2012 Lexus LS 460

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Review: 2007 Lexus LS

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2012.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 9

Bottom Line:

New-generation Lexus flagship sedan is loaded with new, advanced features.
Pros:
  • More power
  • Self-park feature
  • New long-wheelbase version
Cons:
  • Little soul
  • Styling doesn't really stand out
  • Over-the-top technology?

A car that parallel parks itself should get the attention of even those who have no more feeling for cars than they do for a city bus.

The redesigned 2007 Lexus LS 460 sedan has that $500 feature, called the Advanced Parking Guidance System. It's a "first" in the automotive world.

But is that intriguing system just a headline-grabbing feature for this new fourth-generation Lexus? With today's mostly drive-in parking spots, there's not much need for it outside of congested residential city areas.

Those drive-in spots at such places as shopping centers and 7-Elevens are a good thing because many drivers seemingly have terrible parallel parking abilities. (Last I looked, parallel parking is no longer taught during many high school driving courses.)

How It Works
Here's how the system works: After a driver has correctly positioned the LS and identified the desired parking spot via a dashboard navigation screen, the system uses a backup camera and parking sonar sensors and power steering system to automatically guide the car into the spot, while the driver controls speed via braking.

But a good amount of room is needed behind the LS to automatically steer itself into a parallel parking space. Programming the parallel parking feature can be bothersome and shouldn't be done hastily. A driver might have time to drink a latte before the car finishes parking.

Incidentally, Mercedes-Benz offers a similar parallel-park feature for its revamped 2007 S-Class flagship sedan, but it calls for more driver involvement.

More Aggressive Styling
Parking "magic" aside, this is the first LS with noteworthy styling personality. It's slightly longer, lower and wider than the 2001-2006 versions and looks more aggressive because Lexus wants a sportier image.

But this new Lexus still doesn't stand out much from the Japanese luxury car crowd because the LS has always been a winner and radical styling changes might cause potential loyal LS fans to look elsewhere.

However, the LS is so aerodynamic that it has an astonishing low drag coefficient of .26, while a .30 reading is good even for a sports car. There thus is little wind noise and fuel economy is enhanced.

Superb Fit and Finish
Fit and finish are superb. The paint is virtually show-car quality and comes partly from two hand-sanding operations. The leather-and-wood interior materials are first-class, and the leather steering wheel trim is extensively buffed to give it a kid-glove feel.

Lexus even worked to make the sound of the doors opening and closing reminiscent of skillfully crafted wood doors in a home.

Strong Acceleration
The LS has strong acceleration with its 4.6-liter 380-horsepower V8. This is the first all-new LS V8 since the car was introduced in 1989 and became an immediate hit--much to the chagrin of rival Mercedes.

The smooth, quiet V8 provides very fast (0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds), seemingly effortless acceleration that just goes on forever. The engine works with the world's first production car 8-speed automatic transmission; it shifts so smoothly you'd never know it had all those speeds. (Lexus trumps Mercedes here because the S-Class is offered with "only" a 7-speed automatic.)

New Long-Wheelbase Version
The new Lexus also is offered with the first long-wheelbase version. This Lexus 460 L is 202.8 inches long overall, against 198 inches for the regular model, which is pretty long to begin with. The "L" trim level has a 121.7-inch wheelbase, which mostly allows more rear-seat room, while the regular length version's wheelbase is 116.9 inches.

The regular-length LS is priced at $61,000. Add $10,000 for the long-wheelbase version. And figure on higher prices for a gasoline-elecric hybrid LS that arrives next year and will be the first vehicle with a full hybrid V8 powertrain.

Lots of New Technology
The 2007 LS has a host of new technology. For example, it offers an optional 4-zone climate control that uses world-first infrared sensors in the interior roof headliner to measure rear-seat occupant body temperature. Also, both inboard and outboard headlights swivel in the direction of a turn.

A fully optioned LS has a so many airbags and surround-sound speakers that you can almost lose count. It's also got a 30-gigabyte hard drive (storage for 2,000 music files) and a bunch of powered sunshades. Mercy!

A Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management stability system integrates a new electronically controlled brake system, electronic power steering, vehicle stability control, anti-lock braking system and electronic brake force distribution.

Decent Fuel Economy
Fuel economy is OK for a powerful sedan that weighs 4,244 to 4,332 pounds. The LS delivers an estimated 18-19 mpg in the city and 27 on highways. Premium fuel is needed because its engine is a picture of sophistication, with such features as a dual fuel injection system with both port and direct injection.

An available electric power steering system does away with a hydraulic system's weight and complexity. It provides a natural effort level, which is something not all electric steering systems possess.

Limousine-Like Ride
Steering and handling are good, and the ride quality is limousine-like. Standard is a new front and rear multi-link steel-spring suspension. You can go one better by ordering an optional sport-tuned air suspension and large 19-inch (vs. standard 18-inch wheels) in the available Touring package, which allows flatter cornering and sharper handling.

The package also provides variable gear ratio steering and brakes with larger rotors for superior stopping during hard driving.

The LS 460 doesn't speak to car buffs and is nowhere with the hip-hop crowd—at least not so far. Rather, it's for practical luxury sedan buyers who want a solid, reliable, prestigious sedan.

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BB03 - 8/27/2014 4:47:30 PM