Published July 31, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Lexus unveiled its new flagship yesterday in San Francisco, the new 2013 LS range of luxury sedan.
The 2013 LS line-up includes the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL hybrid, and the first-ever LS 460 F SPORT.
While all models are worth noting, as a green car dedicated Web site, we are most intrigued by the LS 600hL hybrid.
The L at the end of the model’s designation identifies the long wheelbase, the only configuration in which this LS hybrid comes to our shores.
Interestingly, the LS Hybrid is now available with a full-time AWD system. The available AWD system features a central, permanently engaged, Torsen Limited Slip center Differential (LSD) to further enhance grip, traction and cornering stability.
All AWD models feature a heated steering wheel and Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heating elements which warm the front cabin area quickly after vehicle start-up. Windshield de-icer and headlamp washers are standard on AWD models.
Adopting Lexus’ new face and general design language, the LS sports numerous stabilizing fins which help the LS to be one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its segment with a coefficient drag of 0.26.
The internal combustion engine is an aluminum 32 valve 5.0 liter V8 with Dual Variable Valve Timing and Electronically controlled intake. This engine produces 389 horsepower on recommended premium 91 octane fuel. It is paired to a water-cooled 650-volt DC permanent magnet electric motor producing 221 horsepower (165 kw).
Electrons come via a sealed nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack is comprised of 240 cells (12 cells x 20 modules) with a nominal voltage of 288 volts.
Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined; curiously the same ratings as the previous model.
The LS 600hL will roll on 245/45R19 all-season tires.
Passengers will be pampered in this luxury sedan. The front is equipped with 16-way power driver seat with auto slide-away and 12-way power front passenger seat; rear passengers will find power rear seats with climate control and lumbar massage and butterfly headrest. Seats are climate-controlled in the front and heated in the rear; a three-position memory system is part of the equipment for driver, front passenger and rear seats.
Increased body rigidity enhances stability, and allows for a more comfortable ride. Pitch and bounce control has been enhanced by adopting new frequency dependent shock absorbers, resulting in an even flatter, road-hugging ride. Revised steering offers improvements in accuracy and turn-in response. The braking system has been adjusted for more immediate power and greater pedal feel.
Available safety enhancements include what Lexus dubs the industry’s most advanced Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. As the name suggests, this system is designed to assist the driver in avoiding or mitigating collisions with vehicles and pedestrians under a wide range of city and highway speeds. At speeds lower than 24 mph, this technology helps the LS to avoid accidents by automatically bringing the LS to a full stop.
The driver-focused interior integrates modern refinement with intuitive technology. The Advanced Illumination System (AIS), an all-LED interior lighting system, illuminates to greet the approaching occupants and then fades in sequence with the vehicle starting procedure.
The new, available Lexus Climate Concierge offers an incredibly high level of comfort for every LS occupant. The customizable system uses multiple sensors to automatically regulate not only the temperature of the cabin, but also the climate control seats and the heated steering wheel, quickly bringing each occupant to their preferred temperature.
The standard navigation system is displayed on a 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display which is large enough to support simultaneous viewing of a large map display and other vehicle functions.
A next-generation Remote Touch, with one-push confirmation, is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive control of many vehicle systems. The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located within easy reach on the center console. A number of buttons on the steering wheel and instrument panel enable the direct control of frequently used functions (e.g. temperature setting, fan speed, preset audio stations, etc.).
Lexus Enform with App Suite leverages the customers’ mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing, utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, tap into internet radio, including Pandora or iHeartRadio, search business reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook places. A one-year trial subscription is included for the App Suite.
On top of the regular LS warranty, the LS 600hL’s hybrid-related components will be covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter.
Pricing information has not yet been revealed and the 2013 LS 600hL will be available later in the year. As a reference, the current 2012 LS 600h L carries an MSRP of $112,750, has a total system horsepower of 438 horsepower and is rated 19 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.