Full 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review
What's New for 2014
Updates to the 2014 Lexus LS 460 include the addition of Siri Eyes Free compatibility for newer iPhones and improved access to the trunk, which can now be opened without the key fob in range when the vehicle is unlocked. There are also minor interior trim revisions.
In the world of full-size luxury sedans, the 2014 Lexus LS 460 is a conservative player, a high-end sedan that's designed to spoil its occupants more than make a flashy design statement or set new benchmarks for performance.
Accordingly, its cabin is painstakingly furnished with rich leather, gorgeous wood trim and various other high-grade materials. You can order up massaging seats in the front and rear, while the Executive Class seating package provides both reclining rear seats and an ottoman on the passenger side. Meanwhile, the 2014 LS 460's interior is almost completely sealed off from outside noise, and the supple ride quality spares occupants even the smallest discomforts. Clearly, the Lexus LS 460 is capable of providing a pampering of the highest order, and that philosophy permeates the ownership experience as well. The LS has a strong reputation for reliability, while the Lexus dealer network has a long history of treating customers well.
Although this is more than enough for many Lexus buyers, there's one key area in which the LS 460 comes up short: the driving experience itself. Lexus offers just one engine on the LS, and although the big sedan's 386-horsepower V8 looks good on paper (and sounds good when you're on the move), it can't match the performance and fuel efficiency of European-brand competitors' turbocharged V8 engines and, in some cases, their six-cylinder engines as well. Handling is also a disappointment, as the Lexus LS 460 feels heavier and less precise around turns than almost any rival. The available F Sport package sharpens things up a bit, but if you truly want a world-class luxury sedan experience, the 2014 LS 460 doesn't quite check all the boxes.
For buyers seeking a more complete package of attributes, the newly redesigned 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes highly recommended, as do the 2014 Audi A8, 2014 BMW 7 Series and 2014 Jaguar XJ. However, if you believe a high-end luxury sedan should be comfortable, serene and meticulously assembled above all else, the 2014 Lexus LS 460 is certainly worth a look and it will cost you a bit less to boot.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Lexus LS 460 is a full-size luxury sedan available in standard- and extended-wheelbase (LS 460 L) models, with rear- or all-wheel drive. Five-passenger seating is standard, though the L is available with a four-passenger configuration with a rear center console. The hybrid 2014 LS 600h L is covered in a separate review.
Standard equipment on the LS 460 and LS 460 L includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive automatic xenon headlights (xenon only for low-beam setting), LED foglamps and running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a sunroof, power door closers, adjustable drive settings and keyless ignition/entry. Inside, there's dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (12-way driver with four-way lumbar; 10-way passenger with two-way lumbar), front-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping wood and leather steering wheel, and a folding rear seat.
Electronic features include the Lexus Remote Touch interface, a 12.3-inch display screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications, the Lexus Enform suite of smartphone-integrated apps and the Siri Eyes Free interface (which provides additional voice control functionality for newer iPhones). The standard 10-speaker sound system includes a CD player, HD radio, iTunes tagging, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, summer tires, LED headlights (low- and high-beam), an adjustable air suspension (includes enhanced steering, ride height adjustment and additional drive settings), a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control with an enhanced pre-collision system, upgraded leather upholstery (includes a simulated suede headliner), an advanced pre-collision system with a driver attention monitor and forward collision avoidance system, a heated wood steering wheel, a wood and leather padded steering wheel and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system.
The LS 460 is offered with various option packages. The All Weather package adds headlamp washers and a wiper de-icer (standard on all-wheel-drive models). The Ultra Luxury package adds four-zone climate control, six-way power rear seats (with heating, cooling and massage functions), rear-seat side airbags and rear audio controls. The Comfort package (standard on the LS 460 L) adds a power-closing trunk, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power rear sunshade.
