Over the past several years, the Consumer and Electronics Show (CES) has increasingly become more about automotive technology. This year, Lexus will be flaunting its latest contribution to the research into autonomous driving technology, the Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle. The car is part of a larger program based here in North America.
Watch the following video for a glimpse of the prototype showing a modified Lexus LS 600h decked out with various sensors on the front grill, rear wheels and the roof, the most striking of which is a spinning cylinder on the roof.
On one hand we can appreciate the potential for safety advances, easier commuting and even possible reductions in traffic slow downs, the thought of handing over control of a high-speed vehicle to a computer is a completely different matter. What are your thoughts on self-driving vehicles?
Lexus is proud to announce that it has earned top honors in two categories of ALG’s 2013 Residual Value Awards. The LS 460 flagship sedan received the Residual Value Award for the Premium Executive Car segment while the GS 350 sport sedan ranked highest in the Premium Fullsize Car segment.
“We are proud of the GS 350 and LS 460 for winning their segments in ALG’s 2013 Residual Value Awards,” said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president, marketing. “Both vehicles were redesigned for 2013, and these awards recognize the major improvements made to both of them in dramatic styling, dynamic driving performance and all-new multimedia systems. Top residual values are important to luxury owners, and these awards demonstrate, once again, how Lexus strives to create an amazing ownership experience for our customers.”
“Driven by impeccable build quality and an outstanding brand reputation, Lexus has again delivered great value to consumers,” said Larry Dominique, President of ALG. “The Premium Fullsize segment is full of strong competition, but the GS gets the nod for its consistent reliability, quiet yet sporty ride. The LS continues to offer a quiet, smooth ride with impressive fuel economy and strong feature content.”
Recognizing that residual values are a widely used measure of brand health and vehicle quality, ALG honors those vehicles in each segment predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price after a three-year period. The annual awards are derived after careful study of segment competition, sales strategy, resale performance, and industry residual.
Over the last 18 months, Lexus has updated most of their entire lineup, with the exception of their flagship car the LS. Now, as we close out 2012, Lexus is ready to reveal the update to their flagship luxury sedan.
While the 2013 LS is a mid-cycle refresh, over half of the parts involved in building this car are completely new. There is a substantial rework of the exterior, which features Lexus’ signature spindle grill up front along with significant sculpturing throughout the body from nose to tail to greatly reduce aerodynamic drag.
In a market segment that puts a premium on perfection the new LS is positioning itself to once again be the standard by which others are measured. Not only is the exterior refreshed, the interior gets a complete makeover as well. The design concept 1st seen in the interior of the new GS is now brought in to the flagship LS sedan. One of the features of the interior is the 12.3 inch center display which can be organized into 3 different columns of information.
Interior materials also get an upgrade including a unique wood trim called Shimamocu. This unique wood trim takes 38 days and 67 different processes to complete. It has a horizontal grain pattern which helps to emphasize the with an interior space of the LS. If you choose to go with the hybrid version of the LS you can choose the bamboo wood option which gives a very nice look and feel to the interior.
Something else that is also unique in the LS is the analog clock in the center of the dash is linked via GPS to automatically update times, even when crossing into different time zones. So, let’s say you’re driving from Detroit to Chicago, where you go from the Eastern time zone to the central time zone, the clock will automatically update to the local time.
There will be several trim levels available in the LS, including the ultra-lux package which will have 4 different climate zone controls. All cars, 16 way power driver seat,” way adjustable passenger seats. Opt for the 600 L, or 460 L, and you will have rear seat that will recline, as an ottoman, and also massage functionality. It truly is an “Executive” sedan. The driver and passenger seats also have a unique climate control system integrated into them the seats sense body temperature and bring the temperature of the seats to the desired temperature, until the rest of the cabin can reach that temperature.
Depending on which trim level you get, the LS can have a sportier feel, but the emphasis of the LS has been, and always will be, that of late luxury sedan. As such, the emphasis is on a quiet interior and a smooth and comfortable yet very controlled ride. The LS will never be a Canyon Carver, but on tight twisty roads it can hold its own.
Powertrains are a carryover, a 4.6 L V-8 with 386 hp combined with an 8 speed automatic transmission will be standard. Elect for the hybrid version and you have a combined power rating of 438 hp between the gasoline motor and electric motor. The hybrid model also gets a redesign regenerative braking system which aids in recharging the batteries much quicker and more efficiently.
Available for the first time in the LS is the F-Sport trim. With the F-Sport you will get a deeper drill with other aero treatments, cooling ducts for the brakes, suspension lowered 10mm, Alcantera headliners, larger side bolsters in the seats,, paddle shifters and a Torsen limited slip differential.
You also get 19” BBS wheels that are unique to the F-Sport along with massive six piston Brembo brakes.
