Lexus LS 460 Flagship Sedan Delivers Ultimate Luxury with Efficient Performance

September 03, 2008

In their third season, the Lexus LS 460 and the long-wheelbase LS 460 L flagship luxury sedans add all-wheel drive (AWD) versions and standard passenger-seat memory to their comprehensive amenity rosters.

Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance
The Lexus LS 460 models deliver the luxury of smooth, efficient power from a 4.6-liter V8 teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and for the first time in LS history an all-wheel drive model. This new-generation V8 produces 380 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft. of peak torque in rear-wheel-drive configuration and 357 horsepower with 344 lb.-ft of torque on the all-wheel drive. The Lexus V8's superior performance is due in large part to innovative technologies, including the world's first electric motor-driven Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and Electronically controlled intake cam (VVT-iE). The electrically controlled intake achieves superior engine-startup operation and high-output performance.

A dual fuel-injection system, with both port and direct injection, optimizes efficiency under all conditions. The port injection helps provide cylinder cooling that allows the high compression ratio (11.8:1) needed to produce such high power cleanly and efficiently. The dual-tract intake system and an Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) contribute to the smooth, linear power delivery.

The legendary Lexus engine smoothness comes not from just masking sound, but is rooted in the core engineering, including achieving new levels of rotational balance and reduced friction. For example, crankshaft journals are polished to a mirror finish to minimize friction. In the final assembly stage, a motor cranks the engine to check for any vibration; after assembly, an accelerometer is mounted to the front and rear of the crankshaft to measure any rotational difference. A master technician conducts a final vibration and sound check on each Lexus V8 engine.

The Lexus eight-speed automatic transmission allows gear ratios that maximize torque up to the tire-grip limitations in the lower ranges yet maintains quietness and admirable fuel efficiency at higher speeds. The transmission-control system allows simultaneous release and engagement of the clutches to negate gearshift shock. The LS 460 can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in about 5.4 seconds; 5.9 seconds for the all-wheel drive models. Even with that level of performance, the new-generation LS 460 achieves an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway rating (AWD is 16 city/23 highway) and meets Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEV II) certification (AWD not yet certified).

Chassis/Body/Suspension/Tires/Brakes
The LS 460 delivers the ultra-comfortable ride quality that has become synonymous with Lexus, especially the flagship LS sedans. The available air-suspension system effectively controls pitch and roll to provide an extraordinarily stable and smooth ride. The system offers three settings – including "Sport" – allowing the driver to custom-tailor suspension response from maximum comfort to sharpest handling. The car's best-in-class turning circle (curb to curb) – just 35.4 ft. for the LS 460 RWD and 37.4 ft. for the AWD; 36.8 ft. for the LS 460 L RWD and 38.8 ft. for the AWD – yields excellent maneuverability.

The LS 460 is equipped with large front- and rear-ventilated disc brakes and standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with all-season tires. Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), which is available with air suspension (standard on both AWD models), selects the steering gear ratio according to vehicle speed, enhancing responsiveness and driver control. VGRS also partners with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, making minor steering adjustments to help improve control during challenging road conditions.

A super-strong body structure is instrumental in keeping vibration, and therefore noise, in check. The interior cabin of the LS demanded not only exceptional silence, but the quality of the sounds had to be pleasing to the occupants. For example, engineers tuned the sound of the doors opening and closing by studying the sounds of skillfully crafted wood doors in luxury homes. Even the sounds of onboard motors for all the power assists were specially tuned. One example: one-touch power window motors that reduce speed near the closure point to lower noise and create a more pleasant sound. Laminated side glass (front on LS 460 and front/rear on LS 460 L) further reduces outside noise intrusion.

The long-wheelbase LS 460 L not only offers exclusive rear-seat luxury features but can also be equipped with the Air Suspension Package (standard on LS 460 L AWD) that includes Variable Gear Ratio Steering, Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS)and five-spoke 19-inch wheels (RWD only).

A sport-tuned air suspension system highlights the Touring Package, which incorporates 19-inch five-spoke wheels and summer tires, Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), and larger brake rotors with higher-friction brake pads.

Safety/Security Features
The Lexus LS 460 provides one of the most advanced and comprehensive integrations of vehicle-safety technology in the market today. Active safety features include the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, which by itself integrates and manages the Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.

Taking input from an array of sensors in the vehicle, VDIM anticipates the onset of a vehicle skid or slide while cornering, and it then helps correct the condition with a combination of braking, throttle, and steering control in a way that is essentially transparent to the driver. The VDIM system gathers data from more sources – processed earlier and more quickly than in previous dynamic handling systems – to help make operation in the LS 460 even more seamless and effective. For specific conditions, the VSC function can also be temporarily disabled by the experienced driver via the "Trac Off" button.

The LS 460 is standard-equipped with eight airbags, including side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. Rear seat side airbags are also available. Standard xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) head lamps provide superior road illumination. The standard Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) helps to illuminate a turn or curve as the driver steers into it.

