2009 LS 600h New Car Test Drive
The Lexus LS is extremely quiet and extraordinarily smooth. The LS 460 is easy to drive and operate and is less fussy than the German luxury cars. It delivers excellent performance but tilts more to the luxury side of the equation than the sporty side.
The Lexus LS is packed with luxury and bristles with technology. The LS 460 was the first car in the world with a computer-controlled eight-speed automatic transmission. The LS 460 L is a long-wheelbase version that offers reclining heated bucket seats, a cool box, dual-zone rear HVAC controls, a folding table, an ottoman, a shiatsu massager and, of course, DVD with wireless headphones. The list goes on.
The 4.6-liter V8 can propel the LS 460 from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.4 seconds, according to Lexus, yet it gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg Highway. The eight-speed automatic is super smooth and plays a big role in the fuel-economy story. The electrically powered steering system adjusts according to speed. The ride quality is exemplary, and handling is perfectly capable. It doesn't get any smoother than the Lexus LS and it meets every expectation for refinement and luxury.
The Lexus LS 600h L employs a hybrid powertrain using a 5.0-liter V8 and electric motors rated at 438 total system horsepower. The LS 600h L delivers EPA fuel economy ratings of 20/22 mpg City/Highway. The LS 600h L is certified as a Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV). The LS 600h L comes with all-wheel drive and rides on the long wheelbase.
All-wheel drive is available and it features a Torsen limited-slip center differential to distribute torque between the front and rear tires. Normally, the front-to-rear torque split is set at 40:60 but it can vary between 30:70 and 50:50 depending on driving conditions. The bottom line is stable traction in any conditions.
The LS 460 was launched for the 2007 model year and the LS 600h joined the line for 2008. For 2010, the LS gets a mid-cycle update with slightly revised styling, new features, and a handling-oriented Sport Package. The new styling includes revisions to the front bumper grille, headlights, taillights, exhaust diffusers, and license plate surround, as well as new wheel designs and new side mirrors with integrated turn signals.
The 2010 Lexus LS 460 Sport Package adds firmer air suspension tuning, firmer stabilizer bars and shocks, Brembo brakes, a body aero kit, perforated Black/Saddle leather upholstery with sport front seats, a unique leather-trimmed steering wheel and paddle shifters. A new Appearance Package includes the Sport Package's aero kit and grille.
The 2010 Lexus LS gets several new safety and connectivity features. Safety Connect and Lexus Enform are new telematics systems with complimentary one-year subscriptions. Safety Connect is standard and Lexus Enform is available with a navigation system. A new Advanced Pre-Collision system uses two cameras up front, as well as radar, to detect pedestrians in the car's path. It also employs a camera that monitors the driver. If the system detects that the car could hit the pedestrians and the driver is looking away, it will alert the driver with a warning chime and a flashing light and eventually apply the brakes. It will also make the steering ratio quicker, making it easier for drivers to react.
Other changes for 2010 include a driver's seat with a slide-away feature to make ingress/egress easier, a new multi-information display with a center console LCD screen, Bluetooth audio streaming and phonebook download capability, and iPod connectivity. The 2010 LS 600h L gets new battery packaging that opens up two cubic feet of trunk space, and more standard equipment, including Intelligent High Beams, the Advanced Parking Guidance System, an LCD instrument cluster, and a standard Cold Weather Package with a windshield de-icer, heavy-duty battery, and a more efficient heater.
The flagship sedan that started out as the LS 400 and then grew up as the LS 430 is now the Lexus LS 460. The Lexus LS challenges all comers as the best luxury sedan in the world. It competes with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class, BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ, among others. Compared to those cars, it is more affordably priced while also offering top levels of quality, dependability and reliability. If you desire a smooth and comfortable large luxury sedan, the Lexus LS is hard to beat.
The 2010 Lexus LS lineup includes the LS 460 and long wheelbase LS 460 L, and the LS 600h L hybrid, a long-wheelbase model with all-wheel drive and a gas-electric powertrain. The LS 460 models are powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 380 horsepower with rear-wheel drive and 357 horses with optional all-wheel drive. The LS 600h L uses a 5.0-liter V8 mated to a pair of electric motors. Total output is 438 horsepower. LS 460s have an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability, while the LS 600h L uses a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Lexus LS 460 ($65,380) and LS 460 AWD ($68,905) come with leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control; interior air filter; power tilt/telescoping wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; 16-way power adjustable driver's seat; 12-way power front passenger seat; heated front seats; memory for the driver's seat, steering wheel and mirrors, power windows, locks, and heated mirrors; keyless access and starting; sunroof, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer, XM satellite radio, auxiliary input jack, iPod adaptor, Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, rearview camera, trip computer, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, outside temperature indicator, universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, fog lights, adaptive xenon headlights, and P235/50R18 tires on alloy wheels. AWD models also get a heated steering wheel and an adjustable Adaptive Variable Suspension that constantly adjusts damping rates based on the road surface.
The LS 460 Sport Package ($6,185) upgrades to black and saddle tan perforated leather upholstery, heated steering wheel with shift paddles, matt dark brown ash burl interior trim, sport front bucket seats, unique front spoiler and grille, rocker panel extensions, a sport version of the air suspension, Brembo brakes, 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels, and P245/45R19 tires.
Options for LS 460 include the Comfort Package ($2,185) with front and rear park assist heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, power door and trunk closers, power rear sunshade and headlight washers; the Comfort Plus Package ($5,125) with the Comfort equipment plus rear side airbags, and heated and cooled power rear seats with massage and memory features. The Cold Weather Package ($100) includes a heavy-duty heater, a wiper deicer, and a heavy-duty battery. Other options consist of the Mark Levinson sound system ($2,080), Adaptive Variable Air Suspension with variable-ratio power steering, Active Power Stabilizer Suspension for the 600h L with uprated brakes, active suspension and P245/45R19 summer tires, and hands-free self-parking ($700).
The LS 460 L ($70,925) and LS 460 L AWD ($74,450) feature heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, front and rear park assist, power door and trunk closers, power rear sunshade, self-dimming headlights, laminated side glass, and headlight washers. A Luxury Package for the 460 L ($980) upgrades to semi-aniline leather upholstery, power side sunshades, and an alcantara headliner. The Rear Seat Upgrade Package ($4,865) includes rear side airbags, rear dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, power heated and cooled rear seat with memory and massage, power headrests, rear seat cool box, rear radio controls, power side sunshades, and an alcantara headliner.
The LS 600h L ($108,800) comes with the navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information; Lexus Enform assistance, the self-parking feature, a 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson audio system, power side sunshades, alcantara headliner, LED headlights, adjustable Adaptive Variable Suspension, limited-slip rear differential, and P245/45R19 tires. The Executive Class Seating Package ($10,835) adds rear side airbags, rear dual-zone automatic climate control with body-temperature sensors, interior air filers, two-place heated and cooled rear seats with memory and massage, power rear headrests, fixed rear center console, right rear power reclining seat with legrest and massage, right rear seat fold-down tray, rear DVD entertainment system, rear radio controls, and P235/50VR18 tires.
Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, front knee airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control, active front head restraints, tire-pressure monitor, rearview camera, and adaptive headlights that point into turns. An optional Pre-Collision System ($1,500) comes with adaptive cruise control. It retracts the seatbelts, sounds a warning for the driver, closes the windows and sunroof, firms up the suspension, adjusts the steering ratio and readies brake assist when the computers detect an impending collision. An Advanced Pre-Collision System ($5,860) also adds Lane Keep Assist, a driver attention monitor, and object recognition cameras. All-wheel drive improves safety in slippery conditions.