Introduced in San Francisco at the very end of July, the 2013 Lexus LS is a modern reinterpretation of the fourth generation LS, with significant upgrades in design, handling, and technology.
All told, 3,000 parts have been modified in the new model, including an all-new interior, and perhaps the biggest news is the debut of the all-new LS F SPORT package available for the very first time.
With so much change, there’s plenty of detail to go through, so let’s get started.
Please note, clicking on any image in this overview will display a larger version.
For 2013, the LS adopts the now-familiar spindle grille design that’s quickly making its way throughout the Lexus lineup:
Compared to the outgoing design, the front end of the new LS has been flattened, with a more upright profile. A chrome frame surrounds the entire grille, and combined with the blacked-out front bumper, it’s the most aggressive (& attractive) interpretation of the spindle grille yet — even more so with the mesh pattern of the LS F SPORT:
Both models have a similar side profile, though the LS F SPORT sits 10mm lower:
The rear of the LS mirrors the spindle grille shape of the front, bringing a symmetry to the design:
The only visual cue of the F SPORT model from the rear is a diffuser with a slice of chrome:
Overall aerodynamics have been improved, mostly through the use of aero stabilizing fins added to the side mirrors and rear taillights — here’s some graphics to explain the difference:
By keeping the air closer to the body, straight-line stability has been improved — this locks the LS onto the road rather than opening up pockets of air for the vehicle to move around in.
The LS is now offered with two headlight variations — one with standard-issue High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps and the other using LEDs (which are standard on the LS 600hL and an option on the LS 460).
Both feature L-shaped LED daytime running lights with a single tube of solid light — LED turn signals are also standard, as are LED fog lights:
The LS F SPORT has its own circular fog light design:
As with the previous model, the 2013 LS has automatic high beams and adaptive front-lighting, and both technologies have been improved for the new model — here’s a video demonstration:
Lastly, the rear taillights are all LED, and use a newly developed 3D crystal light guide to form L-shapes:
The interior of 2013 LS adopts the two-zone layout of all new Lexus vehicles — first, the operation zone collects all controls into the center console & lower portion of the dash:
This way, the upper part of the dash can be used exclusively as a display zone:
The front seats in the standard LS have been updated to reduce forward slip, and the driver’s seat now has four-way lumbar support and a redesigned cushion length adjuster:
F SPORT seats have larger side & thigh bolsters:
The rear seats are unchanged from the previous model, and still offer various amenities, such as the power recliner and massaging chair-back in the long-wheelbase Executive-Class package:
The steering wheel is now a three-spoke design, with a 10mm reduction in diameter and a new grip shape — the standard LS wheel is wood, the F SPORT is leather wrapped:
The LS F SPORT also gets embossed head rests and aluminum on the dash, along with aluminum pedals:
The LS interior shares much of the same technology first seen in the fourth-generation GS, starting with the 12.3″ multimedia display:
Controlling this massive screen is the Lexus Remote Touch interface, which makes its first appearance in the LS:
The 2013 LS now has the full Enform 2.0 software update, which includes SiriusXM data services for fuel prices, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather, plus apps from Bing, Facebook Places, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora and Yelp:
Another shared Lexus interior design element is the analog clock, though in the LS, the timepiece can automatically account for time zone changes using the vehicle’s GPS:
With the introduction of the Climate Concierge, automatic climate control has been re-imagined in the 2013 LS — it’s a system best described in this five minute (!) video:
Special attention has also been given to the interior ambient lighting:
Standard on the LS is a 10-speaker, 276 watt sound system — there’s also an optional Mark Levinson 19-speaker, 450 watt upgrade:
Lastly, the Ultra Luxury package in the LS 460L & LS 600hL now includes a Blue-ray rear entertainment system with a 9-inch ceiling-mounted screen, and is also equipped with a SD card slot:
Suspension & Handling
Key to all the suspension changes on the 2013 LS is Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to customize the driving characteristics — on LS models equipped with air suspension (Luxury+ package on the standard LS, F SPORT models with AVS, and LS 600hL), there are five distinct modes:
- Normal: Balance between driving performance and fuel efficiency;
- ECO Mode: Maximizes fuel efficiency by smoothing out throttle response and modifying the air conditioning system;
- Comfort Mode: Adjusts Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) dampers to level out the ride;
- SPORT S Mode: Increases throttle response during acceleration;
- SPORT S+ Mode: Modifies the engine & transmission for faster shifting and high power acceleration, adjusts the steering feel, and stiffens the AVS for optimum performance.
