2007 Lexus LS460

The interiors are particularly impressive in that they are not overdone. Each seat is very simply presented with side bolsters and a single transverse seam across the central seating area. There are no pleats and no complex patterns, just soft leather and soft foam. Yet they hold one in place during even the most vigorous cornering on tight, winding roads. The range of adjustments is wide, and in some models the rear seats are able to change height and rake. The right rear seat even includes an ottoman extension such as those found in first-class airline seats (or in a Maybach). All seat controls are electrically operated, of course, and particular attention has been paid to the sound quality of all those electric motors, so they are pleasant and harmonious if you do hear them.

Traditionally, Japanese manufacturers have offered very few options, but in seating alone, this Lexus is offered with a luxury package, a rear-seat upgrade package, an executive-class seating package, and even a semi-aniline leather upgrade for the long-wheelbase LS460L's luxury package. There are two suspension systems, air and steel spring; two wheel sizes, eighteen- and nineteen-inch; two braking systems, with 13.2-inch radial-fin ventilated front rotors or 14.1-inch spiral-fin front rotors; two steering systems, with fixed and variable ratios; two cruise-control systems, traditional and with dynamic radar control; and a huge variety of trim and color choices. There are even two optional parking systems. The more advanced one steers the car, with the driver only controlling its speed with the brake pedal. It will be interesting to see how dealers specify cars for stock, but we'd estimate that they will be loaded and will go for top dollar.

Despite all the increased content and the 30 percent stiffer body shell, the LS460s are only 375 pounds heavier than directly comparable LS430s. That doesn't mean that they are lightweights; they average two metric tons each, or 4400 pounds, with the long-wheelbase model about 85 pounds heavier than the standard model. Lexus anticipates that about 30 percent of sales for 2007 will be of the LS460L and just five percent will be the hybrid LS600hL version yet to come.

For all of the high-tech components, the final arbiters of salability in the extensive inspection processes that regulate production of these extremely serious cars are human beings. Highly trained and highly motivated, these quality controllers rely on their ears to discern and eliminate any sound source that might bother a customer. That "fine musical instrument" metaphor is taken quite seriously in Lexus Land.

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