2009 Lexus LS

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
June 14, 2009

Buying tip

Skeptical about how well the Lexus self-parking system works? Do a quick search on YouTube, watch a few of the posted videos, and decide for yourself.

features & specs

4-Door Sedan AWD
4-Door Sedan LWB AWD
4-Door Sedan LWB RWD
16 city / 23 hwy
16 city / 23 hwy
16 city / 24 hwy

For those who want top technology and comforts without attracting undue attention, the 2009 Lexus 460 is a good choice.

TheCarConnection.com's editors drove the new Lexus LS 460 in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's luxury car experts then researched available road tests on the new Lexus LS 460 to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other reviews might differ.

For 2009 Lexus expands its flagship luxury lineup with the addition of an all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of both the LS 460 and the LS 460 L, which stretches the backseat area five inches. There's also a hybrid flagship model, the LS 600h L, which we cover in a separate review, but it does not come in an AWD version.

The AWD models are identical to their rear-wheel equivalents; they utilize the same 4.6-liter V-8 engine with 357 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque, as well as the same basic drivetrain already used in the LS 460h L with the Torsen Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) that distributes drive torque between the front and rear wheels. During normal driving, the system distributes power in a rear-bias format of 40:60, but can vary to 30:70 and 50:50 depending on road conditions.

The 2009 Lexus LS 460 models also come standard with features such as air suspension, Variable Gear-Ratio Steering (VGRS), and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). AVS continuously adjusts shock-absorber damping rates and the VGRS system selects the steering gear ratio according to vehicle speed.

Review continues below

The V-8 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 lessens the enjoyment.

Front seats are ample and comfortable, though not as supportive as they could be, but a very wide center console makes the 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 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. Inside and out, the 2009 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 2009 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 laser cruise control to prepare vehicle safety systems if it anticipates a collision. The LS 460 has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government. The insurance industry rates the LS 460 "good" in its frontal offset test, but it earns only a "marginal" rating in the IIHS seat-based rear-impact test.

The 2009 Lexus LS features a self-parking system that steers the vehicle 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, making the 2009 Lexus LS 460 a vessel for 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.


2009 Lexus LS


For 2009, styling on the Lexus LS 460 has remained unchanged—which means it is still cohesive but uninspired.

While an improvement over previous versions, exterior styling on the 2009 Lexus LS 460 is still rather bland, but the interior is practically flawless.

For 2009, 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." Lexus has developed a reputation for very conservative exterior styling, and that rings especially true for the 2009 Lexus LS 460. The interior of Lexus's 2009 edition of the LS 460 is simply stunning in its luxury. Impressive design details abound, such as the doors that Automobile Magazine remarks "sound and feel like a heavy wooden architectural door."

Car and Driver notes the exterior on this 2009 Lexus "certainly improves on the exceptionally bland LS430," but 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."

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com appreciate the tasteful appointments on Lexus's 2009 flagship, which Automobile Magazine 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 2009 Lexus LS 460 L, where Cars.com attests that "Lexus aims to replicate the environment of a business jet." Motor Trend also lauds the "wood veneers (of which there are three to choose)" and "wrinkle-free leather on the steering wheel" of the Lexus 2009 edition of the LS 460.

Review continues below

2009 Lexus LS


The 2009 Lexus LS 460 has plenty of giddyap from its V-8 engine, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com feature mixed impressions of the transmission and handling.

A strong engine and an impressive eight gears help the big 2009 Lexus LS 460 move comfortably, but handling and braking are definitely not up to par with the car's European competitors.

Automobile Magazine finds the engine on this Lexus 2009 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 2009 Lexus LS 460 can "hit 60 mph in a swift 5.8 seconds." Under the hood of the 2009 Lexus LS 460 is a 380-hp engine that Automobile Magazine states is "the first all-new V-8 engine" in the Lexus brand history. Car and Driver also reports that the "aluminum" engine "displaces 4.6 liters" and "torque increases 55 pound-feet to 367" versus the older version of the LS 460.

