It was only a couple of years ago that some said Lexus' aging lineup lacked luster and contributed to its diminishing sales. Lexus graciously listened to the criticism, made some changes and now boasts a lineup that is modern and more fun than ever.
The new 2013 Lexus LS 460 is a great example of this: This full-size sedan handles beautifully, has plenty of power and can even work for many families if — and that's a big if — you're willing to let your mess makers loose in the luxurious, expensive five-seater.
When it came time for a new look, Lexus opted to give the LS 460 a face-lift. Its new spindle grille looks fresh and ready for action. The car also seems to have realized that it's never too late to develop some muscle. A new 4.6-liter V-8 engine is matched to a smooth eight-speed transmission and provides 360 horsepower worth of muscle. I was easily able to blow by everyone on the road en route to the mountains for spring break.
The 2014 Acura MDX and 2014 Subaru Forester remained at Nos. 1 and 2 respectively this week on our list of most-watched videos. The list continues to be SUV-and-crossover heavy, as the 2014 Toyota Highlander moved up to third place, and the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover bowed in at fourth. Rounding out the Top 5 was the debut of the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L, the only non-SUV entry. Check out what else was popular:1. 2014 Acura MDX
As a hybrid, the gas-electric version of Lexus' flagship LS sedan doesn't make sense because of its marginal fuel efficiency and high sticker price, says Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder. But if you look at the whole picture, the LS 600h also offers a nice ride and comfortable, limo-like interior.
Luxury and hybrid don't necessarily go together in the car world. Buyers who can afford an expensive luxury car typically can afford an expensive stop at the gas station. Why even consider a hybrid version?
There are entry-level models that return excellent mileage resulting in significant savings at the pump, and savings are savings. Then there is a different breed of hybrid where the electric-assisted powertrain is designed to deliver a better driving experience — or more power — without the drain at the pump more power typically demands.
Lexus was the first luxury car maker to offer a hybrid model in its lineup: the RX 400h back in 2006. Today it makes entry-level hybrids like the ES 300h and CT 200h. Both start at less than $40,000 and return an impressive EPA rating of at least 40 mpg combined.
Then there's the LS 600h L, a full-size luxury flagship that sports a unique hybrid system that teams a 5.0-liter V-8 engine with a 165-kwh electric motor and 288-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery to make a grand 438 combined horsepower. It also starts at $120,805 (including destination of $895).
We decided to see how the mileage of this uber-hybrid really shook out in the real world, driving it and a non-hybrid LS 460 on a nearly 200-mile round-trip commute. We were a bit surprised at the results.
The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L challenges conventional wisdom about what a hybrid should be. As Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder notes, this luxury hybrid is EPA rated at an unimpressive 19/23 mpg city/highway — only 2 mpg better than its non-hybrid counterpart, the much cheaper LS 460 L. However, not only does the hybrid far outweigh the 460, it packs beefier horsepower and quickness. It also boasts one of the softest rides around, an enormous backseat and a host of over-the-top features like a power ottoman and massaging seat that could shame Sharper Image. In other words, it's totally awesome and awesomely impractical.Related
The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a lengthy name for a car with a lengthy list of premium features and a hefty price tag: $120,805 (including destination). It's no surprise a few worthy mysterious buttons appeared in this ultra-luxurious sedan. Among its lavish features are a command center in the backseat for the reclining and massaging seats, power sunshades and various remotes for the entertainment and massage functions.
Despite the the numerous backseat features, the more curious buttons appeared up front. A "Spot" button is an interesting choice on a $100,000-plus luxury sedan. See Spot run. See Spot wearing a doggie diaper if ever allowed in the Lexus. Button No. 2 looks straight out of a James Bond movie; it could pass as an ejector seat used on whoever allowed Spot in the car without a doggie diaper.
A cushy sense of isolation from the outside world is great when driving the 2013 Lexus LS 460 F-Sport, but it won't change anyone's opinion about the flagship sedan's excitement factor, Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman says. It's as if that insular existence prevented Lexus from staying current with the advancements of European luxury competitors in technology and overall je ne sais quoi. More aggressive styling is unlikely to elicit double takes, while six adjustable driving modes — including two "sport" settings — are subtle shades of the smooth sailing Lexus lovers expect. It may be comforting, but that doesn't make it exciting.
Why do you buy a $50,000 luxury sedan? Maybe it’s the gutsy engine, high-tech stereo or enough leather to garner a PETA protest. Take the 2013 Lexus GS. Its $48,145 starting price gets you heated leather seats with eight-way power adjusters, stitched dashboard trim, keyless access with push-button start, a moonroof and much more.
But sometimes it's the little things that count. Case in point: a fabric liner that sits between the front seats and the center console. It's a masterful convenience. It saves you from losing quarters, dimes and nickels at every toll booth; it halts you from cursing the iPhone gods every time yours falls under the seat. It prevents a horde of fast-food crumbs and ketchup packets from assailing the carpet.
OK, so you can buy a $20 aftermarket retrofit that does the same thing. You could also fit a neoprene strip — or a stuffed sock — in the gap. But few cars come that way from the factory. Our GS is hardly the first Lexus to sport the feature: Motor Trend sung its praises in a 2004 LS 430. We asked two Lexus spokespeople when and how the feature originated; neither one could tell us.
If every press car we drove had the feature, we'd save 60, maybe 75 cents a week in lost change. Being journalists, that's serious money.
Lexus' flagship sedan gets fresh styling, a revised interior and more safety features for 2013. The 2013 Lexus LS lineup will include a first-ever F Sport model. It joins LS 460, the long-wheelbase 460 L and the hybrid 600h L.
Outside, the sedan looks pretty familiar, though it now wears the brand's new spindle grille and gets LED headlamps. The LEDs carryover inside, too, with an all-LED interior lighting system. A revised instrument panel makes room for the new standard 12.3-inch navigation screen. It's still controlled with Lexus' mouse-like knob, though Lexus says the LS uses the next generation of the system. The Lexus Enform application arsenal is added to the media system with apps such as Pandora, Bing, Yelp and more.
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