What's New for 2010
The Lexus LS 460 gets its first significant updates since being redesigned three years ago. Exterior styling receives only mild tweaks, but the electronics systems have been revamped and now include, among other items, an iPod interface and streaming Bluetooth audio. New Sport and Appearance packages also debut, and the new Safety Connect emergency telematics service is added to the standard features list, with additional Lexus Enform telematics as an option.
The Lexus brand was launched with the LS, a car that promised to match the established German luxury brands in terms of luxury, performance and features but with greater reliability and a lower price. More than 20 years later, the 2010 Lexus LS 460 stands resolute with this formula, even as its German competitors continue to deliver world-class flagship sedans.
Like most of its competitors, the V8-powered LS is available in a pair of body styles -- regular and extended wheelbase. The latter is essentially a personal limousine with enough sprawl space for a pair of Portland Trailblazers and features like 45-degree recline, a Barcalounger-style footrest, a refrigerator and a DVD entertainment system. The LS also offers an all-wheel-drive option for those in wintry climes where rear drive isn't preferred.
As for price, the LS hits the register at a price that undercuts the Europeans by $10,000 or more. Of course, those British and Continental flagships tend to offer more in the way of driving involvement and automotive "personality." They're also available with some ridiculously powerful engines that the Lexus can't match. But at the end of the day, the 2010 Lexus LS 460 measures up well in terms of materials quality and features, and it enjoys a reputation for superior reliability. In other words, it's quite the deal.
The truth of the matter is, there isn't a single loser in this segment. The meticulously well-rounded Audi A8, the sporty BMW 7 Series, the strikingly elegant Jaguar XJ and the benchmark Mercedes-Benz S-Class all deserve close looks if your budget allows. The Lexus LS 460 may not be the most desirable or personality-filled car in the class, but after 20 years on the job, there's no denying that its formula is still a recipe for success.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lexus LS 460 is a large luxury sedan also available as the long-wheelbase LS 460 L. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on both models. The LS 460 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, power-folding, auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors, foglamps, automatic xenon headlamps, automatic wipers, a sunroof, cruise control, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping multifunction steering wheel, a 16-way power driver seat and 12-way power passenger seat (includes lumbar adjustments, multilevel heating and memory functions), leather upholstery, wood trim, a back-up camera, Safety Connect emergency telematics, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 10-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod interface and Bluetooth audio connectivity. Opting for all-wheel drive brings with it an air suspension and a heated steering wheel.
The Comfort package adds front and rear parking sensors, headlamp washers, a power trunk lid, power-closing doors, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel and a power rear sunshade. The Comfort Plus package includes all Comfort package items plus upgraded leather trim, rear-seat side airbags and cooled power rear seats with lumbar massage and power butterfly headrests. The Sport package (RWD only) includes 19-inch wheels (stand-alone option also) with exclusive summer performance tires, an exterior styling kit, Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned air suspension, sport front seats, special two-tone interior trim with ash burl accents, paddle shifters with rev-matched downshifts and a heated steering wheel.
The LS 460 L adds additional rear-seat legroom, the Comfort package and automatic high beams. The Luxury package adds upgraded leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner and power rear-door sunshades. The Rear Seat Upgrade includes the Luxury package and adds dual-zone rear climate controls, rear audio controls, a refrigerator, rear airbags and power rear seats with lumbar massage and power butterfly headrests. The Executive-Class Seating package includes the Rear Seat Upgrade plus a fixed center console (deletes center seat), a wood-trimmed retractable table, a rear-seat DVD system and a 45-degree power-reclining right rear seat with leg rest and multifunction massage. The air suspension is a stand-alone option.
Lexus options usually get automatically lumped together into expensive packages, but this depends on the region in which the car is purchased. Options available on both the LS 460 and LS 460 L include the Appearance package, which adds the same body kit as the Sport package and, on rear-drive models, 19-inch wheels with all-season tires. The optional navigation system adds Bluetooth phonebook download capability, Lexus Enform telematics services, voice controls, and real-time traffic, weather, sports and stocks. Also available is a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system with a DVD/CD changer. A self-parking system can be specified, but only in a bundle with other options packages. Adaptive cruise control and the Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system are packaged together.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Lexus LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive available. In performance testing, the rear-drive LS 460 went from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which is certainly quick, but just average for the segment. EPA estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive and 16/23/18 with all-wheel drive.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat knee airbags, active front head restraints and emergency telematics. Optional items include rear side airbags and the Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system that pairs with the adaptive cruise control radar emitters to sense an impending impact (with either another car or a pedestrian) and optimize brake response and crash preparedness.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 2010 Lexus LS 460 came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet -- a little long for this class. The LS 460 L checked in at a longer 136 feet. We also judged the brake pedal rather grabby in feel. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Lexus LS 460 scored the highest rating of "Good" for its protection in frontal-offset impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
As the Lexus flagship, the LS 460 naturally exhibits fine interior craftsmanship and an impressive array of features. However, compared to a BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ or Mercedes S-Class, it lacks some visual drama. Nevertheless, its controls are reasonably simple for this class, utilizing a touchscreen and physical buttons. The new iPod interface is a welcome addition to the features list, but it could replicate the iPod's functionality better than it does.
Cabin space is exceptional for all occupants even in the regular-wheelbase version, while the extended-wheelbase LS 460 L could easily serve limousine duty. The Executive-Class Seating package takes rear comfort to absurd levels with a 45-degree seat recline, lumbar massage and a footrest. Outside of the LS, you'd need to step up to a Maybach or Rolls-Royce to be coddled like this. Trunk space is generous at 18 cubic feet, but it drops to 15.5 cubes if rear-seat climate control is specified.
Under almost any driving condition, the 2010 Lexus LS 460 isolates its occupants from the outside world, wrapping them in a silent, cloudlike cocoon. This is the LS's forte. Under more aggressive maneuvers, however, the base LS suspension exhibits significant dive during heavy braking and pronounced body roll while cornering. Nonetheless, this luxury sedan was never intended to be particularly sporty, so most buyers probably won't have high expectations in this regard. As such, consumers who enjoy driving may be pleasantly surprised by the new Sport package, which features an aggressively tuned air suspension, performance brakes, rev-matched downshifts and grippy summer tires.