While Lexus is commonly associated with understated elegance, they live by a certain mantra: the pursuit of perfection. Such is the example that the XF40 Lexus LS -which marks the flagship luxury sedan’s fourth generation- represents.
The global significance of the LS model is that it is the first successful foray of a Japanese automaker into the luxury area; a strata of automobile normally dominated by American and European brands. Updated back in 2012, Lexus endowed the LS with the brand's signature 'spindle grill', LED lighting updates, new wheels and a sharper appeal. Aesthetics-wise, the LS still gets the understated appeal despite the updated face, it is however a love it or hate it look. I personally think it is a positive move into modern design.
Open the doors and you are welcomed with luxurious appointments such as fine grain leather, dark wood inserts, analog clock and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson reference audio system. The front seats are fully adjustable electronically with memory function; seat belt height can likewise be adjusted with the touch of a button. Seat coolers or heaters are standard.
The rear seats are likewise adjustable through the center armrest control panel, it also comes with a massage function which can come in handy while in traffic. Like the front seats, you can also activate seat cooler or heater. Being a long wheelbase model, it comes with more than enough legroom for the average Asian up to the taller ones. If you need even more legroom, you can adjust the passenger side front seat forward from the comfort of the back seats. There are even privacy window shades for both rear windows and the rear windshield. As a bonus, the LS460 even comes with a chiller when you open the compartment where the arm rest is stowed.
The main highlight for the interior in my opinion would be the Mark Levinson system. It accurately reflects the warm sound from a Mark Levinson hi-fi audio system with impeccable timing, precision and detail that would normally be difficult to achieve inside a car.
Under the hood is a 4.6-liter V8 1UR-FSE mill similarly found in the GX460, but with a higher state of tune and direct injection and dual VVT-iE. This version is rated at 387 PS with 493 Nm of torque and is mated to an 8-speed automatic.
The front double-joint top and bottom multilink combined with the 5-link rear configuration delivers an optimum mix of comfort and handling. The frame has been likewise strengthened for greater rigidity and stability.
A press of the engine start button awakens the 387 PS V8 to a purr thanks to NVH dampening of the luxurious kind. While the rear seats would be the best seats for this long wheelbase flagship sedan; we had to drive it, this being a car review.
While neither something you’d use to tear up roads nor carve corners with, the LS 460L does have a potent V8 engine which delivers the goods well and with ease. Drive it around town roads and there is always enough torque down below to get you going. Take it out in the highway and the V8 is very well tuned to attain cruising speeds with examplary quietness and balance. Also, the 8-speed automatic is silky smooth as there was practically no shift shock when it goes through the gears. The transmission does have manual select but it's best to leave the transmission in 'Drive' and go about your business. But for those curious, the LS 460L does have three driving modes to choose from; Eco, Normal and Sport.
Handling is respectable with a bit of roll given the heft and comfort it has to deliver, it can get you through light bends and smooth corners with ease, nontheless. Brakes are very, very responsive; stopping power has been very much considered for this beast. Did I mention that the ride was impeccable? The suspension damping virtually made the roads seemingly 'smoother'.
That magic carpet ride is further accented when you're seated at the back. Thanks to its longer wheelbase paired with the excellent suspension set-up, road imperfections barely make it into the cabin. Granted, there's the occasional jolt but it's never upsetting and you'll never complain about its ride. What makes this feat even more impressive is the fact that the LS 460L doesn't even rely on air suspension. Kudos to Lexus indeed.
While not exactly built with fuel economy in mind, the V8-powered LS was able to return 12.5 km/l of fuel at an average speed of 92 km/h. Drive it around the city and the LS 460L will gulp fuel at a rate of 6.2 km/l.
While not the most dynamic drive, the Lexus LS 460L delivers all that is expected and demanded of it: a luxury car for the discerning few who may have everything money can buy. It delivers the right amount of prestige that commands respect without really asking for it. The 5-seat version with the PhP 7,418,000 pricetag definitely hits the sweet spot for those who can afford to luxuriously cruise through traffic in style.