I once worked at a corporate office where the VPs drove Lexus LS460 sedans. The prez, meanwhile, drove a BMW 750Li. That’s pretty telling. Or is it?
You see, the LS is so much like the siebener it’s uncanny. I probably noted that in my last series of LS460 reviews. But that car was an LS460 F-SPORT, with what some of my acquantances have described as a slightly more gaudy appearance thanks to its blackout grille and dark chrome 19-inch wheels.
While the F-SPORT variant was more focused on driving enjoyment, with its shift paddles and “Sport S+” mode that tweaked a complex air suspension, steering feel, and throttle response one step further than the regular LS460, I actually got more driving enjoyment out of the plain-Jane LS460. Without the sporting pretense, it seemed like a car more comfortable in its own skin.
It strikes me now how ridiculous it sounds to call any LS “plain-Jane.” And I understand now, having spent a cumulative two weeks in LS460 sedans, why my former employer’s VPs loved these machines. The seats, console, and door panels cosset you in buttery leather and are supremely adjustable, including a handy thigh support adjustment on the driver’s seat that actually lengthens the seat cushion considerably. The doors close themselves so long as you barely nudge them to, if that’s what you want, but if you elect to slam them, you’re rewarded with perhaps the most solid, bank vault-like closing sound of any Japanese car on sale in America today. The car is understated, but speaks a language of quiet confidence and strength.
For that, thank some good old-fashioned chassis tech: heavy hinges and triple felt-lined rubber sealing surfaces are the order of the day, as is plenty of sound insulation, I’m sure, because the interior is almost eerily quiet at speed. That’s a trait we experienced in the F-SPORT as well. In that earlier test, someone standing outside near the car when we were doing our acceleration test at the local airport said it had a killer exhaust note when given a full dose of throttle– not that we’d know, because the engine note was so hushed. The non-F-SPORT LS460 was exactly the same in that regard.
That probably has a lot to do with the fact the LS460 and its F-SPORT evil twin feature the same engine rated at the same 386 horsepower. And when asked, the regular LS460 would dish out just as meaty a slice of giddyup as the F-SPORT. This is a powertrain made for eating up some serious miles at high speed.
I had a chance to test it in that regard when a clone of my former employer’s prezmobile, a Bangle-butt BMW 750Li, ghosted by on my left during a road trip on the interstate. “Okay,” I said to myself, “let’s run with the big dogs.” Because we were one.
I flicked the cruise control– sadly not radar-equipped as our Lexus GS F-SPORT was– up to 85 and settled into a nice pace with the Bimmer eight to 10 carlengths ahead. We make awesome time through the hills of Middle Tennessee until a combination of lengthy road construction and drivers who don’t know THE LEFT LANE IS FOR PASSING ONLY conspire to slow us down. The LS460 has a healthy amount of presence in any rearview mirror, but apparently not enough to convince left lane lollygaggers to heed my high-beam flashes and move their hoopties to the right lane. For those blissful few minutes not so impeded, however, even at 85 MPH, the Lexus LS460 felt like it was relaxed and ready for me to pile on more throttle, much to the possible detriment of my license.
More about our time with the Luxus Lexus LS460 in a later post.
Disclosure: Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.