2013 Lexus LS F Sport
Power: 386 hp, 347 lb-ft.
Engine: 4.6L V8
Fuel Consumption: 16 city/23 highway
Price Driven: $84,885
In 2002 R. Kelly and Jay-Z attempted to cash in on their top-of-the-heap status in hip-hop and R&B with the boldly titled Best of Both Worlds. Despite lukewarm reviews, the record debuted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and prompted an (ill-fated) arena tour. Still, the project wasn't a bona fide success, prompting an eternal question: Can one product really deliver a perfect blend to two distinct things?
One might expect the hip-hop to provide the sporty punch and the R&B the comfort in car analogy. Except, with the Lexus LS 460 F Sport, it's flipped. Jay-Z's populist stylings figure into the core of the car, whereas Kelly's unrestrained libido best articulate the hidden aspirations.
Detailing the two sides of the 2013 Lexus range is a common theme. The all-new GS functions as a proper driver's car—and sells the brand's fresh muscular stance. The ES, in contrast, retains some of its traditional entry-level luxury while managing to steal just enough of the GS' powerful fun. The Lexus flagship, the LS, should logically then serve to best articulate the Japanese automakers new positioning. But does it work?
Comfort, as always, is king when it comes to Lexus, and the LS doesn't skimp in ride. The F Sport's (sorry) sporty interior provides exclusive details like bolstered front seats, heated steering wheel, and brushed aluminum trim. It's nice stuff, separating the edition from the rest of the line, and giving the sedan a needed youthfulness.
Luxury, ultimately, is all about comfort. The appeal of the LS is its space, the serenity it provides, and the understated looks. Providing a sense of calm is of tantamount importance. Look beyond the trim, and you'll find what counts most in the LS—an almost throwback-style dash and entertainment set-up.
Comfort, as always, is king when it comes to Lexus, and the LS doesn't skimp in ride.
Real turning volume and tuning knobs allow easy access to shifts on the radio without taking eyes off the road. The majority of the the in-car technology is controlled by a Remote Touch which functions a bit like a computer mouse and requires a little bit of patience to harness. However, once mastered, the navigation system and standard 10-speaker sound system are easily adjusted for any journey.
The very essence of Lexus is thus retained in those features. We expect all that—the Jay-Z-ness, if you will.
So where's the R. Kelly in the LS? With the GS and ES, we praised new personality. We found unexpected glory in Lexus' aggressive restyling and toned lines. The LS, in contrast, (in part because it isn't strictly speaking "all-new") doesn't scream rebirth.
Instead, it sells a proper upgrade. Handling, especially when the car is flipped into Sport+ mode is massively improved and the eight-speed transmission (with paddle shifters) routes the 386 HP smoothly. The aesthetics, with lowered height and pronounced fenders, give the LS fighting power in the Audi- and BMW-led market segment.
The F line—which encompasses three offerings (F Vehicles, F Sport Vehicles, and F Sport Accessories)—is the pinnacle of Lexus' bold new face. F Vehicles are track tested on the famed Fuji International Speedway. Cars like the Lexus LS 460 F Sport are characterized by bold styling. You get, in the LS, best of both comfort and performance looks. It certainly propels Lexus forward and heightens driver experience.
Still, the glory of the LS remains the same—simple, understated luxury that also leaves comfort and serenity to reign supreme over anything else.
Drive calmly, comfortably, and with improved handling? On a day to day basis, those traits make a car stand tall … without having to mix two worlds at all.