The Truth About Cars » Lexus LS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:00:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Lexus LS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Cain’s Segments April 2014: Luxury Flagships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-flagships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-flagships/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 13:36:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=818202 The impact of Mercedes-Benz’s W222 S-Class has been keenly felt in America’s luxury car sector. The S-Class’s most direct rivals have been shunned in favour of the venerable Benz over the last seven months. And yet there’s no denying that big luxury SUVs have cast a shadow over these flagship luxury cars, nor is there […]

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Porsche_Panamera_2013_Facelift3

The impact of Mercedes-Benz’s W222 S-Class has been keenly felt in America’s luxury car sector. The S-Class’s most direct rivals have been shunned in favour of the venerable Benz over the last seven months. And yet there’s no denying that big luxury SUVs have cast a shadow over these flagship luxury cars, nor is there any point rejecting the idea that Tesla’s Model S is stealing market share.

Among the traditional players in its category, however, the S-Class rules the roost. In April, specifically, S-Class volume was up 73%, and sales were 168% stronger than the volume achieved by the second-ranked Lexus LS, sales of which moved up by twelve units, year-over-year.

Sales of the third-ranked 7-Series were down 23%. 7-Series volume has tumbled in seven consecutive months, incidentally. In September, just as Mercedes-Benz USA dealers were readying the new S-Class and sales of their big car had fallen 58% to just 387 units, BMW USA reported more than 1700 7-Series sales for the first time since June 2010. The 7-Series must also battle the more attractive and similarly-priced 6-Series Gran Coupe in BMW’s own showrooms. Sales of the whole three-pronged 6-Series lineup are up 63% to 4610 units year-to-date, although April sales slid 36% to 483.

The drop-off to the S-Class’s remaining European competitors is significant. Porsche sold 517 Panameras in April, 1983 so far this year, little more than a quarter of what the S-Class accomplishes. And while that April Panamera mark is up slightly compared with April 2013, its well off the pace achieved in each of the previous three Aprils. Panamera sales reached their highest annual levels in 2010, the first full year of availability, when 7741 were sold. Porsche is on pace for fewer than 6000 Panamera sales in 2014.

A8 sales figures continue to surprise reviewers who often favour the big Audi. April volume was down 5%. Relative to sales of Audi flagships, A8 sales in 2013 were particularly high at 6300 units, but the steady decline over the last eight months indicates a less exciting 2014 year end number from Audi. (A8 sales had increased, year-over-year, in seven of 2013’s first eight months.)

The Jaguar XJ, a car which attracted 10,552 buyers in 2004 even when the S-Type was generating annual sales above 10K, is simply not a nameplate with that kind of popularity these days. 2013 sales marked an eight-year high, but at 5434 units, XJ sales were half what Jaguar had achieved a decade earlier. XJ volume is up 21% over the last two months; up 19% since the S-Class began crushing rivals in October.

Yet the XJ’s decline from those highs a decade ago is not unique in this class. Even if Mercedes-Benz USA sells 20,000 S-Class sedans in 2014, a lofty goal indeed, that’ll be down 35% from the level achieved in 2006, the year the GL-Class SUV arrived. BMW sold more than 20,000 7-Series sedans as recently as 2003, but they’ll be lucky to sell 10,000 in 2014. 10,000 Lexus LS sales are within the realm of reason for 2014, but that’s well off the annual average rate of 26,668 sold between 2004 and 2008, the last time Lexus sold more than 20,000 copies.

And what of the Tesla? Presumably some, if not most, Model S buyers were in fact going to buy another car had the all-electric Tesla not been available. At the low end, the Model S may align itself more closely to the E-Class and 5-Series than the S-Class and 7-Series, but we mention it here for the sake of clarity. The Automotive News Data Center estimated at the beginning of May that Tesla sales totalled 8066 units through four months, but even HybridCars.com’s 5400-unit U.S. estimate for January-April is on the high end of many guesses reported in the electric car blogosphere. Tesla says the company delivered 6457 units, globally, in the first three months of 2014.

Don’t forget Kia.

The K900 found 260 April buyers; 365 since it went on sale in March. Hyundai Equus sales were up 9% to 285 in April; up 12% to 1203 over the last four months. Mercedes-Benz also sold 2045 CLSs so far in 2014, a 12% drop, and Audi A7 sales are up 7% to 2922. Maserati has reported 3332 total sales in 2014, a 342% year-over-year increase, but sales aren’t broken down by specific models.

Auto
April
2014
April
2013
%
Change
4 mos.
2014
4 mos.
2013
%
Change
Audi A8
443 468 -5.1% 1,617 1,929 +9.4%
BMW 7-Series
674 871 -22.6% 2,556 3,209 -20.3%
Jaguar XJ
369 323 +14.2% 1,578 1,568 +0.6%
Lexus LS
712 700 +1.7% 2,679 3,560 -24.7%
Mercedes-Benz
S-Class
1,909 1,103 +73.1% 7,278 4,180 +74.1%
Porsche Panamera
517 501 +3.2% 1,983 1,885 +5.2%
Total
4,624
3,966 +16.6% 17,691 16,331 +8.3%

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Review: 2014 Lexus LS 600hL (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/review-2014-lexus-ls-600hl-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/review-2014-lexus-ls-600hl-with-video/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=520497 The LS 600hL is the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering. It is the largest Lexus sedan, the brand’s most expensive model, the most expensive hybrid in the world and, with the death of BMW’s V8 ActiveHybrid system, it is once again the most powerful hybrid on sale. Yet the LS 600hL hasn’t had an […]

