Lexus sports car 2013

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Lexus LS F-Sport review: Lexus' flagship gets an F-Sport makeover

The Lexus LS features a design that is proudly Japanese and notably its own. The L-Finesse design language that has slowly been filtering down from the automaker's concept cars and into production models is in full effect here. The sheet metal seemingly peeling back from the gaping spindle grille has become the automaker's trademark in a manner that Lexus tells us should imply motion, speed, and strength.

For as in-your-face as the spindle grille and LED headlamps with their L-shaped accent/daytime running lamps are, the rest of the LS' design is remarkably subdued. The vehicle features a flowing roofline and a wide stance that gives the large sedan a hunkered-down look that, particularly in photos, hides some of the vehicle's mass. The wide, horizontal tail lamps wrap around the rear end and feature L-shaped LED elements. Meanwhile, the dual exhaust tips integrate into the rear bumper. To use a luxury automotive cliche, the LS looks like it was machined from a solid ingot of metal. This is a very good thing.

If the LS was a crisply pressed suit and tie, then this new Lexus ditches the tie and opens its top shirt buttons in a cavalier, Richard Branson-esque fashion. Whether you agree with me that LS 's aggressive design makes it one of the best-looking vehicles in its class (particularly when outfitted with the F-Sport package, which we'll come back to shortly) or if you think that its gaping maw is overdesigned and tacky is completely subjective. Either way, it's good to see an automaker taking chances with one of its most important nameplates.

There's an engine somewhere in there
Lift the LS' large hood and you'll be greeted bywell, a sea of black plastic shrouds and a silver engine cover. With the exception of the washer fluid filler and the oil cap and dipstick, Lexus has hidden all of the sedan's mechanical bits from the driver. Nothing to see here!

Somewhere beneath the plastic is a liter V-8 gasoline engine. Using a combination of port and direct injection that is largely unique to Toyota/Lexus vehicles, this internal combustion engine turns its crank with pound-feet of twisting force and horsepower.

That power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission on its way to the rear wheels where it is divvied up by an open differential. The LS is available with an optional all-wheel-drive system that can send a portion of that torque to the front axle when needed, but our vehicle was not so equipped -- not that San Francisco's typically mild climate necessitated the additional $2, expense.

The EPA estimates that the Lexus LS will cruise for 16 miles in the city and 24 miles on the highway for every gallon of premium gasoline that its V-8 burns with a combined average of 19 miles per gallon.

The F-Sport package
Lexus' packaging is a bit confusing. There are no fewer than nine "Comfort Packages," six "Ultra Luxury Packages," and seven "LS F Sport Packages" ranging from $3, to $16, Our LS was equipped with one of the F-Sport Packages with Additional Options -- an all-inclusive deal that adds most of the go-faster and look-sharper options that the automaker offers for the LS in one $15, line option.

For about the price of a brand new Scion iQ, our F-Sport package adds aggressive F-Sport front and rear bumpers, dark inserts for the upper and lower grilles, and inch BBS wheels with all-season tires. Summer or performance tires would be nice as part of this this sport package, but the LS doesn't seem to suffer for the use of all-seasons.

Performance upgrades include a sport-tuned, Adaptive Variable Air Suspension that has a static ride height 10mm lower than stock. The brakes are upgraded with Brembo stoppers while the Electronic Power Steering system gains Variable Gear Ratios. The open differential on the rear axle is replaced with a Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip differential and the automatic gearbox learns to rev-match on its downshifts.

All of these performance upgrades and the existing power-train systems come under the control of a five-setting Drive Mode selector with settings for Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+.

On the road with five drive modes
Normal is the LS 's baseline mode. The vehicle's computer attempts to offer a reasonable balance of power, economy, and comfort.

Select the Comfort mode and the suspension softens up for a smoother, more supple ride. Eco mode adjusts the engine's output for maximum efficiency and remaps your throttle inputs to reduce lead-footedness.

