2013 Lexus LS 460 Review By Michael Bernstein


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Lexus LS 460


LEXUS OFFERS A ROOM THAT ROLLS

By Michael Bernstein
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

It was a dark and stormy night and here I was looking for my factory loaned Lexus for this evaluation. The LS 460 is Lexus' almost flagship luxury sedan only behind the LS 600h L, so I knew that even among a lot full of vehicles that this one would stand out and it did. As I walked towards my ride I fumbled for the “keys”, that really weren’t keys in the traditional sense but more akin to a sleek and stylish case, and noticed that lights had turned on in a my vehicle down the row, lights that not only illuminated my path to the front door of the 460L but also cast a glow on the side of the simply elegant sedan.

It was large but graceful and the light emanating from under the side view mirror welcomed me and reminded me of lights that greet me upon my arrival home each day, but unlike my house where unlocking the door involves a key and tricky lock, the LS 460 does it for you automatically, almost magically, which allowed me to walk right in and have a seat without pushing a button or taking the fob out of my pocket.

The LS 460 welcomewd me into my seat where I got my first glimpse at the rich interior that is the LS 460L’s impressive cabin. This cabin-in-your-garage comes with a great floor plan that includes two leather Lazy-Boys and a matching rear sofa, flat screen TV, coffee table and wall-to-wall carping.

Again I had to remember that this was a car’s interior and not some hip trendy loft or swanky hotel, but seriously both of the LS460’s two front seats are huge and are separated by an impressive piece of form, function and fashion that is a center console that could make the case for inclusion in any coffee table book about…well you know coffee tables. At its highest point a very comfortable arm rest that appears from a gentle push of its “table” top, into a very efficient two tiered storage bin revealed as the top glides backward, coming to rest just beyond the back of the front seats. Even better, when you want to close it, all that is required is just the slightest amount of pressure applied forward and the top effortlessly returns to its original position.

While seated, your comfort continues and is further enhanced by the vast space that surrounds you, including the rear seats that in fact may be more comfortable and offer passengers even more space than those choosing to sit up front.

While it probably won’t replace riding shotgun, sitting in back won’t require a gun being pointed at your head and is no consolation prize, but instead results in a blue ribbon winning experience. Rear seat guests don’t have their own towels but they certainly do not suffer from a lack of amenities or luxury appointments, its obvious that Lexus invested a significant amount of time and money in its design, engineering and production.

What the rear seat passengers are afforded are two individual flip down, lighted vanity mirrors that emit just enough light to see but not intrude, two suit hangers which also flip down, and when not required, are like the mirrors, concealed in the plush upholstered ceiling. The list of back seat amenities continue with heated seats with individual controls, four air vents, the same number that are up front, and a fold down end table, ergo arm rest.

When the arm rest is lowered a secret passage is revealed, well it’s not really a secret, and it’s more like a portal, but it does allow access to the trunk that is gained with a push of a button. I don’t know what it accomplishes but it is cool and when the asking price is well north of 80 grand, I guess you have to add perceived value and convenience any where you can.

It did seem odd to mention, in the same sentence that contained the $83,999 price tag, the word value, but after sitting, driving and really experiencing all this fine motorcar has to offer I somehow began to make a rational argument for having one. I mean the entire interior is comprised of dark, rich tones and supple materials that include leather, wood and brushed metals that together create an interior that whispers quality, class and sophistication.

Your living room has more road noise than the LS460’s cabin due in no small part to the tremendous amount of sound deadening materials used in its assembly, and this lack of noise pollution includes the elimination of the rattles, hisses and squeaks from anywhere in the LS460 the quiet extends to the body panels, door frames and other components that make-up this Lexus. The quality of this car did not just happen, it is the result of conscience craftsmanship, attention to detail and precision, that follows a Lexus commitment to its principal and guiding belief that true luxury is worth the cost because it represents something special.

The contemporary styling and quality craftsmanship are combined with inspired performance to create an unmatched driving experience. The 4.8L, 360HP, Four Cam 32-valve V8 engine easily propels the car down the road with a seemingly endless reservoir of speed.

Although not quick off the line, the LS460 is fast, and its eight-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly ensuring that there is never a lack of punch power regardless of the speed you ask for it. I did find the brakes a bit touchy at first, they are very sensitive and require just the slightest amount of pressure be applied, but after getting used to them this issue was eliminated.

In fact the Lexus LS460 comes with a pretty cool feature that offers the driver the convenience of selecting from one of three predetermined driving set-ups that noticeably alters the set-up of this Lexus to maximize the way and manner you choose to drive. Selections include Snow, Sport or Economy and are engaged by turning a knob that is positioned on the lovely center divider, that is also home to the gear shift and cup holders. Automatically and seamlessly the suspension, braking, and gearing are adjusted to offer peak performance under those specific conditions.

The LS460 provides its driver the control needed to maintain outstanding handling whether during a smooth ride, or around a sharp curve or a roundabout in suburbia. It seemed to me that the driver is an integral facet of a finely tuned suspension, sturdy frame and precise steering, and offers the confidence and control that is expected of any vehicle in this class.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Back inside, the “front wall” is dominated by a big screen TV, ergo the dash is dominated by the large touch screen display that spans 12” and unlike at home, where you are constantly looking for the remote, in the LS460 it artfully blended into the interior

Right there, in the aforementioned leather wrapped arm rest and perched below is a matching leather encased wrist rest that is not only the perfect accessory that looks cool, but also provides the correct ergonomics ensuring the operator a perfect position for using the mouse-like “remote” to make sure everything is just the way you like it.

The more traditional hard knobs and buttons for all of the big three systems-navigation, audio and climate, are also available and accessible from their own separate control panels located on the front dash. These controls are easy to reach and operate by the driver or passenger.

The extra large display won’t get ESPN just yet, but it does monitor two systems at the same time and it’s large size make the backup cam’s image clear enough and large enough to see your surroundings, making it a much more useful tool that increases both safety and convenience. Although I didn’t mention safety as prominently as I might have, Lexus hasn’t forgotten it by including an impressive and industry leading roster of security features and safety innovations.

You don’t need reservations, and there is no need to call a real estate broker to see and test drive this luxury car for yourself, just stop by your local Lexus dealer for an open house experience behind the wheel of the 2013 LS 460 L. Remember it will turn the lights on for you!

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