I grew up with the Lexus LS series cars, as my father owned each of the previous three generations of this luxury sedan, thus I have been able to see its evolution first hand. Lexus and its design team have done an excellent job with each succeeding generation, with the new-for-2013 LS460 being the best LS yet. Why is that? There is a rare blend of cohesiveness as well as execution of the modern, albeit conservative design, both outside and inside the car.
Over the years, the Lexus front fascia has pretty much been unremarkable, however, on the 2013 model, this has now changed. The new grille now sports a striking look that resembles a spindle, creating a noticeable bold corporate statement for Lexus. The modern LED rimmed headlights as well as the front aerodynamics work well together. The side profile is classic Lexus, with an elegant roof line offering generous rear seat entrance clearance. The rear look of the LS460 is more evolutionary in nature, with the tail lamps and dual blended exhaust tips being noticeably different, yet elegant. One of the many nice things about the newest LS is the departure from the “Bangle Butt” look of the trunk. Thankfully, the design is now more streamlined with the body profile line. (This name was used by some, due to a Mid-2000’s controversial design approach, aptly is named for Chris Bangle, the-then BMW designer that was responsible for the styling of the BMW 7 Series). Both Lexus and Mercedes-Benz paid homage to this quirky design feature, with their last generation models, and now fortunately, has almost disappeared from the scene.
Inside the LS460 you are greeted with an expansive amount of leather, glossy trims as well as a fit and finish. I am sure make many of the German automotive interior designers stay awake at night thinking how they can do the same for their cars. The luxury and quality is evident everywhere you look and touch, yet it never is overstated or too obvious. One additional nice thing we noticed with the new LS is the visual lack of parts and switches from the Toyota parts bin around the cabin.
Once seated, your eyes are instantly drawn to the large, 12.3 inch center infotainment screen. This is in addition to the cleaner, simpler switchgear, which I am happy to report, still include the essential knobs for the radio. The full power and climate controlled seats are comfortable and supportive, regardless of the trip length and the size of the driver and passengers. Rear seating feels more expansive and comfortable than previous generations, thanks to the seat design magic as well as additional rear leg room. Doors feel more European than Japanese, offering a reassuring “thump” when they are being shut closed.
Driving the LS feels more German than before, albeit, still somewhat isolated from the road. The LS460 appeals to those drivers that aren’t particular car enthusiasts, yet want something less stuffy or pretentious that’s being offered by the competing German or even American brands. The acceleration from the 386 HP V8 feels effortless and quiet, offering just a hint of sound coming from the engine and exhaust. The 8-speed sequential automatic transmission is silky smooth both on the upshifts and downshifts. One nice thing about the LS is the noticeable balance with the brake and throttle pedals, offering smoothness when stopping and accelerating. Interestingly enough, this is an area that most car manufacturers don’t seem to dedicate much attention to, yet gives obvious, important results when driving.
If you are in the market for a full sized luxury sedan from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac or BMW, the 2013 Lexus LS460 should be included in your very short list of candidates. The latest generation of the LS460 has matured like good red wine, cheers Lexus!
MSRP: $71,990.00 MSRP (As tested): $86,865.00
Fuel Economy (observed): 19 MPG
Engine: V8, 4.6 liter, 386 HP
Popular Options: F Sport Comfort Package, LED Headlamps, Mark Levinson sound system