Twist the Drive Mode knob to the right and the Lexus transitions into its Sport mode, which adjusts the engine output, transmission shift points, and throttle mapping to maximize responsiveness and power at the expense of a few MPGs. Give the knob another clockwise twist to activate Sport+ mode, which builds on the Sport mode's settings by firming up the adaptive suspension system and adjusting the power steering ratio for better handling and feedback.

While the differences between Normal, Eco, and Sport are obvious -- it's hard to miss the difference in throttle response and transmission behavior -- the differences between Normal and Comfort and the performance gains between Sport and Sport+ are harder to feel from the Lexus' driver's seat.

The adaptive suspension does a remarkable job of adjusting on the fly, providing a comfortable ride in Normal mode and firming up when it needs to, so the change to Comfort or Sport+ isn't really a night-and-day transition. Any additional improvement in handling afforded by the Sport+ mode doesn't make it to the driver, getting lost somewhere in the translation between the road and the ol' butt accelerometer in the seat of the pants. In fact, aside from a bit of extra off-center steering weightiness, I was hard pressed to tell any difference between Sport and Sport+ when piloting the LS F-Sport down my favorite twisty road.

Despite the fact that the driver is isolated from the road even in the Sport+ mode, I still managed to surprise myself by how quickly and effortlessly the LS was able to handle the aforementioned twisty road. The chassis will plant itself around the smoother of the bends at speeds well above the recommended limit -- if you're not careful to watch the speedometer -- without protest from the engine or a squeal from the tires. The LS F-Sport was less at home on the tightly twisting switchbacks of the mountains south of our San Francisco offices. The overboosted steering (even in Sport+) and the basic physics of asking a 4,pound hunk of metal to dance around a switchback simply conspired against the F-Sport, but the sedan still never felt out of sorts.

Proper performance tires for the F-Sport package would further improve the sedan's footing and grip, but I'm not convinced that the LS wants to be a canyon carver. This big, comfortable cruiser takes a step closer to being big, comfortable grand tourer with the addition of the F-Sport package. The LS F-Sport is more comfortable blasting down an interstate where its V-8 can stretch its legs, slingshotting around a cloverleaf off-ramp where the suspension can settle, and tackling the smooth corners and rolling hills of wine country's flowing B-roads where the differential take care of balancing power and grip. Considering that these will likely be the LS F-Sport's habitat, I've got no major complaints about that.

Cabin comfort
Inside the cabin, the F-Sport package continues with styling and tech upgrades, including the Mark Levinson speaker, watt Surround Sound Audio System, Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert, a Pre-Collision System that integrates with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, LED headlamps that steer with the front wheels and feature intelligent automatic high beams, and a handful of other upgrades such as an upgraded heater and higher capacity battery. Black leather trim, black alcantara headliner, an F-Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, aluminum pedals and interior accents, and more deeply bolstered seats round out the F-Sport's upgrades.

The LS' standard cabin tech package consists of a hard-drive-based navigation system with NavTraffic, NavWeather, Fuel Prices, Sports and Stocks from SiriusXM, Lexus' Enform connectivity suite (an enhanced, but essentially rebranded version of Toyota's Entune system), standard Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, and a full suite of digital audio sources including USB, HD Radio, SiriusXM radio, DVD optical media playback, and an analog audio input. A giant inch ultrawide display resides on the center of the dashboard and displays all of the infotainment data and doubles as a display for the standard rear-view camera when reversing.

All of this tech is controlled by Lexus' Remote Touch controller. This joystick-trackball combo controller has always been a weird one, but for the most part, I've liked using the Remote Touch controller and its haptic feedback in previous-generation Lexus models. However, the new generation of Lexus infotainment that ships in the LS switches to a wide, split-screen configuration that seems to take a two steps forward in the amount of information displayed and a step backward in user friendliness. The controller that previously used absolute positioning when moving the cursor around the screen now jumps around under your fingers as it repositions the cursor when passing across the screen split. Add to that an interface relies too heavily on home screen to switch modes rather than giving quickly accessible shortcuts to the different hubs for navigation and media, for example. You get used to it, but I found the constant repositioning of the cursor and controller to be confusing at first and a bit overwhelming.

