The 2013 Lexus LS represents the ultimate iteration of the Japanese luxury brand's flagship sedan. The full-size Lexus LS has always been revered for its ability to coddle its driver and occupants in absolute comfort, but for the current model year Lexus has decided to take things up a notch in the style and performance departments in order to hook a somewhat younger group of buyers. The Lexus LS remains as pliable as ever, but it also gains a bit of an edge in its effort to steal owners from the ranks of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Lexus LS.
Previous versions of the car had been tagged with the 'conservative' brush as far as their looks went, but the 2013 Lexus LS washes away much of that stigma. Roughly the same size as the model it replaces, the Lexus LS now features the trapezoidal grille that the brand refers to as a 'spindle' design, an extroverted add-on to a car that is otherwise smooth and shapely. The LS still knows that its primary audience is composed of older, established individuals seeking a high end ride that doesn't flash too brightly in the corporate parking lot, which means that its long lines and classy, restrained use of chrome balance out the gaping maw sitting up front. The sedan also continues to be offered in both standard and extended-wheelbase L editions of the car, with the latter targeted at those who prefer to sit in the back seat and let someone else do the driving.
Perhaps more important than the restyling afforded to the 2013 Lexus LS' body panels is the effort that has been made within its passenger compartment. Gone is the plastic of old and in its place are a host of refined, top-tier materials including soft leather at all of the important touch points. If you want wood trim, you can get that too, and the Lexus LS also benefits from a reorganization of its displays and control surfaces into an easier-to-use format. A downside to the new LS interior is the implementation of the Remote Touch vehicle interface, which relies on a twitchy, mouse-like console-mounted controller to interact with the car's on-screen menus. It's not the most effective way to work the entertainment, climate, or navigation controls.
One thing that's unchanged for the 2013 Lexus LS compared to the previous model year is its engine. The Lexus LS continues to make use of a 4.6-liter V-8 that generates 386 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque in all rear-wheel drive models. Ordering all-wheel drive with the LS comes with a fairly substantial power penalty, as Lexus claims that rerouting the vehicle's exhaust robs the motor of 26 ponies and 13 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with all versions of the full-size sedan, and fuel mileage is listed at 16-mpg in stop and go driving and 24-mpg on the highway.
Although the 2013 Lexus LS rides on the same platform as the 2012 model, the brand claims that over 3,000 parts have been changed in order to provide a significant upgrade in many areas of the car's performance. The Drive Mode Select feature, which is standard on versions of the car that come with an air suspension system, provides several different settings that tailor the vehicle's throttle, steering, and chassis response to the task at hand. These include Eco (for puttering around town), Snow, Comfort/Standard, Sport, and Sport+. The latter goes whole hog, tightening the steering, adding a bit of extra oomph to the gas pedal, and stiffening the suspension system so that it can better tackle the curves.
The hottest version of the 2013 Lexus LS is the F Sport edition. The 2013 Lexus LS F Sport is available exclusively in the standard-wheelbase model, and it includes six-piston Brembo brakes up front, an air suspension system, a rear limited-slip differential for rear-wheel drive versions of the car (although the F Sport badge can be affixed to all-wheel drive models as well), the quickest steering of any LS model, a mild body kit, and shift paddles on the steering wheel to cycle through the autobox's gear ratios. F Sport cars also feature automatic rev-matching when downshifting via the paddles. All of this together doesn't exactly transform the admittedly portly LS into a genuine sport sedan, but it does give it a bit of a personality makeover compared to its previously calm, but uninspiring driving dynamics.
The 2013 Lexus LS features a hybrid as its top-of-the-line model. The Lexus LS 600h L (note the fact that it's extended-wheelbase only) isn't really oriented towards fuel mileage, but rather aims to offer the power of a 12-cylinder engine while maintaining the efficiency of a V-8. This is accomplished by pairing a 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder engine with not one, but two electric motors and an all-wheel drive system. Managed by a continuously-variable automatic transmission, the Lexus LS 600h L delivers a total of 438 horsepower, along with fuel mileage of 19-mpg in city driving and 23-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2013 Lexus LS doesn't skimp when it comes to standard equipment. All versions of the car come with adaptive HID headlights, LED running lights as well as LED fog lights, parking assistance including a rearview camera, a sunroof, dual automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, and even doors that have a power close feature. The list goes on: Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system, a sound system that includes satellite and HD radio, leather seats with extensive power adjustments, power-folding mirrors, and cruise control. The L version of the car also adds heated and cooled seats up front, a rear sunshade, and a power close feature for the trunk.
Despite the fact that there are very few amenities that don't come standard with the 2013 Lexus LS, there are still, of course, a number of options packages that can be added to the car's list of gear. Aside from the previously-mentioned F Sport package, the base Lexus LS can be customized with the Ultra Luxury package (four zones of automatic climate control, heated and cooled power rear seats) and the All Weather package (a de-icing feature for the windshield wipers and a headlight washing system). The L version of the LS adds the further wrinkle of the Executive-Class Seating package, which consists of everything you see in the Ultra Luxury package combined with a unique 2+2 seating configuration that offers an ottoman foot rest for the right-side passenger along with DVD entertainment and extensive leather throughout the entire cabin.
The 2013 Lexus LS features a full complement of airbags, including side curtain airbags, side impact airbags up front, dual forward airbags, and even front knee airbags. The Ultra Luxury package also adds rear side impact airbags, and all models feature electronic stability control, traction control, and the Safety Connect telematics system. If you want to feel even more secure behind the wheel of the Lexus LS, then it's possible to install an adaptive cruise control system that features pre-collision preparation, a Driver Attention Monitor that can detect when you are getting sleepy, blind spot monitoring, a lane keeping feature, and even a collision avoidance feature that can brake if an imminent impact is detected.
10. The 2013 Lexus LS Is Priced To Sell
The 2013 Lexus LS 460 starts at an MSRP $71,990, and stepping up to the Lexus LS 460 L elevates the price to $78,290. In contrast, the six-cylinder - and less powerful - entry-level version of the BMW 7 Series is priced at $74,000, while the base Audi A8 (MSRP $75,100) and Mercedes-Benz S-Class (MSRP $92,350) are also significantly more expensive. In fact, the only version of the Lexus LS that isn't a bit of a bargain is the 600h L hybrid, which retails for an eye-popping $119,910. Lexus is determined to make value an important part of their full-size luxury sedan proposition, and that's an attitude that isn't often found when examining its European competitors.