Motor Trend points out that the eight-speed transmission offers "near CVT-like performance and fuel economy," allowing this 2009 Lexus to achieve EPA fuel economy that "is expected to rise from 18/25 mpg to 19/27." The transmission is one of the main reasons for the 2009 Lexus LS 460's impressive acceleration, especially on the highway. 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 "a not-quite-short-enough first gear led to worse-than-expected acceleration times."

In terms of braking, Car and Driver "measured a pitiful 209 feet" of 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." ConsumerGuide contends that "the base suspension permits marked body lean, as does the air suspension's Comfort setting." Motor Trend agrees, claiming the new Lexus 2009 "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. Turning and stopping are definitely not among the strong suits on this Lexus 2009 edition of the LS 460, but with such a large car, that probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

Review continues below

2009 Lexus LS

Comfort & Quality

Lexus has become one of the go-to choices for those seeking the ultimate in comfort and build quality, and the 2009 LS 460 is certainly no exception.

The 2009 Lexus LS 460 features top-of-the-line build quality and luxury materials.

Cars.com claims the LS 460 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 2009 LS 460. Little touches abound on the LS 460; for example, Motor Trend reports "the steering wheel is buffed for three hours and sewn with ultrasoft stitching." The 2009 Lexus LS 460 is 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." The ride is also stunningly quiet, in typical Lexus fashion, and Edmunds comments that driving the LS 460 is like being "ensconced in a bubble of serenity."

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are satisfied with the rear legroom on the base models and more than impressed with the additional space offered in the 2009 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 2009 LS 460 are "all-day-comfortable" and help make this 2009 Lexus a "comfortable long-haul cruiser," according to Cars.com.

The 2009 Lexus LS 460 features several seating configurations. For 2009, 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 2009 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."

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2009 Lexus LS


While the 2009 Lexus LS 460 has not yet undergone crash testing, a long list of safety features should leave occupants in this Lexus 2009 resting easy.

The 2009 Lexus LS 460 appears to be a big, safe car brimming with safety features, but crash tests are still to come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has only conducted limited testing.

The 2009 Lexus LS 460 scored a "good" rating in all injury measures on the crash-test dummies. And in the one and only crash test that the 2009 Lexus LS 460 has been subjected to, the IIHS gave the 2009 Lexus its highest rating of "good" for frontal offset collisions.

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." Aside from the body engineering, there is an extensive range of safety features on the 2009 LS 460.

Automobile Magazine notes Lexus offers a "dynamic radar control" cruise control system that automatically maintains a safe distance from the car ahead when driving on the highway. Another cool safety feature that the Lexus 2009 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."

Further adding to highway safety is the Lexus 2009's "fine all around" visibility, according to ConsumerGuide.


2009 Lexus LS


Luxury cars are sometimes defined by their interior features, and here, the 2009 Lexus LS 460 doesn't disappoint.

Whether it's high-tech oriented or leaning more toward luxury, the features on the 2009 Lexus LS 460 are worthy of the highest praise.

For those who opt for the additional space on Lexus's 2009 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." As one would expect with a starting price tag north of $60,000, standard features abound on Lexus's 2009 LS 460.  ConsumerGuide reports that standard features on this 2009 Lexus include "dual-zone automatic climate controls," "heated front bucket seats w/ lumbar adjustment," and an "in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3 changer."

Noteworthy features on Lexus's 2009 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 2009 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."

The most talked-about feature in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com is the 2009 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 2009 Lexus sounds very cool in theory, in practice Edmunds finds that it "takes considerably longer than a skilled city dweller would like."

Review continues below
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May 9, 2015
2009 Lexus LS 4-Door Sedan AWD

Solid Quality, Bulletproof Construction with All the Performance Most Will Want

  • Overall Rating
  • Styling
  • Performance
  • Comfort & Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy
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I purchased this car with 17,000 km on it, after having moved up from a 2012 Acura TL that I owned for about a year. And I haven't looked back. When compared to the competition, this car is not as fast and... + More »
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Styling 7
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 10
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