By on November 13, 2006

49_2007ls460.jpgDriving a Mercedes E63 AMG just prior to testing the Lexus LS 460 was a big mistake. The German and Japanese machines define the opposite poles of the luxury sedan spectrum. The E63 is for driving enthusiasts. The LS 460 is for people who hate cars. 

At first glance, the LS 460 has finally stopped cribbing its design cues from Mercedes– and started cribbing from the BMW 7 Series. In the flesh, it’s clear that Lexus has turned inwards for inspiration. As I patrolled my dealer’s lot to scan color variations, I couldn’t distinguish an ES from an LS. In fact, the Japanese brand’s “L-finesse” design philosophy Lacks-finesse across the entire model range. There are no exterior character lines worth mentioning. I like the way the LS’ exhaust pipes integrate into the rear valence. And, um that’s it.

60_2007ls460.jpgThis deeply conservative (not to say bland) approach carries over into the interior, which seems carefully designed to avoid offense. While you can’t fault the LS 460's ergonomics or the luster of its wood accents, the $61k-and-up car's cabin comes off just a little bit, well, cheap. The buttons are made from plastic that Audi wouldn't use for the A8's trunk release. And Lexus can buff that leather as much as it wants; it still feels like it came out of a Camry. Of course, the LS 460 boats— I mean boasts every luxury car toy on earth, including intuitive parking assist (Danger Will Robinson!) and power everything you can imagine (and much you can’t or wouldn’t).

The LS’ optional beat box is the cabin's highlight. Mark Levinson's ICE includes 19 speakers and 15 bridged amplifier channels running 450 watts of power (continuous average power, all channels driven, at 0.1% THD; 20 – 20,000 Hz, in case you thought that was a bit woosy). The system can play Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD audio, MP3 and WMA files. An eight gigabyte hard drive automatically records up to 2k songs as you play them. The only features missing are internet access and a built-in Play Station 3, which are no doubt available in Japan. And the sound– you could blow $100k on a home system that doesn’t sound half as good.

13_2007ls460.jpgFiring-up the LS’ 4.6-liter V8 is about as aurally exciting as switching on a pool heater– which is fair enough. The driving experience is a bit like swimming in warm water. Helming the LS, I thought I'd become an automotive quadriplegic; my mind was operating the vehicle rather than my extremities. I had no sensation whatsoever from the steering wheel, throttle or brakes. Every control involved with the vehicle’s operation lay just within the range of human perception.

The LS 460’s electronic brakes were designed for women wearing high heels; the slightest touch of a stiletto brings the car to a complete stop. Steering feel isn’t. There's only one way to know the slushbox is changing gears: watch the tacho needle bouncing gently up and down. Unless you depress the throttle at 45mph. Then there's an unacceptable hesitation as the transmission rows through a few gear changes before finding the meaty part of the engine’s torque range. Remind me again why Lexus needs an eight speed transmission? Oh yes; Mercedes has a seven speed. 

The LS 460’s handling reminded me of a 10-month old Golden Retriever puppy: affectionate but clumsy. Turn-in is irrelevant. You can’t feel the car settling into a corner and you only realize that you are exceeding the vehicle’s limits when the door’s angle of attack relative to the road exceeds 15 degrees, and the traction control wrests control (you mean I was driving?) away from the driver.

07_2007ls460.jpgLexus claims the LS 460 wafts from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds. Given 380 horsepower and 367 lb. ft. of torque in a 4244 pound luxobarge, that sounds about right. But it felt a lot slower. It could be the complete lack of sensual feedback or the effects of that pesky E63 again. Anyway, the LS 460 desperately needs a sport package. Alas, none is available. I suspect Lexus knows its target audience will be more impressed with (though not concerned about) the sedan's extraordinary 21 city and 27 highway miles per gallon.

I last drove an LS in 1990. Compared to the competition over at Mercedes and BMW, the LS was a breath of fresh air: bargain-priced and elegantly engineered. I almost bought one. OK, I’m trying to impress you with my open-mindedness. And it's true: I can see the virtue of a machine that functions without any apparent effort from man or machine. But I struggled not to giggle at the LS 460’s “Luxury Car for Dummies” perfection. If Lexus added an in-dash popcorn maker, I’d find more reason to buy this mobile entertainment lounge. But nowhere near enough.

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102 Comments on “Lexus LS 460 Review...”


  • avatar

    I think your review gets the car spot-on, from the point-of-view of a knowledgeable car enthusiast. Which begs the question: how many are there left of that breed?

    For most people, driving is transportation.
    And they’re not very good at it if I judge by the parallel or nose-in parking skills on display wherever I look. When they can’t even get the basics right, then forget about their skills taking curves.
    The vast majority of 4WD owners never really need it, and particularly not in the offroad vehicles they buy that never touch a curb. Likewise, most car owners are more curious about the efficiency of the brakes than they are about the acceleration.

    Some years ago I was trout fishing in Chile, up in the Andes and close to Argentina. The owners of the lodge definitely had a need for 4WD and off-roaders.
    Their lodge was 2000km south of Santiago, but they’d still go up to the capital city to look for a good 4WD bargain. They went looking for supermarket driven jeeps, four to five years old. They said they would be “as new” as far as the use they were going to put them through, and the original owner got the depreciation.

    In contrast, luxury cars with everything but the popcorn maker are the other side of this compensation coin.
    OK, so you’re not going for the overengineered supermarket trolleyjeep — but you still want to show that you can buy more car than you know what to do with.
    And just as you wouldn’t know how to get sideways out of a rut in a forest dirt track in a jeep, you haven’t bought the luxury car to experience anything that has to do with actual driving.
    It’s more an extension of the home experience I suspect – combined with “look what I could afford to buy”. Mobile entertainment lounge gets it in three words.

  • avatar

    When the original LS hit the streets, I was luck enough to get one for an extended drive.

    I was amazed by how smooth, quiet and luxurious the car was: a “baby Rolls Royce.” (Or better, considering the build quality of pre-BMW Rollers.) A bit plasticky, but a genuine contender against the Mercs and Bimmers of its day.

    And then I had to hustle the car. Suddenly, the LS transformed into a standard-issue Olde School American full-size sedan. If floated over bumps and kicked down reluctantly.

    Since then, Lexus has tightened the LS responses considerably. But then Mercedes has introduced Airmatic suspension to the S-Class and 7-Series’ engines continue to offer sublime torque and thrust.

    Judging from Jay’s review (I’ve got a ride scheduled later this week), we’re still where we were back in 1990. The LS is still the big car Cadillac should be building (but can’t), the Merc is still over-priced, snob friendly and dubiously reliable; and the BMW is still the sporting luxobarge driver’s choice.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Is it REALLY that hard to parallel park a car all by your self? As it is, you have backup sensors and a camera, since you obviously couldn’t be bothered to learn your car’s dimensions.

    And besides, how often is the owner of a $70K luxobarge going to be circling the block looking for the meter with a few more minutes of time left in it? Is Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge still in the market for a new car?