The standard LS 460 can be livened up with the F Sport package, which includes 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential (rear-wheel-drive sedans only), a sport-tuned air suspension, sport-tuned steering, sharper adjustable drive settings and a transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel and rev-matched downshifts. The F Sport model also wears unique exterior and interior design elements such as darkened headlamps, a unique front fascia, blackout grille and chrome body side trim.
The long-wheelbase LS 460 L can be equipped with the Executive-Class Seating package, which includes the backseat upgrades of the Ultra Luxury package, only in a two-seat configuration with a center console (including enhanced controls, a cool box and added storage). It also adds extended leather trim, a power passenger-side ottoman, power rear side sunshades and a rear-seat DVD/Blu-ray entertainment system with a power drop-down screen.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Lexus LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 386 hp and 367 pound-feet of torque in the standard rear-wheel-drive configuration. Those power figures drop to 360 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque on models equipped with all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on every LS 460.
In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive LS 460 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is slower than average for a high-end luxury sedan with a V8 engine. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for all rear-drive LS 460 sedans is 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/24 mpg highway); AWD versions rate 18 combined (16/23).
The 2014 Lexus LS 460 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Lexus Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button, enhanced roadside assistance and a stolen vehicle locator, is also standard on all LS 460 models.
Safety-related options include lane keeping assist, a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts, and an adaptive cruise control system that includes a pre-collision system that preps various vehicle systems when it detects a possible collision. Sold as a separate option is the more sophisticated Advanced Pre-Collision system, which includes a driver attention monitor and can automatically initiate braking to help avert forward collisions. Rear-seat side airbags are also available.
In Edmunds testing, an LS 460 with all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average braking distance for an elite luxury sedan. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LS 460 the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test, and the sedan's seat/head restraint design also rates "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
As befits a top-end luxury sedan, the interior of the Lexus LS 460 features outstanding materials, including soft leather and high-quality vinyl, and padded surfaces are joined with elegant contrast stitching. Wood trim is artfully applied, mixing with metallic surfaces and chrome details for a modern, albeit understated atmosphere.
The Lexus Remote Touch electronics interface controls most cabin functions. It's a mouselike device that allows the user to navigate among a variety of function icons on a horizontally oriented, 12.3-inch display at the top of the dashboard. However useful Remote Touch is for integrating basic tasks and smartphone applications, it ultimately draws too much attention away from the road. Cursor control with the Remote Touch controller is wobbly and imprecise, making audio and navigation selections difficult when you're on the move. Other companies use different solutions for their technology interface systems, and in particular, we prefer BMW's iDrive and Mercedes' COMAND. If you're planning to buy an LS 460, Remote Touch should be tested out thoroughly at a dealership.
Seat comfort, on the other hand, is simply outstanding up front, with wonderfully sculpted, multi-adjustable front buckets that can accommodate a variety of body types. Things get better in back, especially on LS 460 L models, as the options list contains features that would be the envy of a day spa, including a massaging rear seat with near full recline and a powered ottoman. Trunk space is generous at 18 cubic feet.
The 2014 Lexus LS 460 is a stunningly quiet car on the highway. There's a V8 engine under the hood, but it goes largely unnoticed until you make a decisive passing maneuver. Press the gas pedal to the floor and you'll find that the 4.6-liter V8 is lusciously smooth and sounds terrific. By today's standards, though, it's not very potent. Most rivals get considerably more power (and quicker acceleration) out of their V8 engines, and there are even a few six-cylinder luxury sedans capable of beating the LS 460 down a highway entrance ramp. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but competitors provide even more seamless gearchanges.
Predictably, the ride quality is downright luxurious. If you want the softest-riding car in the ultra-luxury sedan class, you've found it in the LS 460. However, this cushy demeanor comes at the expense of handling, as the big Lexus feels lazy and imprecise going around turns. The steering has more weight to it than you might expect, but there's not much feel nor any semblance of sportiness. The available F Sport package provides better balance and a smidge more athleticism on tight twisty roads, but so equipped, the LS 460 still isn't as engaging to drive as rival European sedans.