2013 Lexus LS Preview

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.

Exterior Design

2013 Lexus LS Exterior Design

For 2013, the LS adopts the now-familiar spindle grille design that’s quickly making its way throughout the Lexus lineup:

2013 Lexus LS Front Grille

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Front Grille

Both models have a similar side profile, though the LS F SPORT sits 10mm lower:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Side Profile

The rear of the LS mirrors the spindle grille shape of the front, bringing a symmetry to the design:

2013 Lexus LS Rear

The only visual cue of the F SPORT model from the rear is a diffuser with a slice of chrome:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Diffuser


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:

2013 Lexus LS Aero Fins None

2013 Lexus LS Aero Fins

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.

Exterior Lighting

2013 Lexus LS Headlights

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:

2013 Lexus LS 460 Fog Lights

The LS F SPORT has its own circular fog light design:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Fog Lights

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:

2013 Lexus LS Tail Light

Interior Design

2013 Lexus LS 600hL Interior

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:

2013 Lexus LS Interior Operation Zone

This way, the upper part of the dash can be used exclusively as a display zone:

2013 Lexus LS Interior 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:

2013 Lexus LS Interior Seats

F SPORT seats have larger side & thigh bolsters:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Interior Seats

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:

2013 Lexus LS Rear Seat 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:

2013 Lexus LS Steering Wheels

The LS F SPORT also gets embossed head rests and aluminum on the dash, along with aluminum pedals:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Interior

Interior Technology

The LS interior shares much of the same technology first seen in the fourth-generation GS, starting with the 12.3″ multimedia display:

2013 Lexus LS Display

Controlling this massive screen is the Lexus Remote Touch interface, which makes its first appearance in the LS:

2013 Lexus LS Remote Touch

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:

2013 Lexus LS App Suite

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:

2013 Lexus LS Analog Clock

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:

2013 Lexus LS Mark Levinson

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:

2013 Lexus LS Blue-Ray Player

Suspension & Handling

2013 Lexus LS Air Suspension Drive Mode Select

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:

2013 Lexus LS Air Suspension Drive Mode Select Table

LS models equipped with the standard coil spring suspension have access to three modes:

2013 Lexus LS Coil Suspension Drive Mode Select

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:

2013 Lexus LS Four-Way Suspension

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:

2013 Lexus LS Body Structure

Additional braces have also been added to the underside of the LS:

2013 Lexus LS Undercarriage

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Brakes

LS 460 Technical Specifications

2013 Lexus LS 460 Engine

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Paddle Shifts

The F SPORT model also adds a intake sound generator, which increases the engine volume significantly during mid-to-high level acceleration:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Sound Generator

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT LSD

LS 600hL Technical Specifications

2013 Lexus LS 600hL

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:

2013 Lexus LS Exterior Color Options

The LS F SPORT is limited to six exterior colors, though one of those colors is the F SPORT exclusive Ultra White:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Colors

There are three wheel options on the standard LS:

2013 Lexus LS Wheel Options

Two of the wheel designs have a hollow chamber along the outer edge of the rim:

2013 Lexus LS Hollow Wheel Design

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Wheels

As for the interior, the standard LS will have five color options, including Flaxen for the first time:

2013 Lexus LS Interior Color Options

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:

2013 Lexus LS F SPORT Interior

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:

2013 Lexus LS NVH

Safety Features

Major new safety features have been added to the LS, starting with the Blind Spot Monitor:

2013 Lexus LS 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:

2013 Lexus LS Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

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 model LS.

Special thanks to Lexus for inviting me to this event.

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Great slideshow! Can't wait for more!
  • T
    Thomas .
  • August 12, 2012
Good post. I love how it does NOT say 'Brembo' with gigantic letters on the brakes! A less sophisticated car-maker(audi) would have probably done that, but not Lexus.   The adaptive high-beam system is really interesting.
  • C
    Car Nut
  • August 12, 2012
What a wealth of information. I am amazed at the technology and the attention to detail. Thanks Kevin for your great presentation. I am sure you have tons of information from Lexus promotional material you have used them very nicely in the article.
  • L
    Lexus LFA
  • August 12, 2012
Wait Kevin, you have tested the "mystery vehicle"?!?!?!?!?!?
    • J
    • August 12, 2012
    • K
    • August 12, 2012
    I should have been a little less mysterious -- it was an LS unavailable here in North America.
Excellent posting as usual, looking forward to your own review.  And the mystery model ????? A more economical hybrid LS perhaps??
    • K
    • August 12, 2012
    I should have been a little less mysterious -- it was an LS unavailable here in North America.
    • W
    • August 13, 2012
    Presumably the LS600h F-Sport!
    • K
    • August 13, 2012
    Presumably... ;-)
All new ISF.. (Well we can wish)
Or a lower powered GS hybrid - much needed in Europe if they dont want to use diesel..
  • D
    Douglas Butler
  • August 12, 2012
I heard from the grapevine that Lexus will be creating a LS600 in the standard wheelbase for its European customers, and will not offer this model for its US customers. Is this true? If it is, I have to take umbrage with it.  
They sorted out the exterior styling, now it have more swag and it looks more like the original LS. @krew tell lexus to try get this car into one of the hip pop and rap videos, it the best markerting. give it to J-zee to make a music video and watch what gonna happen and pluss J-zee loves lexus 
    • T
    • August 13, 2012
    Lexus shouldnt be associated with rap-music!! Really bad advice. That could put of businessmen etc. from buying Lexus.
  • B
  • August 12, 2012
My official statement is this is a very nice refresh, but it will only prop up sales for a year or two. Lexus better have a redesign for 2015, with a competitive engine...... BD
The Ultra White is my favorite color ! I really like a very pure White on Lexus !
  • E
  • August 13, 2012
An awsone job Krew! Love how you made it easy to see the changes and differences. Thanks for taking the time to share!
I neeeed a 460 Fsport! someone sponsor me lol
  • S
  • August 13, 2012
Thank you Amy for the 2013 LS460 F Sport for my 57 birthday:)
I am absolutely amazed at the technology in this vehicle! However, that being said, I think the grille is absolutely UGLY! Hopefully there will be good aftermarket grilles to replace it. What was Lexus thinking making such an unattractive grille? They need to fire whomever designed it and create a more elegant grille worthy of the Lexus name.
  • K
  • August 14, 2012
Have a correction to make: Shimamoku wood is not synthetic -- it's made of multiple layers of Agathis wood, which is commonly used in the making of wooden instruments like guitars.
  • A
  • August 14, 2012
How is it possible that the LS still has the same 450 watt ML sound system and the new GS gets 835 watts with the new ML with GreenEdge tech?
  • A
  • October 21, 2012
Krew, do you know if Lexus actually implemented AHS in the new LS. On the website it says "intelligent high beams", but no mention of AHS like in the video above. Wondering if it's too good to be true....it looked really advanced
    • L
    • October 21, 2012
    Not in North America NHSTA don't like it and apparently wanted Lexus to do more testing
  • L
  • November 8, 2012
ugly front.....way to ugly....I feel like puking
    • L
    • November 8, 2012
    As negative as your comment is......it is a sign that Lexus designers are on the right path If every one liked it, it would mean that they are being too conservative