    I may not have gotten up on the right side of the bed this morning, but cars like this really cheese me off. So much engineering talent wasted on a puff piece of so little value.

    Good review, though.

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    This article really resonated with me. You see, I recently test-drove the new LS. Here’s the punch line: the good folks over at Lexus had us drive a 7-series first, for comparison purposes.

    Not such a good idea.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    Being a luxo-barge affecianado, I was actually interested in test driving one of these machines. I had assumed that in the intervening years (since the 1990 era model) that Lexus had closed the gap with the German’s performance rather than just emulating their looks.

    Guess I’ll wait another three lustra or so unless Lexus can do a decent sports package. But I fear there is just too much Toyota in them and I further suspect that they find a strange sense of immorality in driving enjoyment.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’ll start with the parallel park-o-matic, because that’s obviously the only thing the advertising chooses to talk up. Question: How many owners/drivers of a $70k lux-boat actually use parallel parking regularly? Maybe I’m overly provincial with my cultural aversions to NYC and LA, but most execs tend to use parking decks or valet, from my experience, and at any cost. So how much of Lexus’ total US market really parallel parks on a daily basis? And as a driver, this feature says to me: “Our car is so numb (or has such poor visibility) that we don’t trust you to do it yourself”. Lest anyone think I’m being a technophobe or Nihon-basher, I said (and say) the same thing about Dis(s)-tronic auto cruise control.

    I have always heard the expression “BMW makes cars you really, really want to drive. Lexus makes cars you really, really want to ride in.” Guess this one is no exception to that rule.

    I agree with the assessment of what the LS did back in ’90, I remember it pretty well. But if you’re not undercutting the price of the Germans, then where’s the allure? A 7-series can be driven by a no-brainer driver as well as an enthusiast; the Lexus, apparently, cannot.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I have no qualms with Lexus offering a Luxury car – there are many people who scoop these up as they care little about thrashing in through a corner to avoiding the boring highway to catch a twisty parallel road.

    I do have one draw back as Lexus does advertise it’s LS as somewhat “sporty”. They should realize they make one of the best no compromise luxury cars out there. Leave sporting intentions to others (or the GS within their sales structure).

  • avatar

    Did you drive the regular wheelbase car or the extended? For reasons that escape me, they’re only offering the adaptive suspension, which I believe has a sport setting, on the long car.

    The semi-anilin (sp?) leather might also only be available on the long car, I cannot recall at the moment. Any idea if your car had it?

    I ask these things because in the previous generation LS the optional sport suspension VASTLY improved the car’s handling, bringing it about even with the S-Class of the time, while the semi-anilin leather had a much nicer feel than the standard stuff.

    My site’s page for the LS, in case anyone is interested in seeing how the pricing stacks up:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/LS460.php

  • avatar

    The LS is the Lexus I care least about. Starting as a shameless S-Class imitation and now imitating BMW’s profile without its performance or steering feel.

    For that matter, the brand itself lost its (IMHO) when the sleek SC400 became the inverted-bathtub SC430.

  • avatar
    Luther

    The LS460 is a very nice $45K car.

  • avatar

    I agree with everything that has been said. If you want sportiness and don’t mind your trunk always looking like it is open, buy a 7. I would probably buy an A8 which as least looks good.

    L-Finesse has only looked good on one car, and that is the current IS. Besides the crappy, cheap looking rear lights, the car is very attractive in a demure sort of way. The ES looks more bloated in every generation, the GS is almost good looking with a few changes, the SC is a whale, and the LS is a big box…

  • avatar
    kaisen

    I passed a new LS this morning and noted that the front fenders stuck out like K-Fed at a Mensa convention. The shape is not well integrated, and they look much worse in person than photos suggest.

    A few miles down the road I came upon an ES and they look darn near identical from the rear 3/4. Of note: both ‘drivers’ were sipping coffee and completely disengaged from actually driving.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    Re: Park-o-matic, I have significant doubts of this as a useful, viable technology. I can’t imagine what happens the first time someone tries it out and the Lexus smashes into the cars in front/back of it, or the curb. Or, even worse, a stray pedestrian/child/cyclist.

    Automation of basic driving skills (e.g., park-o-matic, auto cruise control, lane change alarms) is a terrible development.

  • avatar

    From Automotive News:

    Lexus may try to revive its failed L-Tuned brand by adding some sizzle.

    Its first try, in 2000, at countering high performance from BMW’s M Division and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG group fizzled badly and was scrapped in 2003. But Lexus’ U.S. executives are pressing Japan headquarters to give it another shot.

    “The first L-Tuned vehicles were more about cosmetic changes than performance,” Jim Lentz, COO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said last week at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas.

    With a sportier redesign of the IS 250 and IS 350 sedan – and with coupe and convertible variants likely – the situation is different today than a few years ago. L-Tuned versions also could work well with the GS 450h hybrid and the just-launched LS 460 sedan, Lentz said.

    “There’s nothing to announce yet,” Lentz said. “But the time is right to stretch Lexus as a core-luxury brand.”

  • avatar
    wsn

    It seems the American car buying public disagrees with you.

    Different people have different priorities. Some enjoy throwing a 5000-lb car over a sharp corner (why don’t they get an M3 instead?). Others enjoy their time doing other things, such as cooking.

    Say, if a car enthusiast don’t enjoy cooking, is that pathetic? Is he a discount-rate human being by not paying attention to cooking details and not posting intellegent comments on a cooking forum?

    The same goes for driving. Don’t make too big a deal out of it. This is a site named “The Truth About Cars”, not “The Truth About Enthusiast Driving.” Thus, please don’t use enthusiast driving as the only metric to judge a car.

    The truth about LS460 is: it’s the top selling car in it’s segment in the States. Jay, why don’t you briefly discuss about the reasoning behind this important truth?

    • 0 avatar
      cboyfromhell

      Agreed. I’m not understanding why BMW lovers are always talking about being a “driving enthusiast.” Okay… this is pompous more so than saying how Lexus lovers just want to enjoy their sound system. I’ve owned a 7 series and I know that it feels nice to drive, but so does the LS in a different way. Most people don’t take the corners at 100 mph so who cares? This is America and last time I checked we don’t have an Autobahn. I get the differences and really weighing the + – between the two the Lexus wins every time. The 07 750LI looks like a pile of crap compared to the LS and 7 is in the shop too often to even consider driving enthusiastically. Lexus is soft comfy intelligent and drives close enough to great that I can be happy with it and ecstatic about everything else. BMW (love the 3 though) is a great car. I just can’t justify the problems for some driving fun once a month over the Lexus.

  • avatar

    I’m glad someone else out there doesn’t like Lexus and thinks this sedan as about as boring as a mid 90s Camry.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    The truth about LS460 is: it’s the top selling car in it’s segment in the States.

    The truth is the Lexus LS sold 32K in 2004, 26K in 2005, and is pacing only 15K for 2006. The 7 series is outselling them so far this year, and Mercedes has sold TWICE AS MANY S-class as LS in 2006.

