The LS 460 is Lexus’ flagship luxury sedan, first introduced as the LS 400 when the Lexus line was launched by Toyota in 1990. The third-generation LS 430 debuted as a 2001 model with new safety technology, improved performance, and one of the first gas-powered V8 engines to receive Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle certification. The LS 460 was all-new for 2007 replacing the LS 430. The fourth-generation LS is built on a sophisticated platform that maintains a delicate balance between ride comfort and responsive handling. A first-ever long-wheelbase model called the LS 460 L is available featuring 4.8 inches of additional space and a host of standard features.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Lexus LS 460 is a large luxury sedan offered in standard- and long-wheelbase (LS 460 L) models. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on both models. The LS 600h L hybrid is reviewed separately.
The LS 460 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, power-folding and heated exterior mirrors, foglamps, adaptive and automatic xenon headlamps, automatic wipers, a sunroof, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping multifunction steering wheel, a 16-way power driver seat and 12-way power passenger seat (includes lumbar adjustments, multilevel heating, and memory functions), leather upholstery, wood trim, auto-dimming mirrors, a rearview camera, Safety Connect emergency telematics, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio connectivity and a 10-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, and an iPod interface. Opting for AWD brings with it a heated steering wheel.
The LS 460 L adds headlamp washers, automatic high beams, a power trunk lid, power door closers, front and rear parking sensors, rear-seat vanity mirrors, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats as standard equipment.
Lexus options usually get bundled into expensive packages, but this varies depending on the region. The Comfort package for the LS 460 includes the added LS 460 L items (minus the rear vanity mirrors) and adds a power rear sunshade. The Comfort Plus package goes even further by adding upgraded leather trim, rear-seat side airbags, and power rear seats with ventilation, lumbar massage, and power-adjustable headrests.
The Sport package (RWD only) includes 19-inch wheels (a stand-alone option also) with exclusive summer performance tires, an exterior styling kit, Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned air suspension, sport front seats, special two-tone interior trim with ash burl accents, shift paddles with rev-matched downshifts and a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel.
The Luxury package (available for the LS 460 L only) adds upgraded leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner, and power rear-door sunshades. The Rear Seat Upgrade includes the Luxury package and adds dual-zone rear climate controls, rear audio controls, a refrigerator, rear airbags, and power rear seats with lumbar massage and power butterfly headrests. The Executive-Class Seating package includes the Rear Seat Upgrade plus a fixed center console (deletes center seat), a wood-trimmed retractable table, a rear-seat DVD system, and a 45-degree power-reclining right rear seat with leg rest and multifunction massage.
Options available on both the LS 460 and LS 460 L include the Appearance package, which adds the same body kit as the Sport package and, on rear-drive models, 19-inch wheels with all-season tires. The optional navigation system adds Bluetooth phonebook download capability, Lexus Enform telematics services, voice controls, and real-time traffic, weather, sports, and stocks.
Also available is a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system with a DVD/CD changer. A self-parking system can be specified, but only in a bundle with other options packages. Adaptive cruise control and the Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system are packaged together. An air suspension is a stand-alone option available only on AWD models and the LS 460 L.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2012 Lexus LS 460 is a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive available.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Lexus LS 460 include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat knee airbags, active front head restraints, and emergency telematics. Optional items include rear side airbags and the Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system that pairs with the adaptive cruise-control radar emitters to sense an impending impact (with either another car or a pedestrian), then optimizes brake response and crash preparedness.
Interior Design and Special Features
As is fitting for a Lexus flagship, the interior of the 2012 LS 460 represents the best the company has to offer, with craftsmanship and materials beyond reproach. But the overall design is a bit staid when compared to more dramatic treatments found in some European luxury sedans. To its credit, the Lexus controls are simple and intuitive, featuring both a touchscreen and clearly labeled physical buttons. The iPod interface comes up a little short in functionality, though.
Cabin space is exceptional for all occupants in the regular-wheelbase version, while the extended-wheelbase LS 460 L could easily serve limousine duty. The Executive-Class Seating package takes rear comfort to absurd levels with a 45-degree seat recline, lumbar massage, and a footrest. Outside of the LS, you’d need a Maybach or Rolls-Royce to get rear-seat coddling like this. Trunk space is generous at 18 cubic feet, but it drops to 15.5 cubes if rear-seat climate control is specified.
Under almost any driving condition, the 2012 Lexus LS 460 insulates its occupants from the outside world with a serene ride and an ultra-quiet interior. Acceleration isn’t all that remarkable for a premium flagship, but the V8 and eight-speed transmission nonetheless provide smooth power and shifts. Under more aggressive maneuvers, the base LS suspension exhibits significant dive during heavy braking and pronounced body roll while cornering. The optional Sport package does make a notable improvement in the LS’s handling capabilities.