Lexus LS 460 rates high in style, comfort but not driving dynamics

The LS 460 has served as the flagship sedan for Lexus since the brand hit U.S. showrooms nearly a quarter century ago. Its biggest assets are its overall looks and comfort and quiet cabin.

2015 Lexus LS 460

Rating:Star3 Star Star Star Star

When it comes to comfort and luxury features in a full-size sedan, it’s hard to top the Lexus LS 460.

First on sale as the LS 400 in September 1989 as a 1990 model, the car is the epitome of comfort and convenience, which is what most the shoppers in this segment apparently want. The LS 460 was one of only two full-size luxury sedans that showed an increase in sales this past June over the same month in the previous year (though sales for the year-to-date are down slightly compared to 2014).

It’s roomy, especially in the back, and exudes opulence with its high-grade materials throughout the cabin. It offers a potpourri of technological features that rank high on the geek scale but are, despite the distracting aspects of the Remote Touch system, very intuitive to operate. Siri Eyes Free Mode, which is compatible with iPhone 4S and 5 models, was added for 2014 and is among the many standard features found on the LS.

The large display screen allows such items as the navigation map and audio tuning to be displayed at the same time, a much-appreciated feature. On many other systems one must switch screens to complete such a simply operation as changing a radio station. Not on the LS.

It’s quiet. So quiet on the highway, in fact, it could earn endorsement from the American Library Association.

And it’s exterior design is elegant in its simplicity.

So what keeps the LS 460 from being the perfect luxury vehicle?

The driving experience.

The ride itself seems overly soft, and though the 4.6-liter V8 engine (the only one offered) sends 386 horsepower (at 6400 rpm) and 367 pound-feet of torque (at 4100) to the rear wheels by way of an eight-speed, shiftable automatic transmission, it doesn’t match the power of some of its competitors. And those figures drop to 360/347, respectively, in all-wheel drive LS 460 models.

The optional F-Sport package, which also includes unique styling elements as well as a sport-tuned air-suspension and 19-inch forged alloy wheels, also provides the driver with Sport-plus and Comfort driving modes to go along with Normal, Eco, and Sport, and the Sport-plus setting does give the LS 460 a little more pop in the way of throttle response. But you’re not going to confuse the LS 460 with any of the so-called “sport” sedans so prominent among European manufacturers.

Even the fuel economy is a rather so-so 16 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway in RWD models and 16/23 in AWD versions. Running in Eco mode can coax a couple more miles out of a gallon of premium fuel, but you sacrifice power, of course.

Pricing for the LS 460 starts at $72,520 for the regular-length model, and options, including F-Sport packages, can run the final tab up to the $85,000 range. The LS 460 L, which adds five inches to the length, starts at $78,820. AWD versions are $75,465 and $82,305, respectively.

For a look at the LS 460 F-Sport and some specs, check out the accompanying slide show.

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