The Lexus LS 460 and LS 460 L have a quiet, yet strong personality, with a 380-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 and very smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard for this big luxury sedan, but all-wheel drive is available (the same 4.6L engine is rated at 357 hp when optioned with all-wheel drive). Then there's also the all-wheel-drive LS 600h L, which serves as the tech flagship for the Lexus lineup. It combines a 5.0-liter V8 engine with a strong electric-motor system and large-capacity battery pack. Both models are capable of getting to 60 mph in about five and a half seconds. Fuel economy is actually quite good for a large luxury car in either model: the LS 460 gets 16 mpg city, 24 highway, while the LS 600h gets 20/22.
The available all-wheel drive system in the LS uses a Torsen limited-slip differential that sends 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels during most driving but more or less as needed for better traction. All-wheel drive models get standard all-season tires and a heated wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel, and there's an available Cold Weather Package that brings a stronger heater, upgraded battery and electric windshield deicer.
The LS models accelerate, handle, and ride with exceptional smoothness and responsiveness. Lexus says the LS 460 has the world's first motor-driven timing system--along with extensive noise- and vibration-isolation measures. The LS cabin feels rich and elegant and was inspired in design by private jet cabins; the materials and trim are conservative yet opulent, and details like laminated side glass help keep road and wind noise out as well.
Both LS 460 AWD models and LS 460 L models offer Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) and the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which together help make the big LS feel a little more manageable on a curvy road or even in a tight parking structure.
The Sport Package brings a more focused performance feel to the rear-wheel-drive LS 460, with stronger Brembo brakes, sporty 10-spoke forged alloy wheels and a stiffer, sport-tuned air suspension. Inside, the Sport Package brings sport seats with leather upholstery, while the automatic transmission gets steering-wheel paddle-shifters and throttle-blip downshifting.
Inside, the standard-length LS 460 models have just enough back-seat space, but the LS 460 L and LS 600h L adds five inches of length and it nearly all goes to rear-seat legroom. For those who ride in the back while a driver takes care of piloting, there's an Executive Class Seating Package that brings an ottoman-style seat in the rear right position. The seat can recline 45 degrees and includes massage functions as well as a rare upper-back adjustment. Also included with the package is a climate control system that uses infrared sensors to measure surface body temperature and adjust the climate control to suit.
The LS 600h L includes even more standard equipment, including climate-controlled front seats, adaptive front lighting, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and intuitive park assist.
Among the leading-edge options available on the LS is an Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS), which will detect pedestrians in the vehicle's path and help react by braking; the system uses both radar and cameras. Lane Keep Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control are two other available features that help increase safety.
Other features available on the LS models include climate-controlled rear seats, a 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound system, and a navigation system with Lexus Connect concierge and Enform information services. An Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) helps with parallel or back-in parking by, after letting the driver choose the spot, actually steering the vehicle while the driver modulates the brake.
Both iPod connectivity and Bluetooth Audio streaming are now standard across the entire lineup of Lexus's flagship LS luxury sedans. The Sport Package that was introduced last year is now more extensive, and includes a sport-tuned air suspension, Brembo brakes, and 19-inch forged aluminum wheels. Newly standard is a so-called "Smart Stop" system that will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal is applied.