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First Drive: 2014 Lexus LS460

2014 Lexus LS460

More and more these days the word “luxury” seems to get tossed around like a hackie-sack as the best way to describe a car that’s full of the usual leather and wood trim.  So how do you describe something that is truly luxurious in every way? When it comes to describing the Lexus LS460 the word “luxury” just doesn’t cut it… it’s more, an experience of indulgence.

The LS460 is Lexus’ flagship sedan that exuberates luxury at its finest.  Continuing its look from 2013 the LS460 expresses a new body style with a more bellicose, agile fascia. The large spindle grille adds a bit of aggression to the front in addition to the fashionable chiseled hood. To top it off you can instantly be hypnotized by the all the LED’s that are fitted – from the front indicators to the tail lights that surge 3 swopping “L’s”.

With a color named Liquid Platinum, you know it’s going to be dripping in extravagance. And when it comes to something of this size and price, it’s going to be all about the fashion accessories. The $1,100 optional 19” high gloss alloy wheels add a very dressy look to an already classy sedan. Add the LED fog lamps and integrated dual chrome exhaust; this LS460 will be looking good for any angle.

But the experience is just getting started. Grab the door hand and the doors unlock, the mirrors unfold, and a whoosh of leather aroma & new car smell overtakes your senses. As you glide into the driver seat, you’re immediately cocooned with a Semi-Aniline leather interior trim and Alcantara premium headliner that will gladly seat 4 in comfort. Both the driver and passenger are treated with first class amenities as the multi-functional power seats glides you into its memory seating position. The dual zone climate control keeps everyone blissful while the heated/ventilated seats adapt to your climate conditions.

The interior is well decorated with unvarnished genuine wood trim that feels and looks very elegant. Brushed aluminum sways throughout the dash accenting the wood discreetly. The overall look is well laid out – every button is within reach and with the help of pin striped stitching; the dash is kept looking sharp – for it size.

If you happen to be a back seat passenger… the tall sculptured roof line and commodious rear leg room makes for exceptional comfort. You’ll also get a power rear sunshade, ceiling recessed vanity mirrors and the ability to move the front seat forward to annoy the one that called shot gun. And if you’re feeling a bit lazy, the power lift trunk will help out – which is decent enough to fit a golf bag or two.

Nevertheless, the real magic is from the behind the steering wheel. Wrapped in matching wood finish, the leather wrapped power adjustable heated steering wheel feels pleasant in the hands – the controls are nicely laid out for easy functionality. The moment you press the start button, the gauges glow into a crystal white with a soft blue background and the 12.3 inch high resolution screen bursts into action.

Our LS460 came with Lexus Enform with Navigation, Destination Assist, and eDestination. We were pleasantly pleased with the Lexus Enform operating system as we were able to shuffle through the system seamlessly and the voice recognition software was top notch – better than what you get in with the Germans. But, while someone of a younger age group can grasp the concept of this system quickly; we put it to the test of someone a bit older… and… oh dear. Their biggest complaint is that it was difficult to navigate, the screen is much too big, and while traveling, they felt their attention would become more focused on changing something as simple as the radio station a distraction. That is, if they could figure how to turn the radio on. At least the Destination Assist representative helped locate a restaurant on the unfamiliar side of town. 

When it comes to driving the LS460, it’s well refined and composed. With the help of an 8-speed sequential automatic transmission, the 4.6L V8 is smooth and quiet. It’s about what you’d expect from any large luxury sedan. But then you see this “Sport” nob; twist it, and the gauges get devilish horns that glow red; twist it again and “Sport+” lights ups. Things start to get a bit interesting… the transmission mapping becomes crisper, the steering precision tightens, and the suspension stiffens for a more aggressive driving experience. We even thing the brakes get more sensitive. But more importantly it gives you 386hp and 367lb-ft of torque to play with. With power being delivered to the rear wheels, it doesn’t take much to achieve 60mph – just an impressive 5.4 seconds and all the way up to an electronically limited 130mph. An AWD model is available but you will lose some horsepower and will be slower to 60 by a mere .6 of second. Do bare in mind, the LS460 is by no means a performance sedan, but it sure does make going to the office that more enjoyable.

But if you’re someone that prefers a more sensible driving style “Normal” or “Comfort” mode is the way to go. You can expect nothing but the smoothest ride. It becomes a proper luxury flagship sedan. The suspension is so smooth it eats the bumps without hesitation – or the large grille swallows them first. Driving down the highway is superbly quiet; even at speeds upwards of 85mph – you could practically whisper to your passengers. If you do get into a little sport driving and toss the LS460 into a corner, it maintains a good balance with very little noticeable body-roll. For its size, it maneuvers quite easily around the tight bends and will make a U-turn sharply. Just be careful when you engage the brakes… they are strong enough to make you slide out of your seat. At least when it came to fuel economy, the LS460 impressed us at 18 city and 25 highway vs. the EPA16/24. Using the recommended premium grade fuel, the 22.2 gallon tank was sure to eat our wallets at $65 dollars a fill-up with an expected range just under 400 miles.

At the end of the day, we felt the LS460 was a fantastic sedan with all the right luxury parts. It was more than luxury; it was a full fledged experience of beauty and style. But, there is a few things we can’t help but think of…the BMW 740i, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ  that all cost around the same money. It seems we need to get these 4 together for full comparison.

Price (As-Tested):
2014 Lexus LS460: $72,140
Destination: $910
Featured Options:
Cargo Net: $64
Trunk Mat: $105
All Weather Package: $200
Heated Wood Steering Wheel w/ Leather Center Pad $260
Blind Spot Monitor: $500
Semi-Anilin Leather Trim an Alcantara Headliner: $550
19″ High-Gloss Alloy Wheels: $1,100
Mark Levinson Premium Audio: $1,580
Comfort Package: $1,650
Adaptive Variable Air Suspension w/ Variable Gear Ratio: $2,120
Grand Total: $81,179


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