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2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The LS 600hL is the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering. It is the largest Lexus sedan, the brand’s most expensive model, the most expensive hybrid in the world and, with the death of BMW’s V8 ActiveHybrid system, it is once again the most powerful hybrid on sale. Yet the LS 600hL hasn’t had an easy time of things. The large luxury sedan has been lambasted for being the antithesis of green thanks to its EPA combined 20 MPG score. Critics also question whether the 600hL’s enormous premium over the LS 460L can ever be “justified.” I too questioned the logic behind the 600hL at first, but then I spoke with someone who changed my mind. Before we dive in, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The 600hL starts at $119,910. With all the options checked, you land at $134,875. Without destination. Put your eye balls back in their sockets and click past the jump as we dive into an alternate universe.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

I don’t live in a world filled with chauffeurs, champagne and caviar. Heck, I don’t even live in a world with indoor plumbing. (Seriously, my house doesn’t have an indoor shower, but that’s a story for a different time.) This meant I needed help in order to view the 600hL through the right lens. Fortunately I have a family connection with a guy in Atherton who is exactly the kind of guy I was looking for: one with deep pockets. Being the private jet/vacation mansion owning guy I was looking for, I expected him to be put off by the LS 600hL’s simple lines and unmistakably “discount” $71,990 LS 460 roots. Instead he had an opinion I hadn’t considered.

In a town where the money is piled high and deep, but paradoxically being flashy is considered tasteless, the LS 600hL strikes the right balance. Or so I am told. By looking like a lesser LS, it doesn’t scream “I spent twice your salary on my car,” but at the same time your neighbors will know your trust fund is still returning 15% a year. While he agreed that a similarly expensive 2014 S-Class was far more attractive and exciting, he felt it was too “nouveau riche.” From the mouth of babes…

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesInterior
$119,910 doesn’t buy you a leather-clad dashboard standard, if you want that you have to add a few options to your spendy hybrid. No matter what package you add, the age of the LS platform shows in the front seats. Sharing the same mechanisms with the pre-refresh 2012 LS, the seat fails to contort in the same variety of directions as the Germans, or even the cheaper Lexus GS which has more modern seat frames. Still, 600hL buyers are likely to only experience the front seats when Jeevs has a day off.

Because 2013 is more of an extensive refresh than a clean-sheet design, the LS 600hL doesn’t get a fancy LCD instrument cluster, opting instead for a four-dial arrangement with a “wine glass” shaped multi-function display in the center. A full-disco-dash arrangement isn’t a requirement for me as there are plenty of traditional gauges in this segment but I had hoped for more from a luxury car designed in a country obsessed with electronic gadgets. The same thing can be said for the large 12-inch display in the middle of the dash. The display is bright and crisp but the software hasn’t been significantly re-worked for some time making it feel dated.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-009

Gadgets & Infotainment

No 600hL would be complete without the $7,555 Executive Package. For the cost of a used compact car Lexus adds an Alcantara headliner, deletes the middle rear seat for a fixed console, covers the dash in leather, wires up a 120V inverter, and installs the best rear seat available in America.

That seat is the 600hL’s raison d’être. It is also so mind-blowingly insane, I have decided it will hence forth be known as the “Lexus throne”. The 600hL’s throne contorts in 10 ways via controls in the substantial center console and boasts manual butterfly headrests. If that isn’t enough it will also vibrate and massage your royal personage while you put your feet up on the power ottoman. The massaging function isn’t like the systems employed by the German competition in the front seat. Those systems use a series of air bladders that inflate/deflate in a pattern to initiate a massage. The result feels more like a rodent trapped between the foam and the upholstery. The Lexus system uses a system more similar to the pneumatic rollers you find in airport “massage station chairs.” Only classier. And without the stench of the peasantry.

Activating the massage is easy once you get the hang of the 17-button remote control nestled next to the 26-button infotainment remote inside the 45-button console. If you rank your rides by button count, we have a winner. Lexus tosses in a blue-ray DVD player, wireless headphones and a single LCD that drops down from the ceiling. Although the Lexus Remote Touch joystick lives on up front, those being coddled in the rear can forget about the clunky controller and can control many of the car’s functions via the button bank. On the one hand this is less integrated than BMW’s iDrive for rear passengers that allow them top play with the nav system, but it does shield the owner of the LS 600hL from dealing with the evil that is Remote Touch.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Engine, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

The wealthy are frequently in a hurry and have the resources to pay Texas-sized speeding tickets. Unfortunately for them, Lexus hasn’t updated the 600hL’s hybrid system for the new model. While I still think of the 600hL’s setup as one of the most advanced hybrid systems in the world, I just can’t call it “powerful” anymore. Rated at 438 system horsepower, it is outclassed by a wide variety of V8s in everything from a Dodge Super Bee to the German’s base V8 options. That’s even before we talk about the V12 luxury barges Lexus is attempting to target. The “old” S65 AMG cranked out 631 horses and enough torque to cause the earth to rotate in the other direction. What will 2014 bring? You can bet the answer will be: more.

Operating much like a Prius hybrid system on steroids, a 385 horsepower 5.0L V8 engine is mated directly to a planetary gearset employing two motor/generator units. The larger motor is capable of 221HP on its own, but the battery pack in the trunk of the LS can only supply 53 HP at a time limiting the EV mode to around 30 MPH. The engine and motors work together to provide seamless and linear acceleration unlike anything on the market save a Tesla Model S. This design is quite different from the pancake motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission that you find in the German hybrids. Lexus won’t comment on how much torque the combined unit is good for, but my gut tells me it is around 450 lb0-ft combined.

