Lexus LS 460L

23 Nov, 2012 2:30pm Kyle Fortune

The petrol-engined Lexus LS is big on refinement, but the lack of a diesel option could hold it back


Lexus has broadened the appeal of its flagship saloon, not only by adding this non-hybrid petrol V8 to the LS 460 range, but by increasing the list of standard equipment and adding a dash of style. Unfortunately, the cabin still doesn’t have the effortless luxury of its premium rivals, and the car isn’t quite as dynamic to drive, either. But in almost every other way, it’s up there with the best. The big letdown is the lack of a diesel engine – this V8 model is thirsty and expensive to tax.

The Lexus LS has always been a bit-part player in the UK luxury car market – so Lexus has refreshed its limousine in a bid to address that problem.

The biggest news, however, is the reintroduction of a petrol V8 to the previously hybrid-only range. The 5.0-litre V8 600L hybrid continues as a £100k flagship, still returning only 32.8mpg, but Lexus predicts that this LS 460L (for Luxury) will make up 80 per cent of UK sales.

There’s still no diesel, so the manufacturer will struggle to rack up big sales, but Lexus expects to shift around 300 LS 460s here every year. Prices start at £71,995, and for that you get a lot of car. Not only is the LS big, it feels really well built – even the steering wheel takes 38 days to make.

It’s packed with technology, including a ‘Climate Concierge’ that monitors the temperature of each occupant and adjusts the climate control accordingly. Also, a 12.3-inch central display helps modernise the cabin.

Compared to the luxurious simplicity of the new Range Rover or Audi A8’s interiors, the LS feels cluttered. And the Remote Touch Interface, which controls a lot of the systems, is ungainly.

While the car is comfortable, with the benefit of heated and cooled seats front and rear, it doesn’t quite pull off its luxury status in the way a Jaguar XJ or even a Mercedes S-Class does.

Once on the move, however, the Lexus proves to be more than capable of holding its own against premium rivals. It has a reputation as one of the most refined cars on the market, and this new model feels better than ever. The 4.6-litre V8 is only ever heard when you push the accelerator all the way to the floor, and even then it’s muted.

The LS 460L builds speed relentlessly, and can sprint from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Drive it gently, and the eight-speed box shifts imperceptibly for an ultra-smooth ride. You might even get close to the claimed economy figure of 26.4mpg.

Lexus wants the LS to be seen as dynamic, with the revisions to the adaptive damping promising greater control and precision. A new Drive Mode Select system also offers the driver a choice of five modes, from Eco to Sports +, but they do little to change the LS’s comfortable character.

In fact, without the instruments glowing red to signify the sportier modes, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between the settings. And none of the options does anything to remove the remoteness and lightness of the steering, nor do a great deal to increase the control or accuracy of the suspension.

As a comfortable and refined luxury car, the V8-powered LS 460L doesn’t do a lot wrong, but many diesel-powered rivals offer the same kind of performance and cost almost half as much to run. That fact alone explains why even the most popular LS will sell in such small numbers in the UK.

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ajj 4/5

No car without a diesel engine is going to get AE's approval. Any diesel, no matter how refined, still sounds like an old taxi. With this seraphic car, the only sound you'll hear when it pulls away is the gentle crunching of gravel.

What have the running costs got to do with it? Save a couple of k a year? At this price point, big deal.

(Lack of a diesel) ... "explains why even the most popular LS will sell in such small numbers in the UK".

I say old chap, and lack of a certain pedigree wouldn't you say? One can't speak about motors from the part of the world from which Lexus come in the same breath as Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi and Mercs, what?

Oh look everybody, AE have bashed another Lexus, yet again!
This time, it's not luxurious enough, and doesn't have an ickle CO2 output engine, pumping out carcinogenic particles!
How will someone able to afford a £70K+ car ever manage to pay the annual fuel bill, VED, and BIK?
Won't someone please think of the children......?

AE, you're a disgrace to this market sector, and your disappearance can't come soon enough!

