Review: 2013 Lexus LS460 AWD – Goes Like Silk

2014 lexus ls460 ls awe snow white grill

The 2013 Lexus LS460 AWD follows a long lineage of top-notch Japanese luxury back to the original LS in 1990.  It’s been refreshed for 2013 model year and is looking to take on any full-size luxury sedan competitor.  The “LS” can stand for “Luxury Sedan” or “Like Silk”, because that’s how it feels to sit in and to drive.  The brakes are the only exception, read on to find out.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2013 Lexus LS460 AWD $74,935 $82,279 360 / 347
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: BUY IT! 16 / 23 Combined 18 Combined 21.4

First Impressions

The 2013 Lexus LS460 has the imposing curb presence customary of a luxury sedan flagship.  The only way to improve initial statement would be to replace these 18-inch wheels with the 19s from the LS F-Sport.  Every button, handle, and feature of the LS works in smooth and easy fashion.  This car aims to please.

2014 lexus ls 460 tail lights awd


The exterior design of the new LS has just the right amount of aggressive flare without overdoing it.  The rear-end is nice and clean, although the LED tail light pattern (when lit up at night) remind me of the 7-series.  Overall, the LS does not make a loud statement.  It can sneak under most people’s radar, and this is the way LS customers prefer it.

2014 lexus ls 460 steering wheel

The interior is one of those places you want to spend time in.  The leather is soft, the ergonomics are superb, and the wood steering wheel and other accents are among the best in the business.  Don’t be surprised to find yourself caressing the steering wheel or the center console, the materials and craftsmanship are that good.  Lexus goes to great lengths to make the LS experience special.  The steering wheel buttons may look plastic, but are actually made of soft rubberized material and still make a satisfying click.


The center stack is free of clutter and the stereo and climate control buttons are super simple to understand and use.  You still have the Lexus joystick/mouse controller for the 12.3-inch infotainment screen.  The larger split-screen is nice and the control interface has been around for years, but the graphics and screen resolution are not state-of-the-art and are starting to age.

Is the Lexus LS interior best in class?  It may be in terms of sounds isolation.  It’s ultra quiet.  However, competition is so fierce and the bar is being constantly raised.


There is a silky smooth 4.6-liter naturally aspirated V8 under the hood of this Lexus.  It’s pumping 360 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via an 8-speed transmission.  Lexus is about being smooth and quiet, so you only hear a distant hum of the engine.  Nonetheless, the AWD LS460 moves out with confidence and ease worthy of a luxury sedan.  The power comes on in a very linear fashion and the shifts of the automatic are barely noticeable.

347 pounds of twist is nothing to sneeze at, and you can get 386 hp and 367 lb-ft in the RWD F Sport.  Still, this is nowhere near the turbo and super charged competitors.  The German’s are caught up in horsepower wars of mammoth proportions (see Competitors section below).  The LS is either being left behind or purposely choosing to stay out of it.



The updated 2013 Lexus LS460 AWD remains comfortable, compliant, and calm on any road surface.  This is to be expected from the LS.  The surprising part is that it’s also not afraid to get a little frisky around the corners.  You can get it up to speed and go deep into a corner.  There is noticeable body roll, but it’s not of concern.  The big LS clears the corner in neutral, predictable, and confident fashion.  Aggressive cornering is the only time this Lexus allows itself to step out of the relaxed and calm character.  This is refreshing.

The steering feel is not the most direct, but has just the right weight and lets you have some fun in the corners.  It’s not the best in class, but it matches the car.  Then there are the brakes.  This is the only element that does not fit the car’s character.  The brake pedal is so sensitive and grabby, that any slight touch clamps down aggressively and ruins the otherwise smooth experience.  It’s difficult to get used to, but I progressively got better at brake application.  The brake pedal should allow a little more travel.

No complaints about the AWD traction from this Lexus.  It was sure-footed on snowy and icy surfaces.  It adds a level of security, which is critical in this segment.

2013 lexus ls460 grill ls 2014


Starting Retail Price City/Hwy MPG HP / Lb-Ft
2013 Lexus LS460 AWD $74,935 16/23 360/347
2014 Audi A8 Quattro $83,900 17/28 420/444
2014 BMW 750i xDrive $90,300 16/24 445/480
2014 Hyundai Equus $61,000 15/23 429/376
 2014 Jaguar XJ AWD $77,700 16/24 340/332
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 $92,900 16/26 449/516

The LS460 AWD is in tough company here.  It is one of the most affordable in the group, but it’s just average of fuel economy and down on power.  It’s all about experience and image with these automobiles.  The LS brings one of the smoothest and quietest rides in the group.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2013 Lexus LS460 AWD a Buy It!

The test car stickered at $82,279 and included Comfort, LED headlights, and premium Mark Levinson audio system.  The 2013 model year allowed you pick and choose several of these options.  The 2014 model year LS, which is on sale now, has an all or nothing options list.  You either choose the 16 option bundle for $13,480, or go without it.  This is an interesting move by Lexus.  This bundle includes the 19-in rims, F Sport performance components, and other luxurious details.  If you like the LS then go for this bundle, but take the car for a test drive and make sure the brake pedal is to your liking.  The touchy brakes were not enough to spoil the overall experience, this LS made me want to drive it and thus gets the Buy It! rating.


Andre Smirnov
Andre Smirnov

Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.