It seems like only a couple of model years ago that I attended the media launch of the Lexus LS 460. Today, it’s nearing the end of the road for this current generation.
The model lineup for 2017 does not include the slow-selling hybrid model — big and green didn’t compute. So, for 2017 there’s a short-wheelbase version, long-wheelbase version (LS 460L) and the enjoyable LS 460 F-Sport. All three come with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
Even though the LS has been on sale for a number of model years, the body lines are wearing well. The LS was one of the first vehicles to sport Lexus’ squished hourglass grille. There are several attractive wheel designs and, depending on tire selection, you can give your non-F-Sport version a performance look.
Under the long hood, Lexus still employs its workhorse 4.6-liter V-8 (for all three models) with its 367 pound-feet of torque. The power is directed through a velvet-smooth eight-speed automatic, and this combination is thirsty in this heavy (4,278-pound) standard-wheelbase sedan.
Inside, the LS 460 is not flashy or sculpted, but it is a little narrow-feeling. The 12.3-inch infotainment screen dominates the dash, but the rest of the interior is due for a redo. The standard-wheelbase LS 460 comes with an abundance of features including leather seating (upgraded), power heated and cooled front seats, wood- and leather-trimmed wheel, navigation, rear-view camera and 10-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity.
The front seats were very comfortable and surprisingly well-bolstered, adjustable — and the heat/cool function is excellent. To the rear, tall passengers will appreciate the head room and leg room. However, if you’re considering a long-wheelbase model, be advised: it only adds an extra inch of leg room.
As for cargo space: there’s 18 cubic feet of trunk space for golf bags, luggage or kids’ sports gear. The passenger compartment features a useful center console, door pockets and rear center storage, but the glove box is pretty useless.
On the road, rear-wheel-drive versions can glide along via an optional air suspension. This setup soaks up all but the harshest of our notorious Chicago potholes. The steering is over-assisted (good for small parking spaces/slow maneuvers), but even more aggressive F-Sport versions lag behind German rivals in most driving categories. Braking is decent, straight and firm. A bright spot is acceleration, as this car zooms from the light with plenty of passing/highway power in reserve. The engine never felt like it was laboring or straining to move the mass.
Lexus is current with safety features including automatic headlights, driver alertness monitoring, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, frontal collision warning and rear cross-traffic alerts; however, the optional equipment can really add up fast.
So, with excellent acceleration leading the way, the 2017 Lexus LS 460 has a number of strengths, but it’s not a sport sedan. It has the luxury and ride of a traditional premium sedan with space, comfort and cargo room.