Prime example of your idiocy......
Aston Martin - no diseasels
Nissan GT-R - no diseasel version
Ferrari - no diseasels
Lamborghini - no diseasels
Range Rover - that V8 ain't a diseasel!

Parting words, before unsubscribing permanently - I bought a GS300 (oh noes, it wasn't a diesel.....I'm going to hell when I die, aren't I?), and sat with the cruise control on the motorway back up to the North (and beyond). Covered 313 miles for less than 25L.
By all calculations, inc onboard, that equates to circa 50mpg!
Yep, that's exactly how UNeconomical a 3L V6 can be at an average (allowing for roadworks and not being in any real rush) of 58mph.

What a put down, so obviously, and full of contradictions. The final stab being the last line.....will sell in such small numbers in the UK. You ignorantly make it sound as though they desperately want to sell 5000 units a year, and may do 500. They in fact told you.....300. That's their business, not an invitation for you to bag them. Get a real, qualified, journalist, one who did a proper cadetship for 7 years, to write something more balanced, and less emotive and biased against the whole company. Have you seen their business plan AutoExpress? Are you completely au fait with their manufacturing targets, world wide? And you curiously ignore the way this car in its first iteration sat the smug Germans on their proverbial backsides, had engineering on a par, build quality that was better, an interior the equal of any German luxo express, and an ambience and quietness that embarrassed Rolls Royce. And the car has only improved. Where have you been AE?? Come to think of it, you curiously leave out the Lexus from many comparisons where it could kick a**. What German brand....Audi/BMW/MB had any car from their sprawling ranges sit at the very top of the J D Power Survey, 3 or was it 4 years in a row? Oh wait a minute, that was a Lexus. Lack of a diesel, what bunkum. They know how to make exceptional motor vehicles, and this example is no exception. And I dont even like their parent company, at all.

Who cares what the engine is. With that pig ugly front end, who's going to buy it? Looks like a return to the first japanese imports that all looked like gothic monstrosities!

After all the smoke settles in the comments, the shortest lays out the real problem. It is not attractive. The front end is not successful (at all) on the LS and the interior is, indeed, a bit of a mess. No excuses there. The current GS is *far* better, in and out.

Which is too bad, because dynamically it hits the mark rather well. It's meant to occupy a spot for buyers who don't care about performance numbers in the least. It is more than capable and very, very comfortable.

Lexus has been poking around in the dark for some time to find that elusive brand recognition they so deserve again.

And can the talk of a diesel, for godsakes. People buying in this category don't really give a s**t, even if they tell their friends they do.

Fire all the blind bastards and bastardettes in Toyota City and get back your design mojo, Lexus! You're ruining some truly great cars!

Autoexpress, just like Top Gear, seem hell bent on 'dissin' any luxury car if it doesn't have a diesel engine option and is obviously not German. They just don't get it, do they? Lexus build ultra quiet, smooth and refined cars that cosset the driver at all times. Combined with this is Lexus' legendary reliability which compares more than favourably with its German counterparts. Every car it seems, has to be 'dynamic' to drive these days, which, in reality means a firmer ride (feeling every little bump) a throaty roar from the exhaust (noisey) and have seats like small concrete blocks.(uncomfortable). Lexus knows this and answers with the fantastic LS460.

Having had 2 Lexus, and a 11 month car-less gap, I still can't find anything to compare. Even my neighbours S8 Audi just seems, claustrophobic and a bit of a hard ride.
Back to Lexus , though maybe a Ser 4 (98-02) one

Lexus LS (like other Lexus models) continues to be completely underated.

Everyone knows Japan makes the most reliable cars. Chinese don't know quality if it hit them on the head


Key specs

  • Price: £71,995
  • Engine: 4.6-litre V8 petrol
  • Power: 382bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy: 26.4mpg
  • CO2: 249g/km
  • Equipment: Adaptive suspension, cruise control, sat-nav, reversing camera, leather upholstery
  • On sale: Now