  • avatar
    BimmerHead

    I’d like to test out the parallel parking thing… My guess is that rather than smash any cars or kill any children, it’s way more likely to not park the car (error out and force the driver to park) based on some false obstacle like a small pile of leaves or trash.
    I know the parking sensors on my car beep for almost anything, which means that I learn to ignore it mostly… but certainly Lexus is not going to assume any false alarms in their system.

    SO the LS is NOT the top seller in it’s segment! Hallelujah, there is hope for us all! (at least the driving enthusiasts among us all).

  • avatar
    Brian E

    wsn: The Truth is that selling a diluted product will kill the product and damage the brand. It’s not just about the enthusiast appeal. Much like the Acura RL, this car doesn’t have the visual panache to make the statement it needs to make.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Good read…I tried to put my finger on why I didn’t like the lexus I test drove (Lexus IS250 AWD)…beyond it’s sluggishness, lack of fuel efficiency, and “conservative” look, I was almost a bit offended at the keyless entry, keyless ignition, and auto-sensor windshield wipers. The salewoman kept saying, “now you don’t have to worry or bother with any of that”…and I kept thinking, “Since when is using the key or flipping on your windshield wipers a huge burden?”

    Granted, the interior was amazing, the ride was smooth, and the ergonomics were flawless…but when you make a car so nice that it’s not like even driving a car, it doesn’t appeal to me. :)

  • avatar
    pauln

    Lexus’ new ad line: The Ultimate Parking Machine

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Since these cars are geared toward luxury and a higher-ended income, a slightly older generation, are they on target? I think the Acura RL is an amazing car…but I don’t see it as appealing to me until I hit about 55 or so. Maybe by then I’ll want to blend in, never hear road noise or feel an occasional pothole or rivet in the road. It doesn’t appeal to me right now…but I could definately see it appealing to me in the future.

  • avatar

    Only one problem with the Lexus Park-o-Matic: the driver still has to operate the brakes. If the driver is too incompetent to park his/her own vehicle, how can they exepct him/her to operate the brakes at the proper time? (That is, if they can even master the multi-step process necessary to align the car and tell it where they want it to put itself.)

  • avatar
    fozone

    One thing i’ve noticed in many toyotas of late is that their electronic slushboxes feel like they’ve been coated in molasses.

    They are slow to respond, even in their “sportier” models. And in my family’s ES (last gen), the hesitation was so great that it can get annoying has hell to drive.

    Contrast this to the old corolla I was put in a few weeks ago — sure, it may be a 3-speed, but when you put your foot on the gas, something actually happens IMMEDIATELY.

    If this is the future of drive-by-wire, i want none of it.

  • avatar
    MFizzle

    Congratulations on determining that a 500 horsepower Mercedes tuned as a performance vehicle has better driving dynamics than a luxury vehicle which focuses on luxury.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    It seems like toyota has something against the idea of a sports car. They’ve dropped every sporty offering from their brands, no more supra, mr2, and even the somewhat sporty celica got the axe. It’s gotta be on purpose, they hate the idea of a performance car. It’s their corporate leadership’s philosophy that a car should be a cocoon that transports you in comfort. I wouldn’t be surprised if they invent the world’s first driverless car.

  • avatar
    ash78

    In the early 2000s, Toyota was flipping out because they had the OLDEST clientele of any US-sold marque (avg buyer: 53). Think about Cadillac or Mercedes…and Toyota trumps them both. I believe this was a lot of the driving force behind Scion. So to speak dolo54‘s question, I have no idea why Toyota has axed all of their sports cars. Seems like a really bad idea to me.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    Lexus is reported to be developing a high performance coupe (LF-H) with a front-mounted 500hp V10 (think Ferrari 599 size/shape).

    There are plenty of spy-photos if you search.

  • avatar
    gunnarheinrich

    You say that the interior is designed not to offend. Personally, I’m offended by the sight of a Corolla-cheap digital clock sitting in the dash of $60,000 car.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    After spending weeks helping my M-I-L test drive a new ride, I don’t think you can find anything in the “luxury” genre any more benign than any Lexus.

    I guess it suits their purpose, as her new RX350 ‘numbmobile’ does her.

    If I want reliability, quality & performance, Infinity seems the only way to go…..

  • avatar
    discoholic

    It seems to me that most people here are missing the point of this car by a mile: A Lexus has never been made for pistonheads or enthusiastic drivers. It is about making transport as supremely comfortable, serenely quiet, perfectly reliable and effortless as possible. While most manufacturers nowadays seem to concentrate on the “sport” end (usually all that boils down to is an absolutely intolerable ride on anything but glass smooth pavement), the default luxury makers seem to have got their priorities all messed up: Mercedes thinks that “crap quality is ok as long as we have 257 different models”, BMWs have surpassed the Pontiac Aztek for sheer hideousness, and Jaguar’s advertising slogan might as well be “Just like 20 years ago.” As for American manufacturers, they still seem to hold on to the wildly demented idea that luxury means slapping a ton of chrome and 20-inch dubs on a piece of farm equipment. I drove a 3-series recently that apparently had no suspension whatsoever; the diesel engine sounded like a Chinese tractor and the interior materials made a 1972 Lada look positively luxurious. That car was quite simply an insult to anyone spending upwards of $40,000 on it, and it’s traffic-stoppingly ugly to boot. Meanwhile, Lexus keeps selling more and more cars every year, and according to just about every customer survey on the planet, their owners couldn’t be happier. Sport packages, anyone?

  • avatar
    ash78

    If Lexus brings the IS200(or better) diesel in a wagon form to the US, I’ll be first in line to pay sticker price.

    “Missing the point” or not, I feel that Lexus threw the gauntlet down when they brought the IS300 out to compete against the 3-series. Now I’m not sure if that automatically forces them to compete head-to-head against BMW in every segment and method (which obviously they don’t), but a lot of people do tend to look at competitors in that manner–maybe just because it’s easier to mentally process. IS350 may be their answer to the 328 or 330, but it sounds like it ends there.

    Are the ES, GS and LS supposed to be head-to-head against the E-Class/S-Class and 5/7 series? I’m curious what everyone thinks and what Lexus’ official line is on this (if any).

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    This article really resonated with me. You see, I recently test-drove the new LS. Here’s the punch line: the good folks over at Lexus had us drive a 7-series first, for comparison purposes.

    I did the same “Taste Of Lexus” event. I drove the 750 (impressive), then the S550 (cushy but impressive) and then the Lexus LS. Hate to say it, but if Lincoln has any sense they’ll (dynamically, not stylistically) engineer the Town Car to be a $40,000 knock off of the LS. The LS is a pure land yacht.

    I still can’t believe Lexus went so far as to offer up its competition at their event: aside from the self-parking trick, that car’s got nothing on the German sedans. I wonder if sales will increase much with this new model, considering the price hike.

  • avatar
    jdv

    Sajeev,

    That’s why the japanese brands are so successfull, they are not afraid to look at their competitors. They probably genuinely want to know what is better in consumers minds about the BMW and Mercedes so they can emulate it.

    Their secret to success is refining, refining, refining.

    Imagine a detroit company willing to even do this in private?

