Driving Impressions

By October 7, 2006

The 2007 Lexus LS 460 is fast, smooth, quiet and efficent. It weighs 4245 pounds and its engine is substantially smaller than those used by its German competition. Yet it can get from rest to 60 mph in a mere 5.4 seconds, and it's good for 27 mpg highway. But acceleration is only a tiny part of the story here, and the engine is only a part of that.

This is the first car in the world with a computer-controlled eight-speed automatic transmission, a transmission that offers great acceleration with nearly imperceptible upshifts and downshifts, manual or automatic shift control, and that great highway mileage in eighth gear overdrive.

Moving off from rest with authority and acceleration seems like child's play for the LS 460. The engineers tell us that almost every part of the car, especially the engine, transmission and driveline, have been designed and then checked again and again for quietness, smoothness and balance. We found the LS 460 very, very quiet and nearly vibration-free. It seems much quieter than the competition, whether at 30 mph or 130 mph, its regulated top speed.

The electrically powered steering system is transparent. It doesn't feel any different than hydraulically powered steering, and it has progressive assist that decreases with speed. If you order the optional air suspension or the entire Touring package of suspension, tires, wheels, brakes and brake pads, you get variable gear-ratio power steering instead, giving the system the latitude between 2.5 and 3.6 rotations of the steering wheel. Without the Touring package, the ride and handling are exemplary, but with it, there is a whole new level of sportiness about the LS 460, so we recommend it highly.

Like everything else on, in or under the LS 460, the brakes have been improved, and now they are fully electronically controlled, working with all of the other computers on the car to determine speed, steering angle, throttle angle, yaw angle and all the other inputs to determine how much brake force to put at each individual wheel, rain, snow or sunshine. They, too, feel perfectly normal and extremely powerful. The Touring package will get you a set of spiral-fin ventilated discs on the long-wheelbase version.