AutoMatters: Lexus LS 460 F Sport — High Tech & High Performance
By Jan Wagner
Drawing upon the heritage of the $375,000 Lexus LFA supercar, the Lexus F Sport models are racetrack proven, true high-performance vehicles engineered for driving enthusiasts who will be satisfied with nothing less than the very best. They feature exceptional luxury and state-of-the-art electronics.
Available in both rear wheel and all wheel drive, the Lexus LS 460 F Sport brings this sporting tradition to a roomy, four-door sedan. Even at first glance this car looks special, with its aggressive, deep, blacked-out front signature grille, but that just hints of all that is inside. A clue is the length of the owner’s manual: 928 pages.
The heart of the Lexus LS 460 F Sport is a powerful, 386 hp, 4.6-liter, V8 engine (360 hp with all wheel drive). Acceleration is immediate, as only a big V-8 can provide. Managing all of that power is an eight-speed, sequentially shifted, electronically controlled transmission that smoothly matches revs during manual downshifts via paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Massive, high-performance, Brembo® six-piston brakes at the front end, combined with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Smart Stop Technology and Electronic Controlled Braking quickly and effectively slow the car down.
Step inside the spacious cabin and you’ll find comfortable, supportive, side-bolstered sport seats. For an exceptional sound experience, choose the optional Mark Levinson® 19-speaker, 450-watt, Premium Surround Sound Audio System, which sounds even better thanks to the car’s whisper-quiet interior.
A joystick lets you change settings on the large display screen. Behind the joystick is an upholstered cushion to rest the back of your hand upon. The nav system has a pleasant voice, and Destination Assist will quickly connect you to a helpful, live operator.
The LS 460 F Sport includes, or is available with, many high tech safety and performance features including: Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Intuitive Park Assist; Vehicle Stability Control; TORSEN® torque-sensing limited-slip rear differential (RWD); Traction Control; Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management; six different styles of 19-inch alloy wheels; Adaptive Variable Air Suspension with Variable Gear-Ratio Steering, with Sport and Sport+ Drive modes; LED headlamps with headlamp washers and intelligent high-beams, dynamic auto leveling and dual-swivel Adaptive Front Lighting System; and power-adjustable, auto-folding side mirrors.
I drove the LS 460 F Sport on city streets and freeways, during the day and at night. The car has a firm, but not harsh ride, and delivers excellent handling characteristics. The engine is powerful, although at times I wished that I could hear the engine, perhaps in Sport+ mode. This car is truly quiet – so quiet, in fact, that when the individually controlled, adjustable-speed fans that circulate heated and cooled air through the seats are running, they can be heard (ever so slightly).
Looking forward, the view of the road is excellent. This Lexus, despite its roomy interior and ample trunk capacity, has a compact sense to it, which is welcome in a driver’s car.
The car’s performance characteristics are easily chosen by turning the large adjustment knob on the center console. In addition to the normal setting, my LS 460 F Sport included selections for comfort, economy, sport and sport plus, which appropriately adjust the throttle response, engine power output and suspension. You will see a visual confirmation of your selection on the large nav screen.
For safety, I especially appreciated the blind spot warnings in the side mirrors. They really do work, catching my attention with warning lights in the side mirrors when vehicles were in my blind spots. At night the optional “intelligent high-beams” feature automatically dims the lights for oncoming traffic. Also useful are the proximity sensors in the front and rear bumpers, that warn of imminent contact with objects that you might not see.
When reverse gear is selected, the sunshade in the rear window lowers, the mirrors tilt down so that the driver can see curbs, and the view from the rear-facing camera is activated on the nav screen.
When you turn off the engine, the seat slides back, and the steering wheel tilts up and moves out of the way, making it easy to exit. When you get back in, your settings are returned as they were.
EPA-estimated fuel economy (combined city and highway) for the V8-equipped RWD model is 19mpg. Since its last fill-up, the display on my Lexus was showing 22mpg. Prices start at $80,490 and many options are available.
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Copyright © 2013 by Jan Wagner – #306r1