  • avatar
    blautens

    I think this car will strike its intended audience as right on the mark…being a Lexus owner myself, I don’t think anyone in the dealership where I shop thinks the LS is an enthusiast’s car – it’s a large Lexus sedan, quiet, refined, and brimming with technology. Not for me (yet), but I believe it will be as successful (if not more) as previous generations.

  • avatar
    mark06902

    Congratulations on determining that a 500 horsepower Mercedes tuned as a performance vehicle has better driving dynamics than a luxury vehicle which focuses on luxury.

    I second that……….Why a 90k plus sports sedan is even mentioned in the same article as a 65k luxury boat is beyond me……Careful what you wish for…you want Lexus to attempt a midsize car focusing 90% on the sporting aspects with another 40k to work with ontop of their GS budget? (Disregarding the fact that the LS is faster than the 7, the gs faster than the 5 and the is faster than the 3….i know, i know, its the cornering at 105mph right?) You are gonna send alot of german engineers to the unemployment line….

  • avatar
    Jonesy

    A bad rant. You have missed the point which many readers have seized upon, namely the LS and MB’s AMG are NOT conpetitors. They are entirely different machines. The customer looking at an AMG is NOT considering a LS and vice versa. The LS is a great car for what it is, so is the AMG.

  • avatar

    Gentlemen,

    The review here represents the truth as Mr. Shoemaker sees it. If you read the piece carefully, he fully acknowledges the suitability of the LS for its intended audience, and points out many characteristics of the car which would be of interest to luxobargers (as well as enthusiasts).

    While Mr. Shoemaker states his bias in the first sentence, I think this review is both fair, and fair-minded. Otherwise, I would not have published it.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    So kinda like seeing “The God Father” and then watching “Nacho Libre” and saying you aren’t comparing one to the other even though you continually do it throughout the entire critique? :) I mean, both are cinimatography, geared at completely different audiences, hoping to trigger a completely different emotional response…but clearly one is not the other…so why even compare? :)

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The LS has always looked like a German equivalent because that’s what prestige buyers want. But besides that, it’s more of a competitor to what the Cadillac SLS should have been.

    I suspect that the German cars are sportier because they weren’t designed primarily for our market. The LS, and most dull-to-drive cars in general, were designed for the US first. Shows you what they think of us…

  • avatar

    If Lexus brings the IS200(or better) diesel in a wagon form to the US, I’ll be first in line to pay sticker price.

    If it has AWD as an option. I’m second.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Great review, Jay. It’s hard to believe that Lexus has managed to engineer the fun out of a vehicle that can hit 60 in 5.4 seconds. Now that takes some serious talent.

  • avatar

    This is ironic on the heels of Stein Leikanger’s editorial about Toyota. Is Lexus schizophrenic? Osamu Sadakata must have nothing to do with the LS 460.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The review here represents the truth as Mr. Shoemaker sees it. If you read the piece carefully, he fully acknowledges the suitability of the LS for its intended audience, and points out many characteristics of the car which would be of interest to luxobargers (as well as enthusiasts).

    Robert, I am afraid that you have mixed up the terms “truth” vs. “opinion.”

    Truth is about something out there, no matter who sees it. LS has the most (and still increasing) market share in the US, and that’s the truth.

    Someone pointed out, the LS lost some grounds to the S this year. I would say that’s expected as the S got a new model last year and potential LS buyers are simply waiting for the new model to come. A 4-year moving average would be a more convincing evidence.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I suspect that the German cars are sportier because they weren’t designed primarily for our market. The LS, and most dull-to-drive cars in general, were designed for the US first. Shows you what they think of us…

    I remember that MB was known to build boats. At that time the small independent firm AMG seize the opportunity to modify these boats.

    And then came Lexus, which built better boats. MB’s shift to “sportiness”, IMO, is a shift to dodge direct competition and to find new grounds. Now they offer, for every class, a medium engine, a large engine, a sports version and at least one AMG version. Yet, their total sales in the US is about 4th or 5th depending which year. That boring brand started in 1989 is firmly holding #1.

    Toyota/Lexus and Microsoft share much in common. While bashing them certainly sounds cool and trendy (as if the 5262425262 car enthusiasts haven’t said enough of the same thing), it will prevent you from understanding the truth.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    Someone pointed out, the LS lost some grounds to the S this year. I would say that’s expected as the S got a new model last year and potential LS buyers are simply waiting for the new model to come. A 4-year moving average would be a more convincing evidence.

    Total sold from January 1, 2003 to Nov 1, 2006:

    S-Class 84,555
    7-series 69,806
    LS 94,278

    Yes, Lexus has led the segment, but currently does not.

    Cadillac has come up here, so just for fun (same period):
    Deville/DTS 261,165

    That’s right, Caddy has sold more big luxo-boats than all S-class, 7-series, and LS combined. Add Q45 to the Eurasian large-luxury total and the DTS has still sold more.

    Does that mean Cadillac knows more about what luxury buyers want?

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Jim H: So kinda like seeing “The God Father” and then watching “Nacho Libre” and saying you aren’t comparing one to the other even though you continually do it throughout the entire critique? :) I mean, both are cinimatography, geared at completely different audiences, hoping to trigger a completely different emotional response…but clearly one is not the other…so why even compare? :)

    Yeah, but it’s totally reasonable for somebody to say that they like Godfather, but not Nacho Libre. Or Godfather and Nacho Libre. Or on some nites, Nacho Libre is good, and on some nites Godfather suits them better.

    The Lexus and the Mercedes are not the same, and were not intended to be the same, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be mentioned in the same breath. It doesn’t mean they can’t be compared, and it doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t be curious how they might stack up.

    I see everybody’s point… but don’t take the fun out of car reviewing by saying that a car can only be compared with other cars in it’s exact pricepoint and segment. I wouldn’t mind if the Evo review compared it’s handling to the Elise or an M3… that’s interesting. And everyone compares the interior of everything to Audi. And that’s fine by me. I cross-shopped a MINI Cooper S and a Subaru STi, a VW GTI and an Audi S4. Is that wrong? I just wanted the most fun for my money… and someone reading this review might just want the most lux for their money… so the merc comparison might be of value.

  • avatar

    wsn:
    Mr. Shoemaker didn’t say anything about the LS’ market share, or what that might mean about the “value” of the new LS. He wrote a review, not a market report.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    I owned a ls400 (1997), it was a good car and looked german derived and not like a large camry. Yes, it was smooth and numb then as now and after a while you just tire of it. I think the new one is very toyota looking and far removed from an S class, which has finally retaken it’s style theme instead of being a larger E class (pre 2006). The lexus is a bargain at 65K until you realize at that price what’s another 20K for a real luxury car? The buyer in this market will stretch the for the extra dollars if he perceives a better and more expensive looking ride. Most S class benz’s will be the normal 5 liter v8 not the AMG. If this rendition says I have arrived, it will satisfy the typical owner. I beleive the new S class says this twice as well as the new ls460. (It’s irrelevant which car is faster or really better, isn’t it?)

