Lexus reveals more aggressive 2013 LS flagship

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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With every new generation, Lexus gives its full-size flagship luxury sedan a more distinctive character, but now with the introduction of the 2013 LS it's clear to see that all predecessors have been seriously holding back.

Up front and centre is the brand's now trademark "spindle" grille, a unique look that has already given more assertive styling to the premium brand's midsize ES and GS sedans, as well as its midsize RX crossover and full-size LX SUV.

Like the ES, RX and LX, the 2013 LS redesign is more of a refresh, with the bulk of the car remaining much the same as the outgoing model. Under the skin, however, Lexus has improved structural rigidity with additional reinforcements and laser screw welding, no doubt helping support its claim of an even quieter cabin than the current LS. Lexus has gone a step further in its quest for quietness by adding yet more sound insulation and introducing new noise-reducing alloy wheels, not to mention an ultra-slippery 0.26 coefficient of drag that lessens wind noise and simultaneously helps to improve fuel economy.

The current LS is available in two different variations that are distinct enough to be considered separate models, the traditional gasoline-powered LS 460 in rear- and all-wheel drive as well as regular and extended wheelbase body styles, the latter dubbed L, and the top-line LS 600h L hybrid, only available in the long wheelbase and standard all-wheel drive. These models will continue for 2013, as will a new performance-oriented LS 460 F Sport.

The F Sport starts with a nimbler handling regular wheelbase LS 460 in rear- or all-wheel drive, and adds a 3-dimensional mesh grille with larger cooling openings and a black surround plus unique round fog lamps, while a chrome-plated bar runs along the bottom edge of the rear bumper to accentuate the lowered model's reduced centre of gravity. Lowered? Yes, the F Sport is about a half-inch lower thanks to a sport-tuned air suspension with five driving modes (a 3-position Drive Mode Select system is standard with the base car while the Air Suspension with Variable Gear Ratio Steering is optional on other models), larger Brembo brakes with six-pot front calipers, a Torsen limited-slip differential (added to the RWD version as a Torsen limited-slip centre differential is already standard on AWD cars) and 19-inch forged alloy wheels, while the interior gets more deeply bolstered sport seats, a black Alcantara headliner, genuine aluminum trim and paddle-shifters for its 8-speed automatic transmission.

All of these features get added to a car that already boasts improvements inside and out, the former being the result of Lexus' new "driver-focused" attitude highlighted by a primary instrument cluster with large high-visibility Optitron dials, a 5.8-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Multi-information display, and an aluminum analogue clock with GPS-based time correction, while a large 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen infotainment screen sits atop the centre stack, accessible via steering wheel controls as well as the brand's award-winning haptic "feel" sensing Remote Touch Interface (RTI) computer mouse-style actuator with new "one-push confirmation," all made more clearly visible via Lexus' new all-LED Advanced Illumination System (AIS) interior lighting, and the latter including revised frequency dependent dampers with better pitch and bounce control, and upgraded brakes with improved power and better overall feel.

The HVAC system has been upgraded with multiple sensors that put personal comfort at the fingers of each occupant, with Lexus Climate Concierge offering individual control of ambient temperature, seat temperature, and specific to the driver, heated steering wheel temperature. Redesigned seats improve comfort and support too, while a separate Ottoman Seating Package with shiatsu massage improves the comfort of a single VIP sitting in back.

Additionally, the LS model's already well featured standard safety list gets a Blind Spot Monitor added to the options menu, which has the ability to operate from only 16 km/h and includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) to alert a reversing driver of cars approaching from each side of a parking space. Other LS options include Lexus' Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system (APCS) that has the ability of slowing the car to a complete stop from speeds of 40 km/h if a collision appears imminent; an improved Lane-Keep Assist system (LKA) that helps the driver keep the vehicle in the intended lane; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) that maintains the car's speed in the same fashion as regular cruise control but automatically reduces speed when coming up from behind a slower moving vehicle; Automatic High Beam that dims when another car comes into view at night; 3-projector LED headlamps that make for 100-percent LED exterior lighting including the turn signals and fog lamps; and the list goes on.

The LS is available in five interior colour schemes including Ivory, Light Gray, Black, Black and Saddle Tan, and a new colour, Topaz Brown, while wood trim options include Walnut, Shimamoku Espresso, and Matte Brown Bird's Eye Maple, plus environmentally-correct Bamboo for the LS 600h L hybrid.

The price? Despite all the improvements we can expect the 2013 Lexus LS MSRP to remain close to the current model, which retails for just under $85,000 including destination charges in base trim and less than $124,000 including destination for the LS 600h L hybrid. A top-line LS 600h L with the Premium Executive package and destination retails for just over $145,000.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Luxury Sedan, Lexus, 2013, LS, LS 460, LS 600h L, LS 460 AWD, $75,000 - $99,999,

Organizations: Lexus

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