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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2010 LEXUS LS 460 REVIEW


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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2010 LEXUS LS 460 REVIEW
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE LS 460 VEHICLE

The luxurious LS 460 sedan is stationed at the top of the Lexus lineup when compared to the remaining sedans (GS, ES and the IS, respectively). The 5-passenger vehicle stands out among its siblings for its additional horsepower, longer wheelbase and an all-new Sport Package that offers a special air suspension tuning and a distinct Aero kit exterior styling. In fact, the car can now be more rightfully compared to some heavy-hitters like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8.

I drove a 2010 Lexus LS 460 with the 380-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine and an 8-speed sequential automatic transmission. While base price for the LS 460 starts at $65,380, the price can skyrocket when optional technology and performance pieces are added in. For example, my LS 460 test drive came with an additional $2,035 Comfort Package (heated and cooled front seats, power rear sunshade, rear heated seats, headlamp washers, intuitive parking assist), a $2,080 upgraded 19-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system and navigation unit with XM NaviWeather and NavTraffic), and the $6,158 Sport Package (Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, sportier exterior styling, wood interior trim). Total vehicle price blossomed to $76,104.

The previous LS 460 models were cited for not having too much of an engaged ride when compared to sportier sedan competitors, so the addition of the all-new Sport Package is a welcomed feature – but quite the cost at over $6k. However, if you are familiar with Lexus vehicles, you are also aware their optional packages come at a high price. But rest assured when it comes to Lexus, you are getting modern and convenient technology.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The LS 460 offers a supreme interior experience with the driver being able to choose from four leather and wood-trim combinations. Every year the maker pushes to offer additional or improved features that are often not found on any other competitors. For the 2010 model year, the LS 460 gains a larger LCD screen for the multi-information display; casual-language voice recognition for the navigation system; Bluetooth phone book download capability; and iPod controllability through steering wheel controls. Seating is divine for the driver with a 16-way power seat – and for the passenger, too, with a 12-way power seat. Lexus also take pride and carefully consideration to positioning all interior commands, from the power moonroof to the automatic electric parking brake system, within the driver’s reach. The LS 460 is vehicle that is hard to leave.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The LS model received “Good” ratings in frontal crash results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but other areas of the vehicle have not been tested by the organization. It has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The LS 460 boasts such safety features as: Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB), Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), and Electronic-Brake Distribution (EBD). The vehicle is also equipped with 8 airbags, including side curtain airbags. Also standard is the Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) that illuminates a turn or curve as the driver steers into it. The Active Front Headrests are new.

Cost Issues: A starting price of $65,380 is not small change. With the got-to-have-it optional packages, the LS 460 passes the $75k mark. If you really love the Lexus brand and are set on owning one of their sedans – but not at these prices – you might want to consider looking at the entry-level luxury 2010 Lexus ES 350 with a base price of $35,175. I was thoroughly impressed with the performance and features of this test drive best, which included a generous-sized moonroof and a panorama glass roof with a wide rear window combo for an awesome sense of open space.

Activity & Performance Ability: The new modified air suspension gives the LS 460 sedan a significant edge when it comes to smooth driving. The cabin is deathly quiet during highway driving. The Brembo brakes offer unprecedented stopping power. Overall the ride quality is tapered, authoritative and certainly aggressive with a powerful V8 engine. Since the LS 460 is tagged as a ride that offers the sedan driver everything, Lexus needed to cover all its bases – the addition of a blindside monitoring system or massaging seats (as found in the Mercedes-Benz E550 with a price of $68,595) would have elevated this vehicle even more.

The Green Concern: You’re going to get an average of 19-mpg at best with a 380-horsepower V8 engine. With these stats, Lexus leaves out any of its nifty eco or gas-saving features than can be found on its luxury hybrid lineup. However, note the LS is offered also in a hybrid version with a staggering base price topping $100k. The LS 460 is a lesson in power, not eco-friendly green driving.

FINAL PARTING WORDS

The Lexus LS 460 is a fast-performing luxury sedan that stepped up the fun and competition for 2010 by offering a sport package featuring bigger wheels, Brembo brakes and a custom-tailored suspension to create maximum comfort or sharper handling. The price is steep – and gets steeper with the optional packages – but if you are set on owning a Lexus, try a base ES 350 model for half the price of a decked-out LS 460.

©2010 Katrina Ramser