Lexus continues to use a 288V Ni-MH battery pack that is similar to the one used in the Lexus RX hybrid. The 1.6kWh battery pack isn’t as space efficient as the more modern Lithium based batteries but had a proven track record and allows high current discharges with a smaller number of cells. Unfortunately it’s not as slim as the trendier cells and occupies a large portion of the trunk. Combined with the plumbing for the four zone climate control and the massaging throne, they slice trunk capacity from 18 cubes to 13 making it difficult to fit large luggage in the rear.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drive

With 5,500 pounds of luxury sedan riding (yes, you read that number correctly) on an air suspension, you can cross corner carving off your list. I suspect that such activities are frowned upon when the help is driving you anyway, but the weight and relatively narrow 245/45R19 tires mean stopping distances are long as well. Dynamically the LS has always been an excellent vehicle with a well controlled chassis, nearly perfect weight balance and a solid feel. When scaled up to the 600hL, you can tell those traits are still there but they are masked by the weight and the standard adaptive air suspension.

If I might digress for a moment, the LS platform is the perfect vehicle to experience an air suspension in on a test drive. There aren’t many cars that have a standard steel-coil suspension and an air suspension available in the same car and the LS is one. Air suspensions have an entirely different feel to them so when you compare an S-Class with Airmatic with a 7-Series that had only a partial rear air suspension it’s difficult to compare unless you’ve experienced what the air bags do to the feel of the car. I encourage anyone looking in this segment to give the LS a spin with and without the air suspension so you can really be familiar with the changes these systems make to the feel of a car.

Back on topic, let’s talk thrust. At the stoplight races the LS 600hL accelerates faster if the engine is already on. This is fairly logical since some of the motor’s twist would be consumed by starting the engine. Our numbers were taken with the engine “stopped” by the hybrid system which is the normal state of affairs. Thanks to the massive torque from the electric motor and the 5.0L V8, we hit 30 MPH after a scant 2.36 seconds. After this point the heavy curb weight comes into play with 60 MPH happening after 5.44 seconds followed by a 13.96 second quarter-mile. A BMW 750 and Mercedes S550 scoot to 60 about a half second faster while the V12 BMW 760 is a full second quicker. On the flip side even the new 8-speed ZF transmission feels like a farm tractor compared to the Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Acceleration in the 600hL is extraordinarily linear, unbelievably smooth and eerily silent. Comparisons to the Tesla Model S in terms of acceleration linearity and feel are entirely appropriate. All of a sudden the hybrid drivetrain combined with the throne in the back make sense: if I’m being driven, I want a smooth experience. Forget about the driver having fun, it’s all about the party in the back.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

After a week with the LS 600hL I still have problems looking at the expensive cruiser in the “right” way, but I am closer to understanding the point. That point is less about fuel economy (which was 21.8 MPG over all by the way) and more about silently and smoothly cruising below the radar. If that’s your mission, then mission accomplished. The LS 600hL is also the least expensive vehicle that I know of designed with the chauffeured set in mind. Except that makes the LS 600hL the oddest duck I’ve met. Being obviously designed for owners with drivers it makes a value proposition that logically shouldn’t matter to the intended audience. If you’re being driven, the smallest part of the expense structure over the life of a vehicle is the price of the vehicle. Your driver and his benefits are likely to eat the bulk of your budget. My sounding board in this process is still trying to convince me that looking at the LS 600hL in this light is missing the point. Perhaps, but it does explain why the LS 600hL sells in such small numbers. It also explains why he still has a 2010 XJ8.

 

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • Best. Back. Seat. Ever.
  • Avatar on Blue Ray never sounded so good.

Quit it

  • Everyone will wonder why you didn’t buy an S-Class.
  • 438 ponies is hardly class-topping in 2013.
  • Despite being told otherwise, 21.8 MPG still seems to be missing the point.

 

Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

0-30: 2.36

0-60: 5.44

1/4 Mile: 13.96 @ 105 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 21.8 MPG over 623 miles

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Engine 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Engine, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-002 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-003 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-004 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-005 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-006 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-007 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-008 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior-010 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-001 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-002 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-003 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-004 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-006 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-007 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-008 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-009 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-010 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-011 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-013 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-014 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-015 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-016 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-018 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-019 2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-020

 

 

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Review: 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/review-2013-lexus-ls-460-f-sport-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/review-2013-lexus-ls-460-f-sport-video/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 15:30:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480822 While BMW has been turning the 7-Series into a luxuriously silent highway cruiser, Lexus has been busy injecting sport into their isolated lineup. In 2006 we got the 417HP IS-F, in 2011 came the insane LF-A super car, and in 2012 we were introduced to Lexus’ styling and suspension tweak brand F-Sport with the GS350 […]

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While BMW has been turning the 7-Series into a luxuriously silent highway cruiser, Lexus has been busy injecting sport into their isolated lineup. In 2006 we got the 417HP IS-F, in 2011 came the insane LF-A super car, and in 2012 we were introduced to Lexus’ styling and suspension tweak brand F-Sport with the GS350 F-Sport. It was only a matter of time until the spindle grille and the looks-fast F package appeared on Lexus’s flagship LS. Can a “looks-fast” and “handles-better” package help the LS regain the sales crown? Or does Lexus need to go back to the drawing board for some go-fast love?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Lexus’s new styling direction has been somewhat controversial, which is probably a first for Lexus having subscribed to the “simple is elegant” mantra since 1989. While I wasn’t sure about the new “spindle” grille on the 2011 GS and I need to see the 2014 IS to figure out if I like it, the spindle on the LS suits me just fine. The problem in my mind is the proportions. The LS’ blunt nose, wide stance and long hood just work while the shorter snout and more pronounced spindle on the IS seem a bit too “try hard” to me at the moment. In addition to the blacked out grill you see above, F-Sport models get a lowered stance, Brembo brakes, revised suspension tuning and unique wheels. The cost for the added kit? $12,080 over the base LS 460’s starting price of $71,990. Out the door at $84,965 the LS 460 F-Sport undercuts a similarly equipped BMW 740i M-Sport by nearly $2,000. Mercedes? The 295HP V6 S400 starts at $92,350. If you thought the LS sells on reliability and value, you’re right.

