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Lexus LS

The big luxury sedan that defined Lexus.

HYBRID

The original LS400 was the car that defined Lexus. The LS has grown larger and more powerful and competes directly against top-drawer European luxury sedans. Like them, it is available in standard and extended-wheel-base models; the latter is particularly cosseting. The rear compartment can be optioned with power seats; an extendable footrest; seat heating, cooling, and shiatsu massage functions; and a DVD player. All LS460s are powered by a 386-hp V-8 that is paired with an ultra-smooth eight-speed automatic. Although isolation from the outside world is prized, the LS has been firmed up for 2013, with revisions to its suspension, steering, and braking systems. There is a new F Sport model that has a uniquely tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, shift paddles, sport seats, and special trim. Still, the LS does comfort way better than responsiveness, and the available air suspension’s sport mode makes for a brittle ride. The LS600h L Hybrid remains at the top of the range. Priced at $120,805, it matches up against competitors’ twelve-cylinder flagships. Compared with them, the Lexus’s V-8 hybrid powertrain provides similar performance and refinement but better fuel economy and lower emissions. Compared with the LS460, however, the Hybrid’s gas mileage is disappointing.

COMPETITORS

Audi A8

BMW 7-series

Jaguar XJ

Mercedes-Benz S-class

new for 2013

A new F Sport model joins the lineup. All LSs get revisions to the suspension, steering, and brakes, plus new front-end styling and a new instrument panel with a twelve-inch nav screen. The mouselike controller has been revised.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; a backup camera; and stability and traction control are standard. Rear-seat side air bags are optional (standard on LS600h L). Precollision warning, pedestrian detection, a driver-drowsiness monitor, lane-keep assist, and a blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert are optional. Safety Connect is free for one year.

MPG

CITY 16–19

HWY 23

PRO

Serene isolation

The apex of Lexus refinement

Loungelike rear seating

CON

Hybrid’s disappointing fuel economy

Sport suspension setting ruins ride quality

Base Price Range: $72,885–$120,805

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: LS460, LS460 L, LS460 F Sport, LS600h L

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4- or 5-passenger

ENGINES: 4.6L V-8, 386 hp, 367 lb-ft

5.0L V-8/electric hybrid, 389 hp, 385 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 8-speed automatic, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CARGO SPACE: 10.1–18.0 cu ft

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