2012 LS 600h New Car Test Drive
The Lexus LS is a practical luxury car, extremely quiet and extraordinarily smooth underway, easy to drive and operate. The Lexus LS is available in standard LS 460 and long-wheelbase LS 460L and LS 600h L versions, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Buyers have the choice of V8-powered LS 460 or LS 600h L hybrid powertrains. The 8-speed automatic, found on all non-hybrid models, helps keep fuel economy reasonable.
The Lexus LS lineup is oriented more to a luxurious, smooth ride than sporty handling. Still, the LS is no slouch in the performance department. The 4.6-liter V8 found in the LS 460 launches the car from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.4 seconds, according to Lexus, yet it gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg Highway. The 8-speed automatic is smooth and the electrically powered steering system adjusts according to speed. Ride quality is exemplary, and handling is perfectly capable. The rear-wheel-drive Lexus LS 460 offers a Sport Package that adds an aero kit, sportier suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, as well as different upholstery.
The Lexus LS 600h L employs a hybrid powertrain using a 5.0-liter V8 and electric motors rated at 438 total horsepower mated to an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). The LS 600h L delivers EPA fuel economy ratings of 19/23 mpg City/Highway. The LS 600L is all-wheel drive and rides on the long wheelbase.
All-wheel drive models use 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 2012 Lexus LS 460 Sport Special Edition includes everything found on the sport package plus navigation and a unique two-tone black and topaz beige interior.
The Lexus LS competes with full-size luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class, BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ. Compared to those cars, the Lexus is more affordably priced while also offering top levels of quality, dependability and reliability. Those looking for luxury and value who are willing to sacrifice cachet might consider the Hyundai Equuis. Those considering the LS 600h hybrid model should also look at the Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec diesel, the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid and the BMW 7 Series hybrid.
The 2012 Lexus LS lineup includes the LS 460, the long-wheelbase LS 460 L, and the LS 600h L hybrid. The LS 460 models use a 4.6-liter V8 and offer a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The LS 600h L is a long-wheelbase model that uses a 5.0-liter V8 mated to a pair of electric motors and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.
Lexus LS 460 ($67,630) comes 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, and 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. LS 460 AWD ($69,935) adds all-wheel drive and a heated steering wheel.
A Comfort Package ($3,150) adds headlamp washers, power door closers, power rear trunk, power rear sunshades, parking assist, navigation with real-time traffic and information, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel. The Comfort Plus Package ($5,230) adds automatic parallel parking assist, voice recognition, real-time weather and stock information, and an upgraded, 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. The Sport Package ($9,185) includes everything with the Comfort Package (minus the wood-trimmed steering wheel) plus 19-inch aluminum wheels with summer tires, a unique front spoiler and grille, Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned air suspension, perforated leather interior trim with wood accents, a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters and sport front bucket seats. The Sport Package with additional options ($11,265) includes everything on the Comfort Plus, minus the automatic parallel parking assist and wood-trimmed steering wheel. The navigation system ($965) and voice-activated navigation with the upgraded Mark Levinson audio system ($3,745) are available as standalone options.
The LS 460 L ($73,175) and LS 460 L AWD ($75,480) 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, and headlight washers. A Luxury Package for the 460 L ($980) adds power-rear sunshades, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and an Alcantara headliner. A Mark Levinson sound system with additional options ($3,910) includes 19-inch alloy wheels, navigation with real-time traffic and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. The next package up ($9,210) includes all above options plus an automatic parallel parking system, pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control and adaptive variable air suspension with variable gear-ratio steering. Step up to the next bundle ($17,455) and get an upgraded pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, lane departure warning and driver attention monitor, plus power rear sunshades, heated and cooled power rear seats with power-adjustable headrests and massage function, four-zone automatic climate control, rear seat air purifier, rear-seat cool box and rear-seat audio controls. The top-of-the-line package ($20,680) includes four-person seating with rear fixed console, a right-rear power reclining seat with multifunction massager and leg rest, a rear-seat wood trimmed table and rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
The LS 600h L ($112,750) 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; Alcantara headliner; LED headlights; adjustable Adaptive Variable Air Suspension; and P245/45R19 tires. A Premium Package II ($5,280) is similar to the Rear Seat Upgrade for the LS 460 L. 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 leg rest and massage, right rear seat fold-down tray, rear DVD entertainment system, and rear radio controls.
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. The optional Pre-Collision System 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. The Advanced Pre-Collision System, available only on the long-wheelbase models, also adds lane departure warning, a driver attention monitor, and object recognition cameras.