2013 Lexus LS 460 and Lexus LS 600h L – First Look, Review, and Test Drive

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DRIVING THE LEXUS LS 460 AND LS 600h L

If you’ve been paying attention you may have noticed a trend here: attention to detail.  It doesn’t end once you turn the car on (via the stop-start button), however.  The LS is one of the quietest cars I’ve been in (and the models I drove were pre-production; the final production models should be even quieter).

Most noise comes from wind and pavement. To combat this, Lexus implemented four preventive measures.  First, it designed noise-reducing wheels.  While some car makers have wheels that are designed to improve fuel economy, this is the first time I’ve seen wheels that have the reduction of road noise as a goal.  The wheels have hollow chambers in them that dissipate the sound and are available in both 18” and 19” sizes.   The 18” wheels have five chambers, the 19” four.

The second was to put aero stabilizing fins near the side-view mirrors to direct the air as it rushes past the car.  Not only does this make the cabin quieter, but it increases straight-line stability.

The spindle grille was designed to limit noise and vibration as well, and, finally, Lexus uses an abundant quantity of old-fashioned sound-deadening material to keep things quiet.

The result: the car’s interior, even at speed, was as quiet as a library and there wasn’t even a librarian around to shush us when we spoke out loud.

The car feels firmly planted on the road, even when cornering.  Lexus engineers put more stiffening struvtural members underneath the car to limit flexing and the body itself is more rigid.  They also retuned the shocks and designed a new shock valve that I didn’t completely understand but it worked.   While the Lexus LS is quite big, once behind the wheel, it felt very responsive, more like a somewhat smaller car, and I never felt as if I were piloting a barge.

You can dial the type of ride you want.  Comfort makes the suspension a bit more cushy (which was not to my liking).  I moved the dial to Sport S+ every time I got behind the wheel. This firms up the suspension, reduces steering assist, and provides more positive steering.  Along with the standard Sport S setting, throttle response is faster and the transmission shifting is more aggressive.

You can also select the eco setting, which impacts throttle response (in the opposite manner from Sport and Sport S+) as well as the drain of the air conditioner on the car’s electrical system, thereby improving fuel economy.

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