Interior

Most manufacturers spend the cash on the outside of the “sport” model leaving less of the budget for interior tweaks and so it is with the F-Sport. We get some tweaked seats, aluminum pedals, a black Alcantara headliner and Lexus’ hallmark wood trim has been swapped for aluminum. The rest of the standard LS’ split-level dash remains, dominated by a large 12.3-inch LCD. Befitting a vehicle this expensive, the interior in our tester screamed “attention to detail” with perfect seams, high quality materials and perfect color matching.

That price tag is important to keep in mind. While the LS F-Sport ranges from $84,965 to $88,115, even the “lowly” 740i can be optioned up to $111,295 if you’re not careful. As a result you won’t find some of the expensive options on the BMW like a full-leather dashboard, heads-up display, night vision, or fancy ceramic knobs. Of course, few 7-Series shoppers check those option boxes and the more you add the more there is to go wrong. Lexus’ mantra has long been to keep things as simple as possible by offering high levels of standard equipment, bundling options in packages and steering clear of any gadget or gizmo that could go wrong within a warranty period. Few BMW shoppers load their 7-series to the gills anyway, so 90% of shoppers will find all they seek in the F-Sport’s black-only interior.

 

The F-Sport’s 16-way power driver’s seat and 12-way passenger’s seat have beefed-up bolstering and embossed logos on the headrests.  While I found the seats to be very comfortable for my 6-foot frame, the GS’ 18-way seats offer a wider range of motion and customization. Thanks to the thicker bolstering on the seat back and bottom the F-Sport will hold you in your seat should you decide to drift on your way to the financial district. All F-Sport models come with an F-Sport specific steering wheel based heavily on the standard LS tiller. An electric tilt/telescoping steering column with memory is standard.

Lexus’s flagship sedan is as much about the rear occupants as the front. To that end the F-Sport still has a three-position rear throne with outboard “buckets” and a high-mounted center seat. Thanks to the typical RWD “hump” and the bucket-like design of the outboard seats, the center spot should be left to homunculi. Ditching that 5th person will make the rear more comfortable anyway and four full-sized American adults will have no headroom or legroom issues in even the short wheelbase LS. Befitting the “adult” tastes the LS is designed to appeal to, the rear seat cushions aren’t sitting on the floor providing more thigh support than your average sedan. As you would expect with any vehicle this size, the LS sports a large 18 cubic foot trunk.

Infotainment & Gadgets

Widescreen infotainment systems are all the rage and 2013 the LS up to date with a large 12-inch LCD in the dash. Positioned in its own “pod”, the screen is higher and closer to the normal sight lines of a driver than before. The system ditches the intuitive touchscreen interface Lexus has used for the better part of a decade for the Lexus joystick (it’s officially called Lexus Remote Touch.) I won’t beat around the bush, I hate it. I am however open to suggestion, so please post your thoughts and experiences with Remote Touch in the comment section below.

My issues with LRT are: it occupies a great deal of room on the center console,and it takes far more hand-eye-brain coordination than a touchscreen. Every time I am in a Lexus I find myself glancing at the screen and fiddling with the little control pad far more than when I’m in a competitor’s luxury sedan. This increased distraction hasn’t gone unnoticed by my better half who constantly nags me about keeping my eyes on the road. Want to enter an address using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard? It’s obvious why Lexus won’t let you do that in motion.

To soften the blow Lexus throws in the same media device voice command interface as the other Lexus and premium Toyota products receive. The system is snappy, managed to figure out every command I threw at and has a more natural sounding voice than MyLincoln Touch. Helping counter the nagging Lexus Remote Touch caused (see how that’s not my fault now), the available Mark Levinson sound system can drown out even the most shrill mother-in-laws.

Perhaps reinforcing that Lexus focuses on the “meat” of the luxury segment and not the one-percent, you won’t find the same level of gee-wizardry in the F-Sport as some of the Euro competitors. You won’t find night vision, a full-leather dashboard, expensive ceramic knobs, massaging front seats, heads-up displays or full-LCD instrument clusters in the Lexus showroom. Instead, Lexus doubles down on perfect seams, quiet cabins, a high level of standard equipment and quantities of wood that would make Jaguar blush. New for 2013 is an optional collision prevention system that augments the collision warning system from last year’s model with the ability to fully stop the car while traveling at low speeds to prevent an accident. Much like the system Volvo has been stuffing in their cars since 2009, the system is active from about 5-24 MPH. Lexus has also tweaked their radar-based dynamic cruise control to now take the LS to a complete stop and take off again in stop-and-go traffic.