Here’s a chart that outlines the various modes:
LS models equipped with the standard coil spring suspension have access to three modes:
ECO & Normal mode remain the same as with the air suspension, and SPORT mode adjusts throttle response & steering.
There have been minor changes to the coil spring suspension itself, with new shock absorbers and a non-linear rebound spring to help reduce body roll — however, the air suspension has been substantially reworked, moving from a conventional setup with sensors in each corner of the vehicle to an system that calculates dampening based on overall movement:
This allows the system to control all four wheels simultaneously, improving ride quality at low speeds and stability at high speed — very important when it comes to balancing performance and comfort. An active stabilizer bar has also been added to reduce vehicle roll and improve stability during cornering.
(The F SPORT air suspension has been tuned even further, improving handling by bumping up the spring stiffness.)
The body structure of the 2013 LS has been strengthened with increased spot welds, body adhesive and a new technique called laser screw welding:
Additional braces have also been added to the underside of the LS:
On the standard model, brake sizes remain the same, with 13.1-inch spiral-fin ventilated rotors (14-inch on AWD models) & aluminum 4-piston calipers on the front and 12.3-inch ventilated rotors (13.1-inch on AWD models) and 2-piston calipers on the rear — however, new on the LS F SPORT are Brembo 14.8-inch ventilated rotors with six-piston aluminum calipers on the front:
LS 460 Technical Specifications
The 2013 LS 460 uses the same 1URFSE 4.6L V8 engine and eight-speed transmission as the outgoing model — for the RWD model, there’s been a 6 horsepower boost in output for 386 hp in total, and the AWD model is up 2 horsepower for 359 hp in total. Other specifications remain the same:
- 367 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
- 0–60 mph timing: 5.4 sec.
- 0–1/4 mile acceleration: 13.8 sec.
- Top track speed: 130.2 mph (210 km/h)
- RWD: 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined
- AWD: 16/23/18 mpg city/highway/combined
LS F SPORT Technical Specifications
The LS F SPORT adds a manual shifting mode, which can be used either through the gated shifter or with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifts:
The F SPORT model also adds a intake sound generator, which increases the engine volume significantly during mid-to-high level acceleration:
On RWD-only LS F SPORT models, a Torsen Limited-Slip Differential has been installed, which optimizes power delivery to the wheels — an example in motion:
LS 600hL Technical Specifications
The 2013 LS 600hL also carries over the powertrain from the previous model, with the 2UR-FSE 5.0L V8 engine & two motor generators combining for 438 total horsepower. The transmission remains a electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and fuel economy stays at 19 city/23 highway/20 combined mpg.
Color & Wheel Options
For the 2013 model year, the standard LS will be available in nine exterior colors:
The LS F SPORT is limited to six exterior colors, though one of those colors is the F SPORT exclusive Ultra White:
There are three wheel options on the standard LS:
Two of the wheel designs have a hollow chamber along the outer edge of the rim:
The hollow chamber wheel design not brings a minor weight reduction, it decreases wheel noise by absorbing the sound of the air inside the tire.
Offered exclusively on the LS F SPORT are these 19-inch wheels:
As for the interior, the standard LS will have five color options, including Flaxen for the first time:
There are four interior trims on the standard LS, the three above and the all-new Shimamoku
synthetic wood — here’s a video that details its creation:
The LS F SPORT is only available in Black leather with an exclusive aluminum trim:
LS Interior Quietness
Serene quiet has always been a hallmark of the LS, and in the 2013 LS model, major steps have been taken to decrease noise, vibration & harshness inside the vehicle — here’s an outline of the improvements:
Major new safety features have been added to the LS, starting with the Blind Spot Monitor:
Also new to the LS is the Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, which warns the driver of approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking space:
Perhaps the biggest addition to the 2013 LS is the Advanced Pre-Collision System, which is best demonstrated with a video:
Finally, the LS now comes with all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, which automatically controls vehicle speed in traffic, and can now bring the vehicle to a full stop if necessary.
Correction: Shimamoku wood is not synthetic — it’s made of multiple layers of Agathis wood, which is commonly used in the making of wooden instruments (such as guitars).
This ends my technical overview of the 2013 LS — check back in a couple days to read my personal impressions of the LS 460, LS 460 F SPORT, LS 600hL, and a special mystery
Special thanks to Lexus for inviting me to this event.