2008 Lexus LS 460 Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 14, 2008

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.

To assemble this definitive review of the 2008 Lexus LS 460, the experts at TheCarConnection.com perused a wide range of review information. And to help make it especially useful and accurate, TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven the 2008 LS 460, including their impressions in this review.

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.

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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.

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2008 Lexus LS 460

Styling

While an improvement over previous versions, exterior styling on the 2008 Lexus LS 460 is still rather bland, but the interior is practically flawless.

Lexus introduced a completely new LS model, the LS 460, in 2007. For 2008, styling on the Lexus LS 460 has remained virtually unchanged.

Over the years, Lexus has developed a reputation for very conservative exterior styling, and that rings especially true for the 2008 Lexus LS 460. While Car and Driver notes that the exterior on this 2008 Lexus "certainly improves on the exceptionally bland LS430," they still feel that the car is "more of a grown-up GS than the revolutionary design that Lexus officials describe." Cars.com also recognizes the improvements, saying that "each new Lexus becomes incrementally more sculpted" thanks to "market pressure...eroding the company's traditionally conservative lines."

The interior of Lexus's 2008 edition of the LS 460 is simply stunning in its luxury. Impressive design details abound, such as the doors that Automobile says "sound and feel like a heavy wooden architectural door." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com also appreciated the tasteful appointments on Lexus's 2008 flagship, which Automobile mentions, saying that "the interiors are particularly impressive in that they are not overdone." Edmunds heaps praise on the interior, finding it "brilliant in an aesthetic sense" with "rich wood trim" that is "complemented by perforated leather upholstery." Interior styling reaches its peak on the long-wheelbase 2008 Lexus LS 460 L, where Cars.com finds that "Lexus aims to replicate the environment of a business jet." Motor Trend also praises the "wood veneers (of which there are three to choose)" and "wrinkle-free leather on the steering wheel" of the Lexus 2008 edition of the LS 460.

For 2008, the Lexus LS 460 is offered in a base version and a stretched L version that Car and Driver says "adds 4.8 inches in wheelbase and length."

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2008 Lexus LS 460

Performance

A strong engine and an impressive eight gears help the big 2008 Lexus LS 460 move comfortably, but handling and braking are definitely not up to par with the car's European competitors.

The 2008 Lexus LS 460 and Lexus's 2008 LS 460 L get plenty of giddyap from their V-8 engines, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com featured mixed impressions of the transmission and handling.

Under the hood of the 2008 Lexus LS 460 is a 380-hp engine that Automobile notes is "the first all-new V-8 engine" in the Lexus brand history. Car and Driver also writes that the "aluminum" engine "displaces 4.6 liters" and "torque increases 55 pound-feet to 367" versus the older version of the LS 460. Automobile finds the engine on this Lexus 2008 model provides "smooth, even, and seemingly inexhaustible power," a sentiment echoed by Cars.com, which notes that "acceleration is rather astonishing." Overall, Edmunds feels that acceleration performance is "on par with its peers," and the 2008 Lexus LS 460 can "hit 60 mph in a swift 5.8 seconds."

One of the main reasons for the 2008 Lexus LS 460's impressive acceleration, especially on the highway, is the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission on the car. Cars.com approves of the transmission, saying that "gear changes are barely perceptible under most driving conditions." However, while Car and Driver claims that the "LS jumps off the line," they note that "a not-quite-short-enough first gear led to worse-than-expected acceleration times." Aside from acceleration benefits in some situations, Motor Trend points out that the transmission offers "near CVT-like performance and fuel economy," allowing this 2008 Lexus to achieve EPA fuel economy that "is expected to rise from 18/25 mpg to 19/27."

Turning and stopping are definitely not among the strong suits on this Lexus 2008 edition of the LS 460, but with such a large car, that probably shouldn't come as a surprise. ConsumerGuide finds that "the base suspension permits marked body lean, as does the air suspension's Comfort setting." Motor Trend agrees, claiming the new Lexus 2008 "heels over more in the corners than the German sedans do," although they do approve of the "natural level of effort" required to handle the steering wheel. In terms of braking, Car and Driver says they "measured a pitiful 209 feet" stopping distance from 70 mph, "30 feet longer than an LS430." While Edmunds doesn't mention stopping distances, they find that the brakes "can seem grabby in stop-and-go traffic."

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2008 Lexus LS 460

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Lexus LS 460 features top-of-the-line build quality and luxury materials.

Lexus has become one of the go-to choices for those seeking the ultimate in comfort and build quality, and the 2008 LS 460 is certainly no exception.

