- Clean, uncluttered instrument panel layout
- Simple controls without undue complexity
- Super-refined, near-silent interior
- Concert-hall-quality sound
- Well-integrated Bluetooth and live traffic
- Lacks the gravitas of its Euro rivals
- Eight-speed transmission a little too shifty and indecisive
- Full, wide center console makes front seats feel constrained
The 2008 Lexus LS 460 is a little lacking in personality and presence, so it’s a good choice for those who want top technology and comforts without attracting undue attention.
After a complete design for 2007, the big, luxurious LS 460 is largely carried over into 2008. The 2008 Lexus LS 460 is available in two body styles, including the manageably sized LS 460 and the long-wheelbase LS 460 L, which stretches the backseat area five inches, to limousine-like dimensions--possibly appealing to those who have others do the driving. There's also a hybrid flagship model, the LS 600h L, which we cover in a separate review.
Luxury, comfort, and high-tech features are the focus in the 2008 Lexus LS 460; thus, it should have satisfying performance for buyers who are considering this rather reserved big sedan. A 380-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 is mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission--the world's first--and drives the rear wheels. The engine is one of the smoothest and best isolated of any vehicle, and it has plenty of torque to move the LS 460 with authority. However, the transmission's indecision on congested freeways and gradual grades lessened the enjoyment.
Inside and out, the 2008 Lexus LS 460 is very conservatively styled. With an organic and elegant L-finesse design language that doesn't rely on gimmicky details, the LS will likely age well. The interior is quite attractive in its simplicity, with a two-tiered dash and contrasting materials that are soft to the touch. The only downside is that some of the switchgear mimics that used in much cheaper Lexus models. Front seats are ample and comfortable, though not as supportive as they could be, but a very wide center console makes the seating area feel unexpectedly narrow. In back, there's adequate room even for tall and lanky adults with the LS 460, while the LS 460 L has room for legs to sprawl. And with either the standard or the available air suspension, the ride is glassy-smooth and absorbent.
The 2008 Lexus LS 460 offers some of the most advanced technology features of any vehicle. XM Satellite Radio provides live traffic information to the navigation system. The available Mark Levinson sound system has 19 speakers and 450 watts, and it comes with 8GB of hard-drive space for MP3s. There's even a self-parking feature that steers the LS 460 into a parallel or row parking spot as the driver backs up; some will find it helpful, but to others it's a gimmick. Climate-controlled (heated and cooled) front and rear seats are another desirable option. The L version includes dual rear climate controls and a system that checks actual body surface temperatures with infrared technology.
The LS 460 has not yet been crash tested by the federal government. The insurance industry rated the LS 460 "good" in its frontal offset test, but it only earned a "marginal" rating in the IIHS seat-based rear-impact test. The 2008 Lexus LS 460 has a multilayered list of safety features, including standard front side airbags, dual front knee bags, and full-length side curtain bags, plus available rear-seat side airbags. Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, a more advanced version of electronic stability control, is standard, and an available Pre-Collision System (PCS) works with the available laser cruise control to prepare vehicle safety systems if it anticipates a collision.