16-gradation full-dot organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, with a trick roll-up/down animation when used. The twin cupholders (previously to the right of the shifter) have been moved in front of the transmission lever, with the 12v accessory plug in the same area. The center armrest is still the largest storage compartment, remaining the home for the various infotainment interfaces (USB ports, iPod cables, etc...).

2013 Lexus LS interior2013 Lexus LS front seats2013 Lexus LS rear seats2013 Lexus LS trunk

In addition to premium leather upholsteries (smooth and semi-aniline), there are five trim treatments including new Shimamoku ("striped") wood, cabin LED illumination of different colors based on specific cabin location, and a slew of other enhancements. The upgraded LS passenger compartment, even in standard trim, is stunning, easily on par with the best in the segment.

Lexus says the standard sedan will run to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a 130-mph electronically limited top speed.

In terms of the model breakdown, there are short- and long-wheelbase, rear- and all-wheel drive, the more athletic F Sport and lastly, a choice of powerplants. Mixed and matched, there are seven models: LS 460, LS 460 AWD, LS 460 L, LS 460 L AWD, LS 460 F Sport, LS 460 F Sport AWD and LS 600h L (also AWD, but it is left out of the nomenclature). Pricing, however, has not been released.

Under the hood, things are carried forward mostly intact from last year. The standard LS 460 models are powered by the automaker's naturally aspirated direct-injected 4.6-liter eight-cylinder (1UR-FSE) engine. For the 2013 model year, the oil pan has been redesigned and the engineers have focused their attention on reducing unwanted noise (part of the changes include a new dynamic damper and a new rear engine mount). The powerplant is now rated at 386 horsepower at 6,400 rpm (six more than last year) and 367 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm in rear-wheel drive models. However, the same engine in the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 359 horsepower and the same torque. With a standard eight-speed automatic transmission (PRNDS with a snow mode), Lexus says the standard gasoline-powered sedan will run to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a 130-mph electronically limited top speed. The manufacturer-estimated fuel economy is 16 city, 24 highway and 19 combined for the RWD model and 16 city, 23 highway and 18 combined for the AWD model.

2013 Lexus LS engine

The LS 600h L returns with a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Under the front hood is a naturally aspirated high-output 5.0-liter eight-cylinder (2UR-FSE) engine. With direct fuel injection, the engine is rated at 389 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. Mated to two electric motors pulling power from nickel-metal hydride battery packs, the system is rated at 438 total combined horsepower. The gearbox is a two-stage continuously variable transmission (CVT) with three different operator-selected driving modes (Normal, Power and Snow). There is also an EV mode for driving under full electric power at low speeds. All LS 600h L models feature standard all-wheel drive with a Torsen limited-slip differential. The hybrid is about as quick as its gasoline siblings, but its EPA fuel economy is a tick higher at 19 city, 23 highway and 20 combined.

Lexus reportedly replaced more than 3,000 items – about 50 percent of the vehicle's components.

Lexus has also addressed safety in a big way with the new LS. In addition to all of the government-mandated equipment, the automaker's Advanced Pre-Collision Safety System (APCS) is designed to detect pedestrians and objects in the vehicle's path and bring the LS to a quick stop from speeds up to 24 mph if a collision is imminent (to see the system in action, watch our ShortCut video below). The available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has also been upgraded to operate at any speed, plus it is now able to bring the vehicle to a complete stop and accelerate once the flow of traffic has resumed. New to the LS is Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), which uses radar to monitor blind spots while driving and when the vehicle is in Reverse (Lexus calls this feature Rear Cross Traffic Alert, or RCTA).

Lexus reportedly replaced more than 3,000 items – about 50 percent of the vehicle's components – to develop the 2013 LS lineup and we cannot possibly discuss all of them. However, the good news after our day behind the wheel of several different models is that the effort is worth it – this luxury sedan is impressive.



Our first jaunt was in the range-topping LS 600h L with the optional rear lounge seating. The updated cabin is every bit as comfortable as it appears in the pictures. The 16-way power-adjustable front seats are some of the best we have ever dropped into, and there was plenty of room for our feet, head and arms in all directions. Every component that a body part may contact is soft to the touch and richly textured, all very well done. Even though the location of some of the switchgear is strange (the parking brake is below the ignition button), we acclimated quickly. We did find the black box hovering just in front of the headliner (housing the APCS cameras) a bit intrusive, but we eventually looked right past it.

It was immediately apparent that Lexus has polished its flagship hybrid better than the belly of Air Force One.

