Given the LS has always been the ultimate Lexus, I’ve come to expect nothing less than the utmost in luxury, refinement, and technology at a reasonable price tag. I didn’t, however, expect it to be a relentless force in deep snow.
Coupled with snow tires, this all-wheel-drive system lets the long-wheelbase LS plow its way through some surprisingly deep snow. I was cruising through some unplowed dirt roads that cut through the fields of Dundee, Michigan, and encountered drifts that were easily 6-7 inches tall. No problem-hit the “height high” button to slightly raise the suspension, and drive right on through.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
Like most performance snobs, I tend to turn up my nose at any attempt to numb the driving experience. And yet, I very much like and respect the Lexus LS. In a day when we have 5000-pound crossovers that claim to be sport coupes and Cadillac sedans lapping the Nürburgring, the LS demonstrates a refreshing purity of purpose and a near obsessive commitment to proper execution. Every aspect of this vehicle, from the one-finger effort steering to the smooth-as-glass eight-speed transmission is finessed to be as unobtrusive as possible. One gets the sense that even the V-8 power is there simply to make pulling away from a light more convenient. For me, all this makes for a rather uneventful commute home. But for the wealthy buyer who views driving not as pleasure to be enhanced or a way to make a fashion statement but rather, as a task to be facilitated, the LS is very close to perfection.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Like other large luxury sedans with price tags approaching six figures, the LS460L provides effortless acceleration, blissful quiet, a cosseting ride (provided you haven’t switched the dampers to Sport), plentiful space, and an aromatic leather-lined cabin. But perhaps, even with these things, you’ve thought that the luxury-car experience was somehow incomplete. You also want the car to tell you a story. Now the LS can do that too.
When I fired up the LS460L, a message flashed onto the navigation screen telling me there was a new Lexus Insider article waiting. Not knowing what the hell that meant, I pushed the button to listen, and heard a three- or four-minute podcast about a historic inn near the Delaware Water Gap. It was sort of like an NPR segment crossed with an article from Travel & Leisure.
The podcast is part of the Lexus Insider series of recorded messages that can be sent to the car’s audio system, provided it is equipped with the optional navigation system.
This actually is one of three different telematics services Lexus is offering. The first is Safety Connect (stolen vehicle locating, collision notification, emergency assistance, and enhanced roadside assistance), which does not require navigation or any optional equipment; it’s free for the first year and $139.95 per year after that. A second is Lexus Enform (which features live operators on call who can find points of interest and beam their location to the car’s nav system; also, an owner can send destinations from his own computer to be stored in the car’s nav system). Enform requires the navigation system. This service is also free for a year, after which one pays $124.95 annually, on top of the (required) Safety Connect fee.
Whether or not you subscribe to either of the pay services, navigation-equipped cars can receive the Lexus Insider podcasts, for free. Lexus says the subject matter will fall into a few different categories: partner offers for Lexus owners, tips on how to use some of the car’s technical features, travel destination suggestions, music samples, and audio fiction. The podcasts are sent one to four times per month. Drivers can store them for later listening. Or they can choose not to receive them at all. But a luxury car that can’t tell you a story-is that even a luxury car at all?
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
Check out that $13,200 Executive Class Seating Package, wouldya?!? Wow, the array of controls available to rear-seat passengers in the flip-down center armrest rivals the instrument panel in the original Lexus LS from twenty years ago. And it’s certainly a wonderful place to ride, the equal or better of the rear seats from the obvious competitors: Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, and the new Jaguar XJ. If the Lexus doesn’t offer quite as keen a driving experience as the aforementioned sedans from Europe, that’s okay; the LS remains the purest expression of the Lexus philosophy and is just as appealing today as it was back in 1990.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
2010 Lexus LS460L 4DR Sedan
Base price (with destination): $74,625
Price as tested: $95,765
4.8-liter 32-valve V-8
8-speed automatic transmission
Full time AWD with limited slip differential
Adaptive variable suspension
Electronically controlled braking
HID headlamps with auto leveling and intelligent high-beam
Emergency Assist button
Automatic collision notification
Stolen vehicle location
Heated/cooled front seats
Heated rear seats
Power rear sunshade
Intuitive Park Assist
10-speaker audio system with USB and XM radio
Dual-zone climate control
Options on this vehicle:
Advanced Pre-Collision System – $5860
Executive Class Seating Package – $13,200
– Massager and leg rest
– Right rear power recliner
– Table, DVD rear-seat entertainment system
– Dual-zone A/C with air purifier
– Heated/cooled rear seats
– Power rear seats with adjustable headrests, power lumbar massage
Mark Levinson Audio/DVD Changer – $2080
– Reference Surround sound audio system
– Channel Architecture, DVD/CD Changer
Key options not on vehicle:
16 / 23 / 18 mpg
Size: 4.6L V-8
Horsepower: 357 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 344 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Curb weight: 4740 lb
18-inch alloy wheels
Michelin hx mxm4 235/50R18