The Lexus' cabin is, on the other hand, chock full of nice tech and convenience touches. For example, the heated/ventilated seats and heated steering wheel can be set to cooperate with the climate control system, automatically cooling your undercarriage on hot days to ease the load on the air conditioner or warming your body and hands on an icy morning while you wait for the heater core to warm up. Discovering these little touches made sitting in the LS' driver's seat a joy.

In sum
Our Lexus LS F-Sport shared the Car Tech garage with the  BMW Li this week, which turned out to be a bit of a double-edged sword.

On one hand, I think the Lexus really pales when placed in side-by-side comparison with the German -- perhaps not on paper, but the devil's in the details when you sit in one car after the other. The Lexus' infotainment screen, while impressive, sits perpendicular to the driver's shoulders on the dashboard, pointed toward the rear seats and picking up noticeably more glare than the Bimmer's screen that's angled ever-so slightly toward the driver. The BMW's screen has a higher resolution and its 3D maps make the Lexus' still-good 2D maps look primitive. Additionally, the materials that make up the 7er's cabin feel more substantial. The power train is much more responsive (with horsepower, it should be) and the suspension more confidence-inspiring than the Lexus'.

On the other hand, the LS F-Sport is still a fantastic car in its own right. I think it's one of the best-looking cars in its class, its performance is nothing to sniff at, and it's a relative steal at a fully loaded $88, (including the $71, base price, the $15, F-Sport package, and a destination charge of $) when compared with the Bimmer's $90, base price before options. True, comparing the LS with the long-wheelbase Li isn't exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but placing these vehicles side by side gives us an idea of how favorably the Lexus compares with a similarly equipped, less powerful BMW i.

Best not rest on those laurels though, Lexus. Hyundai's been improving the sub-$50k Genesis R-Spec at an amazing rate and it's hot on your heels.

Tech specs
Model Lexus LS
Powertrainliter V8, direct and port injection, eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, rear-wheel drive, optional rear Torsen LSD
EPA fuel economy16 city, 24 highway, 19 combined mpg
Observed fuel economyn/a
NavigationStandard, HDD-based with NavTraffic and NavWeather
Bluetooth phone supportStandard
Disc playersingle-slot CD, optional DVD
MP3 player supportstandard analog mm auxiliary input, USB connection, Bluetooth audio streaming, iPod connection
Other digital audioSiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio
Audio systemOptional Mark Levinson speaker, watt Surround Sound Audio System with channel decoding
Driver aidsBlind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, Pre-Collision System, steerable LED headlamps with intelligent high beams
Base price$71,
Price as tested$88,
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Related Stories

Twenty years before the introduction of the Lexus IS last summer, the iconic rear-wheel-drive compact luxury sedan blazed a trail for the power of performance. This is the car that initiated Toyota President and master driver, Akio Toyoda, into the exhilaration of performance driving, and tapped into the desire for an emotional feel behind the wheel. In balancing a sports car with a sedan, the IS created an ideal synergy for a new kind of Lexus guest.

The IS may have evolved in shape, size, efficiency and power, but it has stayed true to its stimulating heritage, retained the craftsmanship expected from Lexus, and created a culture of style and expression all its own.

Now, the IS launches the newest chapter in its story of innovation at Lexus as the first of the lineup to feature the Lexus Driving Signature approach to design. To chart the course of this groundbreaking driving experience, here is a look back at major milestones for the model that shook up luxury and forged a time-tested bond between driver and machine.

Lexus IS Icons: Crafted to Perform

ushered in the new model year IS with Lexus’s customary philosophy of craftsmanship, which here means maximum performance in a streamlined format.  Lexus’ high-performance F editions innovated a liter engine in a compact sedan. Fittingly, the “F” stands for Fuji International Speedway in Japan, the track where Lexus tested out its new line of high-performance cars.