The LS 600h L is the heaviest (at a whopping 5,200 pounds) and arguably least engaging of the range. Nevertheless, it surprised us with its quiet and seamless power delivery. Although we are no fans of the CVT, and we continue to question why anyone would buy the pricey hybrid for any reason other than the blue badge (the $40,000 premium only delivers one mpg better combined fuel economy), it was immediately apparent that Lexus has polished its flagship hybrid better than the belly of Air Force One. It is absolutely dead quiet at a standstill (the combustion engine shuts down at idle) and only minimally louder at speed. There was always torque on hand and the hybrid transition is virtually seamless. Yet despite our awe over its advanced technology, and our amazement that it works so well, we'd still prefer the gasoline-fed LS 460 L AWD.

Our next jaunt was in the LS 460 F Sport AWD, technically the second sportiest of the lineup (behind the standard LS 460 F Sport). The F Sport model boasts a sporty interior with bucket front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and aluminum trim. It is mechanically differentiated by its standard Torsen limited-slip differential (RWD models only, as the AWD models have a Torsen center differential), sport tuned air suspension (lowered by 0.4 inches), Brembo brakes (with six-piston monobloc calipers in the front) and 19-inch forged alloy wheels (with a choice between summer and all-season tires).

2013 Lexus LS driving2013 Lexus LS driving

After leaving the parking lot, we immediately set the F Sport's Drive Mode to its most aggressive "Sport S+" setting (putting the powertrain, air suspension, electric power steering and variable gear ratio steering into their firmest configurations) and headed for the mountains. In this mode, body roll was nearly eliminated, but damping was not overly firm. The steering was a bit heavier, but still lighter and slower than most of its full-size European competition.

Engineers have opened the F Sport's exhaust and acoustically enhanced the growl coming from the engine (it is not played through the speakers).

Acceleration is plenty strong, and the engine enjoys spinning around the tachometer, but we missed the immediate low-end torque that the Europeans are delivering with their forced induction powerplants these days. Lexus hasn't forgotten how to isolate the passengers from what's going on ahead of the firewall, as the engine is all but silent in the standard models. The F Sport is different though, as the engineers have opened the exhaust and acoustically enhanced the growl coming from the engine (it is not played through the speakers). It sounds okay, but not even half as good as the music made by the GS 350 F Sport.

We pushed the big F Sport harder to probe its limits and immediately praised the more aggressively contoured front seats and the thick leather-wrapped steering wheel that was easy to grip (we find wood gets slippery). To the engineering team's credit, the sporty Lexus handled better than any LS we have ever driven. Under the control of a skilled driver, it would embarrass many in a sports car trying to outrun it. Even with rather lifeless feedback through the steering wheel, placing wheels on specific parts of the pavement wasn't an issue. And as much as we could tell, the brakes were solid and easy to modulate.

2013 Lexus LS rear 3/4 view

But in our opinion, the LS F Sport still falls short of handling benchmarks such as the BMW Alpina B7 (we are discussing sporty driving dynamics, not acceleration). Both vehicles have a curb weight of about 4,600 pounds, but the BMW feels more agile and light as speeds increase, while the Lexus is best described as accurate and stable. The suspension in the BMW will confidently absorb sharp undulations in the roadway, while the Lexus almost felt overwhelmed (to the credit of Lexus, and the pacification of its customers, the LS F Sport did ride much more comfortably than the B7 when driven civilly). BMWs may be driven surprisingly fast in anger, and they seem to thrive on the pressure, but the Lexus didn't seem to want to lose its temper – it remained, for lack of better words, a Lexus.

The 2013 Lexus LS model range is not forgettable. Rather, we'd call it significant.

We've been driving Lexus LS models for a long time. They are consistently safe, comfortable and accommodating. They are also mostly characterless.

