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Competent and confident, it may not peg the passion meter but the 2013 Lexus LS is definitely learning to emote
Autocar
21 August 2012

What is it?

Few vehicles have had a more dramatic impact on the luxury car market than the Lexus LS – which proved the Japanese could build a truly credible challenger to Germany.

That said, while quiet, competent and high-quality, prior LS generations have had a big gap in the passion category. That’s something Toyota President Akio Toyoda has promised to fix.

What's it like?

Parked alongside the outgoing saloon, the 2013 model is a striking departure. The spindle grille anchors what is, nose-to-tail, a more aggressive and exciting look that is more refined and planted yet manages to deliver a sense of power in the broadened haunches flaring out from the rounded C-pillar.

The interior of the LS has always delivered a flagship feel. But the new LS steps things up several notches. There’s a more seamless flow from doors to instrument panel and the new model adopts several new finishes, including the optional shimamoku wood that undergoes a 67-step process – taking 38 days – to prepare for use in the new LS.

In the States, at least, the 2013 LS will now be offered with seven different versions, including the “base” car, front- and rear-wheel-drive model variants, the previously mentioned 600h hybrid, short and long-wheelbase variants – and the all-new LS 460 F Sport. The LS600h is the only model slated for a UK launch.

The LS460 F Sport gets a number of visual tweaks, including a mesh grille, revised bumpers and headlamps, brake cooling inlets and a 10mm lower ride height (with the air suspension. It’s 20mm lower than the standard coil spring saloon). The brakes are bigger, the throttle and shift mapping – at least in Sport Mode – are more aggressive and steering is faster and more taut.

The powertrain, however, is unchanged but for the LS600h, with its 5.0-litre V8 and twin electric motors – the F Sport and all other LS variants powered by the same 4.6-litre DOHC, though it gets six more horsepower, at 386, with torque holding to 367 lb/ft.

Dialled to Comfort or Eco Modes, the 2013 Lexus LS460 delivers the sort of cushy, comfortable, non-challenging ride dynamics Lexus owners have come to expect. Shifted to Sport or Sport Plus, however, the new luxo-saloon is a different animal. Still an amazingly quiet automobile it actually demonstrates some of the passion that Toyoda promised. Give some of the credit to the LS460’s new Frequency Adaptive Damping Shocks which can instantly adjust to road surface conditions.

Should I buy one?

This is no Mercedes S63 AMG, nor BMW 750. Yes, you can flog the F Sport more aggressively around corners than the base car, and the base car itself is more fun to drive than the outgoing LS, but the 2013 Lexus LS clearly isn’t going to be described as the new ultimate driving machine. 

Nonetheless, the Lexus LS will now have broader appeal – and to more than just those folks who don’t really like automobiles. It’s a big step forward.

Paul A. Eisenstein

Lexus LS460 F Sport

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Price na; 0-62 5.7sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 26.4mpg; CO2 249g/km; Kerbweight 2020kg; Engine V8, 4608cc, petrol; Power 382bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 364lb/ft at 4100rpm; Gearbox 8-speed automatic

 

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nike 21 September 2012

Vauxhall (the Opel brand that

Vauxhall (the Opel brand that sells in the UK, in case someone gets lost), is a supplier of police vehicles there. They Astra by selling units from the first generation in 1979, and with the arrival of the new Astra have also created a specific version.new cars

UK 22 August 2012

Surely what is more worrying

Surely what is more worrying is that Paul Eisenstein is saying that the LS 460 isn't coming to the UK, when in fact that is wrong. He is obviously incapable of reading a press release or Autocar's own website as there is a news story just a couple of weeks ago on their own site: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/flagship-lexus-ls-given-overhaul

Lexus has already announced that the LS 460 and LS 600h are coming to the UK. More evidence of sloppy journalism at Autocar and the fact that their motoring writers don't seem to have a clue what they are doing.

Dan Marius 22 August 2012

@disco.stu

Then you have something more reliable than the opinions of some car reviewers which is called a owners'satisfaction survey. Mind you Lexus kind off beats the other premium manufaturers. Let me think what is more important the opinion of someone spending one day or one week with a car to review it or that of someone spending a couple of years and confronts actual ownership related issues.

You may get less flamboyant statements though...

Christian Galea 22 August 2012

Dan Marius wrote: Then you

Dan Marius wrote:

Then you have something more reliable than the opinions of some car reviewers which is called a owners'satisfaction survey. Mind you Lexus kind off beats the other premium manufaturers. Let me think what is more important the opinion of someone spending one day or one week with a car to review it or that of someone spending a couple of years and confronts actual ownership related issues.

You may get less flamboyant statements though...

And we all know how reliable these types of surveys are, especially a survey filled with subjective opinions - even in supposedly objective surveys, you find certain anomalies which are very hard to explain (e.g. in a reliability survey published just last month, a Peugeot 107 was apparently found to be quite more unreliable than a Toyota Aygo, when they are built at the same factory by the same people using pretty much the same parts save for some exterior components and badges).

 

Rich_uk wrote:

Not sure why a couple of people are apparently annoyed at Stu's view of Lexus. In the UK, Lexus have a general reputation of being boring and an uninspiring design or drive. This attempt at countering this perception suggests Lexus think this too. It's a shame they've tried to make it look like a Halfords Audi if the photo is anything to go by. 

Stu hasn't said Lexus have bad cars (and their reputation for reliability is high) but that the perception is they're boring and uninspired. I agree with that, as I suspect most others do. Ask a non car enthusiast if they could identify a Lexus (I just asked my wife) and I bet many could not identify a Lexus in the street. Ask them the same question about a Merc, Audi, Beemer and even Jag...

+1 And personally it's surprising to see all these 'pro-Lexus' comments - okay, I know (through experience) that reliability is a very important aspect in car ownership, but apart from that they don't really have anything that good or enticing. That said, it's good that we the buyers have an extra offering to choose from.