  • avatar
    ghillie

    I had a ’93 LS400 (now sold). It was great. Much better build quality and everything else I wanted in a luxury car than was offered by BMW or MB at the time. Both inside and out it was classy and elegant in an understated way – and better value too.

    I don’t get the MB copy thing. I don’t think it looks any more a copy of MB than it does of a 7 series BMW from that era – or more than MB and BMW looked a copy of each other. They are all similar but also distinct.

    I had no problem with the way it handled. It was not for flinging around the twisty bits but once settled in a corner it tracked accurately without tire squeal up to any speed I felt comfortable driving it at.

    My problem with Lexus since then is that IMO all Lexus cars have just got uglier. Lexus now has a style that is much more derivative – a pastiche of other vehicles and styling trends. To me they look contrived and ungainly.

    I really liked my LS400 but I won’t buy a newer one until they make them look right again. IMO the early ’90s LS400 (on 16″ wheels) still looks good on the road today.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Just another juvenile article from TTAC. They are very quickly losing credibility.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    I must humbly disagree with this rant, review, or whatever you wish to call it.

    Robert, I will also disagree with your assessment that his review is fair, and fair-minded.

    He mentions in the first paragraph that the “LS460 is for people who hate cars”.

    I’m a big car and automotive enthusiast, and I really like the LS460. But how can that be, according to Mr. Shoemaker’s statement?

    I will agree with others that comparing an E63 AMG to the LS460 is completely irrelevant, and simply implies that the author is using extremes to make the LS460 appear worse than it really is.

    Heck, compared to an E63 AMG, a 750Li or an S550 too would seem like total luxury boats and isolation chambers. But of course, hating on Mercedes or BMW does not seem to be a popular trend among “enthusiasts”, or more accurately “sports car-loving enthusiasts”.

    I can easily differentiate, in person, the new ES from the new LS. To each his own. And I highly admire the new Lexus design strategy, as there are lots of small details in the new designs that really makes you appreciate owning them in the long term.

    As for the interior, I don’t find it to be any cheaper than the S550 or A8′s interior. In fact, the S550 in my opinion feels less solidly built, and more cheaply made than the new LS.

    And a few corrections, EPA fuel economy for the LS460 is actually 19/27, not 21/27. Furthermore, the traction control on the LS460 can be turned off completely, so complaining about that is irrelevant and pointless. Also, Lexus does offer a Touring Package on the LS460, which adds bigger wheels, and a sportier suspension.

    Sajeev Mehta, for shame. If your opinion “aside from the self-parking trick, that car’s got nothing on the German sedans” is not a biased and ignorant statement, I don’t know what is.

    Kaisen, the point others are trying to make is that, *generally speaking*, the LS has been a class leader in sales (in North America) for over a decade, for the most part. And in October 2006, the LS handily outsold the 7 Series. This month is the first full month that the LS460 is on sale, so expect to see even bigger sales numbers.

  • avatar
    bmilner

    Its funny how “enthusiast” drivers reject many luxuries in a car as frivolous or worse, insulting. I can tell you that some of those features are actually really NICE once you get used to them. Some examples:

    Rain sensing wipers: No, not to turn them on automatically at all, silly, this adjusts the speed of the wipers to the rate of rainflow. This is TOTALLY useful here in Seattle where the rain varies from drizzle to mild leak all day. Its super annoying to adjust the intermittant setting every 60 seconds for hours at a time.

    Distance sensing cruise control: I used this on my fathers LS on a 5 hour road trip and it was handy. Not essential but nice not to have to brake and reset the cruise every 2 minutes on a semi-crowded highway. Could lull you to sleep though.

    Auto-parallel park: I haven’t tried it, I can parallel park fine. But, I screw it up about 1 out of every 15 times and have to re-try. On a crowded city street, that can get embarassing. I LOVE the side mirrors that angle down in reverse though on my Passat. When I use a car without that, I really miss it.

    I drove last years LS model on a road trip. Could barely feel the road but it was the most relaxing 5 hour trip I’ve ever spent. And that Mark Levinson sound system was the best I’ve ever heard. As a musician, I considered getting the car for that alone. When I heard it was available on the IS, I was thrilled. To bad, the rest of the IS was so boring I fell asleep merely walking up to it.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I believe that all of the writers at TTAC have a deep facination for cars. It makes no difference whether they are of US, European or Asian manufacture, we are each eager to be stimulated by the machines that intrigue us. None of us set out to intentionally like or dislike anything, we just crave the experience and the opportunity to share our thoughts.

    I admire Lexus cars and have owned five of them. They are wonderful if you value build quality, comfort and resale. These are all important dimensions along which consumers make buying decisions.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    I will agree with others that comparing an E63 AMG to the LS460 is completely irrelevant, and simply implies that the author is using extremes to make the LS460 appear worse than it really is.

    Everyone is so hung up on the mention of the E63. Relax. The mentioning of this recent experiance only serves to put the review into perspective. Lieberman compared the RS4 with the damn Prius of all things, and nobody cried about that.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    I believe that all of the writers at TTAC have a deep facination for cars. It makes no difference whether they are of US, European or Asian manufacture, we are each eager to be stimulated by the machines that intrigue us. None of us set out to intentionally like or dislike anything, we just crave the experience and the opportunity to share our thoughts.

    I admire Lexus cars and have owned five of them. They are wonderful if you value build quality, comfort and resale. These are all important dimensions along which consumers make buying decisions.

    The latest gen of Lexus cars brings alluring styling to the table. Some may disagree, since styling is subjective. Largely though, the opinion amongst writers, journalists, and consumers alike is that the new Lexus cars are pretty stylish, and also more performance-oriented. I doubt IS350 or GS350 drivers find their ride boring.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I think the GS is one of the most attractive designs out there, even if the styling is a little derivative. I feel it’s by FAR the best looking Lexus since the marque was created. The IS is a pretty nice design, too, though I take some points off for its introducing those STUPID Altezza clear/reflective taillights to the world.

    (and Altima and Fusion for keeping the trend going)

  • avatar
    Dunworth

    Interesting review. TTAC, like many other auto enthusiast sites, does not love driving Toyota products, even though they may respect the company’s success.

    But this really is about flavours of driving. BMW vs M-B vs Lexus etc.

    Although I have not driven the latest iteration of this Lexus vehicle, I have driven each of the last three generations of the LS. I love this car. Its fast, well built, and looks like the money you’ve spent on it (which is kind of the point). Though I would never spend this much on a car, there are those in my family who are in a higher snack bracket who can. Even here, there are BMW 7 camps and Lexus camps.

    I love the new S Class but hate the 7-series. To me, the new S is everything a high end full size car should be – beautiful shape, fast, quiet, gorgeous interior – and hopefully the quality issues have been worked out.

    Meanwhile, I found the inside and outside of the 7 hideous and though it drives well, I did not like the cheesy ‘Pontiac’ 6000 steering wheel. I also found the BMW’s engine a bit noisier than the Lexus, and man is this one boat of a car.