Pricing will be announced at the end of October and the LS’s will begin to go on sale in November.
The Lexus Pre-Crash Safety System compensates for human error with vigilant always-on sensors ensuring safe journeys. With the Pre-Crash Safety system fitted, your car can optimize crucial settings, in the vital moments before a frontal collision, to minimize the risk of injury. A radar sensor, mounted on the front of the car, constantly monitors the distance and closing speed of any approaching vehicle. If a crash becomes unavoidable, the car alters its suspension settings for optimum braking performance. The Brake Assist system, which increases braking is also primed and the front seatbelts are tightened before impact.
Lexus has unveiled the new 2013 Lexus LS model range which includes the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL, and the all-new LS 460 F SPORT. The all-new, redesigned lineup made their world debut at the “Lexus Laws of Attraction” exhibit in San Francisco. Similar to the recent GS and ES model reveals, what is most obvious is the LS gains its own version of Lexus’ trademark spindle grille. The new Lexus flagship is a bold blend of refinement and evolution with enhanced driving dynamics and industry-leading technology.
“The ‘Lexus Laws of Attraction’ photography exhibition showcases Lexus’ dedication to design,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Craftsmanship is at the core of the company’s design philosophy, which is expressed in our new spindle grille and driver-focused interiors that integrate modern refinement and intuitive technologies. Aligning with the unparalleled creative duo of Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler was a great opportunity for us. With our passionate commitment to world-class craftsmanship and now a relentless pursuit of style and design, people can’t help but be attracted to the new LS.”
The LS did not just get a simple facelift. Designers and engineers have made over 3000 changes that include three world’s first features and technical innovations. According to Lexus, customer feedback was taken into account throughout every aspect of LS’s redesign. The vehicle was conceived to raise the bar in pursuit of unprecedented refinement, comfort, driving performance, technical excellence and quality.
The all-new LS 460 F SPORT exemplifies a well-balanced combination of an aggressive exterior and a refined sport interior which features F SPORT seats with larger bolsters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and genuine aluminum trim. A lowered sport-tuned air suspension, Torsen® limited slip rear differential, Brembo six-piston caliper brakes, and 19” forged wheels create excitement around the vehicles esthetics and handling.
The exterior of the all-new 2013 Lexus LS has been completely redesigned with dynamic, fresh styling that reflects the new bold face of Lexus. The spindle grille gives the LS a combination of elegance and an aggressive presence which creates a dynamic brand identity appropriate to a flagship model. The steering system has been refined to provide improvements in accuracy and responsiveness while the braking system has been adjusted for more immediate power and greater pedal feel.
With new, laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, overall body rigidity has improved providing enhanced stability as well as a comfortable ride. The new Drive Mode Select system provides five switchable driving modes – ECO, COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT S, and SPORT S+ – giving the driver the option of preferred economy, comfort, performance, and handling characteristics.
Safety features include the new Advance Pre-crash Safety system (A-PCS) with Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane-keeping Assist, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Lexus Night View is also available.
For the interior, improvements were made to the engine, road, and wind noise insulation and as a Lexus-first, available is the option to fit the luxury sedan with hollow chamber noise reduction wheels, which lower front cabin noise. As a world’s first, both front and rear climate control and steering wheel rim heater is now incorporated into the new, available Lexus Climate Concierge air conditioning system. The system is customizable and uses multiple sensors to automatically regulate temperature, the climate control seats, and heated steering wheel.
Illuminating the interior is also another world’s first, the Advanced Illumination System (AIS) which features new, champagne white interior lamps and dynamic LED instrument panel lighting. Infotainment system control is done via the market’s largest 12.3-inch multimedia screen and Lexus Enform® with App Suite provides a new level of connectivity and information management. Leveraging the use of a smartphone, the system enables the user to perform local searches, surf the web, tap into internet radio, and connect to any one of their social media accounts.
Check out the video for highlights of the evening’s event:
by Zach McDonald - HybridCars.com
Lexus has announced pricing for the new 2013 ES 300h, a hybrid spin on its ES 350 sedan, which has also been remade for 2013. The 300h will start at $38,850 when the car goes on sale later this year, a $2,750 increase over the non-hybrid ES 350, which starts at $36,100. Lexus says the hybrid premium for the car is the lowest of any gas-electric model the carmaker has ever offered.
The 300h hybrid carries a EPA-rated combined fuel economy rating of 40 mpg, a 16-mpg improvement over the ES 350. As such, the state of California has certified hybrid as a super-ultra-low-emissions vehicle, which no longer grants you single-occupancy access to the state’s HOV lanes, but should give you the satisfaction of knowing you’re driving one of the cleanest cars on the road. Equipped with an identical drivetrain to that of the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid, the 300h gets 156 horsepower from its 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, and 44 horsepower from a motor connected to its nickel-metal hydride battery pack, for a total of 200 horses.
