It may not be the best at self-parking, but wow, is;the Lexus LS460L;a great road trip car.
I recently had the opportunity to put 500 miles on a pre-production 2007 Lexus LS460L.; Those miles included a 120-mph desert highway jaunt, a 3-hour Los Angeles traffic jam, and everything in between. Regardless of where I was, though, the LS460 was a fantastic and willing accomplice.
I had previously thought of the Bose stereo in our Four Seasons Infiniti M45 as just about the best-sounding audio system on the market. All that has changed.; Granted, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to listen to them back-to-back, but to my ears, when I got in the M45 a few days later, I thought I was listening to an AM radio.; The Lexus’ Mark Levinson system is;that good.
Here are a few notes from my trip:
* The LS is geared far too long to take advantage its 8 gears: First is good for 40 mph, and stoplight getaways can feel a bit sluggish. Third gear gets you to 95 mph – do you really need 5 more gears after that? With that said, the LS bangs off barely perceptible 8th-to-3rd-gear downshifts that is the stuff of engineers' dreams.
* The microphone for the Bluetooth cell phone integration is right in the path of one of the HVAC vents when it’s aimed upward, prompting callers to repeatedly ask me to close my windows. It took a while to figure out what was going on, and once I re-aimed the vent, sound quality was excellent.
* Pulling out of a gas station, I almost crashed when I look down and saw that the computer was predicting a 777-mile range. It wasn’t lying, this LS has a cruising range that rivals some jets.
* The LS prefers its steak medium-well, apparently. Or at least it liked my right leg;prepared that way;– the center tunnel gave off enough heat while sitting in traffic to broil a steak.
* My rear seat passengers refused to get out. The seats were apparently more comfortable than their living room couches, and had more legroom. Oh, and two people fit comfortably in the trunk; we tried it.
* If you choose (wisely) not to use the Lexus’ self-parking system, the back-up camera has a very handy marking to show you where the curb is in relation to your right rear wheel. It makes parking close to the curb—without damaging a wheel—a piece of cake.
* The Lexus is smooth and quiet, but dynamically, it’s not a 1970’s Cadillac.; It generates a decent amount of grip on sweeping exit ramps, and keeps body motions fairly well controlled. On the other hand, the ride isn’t quite as smooth as its ultralong wheelbase would suggest, and, to my ears, there is lots more;road noise than in, say, a Mercedes S-Class.
* Visibility is fantastic all around. I cut and diced my way through Los Angeles traffic like I was in a subcompact.
For more information on the Lexus self-parking system, see my previous blog by clicking here.;This was the third LS I've driven, and I reiterate my previous comments about the self-park system. It works occasionally, much to the fascination of onlookers. But with the backup camera's help, you can park it much more quickly and easily yourself.