Drivetrain

The naturally aspirated luxury car V8 is an endangered species now that BMW, Audi and Mercedes are embracing turbo love. Lexus is the lone holdout using the same 4.6L naturally aspirated V8 engine the LS 460 debuted with in 2006.The direct-injection mill produces 386 ponies at 6,400 RPM (dropping to 360 in the AWD model) and 367lb-ft of twist at 4,100. Power delivery is typical of a medium-displacement DOHC V8; there is enough grunt at the low end to chirp the wheels, torque builds in a linear fashion and most of the “go” happens near red-line. The observant will note the F-Sport is down on power when pitted against the latest in German twin-turbo V8s putting the F-sport at a serious disadvantage when stoplight racing. In terms of power, the LS 460 compares most directly to the 740i with BMW’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine. On the bright side, the F-Sport’s engine is incredibly smooth and has one of the best engine sounds on this segment (you can thank the turbos for messing up the German symphony.) Why didn’t Lexus drop the 5.0L V8 from the IS-F into the F-Sport? The world may never now.

For F-Sport duty the LS gets a few software tweaks and performance-themed upgrades. The 8-speed automatic has been reprogrammed to rev-match downshifts, there are some snazzy shift paddles on the steering wheel, and there’s a Torsen limited slip differential out back. F-Sport tuning adds variable gear ratio steering to the electro-mechanical power steering unit and an additional “Sport+”  driving mode for the engine, transmission, steering and suspension systems

Drive

The naturally aspirated V8 defines the way the F-Sport at the dragstrip. Because the engine needs to rev to 4,100 RPM for torque to peak, it lacks the immediacy and urgency you feel from the twin-turbo Merc and Bimmer. The 8-speed automatic uses closely spaced low gears to help improve off-the-line performance allowing the F-Sport to hit 60 in 5.47 seconds. That’s a hair slower than the BMW 740i and half a second slower than the 750 or S550. However, if a great soundtrack is more important to you than shove, consider that turbos interfere with classic V8 sounds due to their location in the intake and exhaust plumbing. Further boosting the high-revving V8 howl, Lexus dropped a sound tube into the intake to pipe more “V8″ into the cabin.

The mission of sport packages is primarily to improve looks, and secondarily improve handling. That makes Lexus’ decision to put an air-suspension in the F-Sport a bit unusual. You see, there are three basic types of adaptive suspension systems. The first uses a strut filled with a ferromagnetic fluid whose viscosity changed when electricity is applied (GM and Audi like that one). The second is a more typical gas-filled strut with an electronically controlled valve to alter damping characteristics (Volvo, Ford and Chrysler use this one). Last is the air-suspension. Unlike the other two, air systems don’t just alter the damping, they are also involved in maintaining (or altering) the ride height. This means they both damp and keep your car off the ground. By altering the pressure in the internal air bags, ride firmness and height can be adjusted. While air suspensions have a pedigree (everyone from Rolls Royce to Jaguar uses one) having a vehicle ride on four small “Aero Beds” leads to an unusual feel when the road starts to curve. I’m no stranger to this technology, my own Jaguar Super V8 uses a similar system, and it delivers a similar feel. There’s a reason  Jaguar ditched the system for their new breed of corner-clawing kitties.

Despite the F-Sport having a lowered ride height over the regular LS and the air suspension being tweaked for a firmer ride, the system is firm but floaty. Sort of like over-inflating that air mattress you pull out for overnight guests. (My Jaguar feels exactly the same and so does the Mercedes S-Class.) That doesn’t mean the F-Sport is a land barge, it just means the feeling is unusual. Feelings aside, the F-Sport handles extremely well thanks to grippy low-profile rubber and Lexus’ variable gear ratio steering system.

VGRS (as Lexus calls it) has a more natural and direct feel than BMW’s active steering system, especially on close-quarter mountain switchbacks where you’re sea-sawing the wheel as you alternate mashing the stop and go pedals. The system fools you into thinking the F-Sport is lighter and more balanced than the BMW when in reality they very similar. At 53:47 (front:rear), the F-Sport is a bit heavier in the nose than the near-prefect 50:50 BMW 740i (but not far off the heavier 750i), but the Lexus hides it well, only giving up the secret when you’ve hit the limit and the nose begins to plow. Compared to the heavier 750i or S550, the LS feels lighter on its feet. Surprised? You shouldn’t be, after all, BMW is the new Meercedes. While I would take the more neutral vehicle, I know a majority of real-world owners prefer a car that leans toward understeer. (Fear not, if your foot is mashing the go pedal, the F-Sport will get all kinds of tail-happy  on you.)

Out on the highway or driving through pot-holed downtown streets, the air suspension makes more sense because it soaks up pavement imperfections like a Cadillac Fleetwood, which is after all the raison d’être of the Lexus brand. While I think I would have demanded the engineers swap the airbags for some steel coils, I don’t think that would make the F-Sport sell any better. Without more shove, the F-Sport will never be direct competition for the new breed of German luxury sedan. Instead the F-Sport is quite simply the best looking Lexus to date and the most dynamic large sedan the Japanese have ever built.  Is that enough to regain the sales crown? Only time will tell, but the bold grille, F-Sport model and low sticker price sure can’t hurt.

 

Hit it

  • Well priced luxury car without a discount brand cachet.
  • Impeccable reliability reputation.
  • The F-Sport isn’t as demure as a modern 7-series but not as flashy as a Maserati, etc.

Quit it

  • The Lexus joystick device is my least favorite infotainment input device.
  • Fewer gadgets and gizmos are available compared to the BMW 7-Series and Audi A8.