But the 2013 Lexus LS model range is not forgettable. Rather, we'd call it significant. Aside from the many improvements, which will likely escape from mind, the full-size luxury sedan will be remembered for its daring spindle grille and the introduction of the enthusiast-targeted F Sport. The standard sedan and hybrid are both sound steps forward, and each will spend little time gathering dust in the showroom. While the new enthusiast model falls short of segment leading – consider it a solid base hit – it is unquestionably the sportiest and most engaging LS we have ever driven. Lexus customers should be elated.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 188 Comments
      Jason Schieck
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am surprised that no one remembers the sport package that was available on the last LS. It had pretty much the same equipment, sans the branding
        miketim1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Schieck
        http://www.themotorreport.com.au/47162/2010-lexus-ls-460-sports-introduced-ls-460-range-updated
        miketim1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Schieck
        FINALLY ! AB is incorrect... this ISNT the first sport LS. You would think a AUTOMOTIVE website would know these things. . .
      miketim1
      • 2 Years Ago
      AB.. This ISNT the first sport LS . . For a automotive website your sure lacking in correct information. http://www.themotorreport.com.au/47162/2010-lexus-ls-460-sports-introduced-ls-460-range-updated
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @miketim1
        True, but it's the first F Sport one. The previous sport package was called exactly that.
      Harry
      • 2 Years Ago
      your shortcuts are embarrassing
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      Also, the Torsen LSD in the RWD F Sport model is gonna be a class exclusive (if you don't count the Porsche Panamera, which is a size smaller). BMW refuses to put LSDs on non-M cars because of a corporate edict, and Mercedes, to my knowledge, has never offered an LSD on the S-class (though that might change for the next gen AMG car). The A8 does have a 'sport differential' optional, but seeing as it is AWD-only in this (North America) market, I'm not sure its a fair comparison.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy1701
        I find it unbelevable that BMW doesn't allow LSDs on non M cars. Coming from a brand that is supposed to emphasize sporty handling. MB S class is more of a comfy luxury cruiser, so it doesn't really need an LSD. Audis and LSDs go together like macaroni and cheese, nothing new. Anyways, kudos to Lexus for having an LSD as an option. That really should help its "sportiness" credibility.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Also, when I mentioned the A8, I was referring to the Quattro Sport diff that is optional, not the center one.
      mobqa1_displayname
      • 2 Years Ago
      sorry ... test comment
      ravenosa
      • 2 Years Ago
      That pinched grille even looks worse in person. It looks like the car was in an accident. I don't see Lexus selling many cars with the new grille. Hard to compete with Mercedes/BMW/Audi when from the front, these cars are instantly recognizable, and you're reaching at straws to look distinguishable...
      devgchr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't know why Lexus gets so much hate, this looks incredible.
        blkpantha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @devgchr
        It isn't hate it is irreverent fanboys watch realistic reviews and you will see how many people love there Lexus saying only old people buy this car is true because only old people can afford it because they work hard to get where they are which shows that they make smart choice in life... These loses what they do sit in front of a computer all day wishing and day dreaming
        Antonio Bailey™
        • 2 Years Ago
        @devgchr
        Lexus gets hate from mostly the douchebags who praise domestics and German crap that they will never be able to afford in many lifetimes. They somehow feel threatened that Toyota has consistently outclassed their favs for many years. The D3 cheerleaders have a never-ending grudge against Toyota, ever sine the Camry stole the #1 sales crown from the crap Ford Taurus. Then, a lot of other Toyota's started selling extremely well or better. It left the D3 fanboys livid and jealous. The German cheerleaders feel threatened, because it took the Germans over 100 years to do what Lexus did in only 20. Add to that, they don't even do the vast majority of things, better than Lexus. That's why Lexus has always been at the top of the J.D. Power reliability ratings for the last 20 years. A bunch of bitterness to go around, and butt hurt cheerleaders. They know that if an Audi or Mercedes badge were on the LS, you'd end up hating it too, but only because people would never shut up about how amazing it is.
          AE86
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Antonio Bailey™
          Comment win ! @ Riley
          SatinSheetMetal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Antonio Bailey™
          People downvote Trang Phan, but sure don't feel like doing any research to rebut him.
        TheLeadFoot
        • 2 Years Ago
        @devgchr
        Does it really? Or does it look like the same old model we've been staring at for 6 years with a grotesque grill on it?
          Antonio Bailey™
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TheLeadFoot
          I don't know. The S-Class looks like the same old crap that I've been seeing for the last seven years (2005), and the spy photos of the "new" S-Class, indicate that we'll be seeing the same crap for about another five years. The BMW is even worse! It looks like the same crap I've been seeing since 2001 which makes that twelve (12) friggin years! So when you trolls get your panties in a bunch over Lexus following suit ... not even nearly to the same extent as the Germans ... it would make anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence question the hypocrisy and question your problem.
          NamorF-Pro
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TheLeadFoot
          Excuse me! You can't perfect perfection. That's why it looks sportier, not necassarly better, but up to date. That's all that matters. Apparently the GS got the same amount of hate but look at how it just flew off the counter! This is a good car, you gotta look into the details to see...
      JF