    I love the L-finesse design language. To me, the Lexus is not for non-drivers, but it is for drivers who travel long distances or want some modicum of reliability/seviceability in their $80 K car.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I think there may be potential for an interesting piece on why certain people are attracted to a certain brand of automobile.

  • avatar
    quantimouse

    Just another juvenile article from TTAC. They are very quickly losing credibility.

    I thought it was brilliant! Maybe because I’m a German car fan, but whatever, good job!

  • avatar
    Hutton

    “Jay Shoemaker: I think there may be potential for an interesting piece on why certain people are attracted to a certain brand of automobile.”

    I think that would be very interesting. And, judging from the normal discourse around here, I think it would also piss a lot of people off.

    Yeah, so somebody should probably do it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    That’s right, Caddy has sold more big luxo-boats than all S-class, 7-series, and LS combined. Add Q45 to the Eurasian large-luxury total and the DTS has still sold more.

    Does that mean Cadillac knows more about what luxury buyers want?

    You sure sound smart by comparing a FWD $40k car to those $80k’s. FYI, the Lexus ES can do that too.

  • avatar
    wsn

    He mentions in the first paragraph that the “LS460 is for people who hate cars”.

    Yeah. A more objective writer would have said “LS460 is for people whose tastes are different from mine.”

    Labelling those with a different opinion as “who hate cars” is an insult. It’s like saying those who do not support the Iraq war hate the USA.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    wsn – Perhaps you missed the ‘just for fun’ phrase in the Cadillac DTS reference. Relax a little.

    Note that I said ‘large luxury class’ where the DTS is, well, large and the Lexus ES is not. The DTS is actually quite comparable in size (inside and out) to the Lexus LS.

    The typically equipped DTS is near $50K and last year’s LS430 was typically just under $60K, so I’m not sure where your $40K / $80K came from.

    Anyway, I wasn’t serious about the DTS being a direct LS competitor, it was only for perspective.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Sajeev Mehta, for shame. If your opinion “aside from the self-parking trick, that car’s got nothing on the German sedans” is not a biased and ignorant statement, I don’t know what is.

    You bet I’m biased…towards getting the best car in its class.

    As far as ignorant, if you drove all three cars (7-er, S-class, LS) at their ride and drive event you would come to the same conclusion: the LS is a Town Car in disguise. Good for some people, but is 100%, unquestionably out of its league at this price point.

    Johnson, I gave my reasons for not liking the LS, don’t try to distill my thoughts into one sentence and conclude it is ignorant. Thank you.

    I will say that I disagree with JS’s comment about the leather, I thought it felt pretty nice but wasn’t nearly as fragrant as the Germans. My aunt bought the first 1990 Lexus LS to hit the showrooms, I drove it for a while and it was a fantastic car. It had the perfect ride/handling combination, and the new one does not. That’s a shame.

  • avatar
    kaisen

    Why all the fuss about the E63 reference? When I read Jay’s article I must have taken it in a little different context than some others.

    My take on what he was trying to convey:

    You don’t have to comprimise performance for comfort in this class of car.

    BMW and Mercedes have figured out how to retain their heritage of performance driving feel while simultaneously refining ride, comfort, technology, and acoustics. They are well rounded and generally uncomprimising. Something about having your cake…

    The new Lexus LS does the isolation chamber experience a little better than the rest, but at the expense of driving dynamics. A comprimise that some of us find unnecessary given the alternatives in this class.

    I would never suggest that the purchase of a Lexus LS was not a wise one. Reliability, price, and resale make it a good choice. Just maybe not a good choice for those who actually enjoy the driving experience.

  • avatar

    bmilner:
    Rain sensing wipers: No, not to turn them on automatically at all, silly, this adjusts the speed of the wipers to the rate of rainflow. This is TOTALLY useful here in Seattle where the rain varies from drizzle to mild leak all day. Its super annoying to adjust the intermittant setting every 60 seconds for hours at a time.

    I invented rain sensing wipers in my head long before they appeared on cars. In DC, where I lived until ’99, and in Boston now, I’m constantly having to adjust wiper speed. (Of course, it wouldn’t be so critical if windshields were more upright. I never worried about this when I was first driving legally in the early ’70s.)

    Distance sensing cruise control: I used this on my fathers LS on a 5 hour road trip and it was handy. Not essential but nice not to have to brake and reset the cruise every 2 minutes on a semi-crowded highway. Could lull you to sleep though.
    Exactly.

    Auto-parallel park: I haven’t tried it, I can parallel park fine. But, I screw it up about 1 out of every 15 times and have to re-try. On a crowded city street, that can get embarassing. I LOVE the side mirrors that angle down in reverse though on my Passat. When I use a car without that, I really miss it.
    Anyone who can’t parallel park shouldn’t be driving. One thing that would help make parallel parking easier is tighter turning circles. Even after a decade with my Saturn (turning circle 40′) parallel parking was more of a chore than it had ever been with my ’77 Corolla (TC = 32′). But would love side mirrors that angled down in reverse.

  • avatar
    ash78

    0-60 in 5.4sec from a large car with a V8 that can return 27mpg? That’s frickin’ amazing, right there.

    Rain sensors and all that are okay. But until they devise one that will roll up my windows and close the sunroof when the car is parked and it starts raining, I think it is completely underutilized. Someone told me that some Bimmers in the 90s would do this, but I’ve yet to see it. I just want to be able to turn them off completely. I’ve converted to a Rain-X guy in the last couple years. I only need wipers for the lightest of sprinkles, which we rarely get in the Southeast. It’s that “England rain” that doesn’t slough right off.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Sajeev wrote:

    the LS is a Town Car in disguise. Good for some people, but is 100%, unquestionably out of its league at this price point.

    The “some people” you refer to comprise a very large proportion of buyers at this price point, so for them, the car is absolutely 100% in its league. Comfort, luxury, and gadgets galore will please all but the most Eurocentric lux car buyers, and they (I) will continue buying their (my) S/7/A8′s….and those of us on the lunatic fringe will buy the AMG/M/S versions.

    Fact is, even the LS460 has performance credentials that would embarass hard core sports cars from a generation ago. The fact that Lexus hides this so well is EXACTLY what appeals to those that flock in droves to buy the ultimate Toyota….but count me out.

    We’ll see if the inevitable L-tuned version delivers on the driving dynamics part of the equation. If the upcoming IS500 is any indication, Lexus may become a player here as well.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The “some people” you refer to comprise a very large proportion of buyers at this price point, so for them, the car is absolutely 100% in its league.

    Not really. The S-class provides almost all the isolation of the LS, but drives nicer in the twisties. Even the anti-pistonhead attendees of the Taste Of Lexus found the S-class to be a supremely cushy car, when driven conservatively. One anti-pistonhead told me that, then asked me what color she should order her next S-class in.

    And lets not forget the effortless torque of the Benz which makes an awesome cushy cruiser. While the LS is revving and shifting, the Benz just lays the grunt down with authority. Check its peak torque figures over the LS. Its a big difference for a luxury car.

    Like Kaisen said, at this price point, its important to have your cake and eat it too.

  • avatar
    quantimouse

    But would love side mirrors that angled down in reverse.