 

 Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.215 Seconds

0-60: 5.47 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.09 Seconds @ 100.4 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: xx MPG over 585 Miles

2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Steering wheel in motion, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Joystick Controller, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Side 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, F-Sport Logo, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, F-Sport Grille, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, LED Headlamp Module, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Seat Controls, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Engine, 4.6L V8, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Gauges, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Lexus Enform 12.3-inch LCD, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Lexus Enform 12.3-inch LCD, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Infotainment, Lexus Enform Screen, Picture Courtesy of Lexus 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Lexus Enform, Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Infotainment, Lexus Enform Screen, Picture Courtesy of Lexus 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Lexus 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Lexus 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Lexus 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Front Grille Profile, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Side 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, F-Sport Grille, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Exterior, Headlamps, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Memory Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Dashboard Clock, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Button Bank, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Drive Mode Selector, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Heated and Cooled Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Lexus Remote Touch, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Trunk, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Steering Wheel, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Driver's Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, F=Sport Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Center Console, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, 4.6L V8, 386HP, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, 4.6L V8, 386HP, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, 4.6L V8, 386HP, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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The New Lexus LS Finally Comes Home To Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/the-new-lexus-ls-finally-comes-home-to-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/the-new-lexus-ls-finally-comes-home-to-japan/#comments Thu, 11 Oct 2012 10:50:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=463471 Continuing our coverage of Japanese cars newly introduced to Japan after they had been shown everywhere else, we present you today the new Lexus LS, live from Tokyo. Quite fittingly, the event was held at the swank Tokyo American Club, the outpost of American culture (initiation fee $33,000, monthly dues $280), located in Tokyo’s embassy […]

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Continuing our coverage of Japanese cars newly introduced to Japan after they had been shown everywhere else, we present you today the new Lexus LS, live from Tokyo.

Quite fittingly, the event was held at the swank Tokyo American Club, the outpost of American culture (initiation fee $33,000, monthly dues $280), located in Tokyo’s embassy district. After all, the spiritual home of Lexus is America. The allegedly voluntary export restraints of the 80s prompted the Japanese to go upscale in their exports. The yen, which was ultra cheap in the early eighties, soon started to rise, which helped to fund transplants, along with the purchase of Hawaiian golf courses and the Rockefeller Center.

Months after Alex Dykes test-drove the Lexus LS 460 and the Lexus 600hL, the Japanese media also could have a look at it. Today’s launch event was above the usual stingy standards (there was finger food and free Lexus-branded bottled water), but it was nothing compared to the lavish Lexus LS launch party in San Francisco. Alex Dykes conveniently forgot to tell you about that party, but us poor schmucks of the Japanese media were shown a video.

What else should I tell you? Through Alex, you already know more about the LS than the Japanese Press learned today. There are some minor differences between the Japanese LS and the American version, one being the side of the steering wheel, and the other the price.

Type Grade Driveline Yen Converted
LS 460 L Rear Wheel 10,300,000 $131,950
LS 460 L All Wheel 10,800,000 $138,356
LS 460 C Rear Wheel 8,700,000 $111,453
LS 460 C All Wheel 9,200,000 $117,858
LS600h L All Wheel 12,500,000 $160,134
LS600hL Executive All Wheel 15,500,000 $198,566

No wonder Lexus aims to sell only 300 a month in Japan. However, should anyone ever mention the artificially low, currency-manipulated yen again, then I suggest that you cover your ears. Because I will scream.

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Pre Production Review: 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/pre-production-review-2013-lexus-ls-460-and-ls-600hl/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/pre-production-review-2013-lexus-ls-460-and-ls-600hl/#comments Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:50:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455800 The LS and I have had a long relationship. Back in 1993 I was an impressionable teenager nearing that holy-grail of ages: 16. This meant I dreamt of driving constantly. My parents were Oldsmobile and Chrysler folks, so my choices were a 1980 Custom Cruiser, a 1985 Cutlass Ciera, or a 1988 Grand Voyager. The […]

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The LS and I have had a long relationship. Back in 1993 I was an impressionable teenager nearing that holy-grail of ages: 16. This meant I dreamt of driving constantly. My parents were Oldsmobile and Chrysler folks, so my choices were a 1980 Custom Cruiser, a 1985 Cutlass Ciera, or a 1988 Grand Voyager. The Oldsmobiles were diesel. Need I say more? One day my best friend’s dad pulled up in a brand-new 1993 Lexus LS 400 for the school run. I had no idea cars could be assembled with that kind of precision and my world was changed forever. Needless to say, when the Lexus invited me to the unveiling of the fifth-generation LS, my expectations were set high.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

The first thing to know about the all-new fifth-generation LS is it’s not all-new. 2013 brings a major refresh to the “FX40″ LS sedan where some 3,000 parts were changed compared to the 2006-2012 model (which was face-lifted in 2009). Being a major refresh, there are sheetmetal changes and only the doors, roof and rear quarter panels remain the same. Lexus fitted a very aggressive interpretation of their new “spindle” finally giving the LS similar “rear-view mirror” presence as the German competition.

Interior

Lexus has a reputation for interior perfection. Even though we were in a pre-production car (which normally means there’s going to be something wrong), there wasn’t so much as a seam out of place. That’s not to say that the LS is class leading in interior parts. The LS 460 still uses a molded dash and pleather door panels while Mercedes and BMW have been doubling down on stitched leather goodness.

While the LS’ seats are among the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in, the GS’ 18-way seats offer a wider range of motion and customization. Should you be lucky enough to be buying an LS to be driven in rather than to drive, the 10-way power rear seats have no equal. Oh, and the right rear seat shiatsu massages. Like Mercedes and BMW, Lexus offers a short and long wheelbase version of the LS. Due to the age of the LS’s basic dimensions however, the LS 460L’s interior is noticeably shorter than BMW’s stretched 7 series.

