2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Bob McHugh

Photo Gallery: 2007 Lexus LS 460

Surrey, British Columbia – Since entering the luxury car market and turning it on its head seventeen years ago, I’ve come to respect Lexus as the quality benchmark for premium vehicles. The attention paid to every little production detail and a meticulous approach to construction excellence has rightfully catapulted Lexus to the forefront of the luxury car market.

It all started with the flagship LS 400, which became the LS 430 in 2001, and this year Lexus has released the LS 460 and the LS 460L. The trailing ‘L’ signifies a new long-wheelbase version which offers limo-like rear seat leg room and an Ottoman seat (option) with a retractable foot rest, a built-in air bag and a Shiatsu massage feature.

The competition has not been standing idly by waiting for a new Lexus. Mercedes, BMW and Audi all tout new and improved and highly refined products with a performance edge and history.

So how does this new LS answer the “good but boring” label placed on its predecessor by some critics?

2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460. Click image to enlarge

On the technology front, the LS 460 certainly breaks new ground. In addition to being the first car that can parallel-park itself, it sports the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, a more sophisticated and fuel-efficient new V8 engine plus enhanced safety with up to eleven air bags, adaptive headlights and a pre-crash system.

And if all that is not enough, a hybrid version called the LS 600h, which unites a V8 engine with a new Lexus hybrid electric drive is available as a 2008 model year vehicle.

Two packaged upgrades are available for the LS 460. “Premium” adds a 450-watt Mark Levinson audio system, a navigational system, and a back-up camera, and brings its price up to $89,900. The other choice is “Technology” which includes Premium and adds radar cruise control, a pre-collision system, the self-parking system, rear power seats, rear side airbags, a smart-card keyless entry system, and a power trunk lid – it bumps the price to $100,300 plus Freight, A/C tax, GST, PST, provincial luxury taxes, and federal green levies.

2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460. Click image to enlarge

Lexus designers like to refer to the new styling theme introduced across its product line as ‘L-finesse’. In essence, it’s a quest for that easy-to-recognize, signature look that its Euro rivals already possess.
Particular attention was paid to aerodynamic considerations of the L460’s design. Its streamline body has a long hood, a steeply angled windshield and short, high rear deck with a built-in trunk lip spoiler. But is it instantly recognizable as a Lexus? Not to my eyes.

Certainly, the quality of the paint finish is impressive. Apparently, Lexus developed a new robotic buffing method for this vehicle and hand sanding is also done at two stages of the paint application process.

Inside, the LS 460 really excels. From the moment you slip behind the steering wheel it’s impossible not to be impressed by the beautifully crafted sweeping dashboard and console and the luxurious look and feel of the upholstery.

2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460 (bottom photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

My test car came with the Technology Package so it had power reclining rear seats that also had heaters plus cool air ventilation through perforated leather upholstery panels. Even this standard wheelbase LS has more rear seat room than the previous generation LS, but it was the rear seat fold-down mirrors that got my daughter excited.

The rear seatbacks do not fold-down (to extend cargo room) but it does have a centre pass-though for long items (like skies). Not that trunk space is a problem, as it’s huge (510 litres/18 cu. ft.) and Lexus claims it has a four golf bag capacity.

The standard eight airbag safety package includes driver and front passenger knee air bags, plus rear side airbags as an option. Its Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, or VDIM, integrates the many electronic active safety features in the LS that control acceleration, braking and vehicle stability.

I did experience some difficulty attaching to some of the lower child seat anchors, due to the stiff leather upholstery that obstructed the anchor hooks. In addition, the power operated head restraints are not removable and may present a fitment issue for some makes of high-back booster seats. If an owner wants to install a child seat in the centre rear position there’s a problem, as it prevents them from accessing the outboard seat controls, which are inside the folded-up and now hidden centre armrest.

2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460. Click image to enlarge

Rear seat side airbags generally do not present an injury risk if a child is seated correctly in a child seat. A child in a booster seat or using the seat belts, however, needs to sit upright and should not be allowed to fall asleep against the door.

The driver gets the full-pampering treatment in LS. I particularly liked the seat cushion length adjustment that allows you to get that under-thigh support position just right. And the adjustable lumbar support in the seatback – loved that too.

On the road, the LS is the king of smooth. An ultra-supple suspension coupled with an extraordinarily quiet cabin and a killer stereo lets you drift into audio ecstasy as those highway kilos melt away. No doubt about it, the LS is a top-notch luxury car and if this fits your expectation of a premium luxury car, this is the one.

On the other hand, the LS is a heavy vehicle and it’s reflected in the performance and handling. Initial acceleration is quite good, but when you ask for more and push harder on the gas pedal the reaction is underwhelming. The LS is also a little lacking in agility and doesn’t possess the crisper handling characteristics of its sportier competitors.

2007 Lexus LS 460
2007 Lexus LS 460. Click image to enlarge

Lexus claims the LS can go from 0 to 100 km/h in less than six-seconds. It sure doesn’t feel that quick and timed tests at the Canadian Car of the Year evaluation event pegged it at 7.3 seconds, which is still good. On the other hand, the LS has a sublimely smooth drivetrain and it got the best highway fuel economy numbers in the prestige car entry group this year. NRCan’s official figures are 12.6/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway).

To use the park guidance system, you have to drive completely past the chosen parking stall at a set distance, position the vehicle at a 45-degree angle and straighten the wheels. Choose slot or parallel parking and then you fiddle with on-screen graphics to correctly position your virtual vehicle in the stall.

When the parking box turns green its ready to do its steering thing, while you modulate speed with the brake. I’m sure, with practice, speedier use of this system is possible. It actually works quite well, but in general I found it faster and easier to do my own parking.

In conclusion, while the LS 460 possesses Zen-like interior tranquility and a magic carpet ride, it’s not as sporty as some of its competitors.


Pricing: 2007 Lexus LS 460

  • Base price: $86,400
  • Options: $13,900 (Technology Package of 450-watt Mark Levinson audio system, navigation system, back-up camera, radar cruise control, pre-collision system, self-parking system, rear power seats, rear side airbags, smart-card keyless entry system, power trunk lid)
  • Freight: $1,775
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Price as tested: $102,175 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

Specifications

  • Click here for complete specifications


Related stories on Autos


Competitors

  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Mercedes-Benz S 550
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 BMW 750i
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Audi A8
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Jaguar XJ8


Crash test results


Manufacturer’s web site

Connect with Autos.ca