Throwback Facts:

  • A sign of the times: automatic Bluetooth® to connect with devices was added to the edition of IS.
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica, the new paint available in the sports edition, paved the way for the next generation of Lexus’s legendary blue paint colors, including Structural Blue, available on the  LC convertible Inspiration Series, and Grecian Water, standard on the Black Line Edition lineup.

The Lexus IS sedan continues to evolve, with the ultimate goal of delivering a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before. Check out the next icon in the making, the new Lexus IS, here.

Originally published March 18,

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The One With The 2013 Lexus IS 350 F Sport at Pikes Peak! - World's Fastest Car Show Ep 3.25


Since the mid-size Lexus GS sedan first appeared in , it has aspired to sportiness but never quite delivered. Nearly 20 years and three subsequent model generations on, a truly enthusiast-friendly GS has finally emerged; our initial impressions and a comparison-test encounter with the Audi A6 have borne this out, and now we’re taking a look at two more variants to see if the experience is consistent across the range.

The comparo car was a plain rear-drive GS, so we’ve tested an all-wheel-drive model as well as a rear-driver equipped with the F Sport package here. (The decidedly less sporty GSh hybrid returns for later this spring; the V-8–powered GS is gone from the lineup.)

All GSs feature the same liter V-6 rated at hp and lb-ft of torque (up by 3 ponies and 3 lb-ft from ) and a drive mode selector that alters throttle and transmission characteristics via eco, normal, and sport settings. Both of these test vehicles included the optional Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which adds a sport-plus mode to the dial; adding to sport, it selects a more aggressive setup for the adaptive suspension, adjusts the steering system, and changes stability-control thresholds. With beefier anti-roll bars, firmer springs, an adaptive damping system, revised bushings, and staggered-width summer tires, the F Sport was equipped with optional rear-wheel steering that can add up to two degrees of input to the rear wheels.

Nearly as Quick as a GS, a BMW i, an Infiniti M37

The pound all-wheel-drive GS hustled to 60 mph in a respectable seconds; the pound-lighter, rear-drive GS F Sport shaved a 10th from that figure. The F Sport reached the quarter-mile mark in seconds at mph, besting the all-wheel-driver by second and 3 mph. Significantly, performance of both models is close to that of the last GS we tested, which had an additional 36 hp and 62 lb-ft torque at its disposal. Such swiftness puts the new GS in the same league as the Infiniti M37 ( to 60) and BMW i (). The comparo-winning Audi A6 hit 60 in seconds.

It’s little wonder that the V-8 was killed off. The rear-wheel-drive GS F Sport offers nearly identical performance and superior fuel economy—19 mpg city and 28 highway versus 17/24 for the GS The all-wheel-drive GS manages EPA ratings of 19/26 mpg, both of which are 1 mpg ahead of its predecessor’s. Our lead feet and preference for running in sport-plus mode resulted in overall mileage of 19 mpg in both vehicles.

What the numbers don’t convey is the V-6’s newfound willingness to play. This is not attributable to the modest output increase but rather to the improved six-speed automatic’s quicker shifts, standard paddle shifters, and pleasant throttle blips during downshifts. Mix in a sharply tuned V-6 soundtrack that prompts more frequent and longer stabs of the throttle, and you’ll find character that no GS—and perhaps no Lexus besides the $, LFA supercar—has exhibited before.

Handling: Synthetic Feel, Real Response

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from our test was the closeness in handling characteristics between these two GS models. Both felt planted on the road at all times, in marked contrast to the eerie hovercraft quality that marks so many Lexus models, and the test vehicles offered respectable grip: The GS AWD achieved g on the skidpad, and the F Sport held on at g. That car’s sticky tires, along with its larger, inch front brake rotors (again, available only on F Sports with rear-wheel drive), also paid dividends in the braking department: At a scant feet, the F Sport beats the all-wheel-drive car’s still-impressive foot stop from 70 mph.

Unfortunately, the electric steering systems of both GSs are among the most synthetic in the class, making it tough to discern their differences in terms of feel. At turns lock-to-lock for the standard GS and as little as turns with the F Sport’s variable steering-gear ratio, both are relatively quick. Because our only issue with the GS’s steering overall relates to feel and not response, we’d recommend skipping the optional $ rear-wheel steering (unavailable on all-wheel-drive cars).

