For more than 20 years, Lexus' LS has showcased the brand's top levels of technology, interior furnishings and driving refinement. The Lexus LS 460 is the latest model in this well-known premium luxury sedan line, boasting a supremely smooth V8, an eight-speed automatic transmission, handsome styling, impeccable fit and finish and, for the first time, an extended-wheelbase model. Known as the LS 460 L, this longer LS provides significantly more legroom for rear-seat passengers and competes directly against similar extended-wheelbase models offered by European luxury-brand automakers.
At the same time, Lexus has managed to make most of the LS 460's extensive technology intuitive, with most major functions controlled by good-ol' buttons and a touchscreen. Considering that these cars are often purchased by an older demographic, this is good news since the interfaces in competing models can be bewildering for even the most tech-savvy members of the Internet generation. For anyone interested in a large luxury sedan, the LS 460 deserves serious consideration.
Current Lexus LS 460
Under the skin of the current Lexus LS 460 is a 4.6-liter V8 with 386 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque (with standard rear-wheel drive) or 360 hp and 347 lb-ft (with optional all-wheel drive). An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on every LS 460. Although the big Lexus still wraps its occupants in a cocoon of peace and quiet, various suspension and steering tweaks make for a more involving drive. There's even an available F Sport package with firmer suspension and steering tuning and upgraded brakes.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, adjustable drive settings, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery and a power adjustable steering wheel. There's also a navigation system, the Lexus Remote Touch interface, Bluetooth phone and audio, the Lexus Enform suite of smartphone-integrated apps, a Siri-based control system for iPhone users and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio and an iPod/USB interface. The 460 L adds a power-closing trunk, heated and cooled front seats and a power rear sunshade.
Option highlights include power rear seats, an adjustable air suspension, adaptive cruise control and the aforementioned F Sport package. The "L" version can be fitted with the Executive-Class Seating package which provides a pair of plush rear seats (separated by a console with a cool box), a power ottoman and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
In reviews we noted the LS 460 is still the serene, comfortable cruiser we'd expect. But now there's a sharper, more responsive feel to the steering and a more composed attitude when pressed on serpentine back roads. Although the Drive Mode Select doesn't turn the LS 460 into a sport sedan, it can provide a firmer, more controlled ride. Some will note that the LS' V8 isn't quite as potent as some European rivals', who also offer ultra-high-output variants of their big sedans. But this Lexus flagship boasts brisk performance that should be more than enough for most folks. And beyond that, there's also the appeal of Lexus overall quality, reliability and value.
Used Lexus LS 460 Models
The current Lexus LS 460 debuted as a redesigned 2013 model and kept its traditional strengths of impeccable build quality, strong yet quiet performance and a roomy, tranquil cabin stocked with the latest in luxury features. Most sheet metal was carried over, with the notable change being Lexus' signature angular grille design. The cabin was updated as well, with more fancy stitching and padded surfaces. Functional upgrades included the old touchscreen being replaced by Lexus' Remote Touch interface with its large display and mouselike controller. The following year, Siri Eyes Free iPhone control was added.
The previous-generation Lexus LS 460 was produced from 2007 through 2012. Throughout its run it received only minor updates. This LS 460 was a full-size luxury sedan available in regular 460 and extended-wheelbase 460 L body styles.
As its name suggests, this LS 460 was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 with 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Power went to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. For '09, all-wheel drive became optional while the following year brought a Sport package, with the latter including bigger wheels, summer tires, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension and slightly different body styling. In our instrumented testing, the LS 460 went from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds -- on par with rivals in this segment.
The LS 460's standard feature highlights included automatic xenon headlamps, automatic wipers, a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, wood trim, a power-adjustable steering wheel and power/heated front seats. Option highlights include a navigation system, heated and cooled front seats, adaptive cruise control, regular park assist and even an Advanced Parking Guidance System. The LS 460 L also offered an available air suspension and a package that dropped rear seat capacity to two passengers and added a rear center console with cooled storage, reclining climate-controlled seats, ottomans and a DVD entertainment system.
For '10, this generation received its most notable changes that included updated electronics (iPod interface and Bluetooth audio), Lexus' Safety Connect emergency telematics and the aforementioned Sport package. Visually, only slightly revised taillights gave it away.
In our reviews of this Lexus LS 460, we found it to be impressively quiet. Drivers and passengers are coddled in a cocoon of luxurious serenity. That peace does create an isolated feeling that kills some involvement between car and driver -- this can be viewed as a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. Handling is competent, but obviously calibrated more for comfort than tight handling. The optional adjustable air suspension does give the driver some choices, however.
While we think other large, premium luxury sedans are more rewarding to drive and own, the Lexus LS 460 is less expensive to purchase and likely much less expensive to maintain. Most consumers should find it an exquisite way to travel thanks to its smooth and effortless performance, supremely comfortable interior and full menu of high-tech gizmos.
Previous to this model, Lexus sold the LS 430. The LS was first introduced for 1990 and there have been four generations since then.