In their styling, the ES 300h and ES 350 are difficult to tell apart, though the 300h adds a rear spoiler, hidden a exhaust pipe and the customary hybrid badging. On the inside, the two cars sport the refined look and quality materials that you’d come to expect in a Lexus, including sustainably harvested bamboo wood trim in the hybrid.
Lexus maintains that the ES 300h is not meant to replace the HS 250h, which was discontinued earlier this year due to slumping sales numbers. If that’s the case, it’s a rather happy accident. The two sedans are bound to draw comparisons, though the ES 300h offers more interior space, better fuel economy and more horsepower than the now-departed HS 250h. Overall, the 300h is a better fit in Lexus’ hybrid lineup alongside the sporty CT 200h compact.
The ES 300h hybrid is reportedly scheduled to hit the market next month.
There have been five generations of the ES sedan since its introduction in 1989, and more than one million remain on the world’s roads. The folks at Lexus know that their entry-level luxury sedan could stand to be livelier if its going to attract younger buyers; but at the same time, they don’t want to alienate the traditional ES buyer, who averages 63 years in age, and have made the ES Lexus’ best-selling sedan.
So what we find is evidence of a trickle-down design and engineering shown to great effect with Lexus’ new ES 350 and 300h. Both from an exterior and interior stand point, the new ES takes many of its design cues from the elements introduced in the GS. As part of its complete redesign for 2013, this sixth-generation ES features sleeker styling, shorter overhangs, quicker steering, ECO, Normal AND SPORT driving modes and a tweaked suspension, all to provide a bit more masculinity and athleticism. The hybrid adds the additional low-speed, short-distance, pure-electric EV mode.
Also available only in the hybrid model is the bamboo interior trim option that was originally available in the new GS. Officials at Lexus say that if there is enough demand, the bamboo trim might be made available in the regular ES 350. They also went on to state that they have received positive feedback about the bamboo trim from journalists and consumers alike and are waiting for more data before moving forward to offer the option in models other than the hybrid.
What stands out most is the styling. The formerly conservative ES sheds its pinstripes in favor of Lexus’ new design language, sporting the signature spindle grille along with LED lights. In addition, the car is slightly lower and an inch longer, but the overhangs shorten on its 2-inch longer wheelbase. On the inside, the longer wheelbase results in an additional four inches in rear-passenger leg room.
The ES 350 retains its 3.5-liter V6, similar to the Camry, that puts out 268 horsepower and comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Powering the hybrid is a 2.5-liter I-4 Atkinson cycle four-cylinder along with Toyota’s hybrid drive system, where the combined total of the two produces 200 horsepower. The system employs a continuously variable transmission (CVT), borrowed completely from the Camry hybrid.
The hybrid launches from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 8.1 seconds which is a whole second slower than the 7.1-second sprint posted by the ES 350. Fuel economy in the hybrid is 40 city and 39 highway and a combined 40. The V6 posts 21 city, 31 highway, and 24 combined.
The long list of standard equipment for the ES includes a moon roof, keyless start, power everything, cruise-control, backup-camera, eight-speaker audio, and more. On the options list are Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, radar cruise control, navigation, 15-speaker/835-watt Mark Levinson audio and panoramic sun roof.
Overall, the all-new redesigned 2013 Lexus ES has surprised us with its sportier, bolder styling, more engaging driving dynamics, roomier interior, and it is still bank-vault quiet as a Lexus is expected to be. Slated to arrive in showrooms mid-August, pricing probably won’t be announced until closer to launch date. So continue to follow us on Twitter and check-in on our Facebook community to be one of the first to be notified as soon as it arrives.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, a touchstone for the industry’s current successes and failures in new-car design and production, has just released the results of its 2012 Initial Quality Study (IQS). Lexus was the highest-ranked brand for the second year in a row with the fewest problems per 100 vehicles. The brand was followed by two other luxury manufacturers, Jaguar and Porsche, which tied for second place. Cadillac and Honda rounded out the top five.
According to the study, as the North American automotive industry continues to recover, vehicle manufacturers post the strongest improvement in initial quality since 2009 and are producing higher-quality vehicles than ever before. Still, quality was hurt by widespread glitches in technology such as touch-screen controls and voice-recognition software, said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.
As manufacturers introduce increasingly sophisticated multimedia systems designed to enhance the ownership experience, owners more frequently cite these systems as a source of quality problems. For the first time in the 26-year history of the study, owners report more problems related to audio, entertainment, and navigation systems than in any other vehicle area. This is driven in part by a rapid increase in the fitment of new technology, such as voice recognition on mainstream models.
“Until recently, this type of sophisticated technology was found primarily on high-end models” said Sargent, “However, over the past few years it has rapidly found its way into the automotive mainstream. For example, in 2012, more than 80 percent of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some form of hands-free technology.”
