Lexus, Toyota's premium brand, debuted the first generation Lexus LS sedan in 1989. At that time German luxury brands, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, dominated the upscale sedan segment of the automotive landscape and Lexus really shook things up by offering a less-expensive, but more refined vehicle. Since then, the Lexus LS sedan has been a thorn in the side of those German powerhouses.

On the outside, the 2013 Lexus LS offers a new spindle grille, optional all LED exterior lighting and an aggressive creased hood. These new features really improve the aesthetics as compared to previous models, as they have been rather bland in the styling department in comparison to its European counterparts. Even though two wheel bases are offered, both share similar body lines unless one opts for the LS 460 F Sport, the first sport version of the flagship model LS.

The 2013 LS can be found in four trim levels: the base LS 460, the long-wheelbase LS 460L, the LS 600h L Hybrid and finally the LS 460 F Sport, which was mentioned above.

Once seated inside the new Lexus LS, the word serene comes to mind. The Lexus engineers have gone above and beyond to reduce the level of interior noise in the new LS, including fitting the wheels with internal air chambers that block unwanted road noise. You might not even appreciate the quiet ride because of the optional Mark Levinson Premium Audio system that produces concert-quality sound!

Unless you go for the top-of-the-line options, some might be disappointed by the semi-gloss soft plastic on the dash that is found on the standard LS 460. Optional interior features contain Shimamoku wood trim for the LS 460 or the genuine aluminum trim found in the F Sport, while optional technology that can be found in any trim version includes Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and a Pre-Collision System with Adaptive Cruise Control.

The engine found under the hood of the 2013 Lexus LS 430 is the same 4.6-litre V8 engine offered in the last generation model, but it does offer slightly more power for the rear wheel drive version for a total of 386 horsepower. All-wheel drive is optional for the LS, but power is rated at just 380 hp. Both drivetrains do come with a really smooth 8-speed automatic transmission; however, the LS F Sport trim comes with a reprogrammed transmission computer that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts when in manual mode for instant pleasure.

As for fuel economy, this big land yacht might surprise you with a 16 miles per gallon city/24 mpg highway range thanks to the 8-speed transmission. Fuel economy will be slightly less with the all-wheel-drive model.

The base price of the 2013 LS 460 model is $71,990. While that price does include a generous helping of standard features, if you're interested in the radical F Sport, with the lowered suspension and Brembo brakes up front, that number goes beyond $85,000. All LS trims do come with a 6-year/70,000 mile warranty.

Current competition for the LS includes familiar faces like the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series. Also, new as of late to the upscale sedan segment are both the Audi A7 and A8, which both have models and trims that compete price wise to the LS 460.

There is not a lot to complain about with the Lexus LS 460 thanks to its great standard features, excellent build quality and available F-Sport version, unless the price is outside your budget. No matter what, this premium sedan has the ability to rival its European counterparts any day of the week.

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