2013 Lexus LS review Lexus LS 460 LS 460L and LS 600h test drve

11 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2013 Lexus LS review Lexus LS 460 LS 460L and LS 600h test drve отключены

Lexus LS Electric Cars

A remarkable transformation

After my last test drive of an LS 460, I wrote off the big Lexus as a non-contender, and my expectations for the updated 2013 model weren’t very high. Man, was I ever wrong. Lexus has made a series of strategic changes that really transform the character of the LS.

If you’re in the market for a big luxo-yacht — or if, like me, you have simply dismissed the Lexus LS as irrelevant — you should definitely keep reading.

First Glance: Low expectations, big surprises

Just about every luxury car built owes something to the original Lexus LS. When Toyota introduced both the LS 400 and the Lexus division back in ’89, they set new standards for quality, technology, and customer service. Unfortunately for Lexus, most of the competition eventually caught up, and in recent years the LS has been having a hard time keeping its head above water in a sea of Mercedes S-Classes, BMW 7s, and Jaguar XJs.

Nowadays, you buy an LS for the same reason you buy a Toyota Camry. It’s a safe bet, albeit a rather unexciting one.

For 2013, the LS is trying to get its mojo back. The changes start on the outside, with a more aggressive face featuring sharper sheetmetal and the hourglass-shaped grille (link goes to photo) common to other Lexus models. Updated headlights feature slick light-pipe running lights and (optional) LED headlights, while the revised rear end gets a cool 3-dimensional L theme in the taillights. It’s as if the LS has spent some time in the gym, toning up just enough to eliminate the anonoblobby look, but still subtle enough to slip past cops (and thieves) who will be looking for Benzos and Bimmers.

As before, the LS is available in several versions: Short-wheelbase LS 460, long-wheelbase LS 460L, hybrid LS 600hL (long wheelbase only), and the brilliant new F Sport.

New dash design and top-notch materials put LS near the top of the class for cabin ambiance

Photo Aaron Gold

In the Driver’s Seat: Makeover does the trick

The LS’ cabin has received a complete re-do for 2013, and the gains pay off like the triple crown. It starts with the re-contoured and re-covered front seats. which are plush and incredibly comfortable. A new auto setting for the seat heaters and coolers allow them to work in concert with the climate control system.

Visibility is good, except for the giant black boxes on the windshield that house the stereo cameras for the LS’ new (optional) collision and pedestrian detection system — they don’t exactly block the view, but they are distracting.

The dashboard has been redesigned, with a new wide-screen LCD display located high up, close to the windshield. Clearly-labeled secondary controls for the stereo and A/C live on the center stack, while the wide center console is home to a beautiful new automatic transmission shifter, Remote Touch controller (which works rather like a computer mouse), and a few other assorted dials and buttons. This being a Lexus, the materials and switchgear are of the highest imaginable quality.

Lexus LS Electric Cars

The LS is available in short- and long-wheelbase models. Both have comfortable, supportive back seats, with more-than-adequate legroom for short-wheebase cars and a football field for stretch models. Available options include an executive interior with heated, cooled, reclining and massaging rear seats, a small fold-out table. and an electrically-actuated leg rest on the right side (those over 5’7 need not apply). The punch line is that cars with the four-zone climate control system have an abbreviated trunk (15.5 cubic feet) just like the hybrid model. so you may need to devote some of that floor space to luggage. (460-series cars without the rear climate control system get a wasp-waisted 18 cubic foot trunk .)

On the Road: Serene as ever, sportier than ever

Optional executive interior offers true first-class accommodations. if you’re short enough

Photo Aaron Gold

Next to the anonymous styling, it was the old LS’ driving dynamics that, in my opinion, made it so dull (an issue Lexus has set out to address in all of their cars, not just the LS). The powertrain hasn’t changed much; it’s the same 4.6 liter V8, now using the dual direct /indirect fuel injection system found in the Scion FR-S and tuned for 386 horsepower in rear-drive cars — but only 360 in all-wheel-drive models — coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The LS 600h gets a 5-liter V8 and electric motor combo that delivers a combined 438 hp to all four wheels.

The hyrbid powertrain produces a tidal wave of electrically-augmented torque that makes it feel like a big, lazy V12.

New for 2013 is the F-Sport model, which gets a stiffer version of the air suspension, big Brembo brakes, unique wheels, leather instead of wood on the steering wheel (for better grip), paddle shifters, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel-drive, the former with a Torsen limited-slip differential. The last Sport version of the LS was a joke, but this one really works — it dials up the LS’ responses a couple of notches. Again, it’s no Bimmer, but it’s certainly better than any LS I’ve ever driven before — for the first time, I didn’t feel as if I had stolen a retired doctor’s car.

That said, it’s too bad you can’t get the F-Sport model with the high-horsepower hybrid drivetrain — now that would be really impressive.

Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars
Lexus LS Electric Cars

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