Lexus was planning to unveil the 2013 LS sedan on Monday, but some eagrer bloggers spoiled the surprise. ClubLexus released these photos, dug up by Chinese site Xcar, of the new version of Lexus’ flagship.
The new LS features bolder, more aggressive styling; a dramatic change from the previous model’s restrained looks. However, this is all in keeping with the luxury brand’s new design theme. The front end has the same hourglass grille as the smaller GS and ES sedans, and the rear end gets similar treatment.
Sharp-eyed observers will note the LED daytime running lights at the front, and LED taillights at the back, shaped like Ls.
In profile view, the changes are less dramatic. The 2012 LS’ roofline seems unchanged, and the company has not fallen into the trap of adding creases and other jewelry to hide the car’s bulk. The slab-sided profile could mean that the 2013 LS is not as new as Lexus has been letting on; the old car’s body could still be there under the restyling.
Given the images’ closeness to current Lexus design themes, it is likely that they are genuine, or at least a close approximation of what the 2013 LS will look like. Lexus did not confirm the photos’ authenticity, but did not call them fakes either.
The model shown in the photo is the LS 460 F-Sport, the sportiest model. Lesser models probably won’t have this car’s grille mesh or its dark-colored wheels. Don’t expect the F-Sport to be a rival for the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG or BMW Alpina B7; Lexus will probably keep the modifications to a minimum, as it did with the GS F-Sport.
The LS is an important car for Lexus. It launched the brand in 1989; billed as a cheaper and more reliable alternative to the Mercedes S-Class. Since then, it has been Lexus’ flagship. The new model will have to do more, though. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda wants Lexus to have its own character, instead of being a luxury version of Toyota or a Mercedes imitator.
The 2013 LS will also be offered as a base LS 460, long-wheelbase LS 460 L, and hybrid LS 600h L. All models will probably retain the 2012 LS’ 4.6-liter V8. Full specs will be available when the LS makes its official debut Monday, July 30.