Aside from the opulence of the rear seat in the stretched LS, the gadget list is a reminder of two things. One: the 2013 LS is a refresh. Two: historically Lexus has been a company that perfects rather re-invents. To that end you won’t find a snazzy LCD gauge cluster or any whiz-bang-I-gotta-have-it tech. Lexus has even quietly removed their complicated self-parking option. Instead, Lexus has doubled-down on what their target market has demanded: perfect leather, perfect seams, the quietest ride you have ever experienced and quantities of wood that would make Jaguar blush.

Infotainment/ Gadgets

In the center of the new dashboard is a standard 12.3-inch infotainment/navigation screen. This latest generation of Lexus “Enform” is essentially the same software as last year’s model, adjusted for a wider screen. The screen is bright and easily readable, unfortunately Lexus’s awkward joystick came along for the ride. If you think iDrive is a pain to use, Lexus’ pointer device may take you to an all-new level of frustration. As with the system in the current GS, the graphics and interface are step behind iDrive, MMI and Volvo’s Sensus.

The optional 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system is as close to audiophile perfection as you will find in a factory-installed audio system. While the 450-watts on tap places this system behind the Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen systems used in the competition, its unlikely to be a problem for most buyers. USB, iDevice and smartphone app integration are the same as in the rest of the Lexus line up delivering a solid and stable interface without voice commands ala Ford’s SYNC and even Toyota’s Entune.

Drivetrain

With all the changes inside and only 50% of the parts being new, it’s obvious what hasn’t changed; the drivetrain. The same 4.6L engine and 8-speed transmission that were ground-breaking in 2006 remain with only minor software tweaks that bump the engine by 6HP to 386HP total, or 360HP when equipped with the optional AWD system. Should you feel particularly spendy, Lexus will continue to offer the LS 600h L delivering 438HP and seemingly unlimited torque through all-four wheels (and consuming large amounts of gasoline in the process). The observant in the crowd will notice these numbers pale in comparison to the twin-turbo V8s from the Germans, but remember that the LS stickers for considerably less.

Drive

When the rubber hits the road, you don’t hear much if you’re piloting an LS. Lexus always been known for  serene rides, but the LS takes things to an all-new level. Even at triple digit speeds, it’s still possible to carry on whispered conversations with rear-seat passengers. The LS is so quiet the new LS F-Sport LS uses a sound tube to duct engine noise from the engine’s intake into the cabin. Aside from this duct, the F-Sport receives no engine modifications making it a suspension and appearance package. Despite this, the F-Sort is more engaging on the winding roads in Northern California than the Mercedes S-Class thanks to low-profile summer tires, but the BMW feels more poised.

Back in the “regular” LS 460, the ride is tuned to the softer side of luxury , especially when the LS is equipped with the air suspension system. It’s not the LS’ spring rates that define the handling however, the curb weight of 4,277-4,794lbs has the biggest impact on what the LS does when you enter a corner. Before you’re ready to dismiss the LS as a land-yacht, keep in mind the V8 S-Class and 7-Series are several hundred pounds heavier than the LS and have a very similar weight balance. The result is a very precise, albeit numb, vehicle.

Our short time with the LS included a hands-on demonstration of Lexus’ new driver assistance systems. First up is Lexus’ first all-speed radar cruise control which, like Volvo and Mercedes’ systems (the best on the market right now) will finally handle stop-and-go traffic. During a 20 mile trip in heavy Bay Area traffic, the system proved itself to be an equal of the benchmark systems.

2013 also brings Lexus’ interpretation of Volvo’s City Safety system. Instead of a single camera and laser scanner, as Volvo’s standard system uses, Lexus uses a stereo camera with IR illumination setup. The Lexus system is active to 24MPH vs 19MPH on the 2010-2012 Volvos and 31MPH on the 2013 Volvo models. In 2011, the IIHS released their first study on City Safety in which they reported the XC60 (the first model with the tech standard) had 27% fewer liability claims, 51% fewer injury liability claims, and 22% fewer collision claims compared to other midsize luxury SUVs. A logical person would conclude that LS models with this tech would reap similar statistics.

My personal history with the LS had set my expectations high and I was honestly somewhat disappointed. But should I have been? After all, Lexus as a brand is steeped in perfection, not necessarily innovation. This fifth generation improves significantly upon the previous generation LS. Compared to the German competition, Lexus has done little to correct the LS’ infotainment deficiencies despite the new wide-screen interface, but the precision with which it is assembled is unequaled. The LS is not without its charm, Lexus continues to deliver the most serene ride on the road this side of a Rolls Royce with large, cushy seats that will coddle your bottom for cross-country road trips. Lexus’ impeccable reliability reputation, coupled with a price that is likely to undercut the competition makes the LS a vehicle that has a place on your short list.

 

 The Lexus event was held locally so no flight was required. Dinner, a hotel room, and all-you-can-drink Coke were provided.

