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2015 Lexus LS 460 REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Slower than rival European-brand sedans; soft and imprecise handling; Remote Touch interface is distracting to use; so-so fuel economy.

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Interior: As befits a top-end luxury sedan, the interior of the Lexus LS 460 features outstanding materials, including soft leather and high-quality vinyl, and padded surfaces are joined with elegant contrast stitching. Wood trim is artfully applied, mixing with metallic surfaces and chrome details for a modern, albeit understated atmosphere.

The Lexus Remote Touch electronics interface controls most cabin functions. It's a mouselike device that allows the user to navigate among a variety of function icons on a horizontally oriented, 12.3-inch display at the top of the dashboard. However useful Remote Touch is for integrating basic tasks and smartphone applications, it ultimately draws too much attention away from the road. Cursor control with the Remote Touch controller is wobbly and imprecise, making audio and navigation selections difficult when you're on the move. Other companies use different solutions for their technology interface systems, and in particular, we prefer BMW's iDrive and Mercedes' COMAND. If you're planning to buy an LS 460, Remote Touch should be tested out thoroughly at a dealership.

Seat comfort, on the other hand, is simply outstanding up front, with wonderfully sculpted, multi-adjustable front buckets that can accommodate a variety of body types. Things get even better in back, especially on LS 460 L models, as the options list contains features that would be the envy of a day spa, including a massaging rear seat with near full recline and a powered ottoman. Trunk space is generous at 18 cubic feet.

Body: The 2015 Lexus LS 460 is a full-size luxury sedan available in regular- and extended-wheelbase (LS 460 L) models, with rear- or all-wheel drive. The new-for-2015 Crafted Line model is offered only on the regular-wheelbase car. Five-passenger seating is standard, though the L is available with a four-passenger configuration with a rear center console. The hybrid 2015 LS 600h L is covered in a separate review.

Standard equipment on the LS 460 and LS 460 L includes 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive automatic xenon headlights (xenon only for the low-beam setting), LED foglights and running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, a sunroof, power door closers, adjustable drive settings and keyless ignition/entry. Inside, there's dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (12-way driver with four-way lumbar; 10-way passenger with two-way lumbar), front seat memory functions, leather upholstery and a power tilt-and-telescoping wood and leather steering wheel. The Lexus LS 460 L also comes with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power-closing trunk and a power rear sunshade. These amenities are optional on the regular-wheelbase LS sedan.

Standard electronics features include the Lexus Remote Touch interface, a 12.3-inch display screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications, the Lexus Enform suite of smartphone-integrated apps (now with Enform Remote smartphone control for compatible Apple and Android devices) and the Siri Eyes Free interface (which provides additional voice control functionality for newer iPhones). The standard 10-speaker sound system includes a CD player, HD radio, iTunes tagging, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The regular-wheelbase LS 460 can be livened up with the F Sport package, which includes 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential (rear-wheel-drive models only), a sport-tuned air suspension, variable gear ratio steering, sharper adjustable drive settings and a transmission with rev-matched downshifts and shift paddles on the steering wheel. The F Sport package model also wears unique exterior and interior design elements such as darkened headlamps, a unique front fascia, black-out grille and chrome body side trim.

The new Crafted Line model is essentially an enhancement on the LS 460 F Sport. It features Ultra White paint and contrasting black paint on the door handles, mirrors and grille. The Crafted Line also comes with black and red interior trim, a two-piece set of Tumi luggage, a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel (AWD models only), a power trunk lid and a power rear sunshade.

The LS 460 is offered with various other option packages. The All Weather package adds headlamp washers and a wiper de-icer (standard on all-wheel-drive models). The Ultra Luxury package adds four-zone climate control, a refrigerated rear center console, six-way power rear seats (with heating, cooling and massage functions), rear seat side airbags and rear audio controls. The long-wheelbase LS 460 L can be equipped with the Executive-Class seating package, which includes the backseat upgrades of the Ultra Luxury package, but in a two-seat configuration with a stationary center console (including enhanced controls, a refrigerated bin and added storage). It also adds extended leather trim, a power passenger-side ottoman with a knee airbag, power rear side sunshades and a rear-seat DVD/Blu-ray entertainment system with a power drop-down screen.

Stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, summer tires, LED headlights (low- and high-beam), an adjustable air suspension (includes variable gear ratio steering, ride height adjustment and additional drive settings), a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control with an enhanced pre-collision system, upgraded leather upholstery (includes a simulated suede headliner), an advanced pre-collision system with a driver attention monitor and forward collision avoidance system and the Mark Levinson audio system.

