NEW FOR 2014:

– Siri Eyes-Free voice activation for infotainment system

Following last year’s substantial mid-life update, Lexus’ flagship LS Sedan enters 2014 unchanged. And there’s good reason why – plenty of work went into evolving Japan’s finest luxury sedan.

On the surface, the update may look minor with re-worked front and rear styling, but the changes are more than skin deep. Thanks to laser-screw welding – also found on the new IS – torsional rigidity is improved, while new dampers and a re-tuned suspension setup create a more connected feeling to the road. Already one of the most aerodynamic vehicles on the market, the facelifted LS gains additional under-body panels for reduced turbulence, and noise-reducing wheels (yes, wheels), to keep the cabin extra hushed.

Speaking of the interior, it’s all about the finer details in the LS. This is the best that Lexus has to offer: buttery soft leathers, flawless polished wood trim, and peerless build quality are all a part of the package. Last year’s update also included a new 12.3-inch centre infotainment display, which was at the time, the largest in the industry. Tesla has since eclipsed it by nearly five inches on the Model S. What you won’t find in a Tesla – or any other car, for that matter – is Climate Concierge which uses 13 separate sensors plus the car’s heated and cooled seats, and heated steering wheel, to create the perfect interior climate.

The LS was an unlikely candidate for F Sport treatment, but Lexus saw it a worthwhile endeavor. Equipped models sit 10 mm lower on F Sport specific wheels, six-piston Brembo front piston brakes, plus an engine sound amplifier. Rear-drive models also get a limited-slip differential, and paddles for manual shifting.

There are four key configurations for the LS – the regular-wheelbase LS 460 with rear or all-wheel drive, the long-wheelbase LS 460 which comes standard with all-wheel drive, and the most expensive Lexus presently on sale, the LS 600h L hybrid.

The LS 460 RWD comes standard with a 4.6-litre V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic; rear-drive models receive 386 hp, while AWD models make 360 hp. All receive premium leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, moonroof, power-assist doors, power trunk, 16-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 12-way power adjustable passenger’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 12.3-inch infotainment system with navigation, heated wood steering wheel on a power tilt and telescoping steering column, 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and more.

The LS 460 RWD F Sport adds F Sport specific steering wheel, shift-knob, metal pedals, F Sport suspension tuning, six-piston Brembo front brakes, limited-slip differential, forged alloy wheels, blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert, and an F Sport ground effects kit.

The LS 460 AWD adds all-weather traction with standard all-wheel drive. There is also an F Sport version that comes equipped with all the gear in the RWD F Sport model, minus the limited-slip differential and shift paddles. The LS 460 AWD Technology Package adds adaptive air suspension, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control with pre-collision warning, rear seat side airbags, four-zone climate control, upgraded rear head restraints, rear ventilated seats with massaging function, power rear window shades, and a chilled cooler box.

The long-wheelbase LS 460L comes standard with the equipment found on the LS 460 AWD Technology Package, plus noise-dampening glass on the side windows. For those wanting the ultimate in luxury motoring, consider the Executive Package, which gains LED headlamps, advanced pre-collision warning system with obstacle detection and full auto-brake, night vision, driver monitor system, a power retractable ottoman for right rear passenger, rear-seat shiatsu massage, Blu-Ray entertainment system, infrared body temperature sensors, leather-wrapped dashboard, and walnut wood trim.

The LS 600h L swaps out its 4.6-litre V8 and automatic transmission for a bigger 5.0-litre V8 and a CVT. It may sound like an odd combination, but together they make the 438-hp 600h L is the most powerful luxury hybrid on the market. It comes with all of the above as standard, with the exception of night vision, full auto-brake, rear-seat entertainment, power retractable ottoman, and rear-seat shiatsu massage. These features are included as a part of the Premium Executive Package.

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