    Agreed, these are awesome and I love this on the S4 and RS4. I think maybe available on other Audis? Invaluable, however it only turns down for the right mirror, which I think is an oversight.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Sajeev,

    95% of LS drivers don’t give a damn about the twisties or laying down the grunt. Does the Benz have a built in hard drive for recording music? Does the Harmon Kardon or Bose system match up to the Mark Levinson system? Does it have an optional Maybachian dentist chair in the back seat? These things are what matter most to them.

    Bottom line, it isn’t the car for us, but your comment that it is “100% unquestionably out of its league” is 100% unquestionably incorrect….and you know as well as I do that the sales figures will support this.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Jay Shoemaker: I think there may be potential for an interesting piece on why certain people are attracted to a certain brand of automobile.
    Why do you have to put ourselves in little categories? Perhaps a chaos theory reference is needed here. You can’t say, “Hey, since Jim likes Subaru’s, he must love the Toyota Highlander and absolutely despise the Lexus LX 470!” People are not one-dimensional…granted men normally are (that’s a bit of humor), but not all people are. For example, I’ve always found Acuras to be beautiful in styling…until the new RDX (pictures make it look awesome…but it looks horrible to me on the road :( )

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    but your comment that it is “100% unquestionably out of its league” is 100% unquestionably incorrect…

    I’ll give you that, its about 100% off base. But I neglected to mention an important part of a high dollar luxo-sedan: styling.

    Forget the driving dynamics and torque, the LS is a generic looking car that’s not much cheaper than the Germans. All the content in the world may not be enough for the lack of high-dollar styling.

    I’m not sure if I’d go as far as Jay with the interior feeling cheap for its class, but it isn’t impressive. The snob appeal factor is lacking…which was fine back in 1990 when it sold for $30,000-ish.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Sajeev said: “As far as ignorant, if you drove all three cars (7-er, S-class, LS) at their ride and drive event you would come to the same conclusion: the LS is a Town Car in disguise. Good for some people, but is 100%, unquestionably out of its league at this price point.”

    Are you seriously calling someone ignorant and them claiming to know exactly how they’d react given a certain scenario? Interesting!

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Let’s be clear on one thing: Johnson called my remark ignorant, I am not calling anyone ignorant.

    I see why that’s not clear in my reply, sorry for the confusion.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Ah, got it…thanks. :)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Thank you for understanding. :-)

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Hey…no fair with the editting rights! Your edit makes it even clearer now! :)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Hey, when you write as much as I do for work and fun, that’s more than a perk…it’s necessity.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I think there may be potential for an interesting piece on why certain people are attracted to a certain brand of automobile.

    I think most magzine writers (TTAC included) tends to praise the least selling model in a segment. In doing so, they paint themselves as not “boring”, since they provided opinions contrary to the car-buying public.

    The best example is Audi vs. Lexus. The former is almost non-exsitent in the United States (the sales rank is probably 8th something) while the latter ranks No. 1. Yet it’s cool to regard Audi as better than BMW in driving dynamics and better than Lexus in interior refinement.

    Of course, the test drives always finished in one day. The writers never had to visit their VW/Audi repair shop every month. For those car enthusiasts who keep testing their cars for several years non-stop, they offered their precious opinions by voting with their dollars at every new purchase.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    I won’t be buying one, I don’t care for luxobarges, but I like the way it looks! Except as shown in silver, a boring color. Certainly looks better from the front than any Audi.

  • avatar
    EJ

    Jay,
    If a car is available with a sports package, I normally don’t like it: too harsh.

    This leads me to the following important question:
    is the LS going to please its target audience, which is the mainstream luxury car buyer (not the “I’d rather drive a Formula 1 race car” crowd)?
    Is the new design going to expand on the success of the original LS? Or is it flawed?
    What do you think, Jay (and others who have experienced the LS)?

  • avatar
    ghillie

    I haven’t seen the new LS460 in the metal – so I will not form an opinion on it based on photographs only.

    But so far L-finesse leaves me cold. I saw an IS250 today (there’s quite a few around) – reminding me that it has an absurdly high belt line with little windows. It is not at all well proportioned IMO.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I don’t believe that the new Lexus breaks any new ground, it pretty much preaches to the choir. Some German car buyers will wind up owning a Lexus- anyone who bought a 2003 model year Mercedes will be frustrated with the electronic glitches and might want the safer harbor of Lexus reliability. Owners of the early 7 Series models are also potential conquest sales.

    I hear the issue about sports packages. I find that sport packages in BMW’s and Infiniti’s take the ride quality from flinty to abusive. However, with Mercedes they are ideal. I suspect that Lexus could dramtically improve road feel without the risk of offending their loyal users. Having said that, the ride quality of the SC430 with run flats is bad, so I could be wrong.

    I wonder if I am the only person in the world who would have considered owning both a Lexus 460 and a Mercedes E63 at the same time?

  • avatar
    ChartreuseGoose

    Yeah. A more objective writer would have said “LS460 is for people whose tastes are different from mine

    Except that sentence is boring as hell. It sounds like it was written by a post-menopausal third-grade teacher.

    Seems that somebody has forgotten that the primary purpose of these reviews is entertainment. They’re opinion pieces on a website that’s staked out its niche as the cantankerous, independent, highly critical car publication. Want objectivity? Go read consumer reports. But let’s face it: pure objectivity is boring. Even if I disagree, I have more fun reading a review of a car that slaps the poor beastie around a little bit than one that level-headedly and bloodlessly catalogues its pros and cons. Hyperbole is entertaining. It’s probably why I get such a hoot out of Jeremy Clarkson, who’s a bilious windbag but is also hell of entertaining.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I would be honored to be considered half as bilious a windbag as Mr. Clarkson.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to
    Yeah. A more objective writer would have said “LS460 is for people whose tastes are different from mine

    Except that sentence is boring as hell. It sounds like it was written by a post-menopausal third-grade teacher.

    Seems that somebody has forgotten that the primary purpose of these reviews is entertainment.
    .
    .
    pure objectivity is boring.

    ———————————————————————-

    Seems that somebody has forgotten that the 2nd “T” in TTAC stands for “truth.”

    Truth is boring, indeed. It’s quite a burden for entertainment.

  • avatar
    quantimouse

    Certainly looks better from the front than any Audi.

    Audi fanboy, reporting for duty. Obviously this is a ridiculous opinion. You should not be allowed to have it.

    RS4 Front View

    R8 Front View

    R8 Front View

  • avatar
    ChartreuseGoose

    Are you this sanctimonious in everyday life?

  • avatar
    nino

    But so far L-finesse leaves me cold. I saw an IS250 today (there’s quite a few around) – reminding me that it has an absurdly high belt line with little windows. It is not at all well proportioned IMO.

    Better stay away from the 300C review then.

  • avatar
    EnnNorak

    I saw the new LS460 recently and was very disappointed to find out that the cloned Mercedes S-Class front seat with a fully independent seat cushion length adjustment is available for the driver only. This sort of extreme cost cutting really devalues the currency of Lexus. Hey Lexus, what are your product planners smoking these days?

