For 2013, Lexus redesigned its flagship LS 460 sedan, and added an F Sport model for driving enthusiasts. It carries over into the 2014 model year with no major changes.This is the latest generation of the LS, which was one of the first two models introduced when Lexus made its debut in 1990.With the redesign, the LS 460 comes with more new features and options. For instance, the trunk can now be opened manually even without the key fob nearby if the vehicle is unlocked.Some interior color and trim changes have been made, the automatic headlights have been revised, and the LS now has Apple’s Siri Eyes-Free mode. By pairing a personal iPhone with their Lexus, drivers can ask Siri to make a hands-free phone call, send a text message, IM or email. Siri will read the reply aloud using the Lexus’ audio system.Siri also uses Apple Maps to provide turn-by-turn navigation, showing a map on the iPhone and audible directions over the audio system. Siri is accessed using the "off-hook" button on the steering wheel.Prices 2014 for the six LS models (three all-wheel drive, three rear-wheel drive) range from $72,140 for the base LS 460 RWD to $85,035 for the F Sport AWD model, with lots of options available.The LS 460 has a 4.6-liter V-8 engine producing 386 horsepower, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The driver can select from Eco, Normal or Sport driving modes. Eco is designed to be more fuel-efficient by reducing power in certain situations.EPA ratings for the front-drive LS 460 are 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. Using cruise control where possible and Eco mode, I averaged 22.1 mpg with mostly open highway driving and some neighborhood stop/start and idling.My LS 460 came with $12,340 in options, starting with the F Sport package for $8,350, which added 19-inch split 10-spoke forged-alloy wheels mounted with summer tires (a full size spare is standard); sport-tuned suspension, stabilizer bars and shock absorbers; Brembo brakes; black leather-trimmed interior with white perforations; sport bolstered front seats with embossed headrests; black Alcantara headliner; aluminum pedals and patterned-aluminum interior trim; sport steering wheel with paddle shifters; and Sport exterior styling.The Sport package is a real head turner with its aggressive exterior styling, including a bold three-dimensional mesh grille with black surround, large vent openings beside the grille, arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights and integrated round LED fog lights.My tester — in Obsidian, a black so deep it seems bottomless — got lots of attention. Chrome trim accented the trunk lid, the lower rear bumper, the door handles, and the side windows.The interior was equally striking, with saddle-tan seats, lower door panels, console and armrest, and black upper door panels, dash, steering wheel and headliner. The cabin was roomy with plenty of headroom and legroom, except for the middle rear seat.Standard rear outboard bucket-style seats were very inviting and all three seats had LATCH connections for child seats.Outboard passengers had a pull-down armrest with two pop-out cup holders at the front end and a covered cubby under the padded lid. Three speakers were on each rear door, outboard seats had lighted overhead mirrors, and there were adjustable air vents and a 12-volt outlet on the rear of the front console.Both front seats were power adjustable, with three memory settings each. The driver’s seat also had memory for the steering wheel and outside mirrors.The front shoulder harness height was power adjustable, as well. It took a few minutes to find the button, as I was expecting manual adjustment on the belt housing. But the button was easier to reach.A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert added $500; an F Sport Comfort Package with climate-comfort front seats, power rear sunshade and power trunk opener and closer added $1,650; and an accessory package for $260 brought a trunk mat, cargo net and wheel locks. Adaptive cruise control helped maintain a safe distance between my LS 460 and vehicles ahead, and could stop my vehicle completely if necessary, and then resume acceleration when the lane ahead was clear again.The Mark Levinson surround audio package for $1,580 brought 19 speakers, 450 watts of power and a DVD/CD changer. The LS has standard HD radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth technology and USB audio plug.The audio system shared the high-resolution 12.3-inch split-screen monitor with the navigation system, climate information and other vehicle functions. All are operated using a mouse-style joystick on the center console. The padded wrist support was a nice bonus, making it easy to rest my hand and control the buttons using simple finger movements.Lexus’ navigation system was advanced, with multiple folders and lots of information besides directions. Initial programming was simple and intuitive, and directions were precise and easy to understand. Also included were point-of-interest icons listed by category or name — from A to Z — along with traffic incidents, local fuel prices and weather, sports, stocks, fuel consumption, programmable apps and Lexus Insider vehicle information and tutorials.Voice-activated Lexus Enform with App Suite uses smartphone technology to connect and inform through Bing, OpenTable, MovieTickets.com, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Yelp and Facebook.The cabin was especially quiet, thanks to advanced noise-reduction features including acoustic front glass. The ride was very smooth and comfortable. Steering was responsive and natural, and braking was quick and smooth, without being jerky.The 18-cubic-foot trunk was wide open and held lots of shopping bags and other paraphernalia and "stuff" pertinent to the season. A locking pass-through opened behind the middle seatback/armrest to add a little extra space for long, narrow objects (snow skis?).Lexus LS 460 also comes with an automatic electronic parking brake, smart-stop technology, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers, advanced active headrests, power tilt/slide moon roof, intuitive park assist, auto door closer, and location-specific tire pressure monitoring.Safety Connect includes automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle location, emergency-assist button and enhanced roadside assistance with a one-year trial subscription.In addition to Obsidian, the LS 460 comes in Liquid Platinum, Nebula Gray Pearl, Matador Red, Deep Sea Blue and, exclusive to F Sport, Ultra White.With options and $910 freight, my 2014 LS 460 F-Sport front-drive model delivered for $85,390.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams appear weekly in the Star-Telegram. Contact her at email@example.com.