Toyota and Lexus vehicles captured five segment awards (Yaris, Corolla, ES 350, LS and RX) and five Toyota manufacturing facilities in Japan and North America won plant awards, including one Gold, in the 2012 Initial Quality Study (IQS), more than any other automaker in both categories.
The study also found:
- Toyota has fewer problems than the premium brands industry average;
- 15 Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models ranked in the top three of the segments they compete in;
- Corolla is the highest performing non-premium model, it also ranks fifth overall;
- The all-new Prius v garnered second place in a closely contested segment; and
- The redesigned Camry scores even better than last year’s model
“We are very pleased with this year’s Initial Quality Study honors”, said Ray Tanguay, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Toyota Motor North America, Inc. “These accolades echo our enduring commitment to quality, value, and customer satisfaction”.
The 2013 Lexus GS climate control system has been awarded the ‘Production Vehicle Interior Innovation of the Year’ award by the Automotive Interiors Expo.
Compared to its predecessor, the new air-conditioning system in the Lexus GS features S-Flow technology that helps retain optimal comfort at considerably reduced power utilization. With sensors, the system finds out if the front or rear passenger seats are occupied and automatically shuts off all vents targeting the unoccupied seats.
Also, by measuring the surrounding temperature, inside temperature, and insulation, the system determines the best possible level of air conditioning. The equipped ‘Temperature Airflow Output control’ gives driver and passengers the ability to tailor airflow volume. In addition, the new air-conditioning system prevents window fogging much due to the two-tier interior and exterior air control.
As an added bonus, the Lexus GS’s air conditioning system is integrated with air cleaning technology, a new nanoe® system which runs automatically once the air conditioning is on. It discharges nanoe particles that help purify the air expelled from the vents to purify the air and eliminate odor in the cabin. The system also deoderizs the vehicle seats and roof lining and has a moisturizing effect on the skin and hair of the vehicle occupants!
This was the first ever Automotive Interiors Expo Awards, with a judging panel made up of leading European journalists.
The first Lexus ES was introduced over 20 years ago and the sixth generation, revamped 2013 Lexus ES 350 along with the all-new 2013 ES 300h officially debuted earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show. With a lower, wider and longer body, spindle grille and clean front-to-back lines, the car’s overhauled aesthetics is sure to catch one’s eye; but the promise of a combined 40 mpg in the hybrid model will definitely hold one’s attention.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system features the highly efficient 2.5 liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine that’s augmented with battery power throughout the powertrain, a consideration that is especially noticeable on the high and low ends. The result is a sedan with solid pickup and sporty responsiveness, achieving 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 8.1 seconds. Expected EPA fuel economy ratings are approximately 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 39 mpg combined.
Equipped with an electric water pump, electric power steering, and an integrated hybrid electric motor/generator, this engine does not require accessory belts. The beltless design helps improve fuel economy and overall reliability. Engine-only power output is 156 hp (116 kW) @5,700 rpm, with 156 lb-ft (212 N-m) @ 4,500 rpm. The ES 300h generates 200 total horsepower (149 kW).
The ES 300h can be driven in Sport, Normal, Eco and EV (Electric Vehicle) modes, the last of which is a battery-only experience for low-speed driving under 25 mph and the car automatically exits EV mode when it accelerates. The digital dashboard combines a speedometer alongside a dial that gives conscientious drivers immediate feedback on their fuel usage. Turning to Sport mode, the visualization adjusts to display a tachometer.
The new ES bears the new face of Lexus with its distinctive, spindle grille. The “L” design motif is reflected in the LED daytime running lights and combined rear lamps. Fog lamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia. The ES 300h features an exclusive rear design with hidden exhaust and an integrated rear spoiler. Other details specific to the hybrid include unique blue badging and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels.
The instrument panel places the main information display directly in the driver’s sightline, supplemented by a centre-mounted 3.5-inch color TFT multi-information display screen or available navigation and multimedia system. Below the center display is a self-illuminating LED analog clock.
The second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller located on the centre console. RTI also reduces eye and hand movement, helping to decrease effort and distraction.
Overall, the Lexus ES 300h maintains a luxury feel with details that have filtered down from Lexus’ costlier models. The contrast white hand-stitching on the dash, wheel, and haptic control, the bamboo for the wheel and door panel trim, as well as sound deadening material in the windshield which makes for a quiet ride, enhancing the supremely hi-fi Mark Levinson sound system.
While hybrids have a reputation for sacrificing performance, the sedan is a fun daily driver with great fuel economy and affordable pricing. The enhancements, combined with the updated looks are sure to be attractive to potential buyers. Expected to arrive in showrooms August 2012, contact Lexus Santa Monica to have one of our sales consultants notify you as soon as it does.