2013 Lexus LS 460 and Lexus LS 600h L – First Look, Review, and Test Drive
TUCSON—The luxury car market is a competitive one. Just ask Mercedes-Benz or BMW, and especially Lexus, which led the field for over a decade until the earthquake in Japan made things challenging, to say the least.
For 2013, Lexus is reinventing its flagship sedan, now in its fifth generation, complete with the new Lexus spindle grille and an elegant, understated look.
Lexus states that 50% of the LS’ 6,000 parts are brand new and this starts with the exterior. The spindle grille, which is shared with the Lexus ES and GS, gives the front a more aggressive look and the clean lines flow towards the back, where the front is echoed somewhat. The overall look is striking and gives the LS a unique appearance. Indeed, the new LS stands out in a crowd as opposed to just blending in.
INSIDE THE LEXUS LS 460 AND LS 600h L
Open the door and it’s all about the wood, specifically the Shimamoku trim (Shimamoku is Japanese for “striped wood”) used on the LS’ steering wheel and trim. While the wood found in luxury cars ranges from real wood that looks like plastic to wood that looks as if it came out of an English manor house, Lexus has brought a new level of detail (and obsessiveness) to this area. Creating the Shimamoku steering wheel alone (not including the other trim in the car) requires three separate vendors, 67 processes, and 38 days to complete. While I didn’t drive a car with the Shimamoku wood, the result, bands of light and dark grain, is both unusual and elegant and is what I would specify when ordering the vehicle.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop with the wood, however. Have you ever gotten into your vehicle on a cold morning and wished the car would warm up faster and more evenly? Lexus’ engineers created a climate control concierge that has temperature sensors in the seat, so the seat and steering wheel will warm up based on what the sensors find when you sit down. And did I mention the hand-stitched dashboard?
The 12.3” navigation display atop the center cluster is not only one of the largest out there but it now has a split screen (admittedly, a feature that BMW introduced over a decade ago in iDrive but which few if any other automakers have properly implemented), taking advantage of all of that screen real estate to provide driver and passenger with useful information while still having the navigation map visible.
The seats are comfortable and supportive but it’s the Executive Seating Package that is truly noteworthy. In addition to seating for four with power rear seats including massage, the black alcantara headliner, the rear air purifier (perhaps keeping the unpure air from the folks in the front from coming to the back), the power rear door closers, the cooling box (for beverages), the 110-volt electrical outlet, and the power shades, it’s the right rear seat that extends into what looks like a seat on a private jet with ottoman and shiatsu massage that really caught my eye. And it was as comfortable as it sounds.