Despite those quibbles, we praise the cars for their high handling limits, impressive brakes, and scintillating powertrain. We also appreciate how the base car and the marginally stiffer F Sport prevent bumps from jarring occupants while not ironing out the road completely—a good thing if you’re a fan of road feel, as we are.

Extreme Comfort, WTF Ergonomics

The two GS cabins proved supremely comfortable, if aesthetically diverse. With perforated leather available in black or red and aluminum trim, the F Sport’s space is more intense and features amazing way-adjustable front chairs with inflatable side bolsters. The warmer environs of the AWD GS equipped with the Luxury package bring semi-aniline leather, gorgeous brown striped wood, and way front seats with articulating backrests and inflatable seat-cushion extenders, as well as rear-seat climate controls, adaptive headlamps, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, and manual rear sunshades.

Not so impressive: Corolla-grade plastic masquerading as metal on the steering wheel, doors, and dashboard; remarkably unremarkable fonts and graphics; and the huge black hole housing the optional inch infotainment screen. And then there’s the endlessly distracting, pad-on-a-stick-on-a-pedestal Remote Touch interface. At least primary climate-control and sound-system functions retain their own knobs or buttons. And the voice-command system is a good listener.

Much More Likable, No More Expensive

The rear-wheel-drive GS’s base price does not rise from its level at $47,; all-wheel-drive models start at $50,, an increase of $ over the previous model. A rear-wheel-drive GS equipped like our tester should sticker at $60, Major options included the F Sport package ($); dynamic rear steering ($); navigation with the inch display ($); Mark Levinson audio ($); and the Premium package (rain-sensing wipers, heated-and-ventilated front seats, and a power rear sunshade, $).

At $59,, the all-wheel-drive GS was not much cheaper. Its major options included all the above, except for the F Sport stuff and unavailable rear-wheel steering, and added the pre-collision system and dynamic radar cruise control ($); a head-up display ($); inch wheels ($); lane keep assist ($); and the Cold Weather package (a heated steering wheel, headlamp washers, a wiper deicer, and water-repellent front-door glass, $). Although neither model is inexpensive, the GS can be considered a respectable luxury-car value within its competitive set, particularly compared with the German entries.

Overall, the two GS models we tested felt remarkably close in character. We expect GS buyers to be swayed more by the styling and equipment differences than actual performance, with extroverts going for the wilder-looking F Sport and the subtler GS a better match for conservative types. In both cases, there is more for enthusiasts to like in the GS than ever before. And no one should regret the passing of the V


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear- or 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: GS AWD, $59, (base price: $50,); GS F Sport, $60, (base price: $47,)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection

Displacement: cu in, cc
Power: hp @ rpm
Torque: lb-ft @ rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Wheelbase: in
Length: in
Width: in
Height (AWD/F Sport): / in
Curb weight (AWD/F Sport): / lb

Zero to 60 mph: sec
Zero to mph: sec
Street start, mph: sec
Top gear, mph: sec
Top gear, mph: sec
Standing ¼-mile: sec @ 99 mph
Top speed (governor limited): mph
Braking, mph: ft
Roadholding, ft-dia skidpad: g

Zero to 60 mph: sec
Zero to mph: sec
Street start, mph: sec
Top gear, mph: sec
Top gear, mph: sec
Standing ¼-mile: sec @ mph
Top speed (governor limited): mph
Braking, mph: ft
Roadholding, ft-dia skidpad: g

EPA city/highway driving: 19/26 mpg (AWD); 19/28 mpg (F Sport)
C/D observed: 19 mpg (AWD and F Sport)


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    2013 Lexus IS350 AWD - WR TV POV Test Drive

    I lose the sensation of a member, it seems to me that Elki's palm is already inside my body. Emitting groans, I obediently substitute my body for caresses and lips for kissing. Elka, grinning, sits down on the sofa and pats her thighs on top, inviting him to sit on top of her.

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