The LS 460 and LS 460 L models offer the segment-exclusive Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) to assist with parallel and back-in parking. Once the driver has correctly positioned the car and identified the desired parking space via the navigation screen, APGS uses the rear back-up camera, parking sonar sensors and electric power steering system to guide the car into the space. The driver controls vehicle speed via the brake.

Luxury/Comfort/Convenience
The 2009 Lexus LS models continue a tradition of offering a comprehensive roster of true-luxury standard features. Customers can choose from four leather and wood interior combinations. Pampering begins with a 16-way power driver's seat and 12-way power front passenger seat, dual zone automatic climate control with smog sensor and a power tilt/slide moonroof.
Controls in the LS 460 models provide the utmost convenience; including SmartAccess with pushbutton start/stop, and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio, brake hold and multi-information display controls. An automatic electric parking brake system eliminates the need to press a foot-operated pedal.

In addition to its 4.8 inches of additional rear legroom, the long-wheelbase LS 460 L augments the already long list of luxury amenities by including as standard: 30-GB hard disc drive (HDD) Lexus Navigation System with Bluetooth® and rear backup camera, XM® factory-installed satellite radio with NavTraffic, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, a one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, and headlamp washers. These luxury features are available for the standard LS 460.

Luxury Options
The optional Luxury Package on the LS 460 L includes upgraded semi-aniline leather with leather trim door armrests, an Alcantara headliner, power rear seats with power and memory headrests, rear climate-controlled seats, and rear seat side airbags. A Rear Seat Upgrade package features dual-zone rear air conditioning with air purifier and additional rear air ducts, added wood trim, rear cool box, rear power-door sunshades, and rear audio controls.

The Executive Class Seating Package for the LS 460 L includes four-zone independent front and rear air conditioning with Lexus' Air Purification system and ceiling climate diffusers; rear-door power sunshades with a fixed rear console and foldout table, and a right rear-seat recliner with ottoman leg rest.
A multi-function massage feature includes an enhanced massage mode for the right-rear seat. The massage feature can be used alone or in conjunction with the seat heater or cooler. This comprehensive package also equips the LS 460 L with a rear-seat entertainment system using a 3.0 VGA high-quality nine-inch screen that deploys from the ceiling.

The standard rear seat has a built-in 28-degree angle, and the available ottoman seat reclines up to 45 degrees with an upper-back recliner featuring a 17-degree angle adjustment. In addition, the available left-rear power seat also reclines 38 degrees, and the rear seat moves front to back approximately three inches. The climate control is further upgraded with an infrared sensor located in the headliner that measures the lap, upper body and seat on each side to adjust airflow appropriately.

The available 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson® Reference Surround Sound system creates a new benchmark for mobile audio systems with its theater-level entertainment experience. The system includes a DVD/CD changer and 30 GB Hard Disc Drive (HDD). A portion of the HDD is dedicated to storing up to 2,000 (128-bit) digital songs. An auxiliary jack located in the front center console connects an iPod® or MP3-capable digital music player. Bluetooth® technology features voice input of telephone numbers. A rear back-up camera is included as part of the navigation package.

Exterior Design
The LS 460 flagship showcases the brand's L-finesse design philosophy, revealing a family resemblance that conveys elegance, refinement and a strong emotional appeal. Minimal body gaps, a low front grille and deep-drawn fenders all contribute to the car's distinctive, muscular profile. Lexus' attention to detail is seen in the integrated dual chrome exhaust tips and the one-piece chrome window surround.

One of the defining elements of the LS 460's appearance is the vehicle's headlamps. The LS engineers wanted the projector-type xenon front lights to have thick walled lenses with crystal-like properties. To understand better the properties of a “crystal” lens the Chief Engineer and his team made a headlamp lens out of crystal. Data was gathered on everything from transparency and the refractive index of light, to surface roughness. Based on the resulting data a new lens was molded and hand polished to reproduce the inherent look of crystal. In addition, the new headlamps reach 30-60 feet further than the lamps used on the previous generation LS.

Interior Design
In designing the new-generation LS interior, Lexus benchmarked luxury seen in high-end custom private jets. Soft passenger touch points create a relaxed atmosphere, with additional stitching for a rich look.

Lexus signature Optitron® electroluminescent gauges set the tone for blending functional high-tech with pleasing aesthetics. Tasteful wood and chrome trim as well as refinements to the interior lighting create a rich ambience, including LED ambient interior lighting with spot-lamp illumination in front and rear. Even the angles on the center console were optimized to enhance comfort for the driver and front passenger.

As a further example of Lexus' passionate attention to luxury detail, the LS steering wheel is wrapped by supple, twice-buffed leather. The water-based dye used on the leather provides a more natural feel, and a whipstitch pattern ensures a smooth wheel surface without any unevenness or jumps in the stitch.

The long-wheelbase LS 460 L offers nearly five inches more rear legroom than the standard-wheelbase LS 460 model for a total couple distance (hip-to-hip space between the front and rear seat) of 45.5 inches. Making the most of the added room, the long-wheelbase model offers exclusive rear seat area luxury options.

Warranty
All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.

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