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2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Lexus, Test Drives

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It was just over 21 years ago, my parents had expressed their interest in obtaining a new luxury vehicle. My father had just retired from the Navy after serving nearly 22 years achieving the highest rank possible. He was proud to have served his country while at the same time he felt deserving of embellishing himself with a fine luxury automobile. My father consulted me as he already knew my passion for cars and naturally figured I would point him in the right direction for selecting their second largest purchase in their life. Somehow, the Lexus brand stuck out in my mind as one of the many suggestions I pondered. After my suggestions, he was stuck on the new LS 400, a vehicle he had seen in passing and thought out loud, “that looks one fine automobile and I think I want it.” One thing to note, when my father put his mind to something he never swayed far from his initial thoughts and it would take an act of God for him to forego his “plan.” Not far after this thought entered his mind, I found myself in the rear seat of a new 1994 Lexus LS 400 on our way home after trading in the old Chevrolet Caprice. Talking about a major change and a welcomed surprise for our family.

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Having lived with the Lexus LS 400 for many years as my family’s ‘choice’ vehicle, it was evident that the Toyota luxury brand was onto something at the time. That “something” later found well-over 100,000 miles on the odometer with zero issues and a lasting quality that didn’t deviate much from when it first rolled out of the showroom floor. Today, having a new 2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport as my test vehicle, I could not help but to reminisce on this highlight of my younger days, finishing high school and entering into a new chapter of my love for cars, which later ushered in my automotive career.

In my eyes, Lexus is more of an empire than just another car maker. The impeccable quality combined with an unsurpassed fit and finish of the new 2015 Lexus LS 460 is what completes the luxury package that it offers. Embarking on a full week with the new Lexus LS 460 F Sport, quite frankly, took me down memory lane. Seeing firsthand the methodical movement of Lexus’ flagship vehicle after more than 20 years and how they continue to subtly wrap around today’s technology while remaining number one for quality, is a refreshing occasion.

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The 2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport embarks on a sporty flavor for the full-sized luxury vehicle aimed to take on the likings of Mercedes-Benz S Class, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and even Cadillac’s new CT6 entrant into this prided segment. Powered by a silky-smooth 4.6-liter V8 engine, the LS 460 quietly purrs through the rpm band to produce 386 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 367 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. This power, though slightly down from some of the LS 460’s competition, is just enough for the rigid chassis to reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds proving more than adequate for its road hugging duties. In the F Sport trim the LS 460 receives a visually sporty character unique to the LS with a lowered variable adaptive air suspension system, staggered 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, limited-slip differential, 4-piston front brakes up front, unique front grille, a unique rear diffuser, black suede-like headliner, 16-way power adjustable highly-bolstered F Sport ventilated and heated front perforated leather seats, and visually-pleasing aluminum interior trim.

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With the F Sport package, my 2015 Lexus LS 460 is easier on the eyes in my opinion as an enthusiast than the LS is without. In fact, the LS 460 F Sport looks promising for enthusiastic buyers looking for that expected build quality and impeccable fit and finish in a Lexus-luxury-liner that has appeases your delicate senses. The soft sides of the LS 460 are prominent but kept in check by way of the adaptive suspension system of the F Sport.

The LS 460 F Sport feels as if it riding on air, which it is. The balance of the chassis, due to the F Sport package, feels a bit more planted over the normal LS 460. However, the soft side of the LS is still the main attributing factor of the way it drives, a softy by heart. The isolation from the road is there but not to the point that you don’t know what you’re driving over. The eerily-quiet cabin limits road and engine noise from entering into the cabin. The little bit of engine growl that you can hear at full throttle is more of a reference point for your ears to let you know that the engine is actually spinning up through the rpm band as the 8-speed automatic transmission does its duties to smoothly shift to the next gear.

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The new 8 speed automatic transmission exhibits soft shifts, never upsetting the forward momentum of the big LS 460 while downshifting in pre-programmed succession depending on one of the 5 drive modes (eco, comfort, normal, sport, sport+). The drive mode augmentation isn’t all that drastic, which is a good thing considering that the LS 460 F Sport may never see a race track keeping its somewhat aggressive Sport+ mode reserved to communicative use on public streets when you want to carve some canyon roads. Each mode tailors the steering feel, throttle mapping, shifting, and contrives the adaptive air suspension system for an ultra-absorbing soft ride quality all the way to a heavier damped quality in Sport+, yet comparably smooth.

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The beefed up braking system on my LS 460 F Sport characterizes a bit more confidence in the handling of the big and soft sedan. One thing that stands out with the braking system is that it exhibits a highly-boosted pedal feel. Basically, the brakes are quite sensitive, and finding that desirable brake pressure point is a delicate act of your foot action – probably a good and bad thing dependent on how long it takes you to get used to such an aggressive braking system. Occasional nose-diving seems to be a standard feature until you get the hang of it.

Fuel economy ratings for the 2015 Lexus LS 460 F Sport come in at 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. I found those figures to be wavering, as I was able to best them with nearly 25.5 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg around town. With a drag coefficient of only 0.26, the LS 460 seems to slice though the air once you get up to speed prompting frequent use of the sensitive brakes when going down slight declines or the downside of bridges. Use of the steering wheel-mounted shifters to rev-match a few lower gears helps to control such situations.

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The luxury appointments of the 2015 Lexus LS 460 are vast, and the initial perception of luxury rides mostly on the impeccable fit and finish of the cabin. Everything is where it should be and most surfaces, which are of a soft touch, are nicely contrasted with stitching throughout many facets. Your eyes flow easily from the traditional electroluminescent gauge cluster, which has not deviated from its beginnings in the LS 400 from the early 90s, throughout the dashboard. The addition of a center-gauge-cluster color LCD screen for vehicle information is one of the few giveaways of the new LS 460’s cluster being from this decade.

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The large high-resolution 12.3-inch infotainment screen is set far back into the padded dashboard to eliminate glare where the acquired-taste remote touch interface is a love/hate relationship to control the on-screen functions for most. I found the system to be useful and eventually user-friendly, but only after getting past use of the main controller and its adjustable force feedback feature. The latest update to the system for the 2015 model year is more on the side of additional vehicle integration via a smartphone app and an update to the navigation layout to add a 3D perspective view. Additionally, the infotainment’s home screen has added customization.

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The epitome of Japanese luxury expressions can be found in the new Lexus LS 460. It just so happens that the expression is accepted and praised among luxury seekers here in America with proven reliability and quality at the forefront. With the LS 460 F Sport, the sporty expressions have added a unique character to the LS without diminishing its expected luxury qualities. The cost of those traits start at a price of $72,520 and tally up to an as-tested price of $85,525 when adding in the F Sport package, crisp-sounding 19-speaker Mark Levinson Audio System, Blind Spot Monitor system with cross traffic alert, a F Sport Comfort Package and a $925 delivery, processing and handling fee. In retrospect, the LS 460 F Sport is a decently-priced proposition for a full-sized luxury vehicle with a remarkable track record for reliability and outstanding build quality.

Copyright: 2015 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base LS 460 $72,520  / As-Tested LS 460 F Sport $85,525
  • Engine: 4.6 liter 32-valve DOHC V8 386 hp @ 6,400 rpm / 367 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
  • Transmission: 8 speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles
  • Wheelbase: 116.9 inches
  • Total length: 200 inches
  • Total width: 73.8 inches
  • Track: 63.4/63.6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38/38 inches
  • Legroom: 43.7/35.8 inches
  • EPA cargo volume: 18 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 4,233 pounds
  • Turning circle: 36 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 22.2 gallons
  • EPA fuel mileage: 16 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
  • 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds

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