2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Steering Wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Infotainment controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, F Sport wheels, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, F Sport front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, front, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, F Sport logo, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, F Sport grille, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, headlamps, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, headlamps, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Steering Wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Steering Wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Steering Wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, center console, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, rear door, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, instrument cluster, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, instrument cluster, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, instrument cluster, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, front door, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, switch gear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, start button, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Infotainment, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, analog clock, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Dashboard analog clock, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, front seat controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, Steering Wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, cargo area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Interior, cargo area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Engine, 4.6L V8, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Lexus LS 460 and LS 600hL, Exterior, headlamps, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Next-Generation Lexus LS Embraces The “Different Lengths Of Sausage” Philosophy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/next-generation-lexus-ls-embraces-the-different-lengths-of-sausage-philosophy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/next-generation-lexus-ls-embraces-the-different-lengths-of-sausage-philosophy/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2012 14:57:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454426 BMW and Audi have embraced the “one sausage, many lengths” philosophy for their mainline sedans, and Lexus is the next lemming to jump off the cliff. The first images of the upcoming LS sedan show a car that looks like a stretched Lexus GS. Though that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. The GS is attractive, […]

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BMW and Audi have embraced the “one sausage, many lengths” philosophy for their mainline sedans, and Lexus is the next lemming to jump off the cliff.

The first images of the upcoming LS sedan show a car that looks like a stretched Lexus GS. Though that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. The GS is attractive, if not striking in person, even if it’s not as compelling to drive as a 5-Series. Our own Alex Dykes will be attending a preview in the near future – for now, this is all we’ve got.

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90s Japanese Luxury Car Purchase Dilemma Solved: Going VIP! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/90s-japanese-luxury-car-purchase-dilemma-solved-going-vip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/90s-japanese-luxury-car-purchase-dilemma-solved-going-vip/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:15:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431098 Back in September, I wrote about my search for a 1990s Japanese luxury car as a daily driver, with the Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS400, and Acura RL as the main contenders. Five months later, I’ve made my choice. It’s a 1997 Coach Edition Lexus LS400 in nice shape, 120,000 miles. Man, this car has class.. […]

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Back in September, I wrote about my search for a 1990s Japanese luxury car as a daily driver, with the Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS400, and Acura RL as the main contenders. Five months later, I’ve made my choice. It’s a 1997 Coach Edition Lexus LS400 in nice shape, 120,000 miles. Man, this car has class.. The reason I’m getting this LS is to allow me to immobilize my ’92 Civic long enough to swap the Integra GS-R engine into it, which means I won’t be doing any customizing that takes it out of commission for long periods. That doesn’t mean I’ll be leaving it dead stock, of course…
I’ve become fascinated by the Japanese VIP Style fashion for car customization, spending a lot of time looking at the Junction Produce site and various Japanese VIP car publications. I won’t be doing anything particularly radical to my Lexus in terms of ride height or suspension mods (I want it to ride the way Toyota intended), but I will need some better wheels, and Celsior grille and badges… and a fusa.

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90s Japanese Luxury Car Purchase Dilemma: Q45, LS 400, or RL? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/90s-japanese-luxury-car-purchase-dilemma-q45-ls-400-or-rl/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/90s-japanese-luxury-car-purchase-dilemma-q45-ls-400-or-rl/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=411405 Since my daily-driver ’92 Civic is about to become a much less civilized car (plus it’s finally made the transition from “somewhat rough” to “total beater,” I need to start shopping for another DD very soon. Since I’ve developed a fascination with Japanese luxury cars of the 1990s (the era before the Japanese Big Three […]

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Since my daily-driver ’92 Civic is about to become a much less civilized car (plus it’s finally made the transition from “somewhat rough” to “total beater,” I need to start shopping for another DD very soon. Since I’ve developed a fascination with Japanese luxury cars of the 1990s (the era before the Japanese Big Three de-Yakuza-ized the souls of their American flagships and started out-German-ing the Germans), I’ve decided it’s time I owned one. The question is: which one?

Ah, the LS 400. Plenty of them were eaten by The Crusher during the Cash For Clunkers era, but most of these big, dignified V8 sedans are still on the road today. It’s easy to picture a mid-level Nagoya loanshark making his rounds in a discreet gunmetal-gray Celsior, maybe with a couple of kneecap-busting heavies riding in the very comfortable back seat. You might not need to send your muscle out of the car to encourage timely payments from your clients, but the understated menace of the Celsior lets everyone know the option is there. Sadly, Toyota must have ditched their Yakuza consultants from their focus groups by 2000, because the LS 430 and successors were just very comfortable appliances. You can pick up a very nice LS 400 for about five grand, though it costs a bit more if you need to go VIP style with one.

The Infiniti Q45 is a much goofier car than the LS 400. Its V8 has about 40 horses over the early LS 400’s engine and Q45 buyers got variable valve timing, active suspension, and four-wheel steering. The reliability wasn’t quite up to LS 400 standards (watch out for those timing chain guide failures!) but there’s a huge helping of that Japanese love of technology for its own sake that’s sadly lacking in most of this century’s Japanese vehicles. The average age of a Q45 owner tends to be much lower than that of LS 400 owners, and the Q45 didn’t hold its value quite as well, which means most of them have had the crap beaten out of them by now. In addition, I must have a 1990-1993 model, with the strange grille-less face. I might not be able to find a low-mile, solid example, but we’ll see. I’m also tempted by the J30, but it’s just not as extreme as the early Q45.

The Acura Legend/RL of the 1990s lacks both a V8 and rear-wheel-drive, but I like Hondas enough to be able to overlook those glaring problems. Well, maybe. The early Legends were a bit tainted by their Sterling/Rover connections, and they just aren’t radical enough to be interesting to me, but the 3.5 RLs of the late 1990s have a bit of the old Soichiro Honda look about them. I’ll consider a nice RL for my daily driver… but then (if I’m willing to ditch the V8) I might have to take a look at the Mazda 929 or maybe even the Millenia (non-Miller Cycle version, of course). The Mitsubishi Diamante is out of the question, it should go without saying. Not that I’m completely anti-Mitsubishi; if I could find some way to get a Debonair registered in Colorado…

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