Full 2013 Lexus LS 460 Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Lexus LS 460 has been redesigned.
In recent years, the flagship luxury sedan segment has become more about bold styling and making a statement rather than features and performance, as the latter are pretty much a given. This shift has been at odds with the Lexus LS 460, a sedan known for its dependability and quality but also its conservatism. So for the redesigned 2013 LS 460, Lexus is looking to keep the car's traditional strengths intact while also injecting a bit more personality.
While the overall shape of the new LS is evolutionary, the face is indeed bolder, stylish and confident in appearance. It will no longer blend into a parking lot, and with the more visually aggressive F Sport package, it may even draw some glances. The interior has been given a much-needed makeover as well. The design is more contemporary and the materials quality has been enhanced with additional stitched leather trim and padded surfaces. Part of the streamlined design is the result of the old touchscreen being replaced by Remote Touch, an electronics interface that features a large display and mouselike controller that cleverly moves among the various on-screen icons.
Lexus has also adjusted the way the 2013 LS 460 drives. This big sedan still wraps its occupants in a cocoon of peace and quiet while wafting down the road in comfort, but changes to its two suspension systems and the steering have brought about greater control for the driver. The addition of adjustable drive settings -- as well as the availability of the LS 460 F Sport -- elevate the driving experience closer to the car's more communicative European rivals.
Unfortunately, all is not necessarily new and improved in this redesigned Lexus. Despite gaining a few extra horsepower this year, the 4.6-liter Lexus V8 is still bested by rivals. Other V8s boast more than 400 horsepower, while entry-level rivals with six-cylinder power plants actually match or surpass the LS in terms of acceleration. The Lexus V8's fuel economy is similarly disappointing by comparison.
Overall, though, the 2013 Lexus LS 460 deserves to sit alongside the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It has the looks, technology and driving demeanor to better compete for new buyers, while still possessing those safe and dependable attributes that have kept loyal Lexus customers coming back for more.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Lexus LS 460 is a full-size luxury sedan available in regular and extended (LS 460 L) wheelbases. Both seat five people standard, but the L is available with a four-passenger configuration that includes a special center console in the rear. The hybrid LS 600h L is covered in a separate review.
Standard equipment on the LS 460 and LS 460 L includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive automatic xenon headlights, LED foglamps and running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a sunroof, power door closers, adjustable drive settings and keyless ignition/entry. Interior features include cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (12-way driver with four-way lumbar; 10-way passenger with two-way lumbar), front seat memory functions, leather upholstery and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
Electronic features include the Lexus Remote Touch interface, a 12.3-inch central display screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications and the Lexus Enform suite of smartphone-integrated apps. The 10-speaker sound system includes a CD player, HD radio, iTunes tagging, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The Comfort package (standard on the 460 L) adds a power-closing trunk, heated and cooled front seats (with climate control-linked automatic setting), and a power rear sunshade.
Stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, summer tires, LED headlights, an adjustable air suspension (includes enhanced steering, ride height adjustment and additional drive settings), a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with an enhanced pre-collision system, upgraded leather upholstery (includes a faux-suede headliner), a heated steering wheel and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system.
The All Weather package adds headlamp washers and a wiper de-icer. The Ultra Luxury package adds four-zone climate control, six-way power rear seats (with heating, cooling and massage functions), rear-seat side airbags and rear audio controls.
The regular LS 460 can be equipped with the F Sport package. This includes 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential (rear-wheel drive only), a sport-tuned air suspension, sport-tuned steering, sportier adjustable drive settings, unique exterior and interior design elements, transmission shift paddles on the steering wheel and rev-matched downshifts.
The long-wheelbase LS 460 L can be equipped with the Executive-Class Seating package. This includes the Ultra Luxury package's backseat upgrades, but enhances them with a two-seat configuration, a center console (includes enhanced controls, a cool box and added storage), a power passenger-side ottoman, power rear side sunshades and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a power drop-down screen. Extended leather trim throughout the interior is included with this package.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Lexus LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 386 hp and 360 pound-feet of torque when equipped with standard rear-wheel drive. It produces 360 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque with optional all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on every LS 460.
Lexus estimates that the rear-drive LS 460 will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, while the all-wheel-drive version will do it in 5.9. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive. It drops to 16/23/18 with AWD.
Every 2013 Lexus LS 460 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Also standard is Lexus Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button, enhanced roadside assistance and a stolen vehicle locator.
There are several safety options. The blind-spot warning system includes a rear cross-traffic alert system. The adaptive cruise control system includes a pre-collision system that preps various vehicle systems when it detects a possible collision. The Advanced Pre-Collision system includes a driver-attention monitor and can actually take evasive action if the driver fails to do so. Rear seat side airbags are also available.
Interior Design and Special Features
The previous Lexus LS interior was beautifully constructed, but when it came to design and material choices, it just didn't feel as elegant or special as those in the sedans from Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. All this changes with the 2013 LS 460. Soft leather or leather-look vinyl now covers most interior surfaces, and it's complete stitching that lends a feeling of customization. Wood trim is now more artfully applied, and in general the look is much more modern.
The Remote Touch electronics interface is a part of that look, but more importantly, it controls most cabin functions. This is essentially a mouselike device that allows the user to navigate among a variety of icons on a centrally located video screen. We've found it to be a competent control interface for the increasingly numerous and complicated gadgets found in flagship luxury sedans. However, it can still draw too much attention away from the road, and you may find that a tech interface as seen in the cars of some competitors will suit you better. This is definitely something to test thoroughly at a car dealership.
Front seat comfort is exemplary, and the backseat can be even better. Spacious in regular form and very spacious with the long-wheelbase L, it only gets nicer when you start sampling from the options list. Frankly, there isn't a more indulgent or relaxing backseat than the one included with the optional Executive-Class Seating package. Even a Rolls-Royce or Bentley doesn't give you as many toys. Trunk space is a generous 18 cubic feet.
The Lexus LS 460 has never been about providing a dynamic driving experience, and we can't say that changes for 2013. This is still an ultra-quiet car with a beyond-supple ride, and it floats down the road as if on a cloud of air when Comfort mode is selected (and it's literally air with the optional air suspension). However, this new LS has sharper, more reactive steering that imparts a greater sense of driver control. And even though comfort is still a priority, both suspension systems have been enhanced for improved body control when going around corners.
A key addition for 2013 is Drive Mode Select, which provides three modes with the standard suspension (Normal, Comfort and Sport) and five with the air suspension (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+). Selecting the Sport settings or opting for the well-sorted F Sport package really doesn't make the LS sporty per se, but rather makes the driver feel more involved thanks to enhanced throttle and steering response, as well as a firmer, more controlled ride.
In other words, if you're looking for the sort of driving dynamics found in an Audi A8 or BMW 7 Series, but with Lexus reliability and value, the LS 460 F Sport is the one to get. That said -- and although the LS 460's spirited performance should be more than enough for most folks -- German rivals do offer even more powerful acceleration by way of their available ultra-high-performance variants.