  • avatar
    quantimouse

    Better stay away from the 300C review then.

    LOL..So true..

  • avatar
    btwanky

    truthfully, this car is the finest thing i have ever driven in my life, and shouldn’t be compaired to the E-63, more like the S-550. Lexus isnt about speed and such, which don’t get me wrong 380 horsepower is alot, but the S-550 has only 3 more, at 383hp. Compaired to the S class, this car on my opinion is far more complex, just think, how many cars do you know park themselves?, not to mention alot of other worthless stuff that you really dont need, but is fun to show off :). After looking over the S-550 to the LS, I bought the Ls-460L.

  • avatar
    NamDuong

    I saw one of these on the way to school in Noble Spinel Mica and I literally stopped breathing. it really brings out all the chrome accents on the car. The paint finish is absolutely gorgeous and pictures don’t do it justice! It was sorta purply and dark but then where the sun hit it it was a bright deep red. Goooorgeous! And who cares about independent cushion length adjusters for the passengers anyways?! lol

  • avatar
    Lamborghini48907

    The interior is a bit cheap? I have to politely disagree, but the interior on the LS is ANYTHING but cheap, try perfect.

  • avatar
    arnoldd2

    First, let compare apples to apples; Lexus LS 460L vs Mercedes S550, $61K vs $86K Base. Not the MB AMG @ $130K+. Now since we’re on the same playing field now I hate to admit it Toyota is giving the Germans a good run for there money. I am on my 5th MB now and just sold my S Class and went back to the E Class because of the problematic air ride struts that are around $1K each to replace, not including labor. I appears Toyota wants to outdo the other markets, even getting into NASCAR. My point, they have made a Luxury (RWD) Sedan attractive enough for me to want one. It’s not the hand built AMG engine w/ 518 HP that attracts me its the bang for the buck. Hell, if money was no object I’d drive a S65 and be on MTV.

  • avatar
    Autoboy

    You are missing the point of this LS460. It’s a luxury cruiser. I did not buy this car to go 120 around hairpin turns. I don’t care about going from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. A sub 6.0 is just fine for me. I don’t want to feel every joint in the pavement.

    Yes, I love the A8L, S550 and 7-Series, but they are a completely different beast. I bought my LS460 L used at an incredible price, because of the current economy. What blows me away is the depreciation of the S550, A8L and 7-Series.

    Right now, as of 12/14/2008, I can buy an S550 used with 35,000 miles for $45,000. That’s not from a dealer, who are still in fantasyland.

    I paid $45,000 for my 07 LS460L with 32,000 miles on the clock, with many, many options. And you know what…I will have this car for 10 years.

    I want a reliable car. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi make a beautiful new car, but I wouldn’t take one for free without a warranty. They scare me to death. Plus their gas mileage is terrible. On the highway, going 55-70, I get 32mpg. In town I average 20. That is spectacular!

    I will drive this LS460L for years, and will put on 300,000 miles. And you know what? This car will have very few problems.

    I am always amazed and amused when I see a 2006 S500 selling for $22,000 in great shape; or a 2003 S55 AMG going for $22,000 with low miles and mint condition. A good friend always tells me…”The market will always dictate price and demand.”

    So I will continue to enjoy my 460…knowing that it will always get me there in style, comfort, and no surprises from point A to point B.

  • avatar
    aa1234aa

    Curious how most people commenting here about the LS are German car fans, often paroting gripes from the mainstream auto magazines. You’d think they would be at the German car forum complaining about the poor reliability and high maintenance costs. Ever wonder why you don’t see too many German luxury cars on the road that are more than about 5 years old?  One would think that for such flawless and coveted cars there would be a large used car market. Could it be it’s because both the original new car buyers and used car buyers know that holding on to one these Germans after the warranty runs out can spell financial ruin?  Enjoy your hard ride and tight turns while it lasts.

  • avatar
    btexptress

    The LS is overrated. I have a LS 460 AWD (2009) and it shudders when driven in the 35-40 MPH range.  I had the dealer look at it and was told that it is “normal”.  I have a hard time believing that this would be engineered in – I guess Lexus is just getting sloppy. I raised the issue with Lexus corporate to see if they had any plans to resolve this issue and they said it is normal.  This is a significant problem for me because a good part of the time I am on surface streets with a speed limit between 35-40 which is exactly where the problem occurs. I have also noticed that it will shudder sometimes when it downshifts (like when giving a bit of gas on an on-ramp).

    The problem, according to the engineer at Lexus Corporate, is that the issue occurs because of the desire to maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions – hence the 8 speed transmission. In short, the AWD version of the car is heavier and has less HP and the logic for the ECT is shifting too soon and in some cases can’t make up it’s mind on whether to down shift or not. To change the shifting patterns would require Lexus to do some programming and push it out to the dealers but they do not intend to fix it – unless they get more calls on the same issue. SO PLEASE CALL THEM IF YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM.
    He also said that Lexus wants their customer to be happy – especially those that buy LS’ and that he would start the buy-back process. In short the “buy-back process” is the execution of the Lemon Law process and it was denied by the regional Lexus office.
    I am now forced to use either sell the car and take a loss or go through the arbitration process. 

  • avatar

    Reading all of the various comments regarding this review has been a most interesting use of my time while I am stuck on a conference call.  Opinions sway strongly from one extreme to the other.  Many of you even offered supporting data for an opinion that is necessarily subjective.  

    As for me, when I was ready to say goodbye to my 2001 GS430, there were only 2 serious contenders for its replacement.  Sure, I took cursory looks at Audi, Jaguar and even Cadillac.  But in the end I knew it would come down to either the MB S Class or the Lexus LS460.  BMW’s [though nice in their niche] never actually make my list.

    The truth is, I wanted to buy the S Class, but having owned a C32 AMG several years ago, I remembered all of the trips to the dealer for major surgery on a new $60K car.  I sold this car for one reason.  I knew it would bankrupt me once the warranty expired.  Then I reflected on my ownership experience with the GS430.  How I personally put over 170K miles ( bought it with about 30K miles) on the car and it just kept on going.  How I rarely ever visited the dealer in 8 years of ownership  How I still received the occasional compliment on a car now nearly 11 years old.  

    I knew I would be buying the LS460.  I ended up purchasing a 2007 model with about 40K miles. Not that I don’t love some of the same aspects of the S Class that have been mentioned here by others, but at the end of the day, I need to know my car will take care of me with reliability and the German nameplates have simply not instilled that level of confidence.

    I’ll be the first to admit, the big Lexus is not perfect.  I am not completely impressed with some of the interior fit and finish, and I was shocked that an iPod adapter was not included for a car in this price range. The hard drive, while nice, was very clumsily implemented and there is the dreaded navigation motion lockout.  But as a previous poster implied, I have a better than average chance of getting 300K miles out of this car should I decide to keep it that long.  At these prices, I’ll choose reliability over performance, even though the 460 is no slouch.  And when I really need excitement on the road I just pull out the Yamaha FJR. The right tool for the right job.

    Gunny


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