There are two engines options in the LS range: the 382bhp V8 LS460, and the 439bhp petrol-electric hybrid 600h L. So far we’ve only driven the LS460. It’s a swift and effortless performer and the eight-speed automatic transmission changes gear quickly and seamlessly.
All LS models come with air suspension, but we’ve only driven it in lowered F Sport form. It rides well at high speed, but the low-speed ride is unsettled over broken surfaces and potholes. The handling is well controlled and predictable in all of the suspension’s various settings (Comfort, Sport and Sport +), but push it too far and the Lexus feels its size. Numb steering means the driver also feels slightly detached from the action.
At low revs, the LS460 is remarkably quiet, emitting just a muted hum. The engine is smooth and refined at higher speeds, too, and only full throttle bursts make it growl. Wind and road noise are also well isolated, so the car is impressively hushed at motorway speeds.
The LS is an expensive car to buy in all its forms, but it has residual values that match most of its luxury car rivals. Running costs for a car of this type are reasonable, but fuel consumption and emissions for both the hybrid and non-hybrid models are higher than their competitors with diesel engines, and this makes them expensive to fuel and to tax.
As you would expect, the LS is very solidly built, but some of the plastics in the cabin don’t look or feel particularly special. Still, all the controls work smoothly and inspire confidence, and Lexus’ reliability record is the envy of the motor industry. The brand regularly tops the JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
The LS has yet to be crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but it comes with a huge range of safety kit. There’s an advanced pre-crash safety system, along with collision-avoidance assist. This helps the driver avoid an accident, or minimise impact with other vehicles or pedestrians. It operates across a wide speed range, in daylight or darkness. Lane-keep assist is included in the standard specification, and the LS600 comes with a blind-spot-monitor system.
The Lexus has such a large range of adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel that everyone should be able to find a comfortable driving position. Most adjustments are electrically operated, too, so minimum effort is required. The interior features a well laid out dashboard, but things are ruined by an complex infotainment system that uses an irritating mouse controller.
The driver and front seat passenger have loads of room, but rear seat passengers won’t feel quite so privileged. Legroom is not massive, and the sloping roofline restricts headroom. The 600h comes in long wheelbase form only, and that gives more generous rear legroom, but the centre rear seat is still uncomfortable. However, the boot is a good size in all models and accessibility is good.
The LS is a handsomely equipped car, even in the most basic Luxury trim. There are automatic xenon lights, four-zone climate control, air-conditioned seats and a superb Mark Levinson stereo. The F Sport model adds larger 19-inch alloys, a sportier looking front grille and bumpers, plus a sporty makeover for the cabin.
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