As German companies BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz fight to be the world’s biggest luxury carmaker — BMW currently leads — Japan’s Lexus is left picking up the scraps. That is, if you can call half a million sales a year picking up scraps…
The point is that the Germans are luxury kings, and frankly, Lexus has had enough. The 2013 Lexus LS 460 flagship model, recently unveiled at a glitzy world premier event in San Francisco, has a simple goal: dethrone the kings.
Over 500 invited guests attended the high-profile launch that saw the entire LS range emerge from the velvet wraps — the 2013 line-up includes the base LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL hybrid, and the first-ever LS 460 F Sport.
The hybrid model gets a full-time all-wheel drive system as standard, while the others need an option box ticked if you want the added safety (and weight) of AWD.
Now we could tell you bits and bobs about the hybrid and the base model, but we must admit, the all-new LS 460 F Sport is the one holding our attention. It’s the only iteration of the 2013 LS range with a much more aggressive exterior, (let’s face it, the others look vaguely different from the old LS) and a unique sport interior with exclusive F Sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and real aluminium trim.
The rear-wheel drive model has a Torsen limited-slip differential for sideways luxo-barge hooning, while the air suspension cossets on the serene commute. Lexus has also lowered the F Sport by 10.16mm, fitted Brembo six-pot brake callipers behind the 19in forged wheels, and thrown in the spindle grille, so people will know what’s closing in on them in the fast lane.
In addition to the powertrain and design changes, (they didn’t tell us much about the powertrain, but it’s still called the LS 460 so that’s a clue that Lexus is sticking to the 4.6-litre V8) Lexus engineers have also increased body rigidity, and enhanced pitch and bounce control by adopting new dampers. They also revised the steering for accuracy and response, and improved the braking system, so there’s now better pedal feel.
Inside, the new LS range gets the brand’s Advanced Illumination System and an all-LED interior lighting system. All that’s left now is for the sales figures to elect a new ruler…