NEW FOR 2008:

– New wallet-size Smart Key
– 460L adds factory-installed XM Satellite Radio
– Content changes to option packages
– Exterior colour: Glacier Frost deleted

An all-new model in 2007, the LS series enters 2008 with only changes to its options. As before, it is available in regular configuration, or as a long-wheelbase model. A hybrid version, the LS 600h L, is covered separately.

Both the LS 460 and 460L (long wheelbase) use a 4.6-litre V8, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Features include Lexus’ next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System (VDIM), which integrates electronically-controlled brakes, steering, stability control and engine torque to anticipate the onset of a skid or slide, and then seamlessly works to help correct the situation.

Features on the LS 460 include 18-inch alloy wheels, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium leather seats with 16-way driver and 12-way passenger power adjustment, climate-controlled front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, wood and leather-wrapped heated wheel with power tilt and telescopic, Smart Key with pushbutton start, power-assisted trunk closure, garage door opener, driver and passenger knee airbags, first-aid kit, power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, high intensity discharge auto-levelling headlamps with washers, LED taillamps and fog lamps.

The LS 460L adds XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free system, rear power heated and ventilated seats with memory, navigation system with backup camera, power-assist doors, power trunk lid, and rear seat side airbags.

Available options for both models include advance parking guidance system, pre-collision system and adaptive cruise control, while the long-wheelbase model can be turned into a four-passenger model that includes adaptive variable rear air suspension, rear entertainment system, fold-out table, rear massaging seats and retractable electric ottoman seat.

The ultimate in serious luxury and quality, the LS 460 is fast, handles well and looks good, although some may find its styling a little understated for the price. The long-wheelbase model doubles as a limousine, and can be ordered with a package that includes a reclining passenger-side rear seat (think La-Z-Boy on wheels), although taller people will find it necessary to sit sideways to fit their legs. The rear-seat DVD-based entertainment system has a steep learning curve, but contains enough goodies to keep passengers happy even on cross-country trips.

The LS 460 is currently the only vehicle on the market with a self-guided parking assist system that will back in or parallel park (buyers in Japan can also get it on the Prius), but check it out carefully before you spend the money. The system requires the driver to go through several steps using the back-up camera’s touch screen, and can take longer than parking the car yourself; as well, such things as snow, puddles, faded parking lot lines and inclines may prevent it from working properly.

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