Strong acceleration; very quiet interior; leading-edge tech features; newly available all-wheel drive
All-wheel drive is available on Lexus's flagship LS luxury sedan for the first time for 2009; the Torsen-based all-wheel drive system is similar to the one used on the LS 600h L, capable of bringing up to 50 percent of torque to the front wheels. The AWD model has increased standard equipment, including air suspension, Variable Gear-Ratio Steering, and the Adaptive Variable Suspension.
Otherwise the LS 460 models are carried over with no changes, except the passenger seat now gets a memory function.
The LS 460 puts comfort and convenience above outright sportiness, but it takes a more contemporary take on luxury than some rivals, appealing to buyers with some of the world's top technology features. The self-parking feature and whole-vehicle safety technologies are unmatched. And with all-wheel drive now available, the LS 460 is more competitive with the likes of the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Whether in standard-length (LS 460) or long-wheelbase (LS 460 L) form, the LS 460 is powered by a 357-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8, fitted to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V8 has sophisticated technology including electrically operated variable valve timing, dual fuel injection, and a high 11.8:1 compression ratio. Altogether the engine lives up to its reputation for smoothness, and thanks to the almost seamless operation of the buttery 8-speed automatic transmission, it can rush up to speed with little fuss or fanfare. 60 mph comes in just 5.4 seconds for rear-wheel-drive models, yet it comes with a quite reasonable EPA highway rating of 24 mpg.
The newly available all-wheel-drive system on the LS 460 is offered on either version and utilizes a Torsen limited-slip differential to send more power to the front wheels when needed; the system defaults to sending 60 percent of torque to the rear wheels in normal conditions.
The LS 460 feels elegant, luxurious and fast--yet it's among the quietest, most comfortable cars of any price thanks to meticulous attention to sound insulation and acoustic side glass. Little if any road or wind noise makes it into the cabin at freeway speeds and the engine settles to a distant purr.
The LS 460's interior has a soft, rich appearance that was benchmarked with private jet cabins; it's conservative, yet impressive in the details. The instrument panel has a simple 2-tier appearance, accented with grain-matched wood trim, and the seats are upholstered in a soft, supple leather.
Standard-length LS 460 models have plenty of back-seat space, but for those wanting a even more space without concerns about whether they're going to fit in the garage, the LS 460 L adds nearly five inches of overall length, which translates to that much extra legroom for the back seat. Executive and VIPs will want to get the Executive Class Seating Package, which a host of extra features but most notably a right rear ottoman-type seat with leg rest. The seat can recline up to 45 degrees and has upper-back adjustment and a massage function. What's more, the package includes an infrared sensor for the climate control that actually measures surface body temperatures and adjusts accordingly.
The safety features offered in the LS 460 are arguably at the leading edge of automotive technology. Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is a standard feature on the LS and is a step better than typical electronic stability control because it integrates the electronic power steering, electronically controlled brakes, throttle and anti-lock brake systems to react much faster and less abruptly to any impending loss of control.
A Pre-Collision System is available on the LS; it uses inputs from the included dynamic radar cruise control to ready safety systems if an impact is expected. The Adaptive Front lighting system is another nifty feature that helps illuminate into a corner, angling with the steering wheel; front side airbags, front and rear side-curtain bags, dual front knee bags are also included--as is a first-aid kit.
In addition to a full roster of luxury-car features, including a hard-drive navigation system with music storage and Bluetooth interface, another gee-whiz offering on the LS 460 is the optional Advanced Parking Guidance System helps with either parallel or back-in parking by actually steering into the parking space--using the backup camera and sonar parking sensors--while the driver modulates speed with the brake pedal.
Vehicle Price: 64,700.00
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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