A few weeks ago, I was in Tucson to drive the new Lexus LS. If you are wondering which Lexus is the LS, let me tell you it was the Flagship of Lexus in 1989 and continues that role for 2013. If you want to know what is the heart and soul of Lexus, just look at the LS.
Back in 1989, Lexus turned the Luxury Car world upside down with the LS400. When European luxury car customers realized they could buy a car that was every bit as luxurious, powerful, and beautiful as their Mercedes, Jaguar, or BMW for less money, they took notice. (after all, it was Japanese) When they found about the Lexus policy of taking care of their customers in every way, they began looking even harder. After finding out from their friends that Lexus had an amazing car that was RELIABLE and the Dealers were actually courteous and helpful, then they started buying everything Lexus offered. The Lexus sales staff were resigned to being well paid order takers because the cars sold themselves.
Of course, eventually the competition started treating their customers better and building better cars to catch up, but Lexus has held its own. Best of all, Lexus made every other car company look at their ENTIRE buying experience, and not just the product. Dealer service sells cars too, and Lexus showed everyone that.
For 2013, this fifth generation LS has been refreshed enough that half of the parts in the entire vehicle are new. More aggressive front and rear fascias, new headlights, new hourglass shaped grille, and sexy LED taillights give the LS a sharper, more serious look. The LS comes in several versions: The stretched LS460L, the shorter LS460, the F Sport, and a what-were-they thinking Hybrid LS600HL.
Inside, the LS is amazingly elegant, luxurious, advanced, and unbelievably detailed. There is now way that I can tell you everything that is in this car, but suffice it to say that it doesn’t matter if you have not even thought of it, I would bet they included it.
Here is a small taste of what this car includes: How about 16-way power driver’s seat (including 4-way lumbar) a 12-way front power passenger’s seat (including 2-way lumbar) climate controlled power reclining rear seats with heat/cool knob, power-adjustable butterfly headrests, and memory 4-way lumbar adjustment for outboard rear seats along with a multifunction massager and leg rest. 4-zone climate control with interior air filter, smog sensor and automatic recirculation mode, Rear-seat air purifier, Rear-seat audio controls, Rear-seat refrigerated beverage box, Power reardoor sunshades, and of course, a rear-seat wood-trimmed table.
One of the higher tech features are the Infra red sensors in the seats that detects the occupants’ body temperature as well as that of the seat and interior surfaces via infrared rays. It sends this information to the air conditioner computer to adjust the blower temperature, blower mode and airflow volume to warm or cool you rapidly. There are 12 a/c vents around the vehicle, not including the ceiling. Overall, the fit and finish on the LS is the best you can find anywhere. The comfort and overall interior experience is unbelievable.
Safety wise, the LS has the latest and greatest of everything. Special radar that can stop the vehicle at lower speeds for you, special headlights that shine brighter and farther, warning signals for blind sports and lane divergence. And it goes on and on.
Although this is a big heavy car, the handling is pretty good. Sport mode causes a definite personality change from the standard comfort “floating on a cloud” ride. Brakes are superb and performance is better that expected.
If you want a race car, buy another model. If you want the ultimate in luxury, and reliability, then check out the LS. Prices start in the mid $70k for the Standard LS and can reach $119K for the Hybrid L models. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.