Driving: The 2015 Lexus LS 460 is a stunningly quiet car on the highway. There's a V8 engine under the hood, but it goes largely unnoticed until you make a decisive passing maneuver. Press the gas pedal to the floor and you'll find that the 4.6-liter V8 is lusciously smooth and sounds terrific. By today's standards, though, it's not very potent. Most rivals get considerably more power (and quicker acceleration) out of their V8 engines, and there are even a few six-cylinder luxury sedans capable of beating the LS 460 down a highway entrance ramp. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but competitors provide even more seamless gearchanges.

Predictably, the ride quality is downright luxurious. If you want the softest-riding car in the ultraluxury sedan class, you've found it in the LS 460. However, this cushy demeanor comes at the expense of handling, as the big Lexus feels lazy and imprecise going around turns. The steering has more weight to it than you might expect, but there's not much feel or any semblance of sportiness. The available F Sport package provides better balance and a smidge more athleticism on tight twisty roads, but so equipped, the LS 460 still isn't as engaging to drive as rival European sedans.

What’s New: For 2015, the Lexus LS 460 lineup expands to include a Crafted Line model, which builds upon the F Sport package, adding a special color scheme and matching Tumi luggage. The navigation system features new software this year, and there's now a customizable home screen and Slacker Internet radio. Also new for 2015 is Lexus Enform Remote app compatibility, enabling owners to control some vehicle functions through their smartphones. Finally, the big sedan's rearview camera gains dynamic grid lines to assist you during parking.

The 2015 Lexus LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 386 hp and 367 pound-feet of torque in the standard rear-wheel-drive configuration. Those power figures drop to 360 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque on models equipped with all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on every LS 460.

In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive LS 460 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is slower than average for a high-end luxury sedan with a V8 engine. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for all rear-drive LS 460 sedans is 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway); AWD versions rate 18 mpg combined (16/23).

Safety: The 2015 Lexus LS 460 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Lexus Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button, enhanced roadside assistance and a stolen vehicle locator, is also standard on all LS 460 models.

Safety-related options include lane keeping assist, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts and adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system that preps various vehicle systems when it detects a possible collision. Sold as a separate option is the more sophisticated Advanced Pre-Collision system, which includes a driver attention monitor and can automatically initiate braking to help avert forward collisions. Rear seat side airbags are also available.

In Edmunds testing, an LS 460 with all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average braking distance for an elite luxury sedan. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LS 460 the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test, and the sedan's seat/head restraint design also rates "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Pro: Fabulously quiet; impressively smooth ride quality; painstaking construction; unrivaled backseat with Executive Class package; strong reputation for reliability.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Lexus LS 460 embodies everything you'd expect in the ultimate Lexus luxury sedan. It is whisper-quiet, well built and fantastically luxurious. Compared with its European counterparts, though, it's nowhere near as quick or engaging to drive.

Introduction: You'll encounter some of the finest cars on the planet in the full-size luxury sedan class. All the cars in this segment offer high-end accommodations, loads of safety technology and refined road manners. Within this group, the European entries are the most powerful and prestigious, while a sedan like the 2015 Lexus LS 460 excels at delivering the utmost in quality and comfort.

With that in mind, the LS 460's cabin is meticulously appointed and carefully assembled. The leather is supple, the wood trim warm and rich and the rest of the interior materials substantial and attractive. Every LS 460 is well equipped, and buyers can opt for such amenities as front and rear massaging seats, a high-end Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, and an Executive Class seating package with reclining rear seats, a right-side rear ottoman and a rear DVD entertainment system.

The Lexus LS 460's driving character is just as comfortable as its interior accommodations. Road noise is barely audible, and the growl of the smooth V8 engine is heard only during hard acceleration. Few potholes are deep and sharp enough to adversely affect the ride quality, and fewer still will actually jolt an LS 460's passengers. Even the dealership experience is carefree, as Lexus has a well-established reputation for quality and reliability, as well as top-notch customer service.

Though extremely comfortable, the LS 460 can't match the power and dynamics of its best rivals. The car's 386-horsepower V8 is no slouch, but it falls short in performance and fuel economy to the turbocharged V8 engines, and even some turbo six-cylinders, from Europe. Its European-brand rivals are also notable for their controlled and precise handling. The LS 460, on the other hand, is rather dull to drive. The available F Sport package sharpens its responses a bit, but not enough to satisfy more demanding drivers.

Buyers who are drawn to the comfort of the LS 460 but want a more engaging driving experience should consider the 2015 Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ. Another superb choice is the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which tops the luxury of the Lexus while offering leading-edge technology that's a couple steps ahead of every other sedan in this class. That's not to say you shouldn't consider the 2015 Lexus LS 460, though. If you believe a luxury car should deliver comfort and a trouble-free ownership experience first and foremost, the LS 460 is a fine choice, and it will save you some money versus those European competitors, too.

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