Lexus’ flagship LS sedan has been redone for the 2013 model year, and comes to market sporting a bolder design, further refinement inside and out and even a new F Sport package, meant to appeal to those wanting a dose of sport sedan with their composed luxury. The range-topping LS 600h L hybrid returns to the market as well, boasting many of the the same interior and exterior updates as the LS 460 models.
The new LS models are instantly recognizable by Lexus’ spindle grille treatment, now used to great effect throughout the brand’s updated product line. While the previous LS sedan was best described as “nondescript,” the new version comes across as far more fashionable. You can see that it’s influenced by the styling of other luxury sedans, yet it never seems to copy from them.
The same can be said of the LS’ cabin, which is far more visually appealing than on previous models. A large, 12.3-inch infotainment display dominates the center stack, and Lexus continues to innovate with its interior wood trim. In LS 460 models, the dark grey shimamoku wood trim presents an interesting and tasteful alternative to the ever-present burl walnut, and the same can be said of the bamboo trim used in LS 600h L models.
Opt for the top-of-the-line LS 600h, and you’ll automatically get the long wheelbase and all-wheel drive. Power comes from a 5.0-liter V-8, supplemented by an electric motor, producing a total output of 438 horsepower. That’s good enough to get the big sedan from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, while still returning an EPA estimated 20 mpg combined fuel economy. The LS 600h isn’t all good news, though; we found it to be less composed than the LS 460, making it even more difficult to justify the car’s north-of-$100,000 price tag.
The LS 460 and its long-wheelbase variant, the LS 460 L, come powered by a 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 386-horsepower and mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All versions are available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, a smart move by Lexus to maximize the sedan’s appeal across the widest possible number of buyers. The run from 0-60 mph can be made in 5.4 seconds, but the LS’ forte is comfort, not performance or handling. While it can run with other luxury sedans in a straight line, even F Sport versions will have a hard time keeping up when the road gets twisty.
Checking the option box by the F Sport package gets you a sport-tuned air suspension, Brembo brakes, variable ratio steering and 19-inch forged wheels shod with summer-only tires. While this helps with the car’s handling, the F Sport-equipped LS is still softer than its rivals from Germany, England or Japan. If you’re looking for a sport sedan that goes long on luxury, the LS F Sport probably won’t do it for you. If you’re looking for a luxury sedan with a dash of sport flavoring, however, the LS F Sport may be just what you want.
While all LS sedans serve up generous accommodations for first and second row passengers, long wheelbase models offer rear seat passengers nearly five more inches of legroom. An optional seating package for L models includes both a massage function and a foot rest function, making this the preferred model when someone else does the driving for you. Front seats are superb regardless of model chosen, but we prefer the additional bolstering of the sport seats delivered in the F Sport package.
Standard features include such amenities as Bluetooth phone connectivity, Bluetooth audio streaming, Entune to link your smartphone to the car’s infotainment system, heated and cooled front seats and a voice-guided navigation system. If that’s not impressive enough, primary options include a Mark Levinson audio system, a Blu-Ray DVD system for rear passengers, the aforementioned massaging rear seats and a cooler box for second-row passengers.
For more details on the 2013 Lexus LS models, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection