2012 Lexus LS 460: Highly Desirable Luxury Craft

Written by Arv Voss

The Lexus LS model appeared when Toyota’s luxury division launched in 1989 seeking to conquer the luxury sedan marketplace by offering what the company felt would set new standards in both luxury and refinement. Initially, the sedan appeared to emulate large Mercedes-Benz sedans, and rightly so, since it possessed several of the German automakers styling cues. It was a very nice vehicle, but it was really no Mercedes. A lot has changed since that first model was introduced, and Lexus is now, certainly on a par with Mercedes-Benz in the large luxury sedan segment, showcasing their latest styling philosophy known within as “L-finesse” which blends higher levels of performance, sophistication, contemporary design cues and luxurious refinements and amenities. L-finesse extends throughout the company's entire sedan lineup.

The LS’s design was penned at Toyota's Global Design center in Tokyo, utilizing complex lines and surface treatments, while exhibiting a greater prominence and increased athleticism. A key element in the car's appearance is its projector-type xenon headlamps, which LS engineers wanted to possess crystal-like properties. Actual crystal lenses were crafted in researching what was to become the final result. The headlamps have become not only more attractive, but effectively reach up to 60 feet further than the lamps of earlier LS sedans.

Power for the elegant and stately LS 460 is provided by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that is mated to an electronically controlled 8-speed sequential shift, automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The high output engine develops 380 horsepower and generates 367 pound feet of torque and is capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

The LS is built on a platform that delivers a pleasing, but delicate balance between ride comfort and responsive handling characteristics. The car adapts readily to uneven road surfaces thanks to an adaptable multi-link suspension system both fore and aft. The sumptuous sedan is loaded with both active and passive safety technologies that function as one entity, resulting in a more intelligent and protective vehicle. Included in the new active safety features are Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability system, that integrates and manages an Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), along with engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.

A long-wheelbase version LS 460 L adds 4.8” to both the wheelbase and overall length, bringing additional space to the interior and allowing for an exceptionally roomy rear. The L version also adds Gen 5 Lexus Navigation with XM factory-installed satellite radio, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, a new heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, a new one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, headlamp washers and exclusive laminated side glass.

The LS Series is offered in both the regular wheelbase and Long wheelbase configurations in either rear-wheel drive or AWD. My test Lexus LS 460 was a regular-wheelbase version sporting an Obsidian (Black) metallic exterior with a two-tone Charcoal and Brown leather interior, complimented by Dark Brown Ash satin-finish wood accents on the doors, center console, dash and steering wheel. The base price was set at $65,380, while adding the Comfort and Luxury Value Packages; Sport Package; trunk mat; Premium floor mats; cargo net and Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee, bumped the final total to $76,979. In addition to the extras, the LS 460 was outfitted with a most impressive inventory of standard features and equipment that is far too lengthy to outline here.

Other available options include: a Rear Seat Upgrade; a Touring Package featuring a sport-tuned air suspension; and an Executive Class Seating Package. The Lexus LS 460 four-door sedan is an exceptional luxury machine that is loaded with amenities and features to complement its stellar performance attributes and handling characteristics. It would indeed be suitable for executive service . There are enough driver-oriented features to satisfy most driving enthusiasts to the point of being categorized perhaps as a sport model. But in an atmosphere of heightened luxury enhancements, that might ultimately place chauffeurs in the unemployment line.

High-tech connectivity is courtesy of Lexus Enform, factory ready for a variety of innovative SiriusXM services. Reliability and dependability is key in this latest Lexus Series, which is backed by a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72-months/70,000 miles, and corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72-months as well, regardless of mileage.

In the final analysis, the Lexus LS 460 is a highly desirable luxury craft, and considering its content with numerous standard features that provide unparalleled comfort. It is actually reasonably priced if one happens to fall into the higher earnings category.