LEXUS LS 460 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Large luxury sedan
Engine: 4.6 litre naturally-aspirated petrol DOHC V8
Transmission: 8 speed tiptronic automatic
Official fuel efficiency: 11.1 l/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 12.9 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 261g/km
In a segment that's dominated by German marques, Lexus is sometimes characterised as the builder of beautifully appointed but fatally dull cars. Brilliant build, but dull - that’s what you’ll hear.
But lay your brand-snobbery aside; the Lexus LS 460 offers a lot of metal for your money, a solid drive and bulletproof build.
- Quality: The fit and finish of all interior trim is first class. It is a spoiling sumptuous interior, although starting to look a little dated compared to BMW's new 7 Series and Benz's S-Class.
- Comfort: The leather is soft and supple, the electrically adjustable front and rear seats offer superb support and comfort, and – aside from the centre rear seat – there's acres of legroom, shoulder room and headroom.
The outboard rear seats have a massage function, power retractable sunshades shield the rear occupants from sunlight (and the peasantry), and quad-zone climate control.
- Equipment: The LS 460 has an impressive list of standard equipment, including dusk-sensing xenon headlamps, auto-on wipers, ventilated and heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, sat-nav, 19-speaker premium Mark Levinson audio with aux-in, rear DVD player, moonroof, parking sensors and reversing camera.
- Storage: At 440 litres the boot isn't exactly tight, but thanks to the intrusion of ventilation equipment and power adjustable rear seats, there's no capability to free up more room by folding the rear seats down.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The 4.6 litre is powerful and torquey, and, with eight gears, never short of breath. Gearshifts are butter-smooth, acceleration is seamless and as brisk as you want it to be.
The LS 460 is a big car, and that can create issues in tight quarters. However, there are lots of parking aids and driving in traffic is no more challenging than piloting any other large car.
- Refinement: As is typical for a Lexus, the LS 460 is the epitome of refinement. The cabin is so well isolated from engine, suspension, tyre and wind noise that it's almost church-like.
- Suspension: The air suspension is soft by default, but can be firmed up slightly with the push of a console-mounted switch. The big Lexus handles well for a car of its size and weight when in Sport mode.
Left in Comfort mode, the ride is beautifully cosseting.
- Braking: Brake feel is the only substantial blot on the LS 460's report card. Our test car had a soft pedal, and, given the car's prodigious ability to gather speed it seems odd that it felt so reluctant to shed it.
SAFETY | RATING:
- ANCAP rating: Not tested.
- Safety features: A total of ten airbags (dual front, dual front knee, side airbags front and rear plus full-length curtain airbags); with stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 48 months/100,000km
- Service costs: Service costs vary; contact your Lexus dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- BMW 750i ($276,900) – Plenty of luxury and a newer design, but rear legroom isn't as generous. It's got plenty of brand cachet and a powerful twin-turbo V8, but you pay a hefty premium for it.
- Mercedes-Benz S 500 ($293,760) – The S-Class may have been recently updated, but, like the Lexus, is built on an ageing platform. At $100,000 more than the Lexus, it's expensive.
- Audi A8 4.2 FSI quattro ($225,904) – Audi's fresh new A8 is packed with technology and has similar power to the Lexus. It is a little more costly than the Lexus but far, far cheaper than its German competitors.
If you must have a European badge, the A8 makes a strong case.
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The design is starting to date, but the LS 460 represents excellent value in the super-premium sedan segment.
With loads of gadgets, a sweet but muscular V8, supple suspension and brilliant rear-seat accommodation, the LS 460 offers cosseting luxury and silent, effortless transport. Of course, at the price, it’s not for lesser mortals.