Inside, the 2008 Lexus LS 460 features several seating configurations. For 2008, Lexus's Standard version of the LS 460 holds five, and Cars.com describes the seating as "heated, leather front seats" and "spacious accommodations" for those in the back. Optional on Lexus's 2008 LS 460 L is the Executive Class Seating Package, which Edmunds says "drops rear seating capacity to two," but in return includes "reclining power seats with heating, cooling and massage." Overall, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com were satisfied with the rear legroom on the base models and more than impressed with the additional space offered in the 2008 Lexus LS 460 L; ConsumerGuide even notes that the L "adds its length in rear legroom." Whether it comes with four seats or five, Car and Driver feels that the seats on the Lexus 2008 LS 460 are "all-day-comfortable" and help make this 2008 Lexus a "comfortable long-haul cruiser," according to Cars.com.

The 2008 Lexus LS 460 was designed more for supreme luxury than for efficiently utilizing cargo space, but ConsumerGuide finds that "the trunk is sufficient for most travel needs" and "in-cabin small-item storage is good."

Much more noteworthy than cargo room is the build quality on the LS 460, which Cars.com claims is "near the top of the luxury sedan pack in terms of material quality." Edmunds agrees, noting that "the fit and finish is without peer" on the Lexus 2008 LS 460. Little touches abound on the LS 460; for example, Motor Trend notes, "the steering wheel is buffed for three hours and sewn with ultrasoft stitching."

The ride is also stunningly quiet, in typical Lexus fashion, and Edmunds finds that driving the LS 460 is like being "ensconced in a bubble of serenity."

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2008 Lexus LS 460

Safety

The 2008 Lexus LS 460 appears to be a big, safe car brimming with safety features, but crash tests are still to come.

While the 2008 Lexus LS 460 has not yet undergone crash testing at the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and received only limited testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a long list of safety features should leave occupants in this Lexus 2008 resting easy.

In the one and only crash test that the 2008 Lexus LS 460 has been subjected to, the IIHS gave the 2008 Lexus its highest rating of "good" for frontal offset collisions. The Lexus 2008 edition of the LS 460 also scored a "good" rating in all injury measures on the crash test dummies.

Aside from the body engineering, there is an extensive range of safety features on the 2008 LS 460. Edmunds points out that "antilock disk brakes, traction control and stability control are all standard, as are front-seat side airbags...and knee-protection airbags for front passengers" on the 2008 Lexus.

One cool safety feature that the Lexus 2008 edition offers is an optional Pre-Collision System, which Cars.com says "can ready the LS 460 when a collision becomes imminent by priming the brake system, tightening the seat belts and stiffening the air suspension." Automobile also notes that Lexus offers a "dynamic radar control" cruise control system that automatically maintains a safe distance from the car ahead when driving on the highway.

Further adding to highway safety is the Lexus 2008's "fine all around" visibility, according to ConsumerGuide.

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2008 Lexus LS 460

Features

Whether it's high-tech oriented or leaning more toward luxury, the features on the 2008 Lexus LS 460 are worthy of the highest praise.

Luxury cars are usually defined by their various feature offerings, and the 2008 Lexus LS 460 doesn't disappoint either in terms of standard or optional features.

Standard features abound on Lexus's 2008 LS 460, as one would expect with a starting price tag north of $60,000. ConsumerGuide writes that standard features on this 2008 Lexus include "dual-zone automatic climate controls," "heated front bucket seats w/ lumbar adjustment," and an "in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3 changer." For those who opt up for the additional space on Lexus's 2008 LS 460 L, ConsumerGuide says they will find standard "heated rear seats" and "heated steering wheel," along with a standard "navigation system w/ voice recognition" that offers the additional cool feature of live "traffic information."

Easily the most talked-about feature in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com is the 2008 Lexus LS 460's ability to park itself via the Intelligent Park Assist System. This system, according to ForbesAutos, is used to "guide the car's steering to maneuver the car into place. All the driver needs to do is modulate the brake pedal." While the feature on this 2008 Lexus sounds very cool in theory, in practice Edmunds finds that it "takes considerably longer than a skilled city dweller would like." Other noteworthy features on Lexus's 2008 entry include an optional 19-speaker sound system that ForbesAutos says "generates 450 watts of power" and receives enthusiastic reviews. Cars.com mentions that the optional Executive Class Seating package on the 2008 Lexus LS 460 L adds such features as "a cool box for keeping food and drinks chilled...a massage feature and leg rest, [and] a DVD entertainment system."

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