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love the fact that the LS looks unapologetically non-German. This car looks quite sexy, something that can't be said about the A8/S/7 trio.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JF
        I can see where you're going with that statement. I love German cars as much as anyone else, but it is nice to see something nice looking, while unique;not a copy of the Germans. I'd even go as far as to say that this thing has a touch of JDM design language.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Ever seen pictures of the Toyota Crown series (specifically, the Athlete, Majesta, and Royal).
        MMM
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JF
        Really? Sexy in the old fart kind of way? Like of you are 70 and normally you would by an Olds or a Caddy... But you get a Lexus since Olds is not available anymore... That kind of sexy? Audi looks amazing. Lexus looks like a disaster.
          TheLeadFoot
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MMM
          @blkpantha no design in Audi's lineup?! They're known as the industry standard for design. It would be a better argument to complain about their handling than their design lol
          blkpantha
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MMM
          i hate dum fanboys like you... people cant have a personal opinion or like others cars than Audi.. not to mention Audi A8 looks like a Audi A4 there is no design in Audi's line up ... lets see if u go run crying to mommy
      Trang Phan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lexus is not innovative, they just reverse engineer or come up with a similar system. Audi, Mercedes, and BMW already has those features in their car years ago. In addition the side profile looks awfully similar to the Mercedes s class.
        Antonio Bailey™
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Trang Phan
        "Lexus is not innovative," yet they have had the competition crapping their pants and doing things to play "me too!" with Lexus, for the last twenty years??? Remember the LS's 8-speed automatic? The first ever in the industry? I remember how people from near and far on these enthusiasts websites were balking at it and talking about how pointless it was. Well, well, well... fast-forward a relative short time, and everyone is copying the LS's 8 speed transmission, all the way down to low end brands like Chrysler! Remember the self-park feature on the LS? Again, as with the 8 speed tranny, I remember how every balked at it. Now, you have POS cars like the Ford Focus with self-park assist! Remember the LS having the first production low beam LED headlights? Surprise, surprise, everyone down to Kia is now copying Lexus. You sound like a butt hurt troll. It's okay, maybe one day you'll be fortunate enough to make enough money for Lexus to consider financing you for a well-crafted piece of machinery like the LS.
          Trang Phan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Antonio Bailey™
          Lexus was the first with an 8 speed, but big deal. Its far from reinventing the wheel. For led low beams I believe the Audi r8 was the first. And park assist was first from the French car company Ligier. And I'm sure you haven't used Lexus park assist. I takes forever and you have to manually put the digital box at the prefered parking spot to show the car where you want to park and if it fits. With all that time trying to park you are blocking traffic. In addition Lexus uses a camera to guide the parking which can not be used if foggy or your lenses are dirty. Ford on the other hand uses sonar sensors and those will know if the area would fit the car and you just have to press that you want to park. You do not have to do the box in parking spot thing. The sensors can work if the car is dirty or it is foggy. ford parks dramatically faster. When Lexus was first created the engineers of the first ls even said they took apart a Mercedes and reverse engineered it. If I was given a Lexus I would declined the offer. It is too generic and boring for my taste. I do not believe in their ways of doing business which seems like it is the company's reputation first then consumer safety. Always copying. Lets not forget the failed f sport. The m series and amg are clearly superior. Reviewers have said that the Gs f sport performs slightly better than Gs. You would never hear that from the m and amg. The only car that has a chance of fighting the m3 is the Cadillac ats and they spent years perfecting as apposed to a couple of months to come up with f version for all their fleet. The lfa even is slow. The gtr beats it in a drag and the viper slaughters it at the green hell. And not to mention it was last models viper. With the new viper for 1/3 the price, it will destroy it. The ride of the Lexus is noisy on freeways while a Mercedes is quiet and feels confident. Notice the a pillar on the Mercedes and lexus. Much thicker on the Mercedes. On most Lexus the wood trim seems fake because you can't see the grains. And its thick acrylic layer hinders the wood useless since there is barely any wood. Overall Lexus is over glorified for no reason.
        Maddoxx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Trang Phan
        Mercedes lexus boring boring boring
      Vien Huynh
      • 2 Years Ago
      And on facebook of motortrend, tons of people underestimate the LS, again, and calling it a rebadge avalon. I love how those guys comment about the car, the mouths speak before the brain.
        TheLeadFoot
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        Physically impossible. It's not a rebadged Avalon at all. It's far better than that...but it's nowhere near the best in it's class.
          Helix
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TheLeadFoot
          Its among the best and has been for 20 years.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Karl T
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can't picture their target audience driving something with such a ridiculous, "12 year old drew this" front..... Can't picture wanting to roll-into the country club with that.
        thewriterwhoknows
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karl T
        And you will tell me now... you prefer mediocre hyundai, right? I would like know if you are the guy on your picture, koreans writing about Japanese makers all the time, poor losers, hehe.
          Karl T
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thewriterwhoknows
          I'll check back for a translation into English.
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