2008 Lexus LS460 | road test

Posted on Apr 29, 2007 by

Silent Lounge on Wheeels

The LS has seen a steady progression in engine size from the first LS400 (4.0-litre) to the LS430 (4.3-litre) to the current model’s 4.6-litre cubic capacity. This engine in its V8, 32-valve configuration has VVT-iE3 – an optimised variable intake and exhaust valve timing system allowing for greater intake/exhaust valve overlap. This new engine is kinder to the planet, thanks to the above mentioned system even though it belts out 347 bhp (at 6400 rpm) and a prodigious 455 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Yes, 8-speed, you got it right. It’s a world first and I think needed for the LS460. The big ’ credentials look highly impressive on paper. It reaches 0-100kph in just 6.3 seconds – not bad at all for a car topping the scales at 2035kgs and could easily go on way past its electronically limited top speed of 250kph. Although the engine capacity has been increased, it still falls short of what its immediate competition is offering. The danger with small-capacity, high-output engines is that although they will ultimately deliver the power at high revs, they pay the price at the low engine speeds where such cars tend to live their lives. And so it proves with the LS. In fact, you have to be revving the engine at close to 4000rpm before it will deliver maximum torque and if you let the revs fall much below 3000rpm it can feel rather sluggish.

That, of course, is why it needs eight gears to make sure that, despite the engine’s rather narrow powerband, there’s always one to suit your demands. Which is fine in theory but on the road leads to too much hounding around the gearbox when a car with more power low down would simply let the engine do the work.

At least the engine is as smooth and quiet as you’d expect.

Ride & handling – 4/5

Despite its visible size, this is the first LS that actually brings a grin on the driver’s face. The new LS460 now has managed to marry ride with handling that was so lacking in earlier models, although at times it feels that the 460 too is heading in the same direction. The steering with its electric power assist does seem remote at times, lulling me to doubt whether it would be able to take the series of corners coming up ahead on the new Hatta-Kalba road. There’s a calming disposition to the way the LS460 rides; it’s like meditation with nary a jerk or a bump as the multi-link suspension (front and rear) just soaks up all imperfections in the road surface. But then the curves are upon us and although all the hidden electronics start to play if you attempt hustling it through sharp bends, the movement is assured. On fast flowing corners, the big LS just sort of settles on its haunches and barrels through with great aplomb without disturbing the comfort of those on board.

Refinement – 5/5

If you floor the throttle, the LS460’s engine develops a muted growl. As speeds rise, wind noise isn’t a problem, despite the big wing mirrors. Road noise is also well contained, despite the large 18” tyres on our test car (19” wheels are optional). The gearbox is smooth and slick, although one is unsure in which gear the car is in full automatic mode. In manual form, the ratios pop up on the dashboard display.

Definitely, the most endearing strength of this car is its ability to carry occupants in an environment of either complete bliss or change it to a concert hall if the excellent Mark Levinson surround sound system with its 19 speakers is cranked up. This premium sound system is one of the very best to be found in an automobile and gets a big thumbs up from us.


Buying & owning – 4/5

The LS460 is a pricey car (from AED 284000-325000), but then it should balance that with strong residual values thanks to Lexus’ inherent high standards of quality, fit and finish and excellent range of materials used, not to forget the huge demand for luxury cars in the Middle East.

Quality & reliability – 5/5

Without a doubt, the 460 raises the bar as regards quality in the luxury car segment. Reliability should not be a problem given the legendary reputation of the Lexus brand.


Behind the wheel – 3.5/5

The view over the bonnet is expansive, thanks to the long hood. The interior is classy, with leather, wood and metal trims fusing together to create an opulent place to be in. The dash projects information in a clear, concise manner and is easy to read and use. The attention to detail is awe inspiring, with even the carpet and the roof lining being a class apart from that found in the competition. The driving position is excellent thanks to height-adjustable seats, and a steering column that moves in two directions.

Space & practicality – 4/5

The LS460 is a car to be driven and be driven in. Our test car was the long wheelbase LS460L version with its Ottoman seat configuration. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the driving experience, I enjoyed being driven (which really does say a lot!). The reason behind this was the excellent rear Ottoman seat with its myriad adjustments which could literally convert it to an easy recliner. The cherry on the top was the excellent multi-function Shiatsu massage system which really persuaded me to leave the driving to somebody else…for a change! Needless to say, space was not at all at a premium with plenty of space for all occupants.

Safety & security – 4/5

There are eight airbags throughout the car to protect in the event of a crash. Acronyms abound through features like VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), TRC (Traction Control), EBD (electronic Brake Force Distribution) and ABS. There is also a tyre pressure warning system, ISOFIX child restraint system and anti-theft system as standard.

Equipment – 5/5

The LS460 comes with all the bells and whistles associated with a car of this size and stature. There is keyless entry as well as starting. Power everything is available – door lock, windows, tilt and telescope steering etc. Four-zone automatic air-conditioning keeps all occupants cool in their own comfort zone. Lexus Park Assist is standard with its rear camera as is navigation. Heck, I could fill up a lot of space just mentioning all the stuff at hand. To keep it short, let’s just say, one will not find anything lacking.

* Prices are indicative and may vary at the time of purchase. All prices are ex-Dubai showrooms. Please check with your local dealer for current prices and offers.

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