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Due to fortunate circumstances I was invited to drive and assess the new LS lineup in Palo Alto, California this week. The first thing I need to convey is that this iteration is not a reliable appliance. It is engaging and whimsical at times. This Lexus has a soul as rich as the sound of Yo Yo Ma's cello.
You cannot help but notice the bold new direction that Lexus is embarking on. I would hesitate to even describe this as a minor change. It is like comparing Dr Jekyl to Mr. Hyde...
The sculpted lines are flowing and can be appreciated and pondered in silence like good art. I especially liked the way the rear shoulders step down and pass through the tail lights to the integrated exhaust ports which are wider set and not boatlike. The effect is a subtle mirror of the spindle front fascia.
The all LED lighting demands your attention from the daytime running lights to the high tech turn signal array. You become spoiled by the LED high and low beams. The foglights are small but intense and leave room for the brake cooling ducts. The inverted "L" tail lights have an interesting 3D effect in triplicate. The interior lighting would be something you would expect to see in a stealth aircraft with recessed LED's seemingly everywhere.
I could easily spend the whole day in the new seating. The pinnacle is the LS600hL driver's seat. My first reaction was that I wanted it my living room for watching NFL Red Zone. The F Sport seats have a firmer cushion and deeper side bolsters. They feature the diamond cut perforations. The wonderful aroma of saddles permeates the interior and the Flaxen breaks the decades of ivory, stone and black hegemony.
The large analog clock has a brilliantly polished bezel at the focal point of the dash. There aren't any set buttons as it is auto time synched. In fact when you drive from time zone to time zone it quickly sweeps the hands around the dial for you. Another whimsical detail is the temperature numerals which roll up and down like a barrel type clock. The LED numerals are easily read from the back seat.
The climate concierge feature gives automatic attention to all four seating positions based on the body temperature of the guests. The steering wheel heater also has an auto mode. Set your preferred setting and forget it ....
These particular LS models were loaded with gadgets that I could get used to in a hurry. While I was driving down Route 101 I turned on the radar cruise and used the closest setting and 65 MPH. Next I activated the Lane Keep Assist. Now I just let it drive itself. On one occasion a Jetta merged into my lane from the right. As soon as the millimeter radar locked on the LS calmly slowed down to match pace. The LKA kept me centered and didn't ping back and forth like earlier versions. The traffic was flowing but if it had come to a halt the Lexus would have also stopped completely for you or imagine being in fog and it sees through the mist and slows you down accordingly.
We drove to the same Google campus where they test their auto pilot cars. This is the brave new world of technology in Silicon Valley. We were told to drive 34 mph straight into a foam wall with a full sized car superimposed on it. It required faith to not instinctively hit the brakes at the last second. The LS Pre Collision system responded and chirped the tires a little to stop within a few feet of the wall. That was wicked cool.....We also demonstrated the Rear Cross Traffic Alert which utilizes the blind spot monitors to basically see around corners for oncoming traffic out of view. Very thoughtful and may save much pain and anguish when backing out of a parking space at the Louis Vuitton store.....
My favorite was the F Sport for driving dynamics. It is equipped with electronic damping ot the suspension, 19" inch hollow edged rims, Brembo 14.8 inch spiral vented rotors and of course throttle blipping. This chassis is not the same folks. It has been stiffened with more high tensile strength steel in critical areas. This allows the handling to maintain integrity with the new suspension. In my opinion Lexus achieved the golden mean between crisp handling and a smooth ride. This is the first LS that doesn't lumber in the corners. The transmission has better firmware because there isn't a noticable lag while under acceleration and it still shifts without shock. There is a trace of wale from the Venturi effect intake manifold at higher RPM's.
Lexus has transformed the LS from its conservative roots to a more contemporary and stylish event on wheels. Kudos to the Kaizen of Lexus.
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Last edited by Rockville; 08-10-12 at 03:44 PM..
Reason: spelling typos
excellent write up. Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to seeing it in the flesh
2007 LS460 with 22" VOSSEN CV1 FEATURES: 2007 GS350
Readers Rides of the month Modified Magazine December 2009
Readers Rides Super Street Magazine June 2010 Bell Lexus service in Phoenix AZ is garbage!!! http://www.clublexus.com/forums/car-...hoenix-az.html
I just used my iPad and android phone for quick pix but I'm not sure how to load them to the CL blog. Any suggestions? Thx.
As a side note Lexus takes the cars and maintains them on premises and replaces tires and brakes if there is any wear and tear. The LS460's and 600's get a warm bath and fresh detail every morning to keep them looking spiffy for the press.
The 12.3 inch high def display has a smaller enclosure than the GS without the horizontal band across the dash. We tested the Mark Levinson's Bass response with Rhianna and even Donna Summer and it didn't waffle and clarity was crystal. The models equipped with rear DVD have a Blu Ray player now.
With all of the discussion on the forum about the modest increase in Horsepower I must say that may be the only minor change along with the door sheet metal. Horsepower is a rather abstract concept that few people are able to explain. Because it is a number it is easy to compare. Torque is readily understood and you can actually feel it. Lexus has resolutely shied away from power adders like turbochargers and superchargers and remains normally aspirated. If they want more power they just make it a hybrid. Who else can say that?
The thing I like about the new LS is that it has panache. Even though I would be proud to pull up in an F Sport it would be hard to part with my new leather and metal key fob...Uh I'll just park it myself thank you.
Last edited by Rockville; 08-10-12 at 04:47 PM..
sssooooo,,, did you like the car??? (just kidding) glad to hear that the LS is somewhat different from the previous models,,, not saying the previous are not good cars. i actually want the 2010 460L. i'll test drive the 2013 anyway out of curiosity. thanx for the review.
OP you did us all a service with your well crafted review. Thank you! Sounds like an amazing machine with a lot of subtle but effective changes. Now the tough part. What color to choose...
The LS models on display were even fingerprint free every morning. They were lined up in a staggered arrangement with their backs to the curb. This allowed us to notice if certain colors were better than others. The Nebula Gray had an integrated look, The Obsidian a Darth Vader presence, The bright white was crisp and clean which contrasted with the black mouth of the grille. The Matador red is a polarizing color due to its visceral association. The fire agate had the most metallic sparkle and surprisingly caught your eye considering its earth tone basis. The deep sea mica will also need to be kept clean to perceive the pigment and it has a tinge of violet. The liquid platinum does not wash out the muscle lines of the sheet metal as it changes color depending on the angle of reflection.
The interiors were all beautiful in their own way. The Bamboo on the 600hL was striking with its natural tones but not for everyone. The Shimamoku wood was a rich depiction of craftsmanship. Do not prejudge the matte finish before you see it because it reminds me of fine Scandinavian hand rubbed furniture. The embossed metal finish adds an interesting element with the Lexus "L"s in a repeating matrix.
The leather quality and hand stitching also adds an Old World touch. The rich aroma of leather is very satisfying. The remote touch device has the slightest raised ball that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. The seat switches are now gilded with chrome. There are different comfort packages that will offer more reat seat controls. The auto temp feature which is dubbed "climate concierge" is another level of pampering you get in the flagship....