Some people eat sandwiches on their lunch breaks; we eat asphalt. Well, not literally (our dental coverage isn't that great), but we do occasionally get to test drive cars while the rest of the world is slurping soup. This week we took to the streets of Manhattan for a 15-Block Test Drive in the 2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport.
A few days before we got behind the wheel of the 2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport, Toyota Motorsports opened up an entirely new avenue with unveiling of the the Sports 650 Super Sedan. The Japanese auto giant's equivalent of Mercedes' mighty AMG tickled our fancy quickly with the tease, exponentially boosting our desire to whip the all-new LS.
Yes, we knew that there would be a difference in horsepower (650 vs. 386). However, (we're beating a dead horse now) the new styling—3,000 of the 6,000 component parts of the LS have been changed—in the factory version succeeds in leveraging its own dynamic stance. The LS 460 F Sport has further exterior refinements too. It's been lowered, the stance subtly more aggressive than its more pedestrian siblings, and it boasts a unique grille all its own.
Rolling from Canal up to 23rd street doesn't allow for opening up an engine, yet the LS 460 F Sport has reassuring punch for a large sedan. It reacts quickly off the line, making those rare moments of uninterrupted New York City driving blissful. Winning drag races against yellow cabs (we all do this, right?) was easy.
Comfort is king in the LS. The flagship series for the brand has led the Lexus charge in the United States. It is, for the most part, a prototypical luxury sedan—high on space and ride, perhaps a little low on driver engagement. With the LS 460 F Sport, Lexus tips the scale. The driver sits firmly behind the leather-wrapped wheel (equipped with paddle shifters), not quite in a race-ready cocoon, but certainly poised for lane-shifting battle.
Like the secret life of the Lexus ES 350 we've detailed before, the LS 460 F Sport has two sides. Behind the wheel, dreams of crushing the Autobahn are met. Meanwhile, those in the back seat can rest assured in their high-life aspirations. Lexus, it seems, wants that duality, and, with the revamping of its flagship, has a model within the series that screams "best-of-both-worlds" (though, in a very nice, quiet tone).
Snap verdict: The Lexus GS 350 F Sport gives drivers assurance. The presentable Lexus ES 350 brings a little swagger to entry-level luxury. 5 minutes in the all-new Lexus LS 460 F Sport suggests that the brand's flagship has closed the gap on balancing rider and driver experience.