Lexus LS460L Review

Jay Shoemaker
by Jay Shoemaker
lexus ls460l review

My wife struggles with two automotive tasks: finding her destination and maneuvering the car into a parking space. (Locating a parking space is another issue, but why make her sound any more spatially challenged than she is?) The only voice my wife follows without question emanates from her car’s navigation system. So, issue number one sorted. Until now, she has endured her parking problem by opting for garages or HUGE spots. When she heard about the Lexus LS’ new automated parking system, she sent me to the dealer to check it out.

I tried to wiggle out of the assignment by explaining that my review of the short wheelbase Lexus LS incurred the wrath of Lexus fans across the web. But this time it was personal. To further differentiate this review from the last, I located an LS quipped with the touring edition option, which adds nineteen inch wheels, variable ratio steering and an air suspension.

Lexus has been criticized for many things by car enthusiasts, but never for their marketing savvy. In the case of their large sedan, the handling package is only available on the long wheelbase LS. Europeans typically add the handling and engine mods to their short wheelbase cars; this contrast had me puzzled. Does Lexus reserve the choice option packages only for the more expensive models?

Fortunately for my wife, the parking gimmicks are available across the line. Unfortunately, the “advanced parking guidance system” and the “intuitive parking assist” were anything but. I’d rather endure the experience of watching my wife back in and out of a spot twenty times than be guided by the Lexus’ ghost parker.

Aside from being slow and complex, there were occasions where I felt obligated to intercede, sensing imminent danger. OK, here we go:

First you must fiddle with the parking target area in the guidance system screen to make sure that the computer sees that there is a legitimate space to occupy, and you both agree on its location. Then you slowly let off the brake, keeping a watchful eye out the windows (not just at the monitor). Did the computer notice the light pole? It should be outlined on the screen.

There is entertainment value in watching the wheel whipsaw to and fro, but in the time it takes for the Lexus to park itself, all the good parking spots will be stolen from under you (at least in my town). There is no doubt in my mind that Lexus and their suppliers will perfect this concept. For now, it appears they’ve rushed it to market to have something [other than their eight speed transmission] to talk trash about.

Now, my turn…

Having thoroughly dissed the LS’ driving experience in my last LS review, I have a shocking revelation: the touring edition is fun to drive. It’s almost as engaging as the latest Mercedes S Class.

Starting out with the suspension in comfort mode reminded me why I don’t like Japanese luxury sedans: they tend to wallow only slightly less than late ‘70’s American luxobarges. A quick switch to the sport mode neatly transformed the LS into a European-like sedan. The ride quality became firm yet absorbent. The dynamic capabilities ascended from one-handed yachtsmanship to two-handed Teutonic corner carver.

The tweaked LS’ steering now has something approximating heft; you can [even] sense what the front tires are doing during cornering. I don’t get what Lexus are talking about with their “high friction brakes,” but the anchors are plenty powerful and easy to modulate.

Now that I could get past and yes enjoy the LS’ driving experience, I could better appreciate the sybaritic touches.

The luxury package includes the finest, softest leather ever made by hand of man (presumably). The leather on the steering wheel has been buffed to such a creamy, buttery consistency it feels like it’s been slathered with foie gras. The “ecsaine” headliner made me feel like I was encapsulated within a lamb’s belly. The executive class seating package had me clamoring for warmed nuts and champagne.

The Mark Levinson reference audio system– with enough memory for 2k songs– is astounding. If I owned this car, I’d probably spend more time parked, sitting in the backseat listening to the sound system, than driving it.

I’m not sure how I feel about the infrared sensors that monitor rear-seat passenger’s body temperature, and then adjust the AC to suit. Are brainwave sensors far behind? Scary stuff.

More to the point, what will my fellow pistonheads think of me now? First Porsche’s navigation system makes me pine for BMW’s iDrive. Now, a Lexus LS 460L touring edition tickles my fancy. Oh God, have I become my parents? Listen up Lexus; you need to make these touring packages optional across your line. Even German car lovers will be seduced.

Automatic parallel parking: hot or not?

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RF and Greg Thome of Lexus discuss APGS below.

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2 of 56 comments
  • Johnson Johnson on May 27, 2007

    Sajeev, I disagree. The stock calibrations are certainly what the target market wants, and looking at sales for the past few months, the LS is the best selling model in the segment, so obviously customers do like the stock calibrations. A very small percentage of LS models are sold with the Touring Package.

  • Toyotafreak Toyotafreak on May 29, 2007

    I'm indeed a Toyota Lover and for me this Toyota Lexus LS is a Priciest hybrid. The first first hybrid to incorporate an all-wheel-drive power train to a V8 engine. That makes me excited to see this new Toyota hybrid.

  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.
  • Dartdude Lorenzo, the reason for low manual transmission here is that most dealers won't stock them. I wanted a 2012 Kia Koup with manual tranny it was available, but no dealers ordered any from the factory hence there was none available. Go on any car manufacture's web site and price and build and build your model and you would be lucky if the model existed and was available.