She Said, She Said: Lexus LS 460


Who said we don’t share the wealth around the offices? This time out Amanda and Beth took on Lexus’ flagship sedan, the LS 460L. There could be worse ways to spend a week of commuting. With a sticker price near $80,000, it is by far the most expensive car the two have tested and they seemed to like it despite its overall size.

There was something very poetic about driving Lexus’ flagship sedan over Thanksgiving weekend. That’s because the only thing I can think of that’s more indulgent than sitting down to a perfectly roasted turkey, surrounded by heaps of rich, carb-loaded side dishes, is driving the LS 460. This is a car so indulgent it’s not content with trivialities like a heated steering wheel or auto-closing trunk, it ups the ante all the way to a brake-hold button that rids drivers of the indignity of keeping their foot on the brake at stoplights. Why don’t you just throw an extra jar of corn syrup and some crème fraiche into the pecan pie while you’re at it?


Amanda: There’s a brake-hold button?!? I didn’t even get around to using that feature; I was too busy playing with the automatic sun shade on the rear window. I agree that the LS 460 absolutely felt indulgent. I’d liken it to driving around in a spa, if that were possible. No matter what bump or pothole I hit, I barely felt it in this car. One of my passengers even fell asleep in the reclining rear seat about five minutes after getting in. It was pretty easy to get accustomed to the amenities in the Lexus. I think the only thing that was difficult for me to get used to was the size of the long-wheelbase version we had. 

Yeah, this car is definitely a beast in the size department, but that somehow doesn’t keep it from being an absolute joy to drive. Despite my job, I’m not what anyone would consider a car-person, but I’d only been behind the wheel of the LS 460 about five minutes before I was absolutely convinced the transmission had eight speeds. I’ve never driven an automatic so responsive, so quick as this car’s was. Oh, and while it’s definitely not sporty, it does have plenty of power if you feel like going fast.


Amanda: Every so often I’ll get in one of our test cars and I can’t figure out why it’s so expensive, but that’s not the case with this car. Our 2008 tester hovered somewhere around $80,000, and I could absolutely see where that money went every time the rearview mirrors folded in automatically when I parked the car, or when I tried out the self-parking feature. It took me a few tries, but I was eventually able to successfully line up the car next to a spot and have it parallel park itself. After years of living in the city I fancy myself a parallel parking expert, so I don’t know how often I’d use the self-park feature; I can park the car myself more quickly than the computer can. But if you have difficulty turning around or aren’t comfortable parallel parking, I can see how useful this would be. Plus, if you own this car, there’s a chance you might be a little out of practice when it comes to parallel parking on crowded streets. 

Good point; the self-park struck me as little more than a party trick, but in no way am I part of this car’s target audience. Those people wouldn’t look at things like the spare tire’s air-pressure reading on the center display or the seven bajillion ways the driver’s seat adjusts and say, “Wow, that’s fantastic … but who needs that?” Ultimately, I think that’s the whole point of the LS 460 — it’s the automotive equivalent of the eight pies you cook on Thanksgiving, even though you’re only feeding 12 people. It’s indulgence for indulgence’s sake — so take your foot off the brake, crank up the seat heater and lean back into a head restraint that’s more comfortable than the pillow I sleep on every night. In short, just enjoy the ride.


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