When Lexus was the new kid on the block it was the darling of the press. Everyone gushed about the company’s quality and attention to detail. Don’t forget about the price, also.
Now that Lexus consistently sells the most luxury vehicles each year it is the company with the target on its back. The cars are now expensive, boring, bland yada yada yada.
Some of that may be true, but none lack luxury or refinement, especially the flagship LS460L.
I had a chance to sample the current LS460L (the L is for longer wheelbase) during the Christmas holidays and came away thoroughly impressed. Such a finely crafted automobile, this LS.
You could complain the car’s looks are on the bland end of the scale. I think it’s more handsomely understated. The grille is, far lovelier than the egg crate grille on the original LS400. My test car had a sports appearance package which included 19-inch wheels and a sportier mesh grille. Said grille is surrounded by High-Intensity Discharge headlights which swivel when the car takes a curve. The hood has character lines which sweep past the A-pillars, all the way to the trunk. The trunk is power operated. The tail lights are LED which will last longer than conventional lights and look cool.
The interior is a thing of beauty. Wood, metal and leather abound and are meticulously crafted into expensive feeling buttons, switches, knobs and seating surfaces. The dash looks sculpted. I think it is. It feels as if it’s made from a single piece. It’s not flashy but it fits the lush feel of the cabin. Leather is wrapped around the steering wheel which is heated, as well as all the seats.
If there are more comfortable seats than these, well, those seats should be made illegal so that drivers will not fall asleep. Each is power operated and can be set to make anyone comfortable. Memory functions allow you to retrieve your favorite settings at the touch of a button.
The LS460 isn’t lacking when it comes to performance. The 4.6-liter 32-valve V8 makes 380 horsepower and twists out 367 pounds-feet of torque. That’s enough to allow the vehicle to sprint to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Not too shabby for a 4,332 pound car. The eight-speed transmission (the first in a production car) slices through its gears with the precision and smoothness that you’d expect from a luxury car.
The ride is silky. On a 250 mile round trip I found myself devoid of fatigue or boredom. The smooth and quiet (and I mean tomb quiet) nature of the car allowed me to enjoy the optional Mark Levinson stereo that belongs in a mansion. Music from my iPod sounded rich and powerful.
Handling? Better than expected. This isn’t a sports car (there is a sport version) but it will allow you to have a little fun while exploring twisty roads. You won’t be thrilled, but the car’s braking, steering and handling are good enough.
I’m also pleasantly surprised with the fuel economy. It’s only rated at 24 mpg on the highway but the cruising range is over 500 miles per 22 gallon tank.
Any problems. Well, like any other luxury sedan the price isn’t what you would call affordable. The base price starts at $71,775. That comes with a number of amenities, including the sunroof, a gaggle of safety equipment, power everything. Alcantara headliner and that wonderful leather trim.
When you start to add the extra, extra stuff such as Mark Levinson stereo, pimped out navigation system, rear seat upgrade and sport package, you roamed way into the $80,000 range.
There’s also the matter of making the car a bit more sporty. I’d like for the car to be more on the lines of a 6-Series BMW. It’s good now, but I know the company can do better. It may be it thinks it’s customers neither need or want better. Perhaps. I would like to know why the car is electronically limited to 130 mph. I’m sure 155 mph or higher could easily achieved. Yeah, I know, why?
That’s all I saw wrong. I’m sure others could find more, but there is more right than wrong. If this was the only luxury car that I could by I wouldn’t be disappointed. The LS is all the car you need. Yes, you may want more, but I doubt that you would need more. Bravo, Lexus.