The official unveiling of the Lexus luxury flagship model just happened in southern California and the majority of us automotive journalists, were very impressed with this amazing and luxurious all new LS 460 which now comes in 4 different trims or flavors; the LS460, LS460L, LS600hL hybrid, and the LS460 F-Sport. Both the LS460 and LS460L will be available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The LS600hL hybrid is available with a full-time all-wheel drive system. All of them are more rigid thanks to additional body reinforcements and laser screw welding.
As you step inside this new Lexus, a 12.3" nav screen with split-screen capability immediately gets anybody's attention, and surrounding it is something totally new in the LS - the folks at Lexus calls it "a driver-focused interior." The Remote Touch system places the 'mouse' controller next to the shift level, and in conjunction with the steering-wheel, the controls can operate many of the car's features, and up to five driving modes are possible if buyers choose the optional air suspension. Shock absorbers have been redesigned to improve pitch and bounce control, the variable ratio steering is said to improve accuracy and turn-in and the brakes have been adjusted to provide better power and pedal feel.
Oh and don't worry about your passengers for they have not been left out of all the comfort and pampering with the Lexus Climate Concierge which controls the ambient temperature, seat temperature and steering wheel temperature to appease each occupant individually. Safety gets a boost with an available new Blind Spot Monitor, in operation from 10 mph and part of a system that can detect crossing traffic behind the car when reversing out of a spot. And it keeps on getting better with the new redesigned seats, more sound insulation to make the cabin even more quiet, if you can imagine that in a Lexus - is that even possible?, noise-reducing wheels, and an optional Ottoman Seating Package with Shiatsu Massage; talk about spoiling your family and friends if they are riding in the back seat!
As for the F-Sport model, the exterior is aggressive and it screams sportiness, while the interior will feature F-Sport seats with larger bolsters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, and genuine aluminum trim. The sport-tuned suspension lowers the vehicle approximately 0.4", while a Torsen limited-slip rear differential is installed in the rear-wheel drive model. And the six-piston Brembo brakes look amazing, aside from their ultimate performance, behind those gorgeous 19-inch wheels.
To make this ride even more impressive, the body rigidity on this new LS has been increased thus the performance, dynamics and stability of this Lexus is remarkable thus allowing the total package for a more comfortable ride. Pitch and bounce control has been enhanced by adopting new frequency dependent shock absorbers, resulting in an even flatter, road-hugging ride. Revised steering offers improvements in accuracy and turn-in response. All in all, a very astonishing ride!
Available safety enhancements include the industry's most advanced Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. This system is designed to assist the driver in avoiding or mitigating collisions with vehicles and pedestrians under a wide range of city and highway speeds. At speeds lower than 24 miles per hour, this technology helps the Lexus LS to avoid accidents by automatically bringing the LS to a full stop. And the LS comes standard with dual front, side, knee and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. Rear side airbags are available as an option.
The 4.6-liter V-8 power plant is a carryover from the previous generation LS, though the 2013 rear-drive model gets an extra 6 horsepower, coming in at 386 hp, while torque holds steady at 367 lb-ft. The 8-speed gearbox, a breakthrough when Lexus introduced the last LS line in 2006, is also carried over. Lexus says fuel economy will remain much the same as the outgoing 2012 LS, which is great news, as well as the fuel consumption we achieve during our test drive in the LS 600h on a course of almost 100 miles - we were able to get almost 21 mpg, which is very impressive given the fact this vehicle tips the scale at a bit over 4,000 lbs.
After a fun day test driving it in the San Diego area, it became clear to us that the folks at Lexus didn't set out to redefine the luxury sedan with the 2013 LS the way it did way back in 1990 with the first-generation car. However, the differences are immense at this point with a large number of small improvements that puts this LS on top of its game and helps keep this vehicle relevant in a market that Lexus itself says is slowly melting. We just have to wait and see if this new LS will remain relevant and its loyal followers plus some new buyers will fall in love with it as much as we did!