What It Is
A luxurious full-size sedan that delivers more bang for the buck.
Extremely quiet and almost too comfortable.
Some features are too reminiscent of Toyota products.
The 2014 Lexus LS 460 is quiet, comfortable, and luxurious and doesn't break six figures.
As Lexus' flagship sedan, there are certain expectations you have when you first get behind the wheel. This full-size luxury sedan received major updates last year, and with some minor changes for the new model year, we were curious to see how the LS could stand up against some steep competition. In a segment that only used to have three major players--BMW, Mercedes, Lexus--new models from Audi, Jaguar, and Cadillac have entered the game, each bringing something unique to the table.
The Lexus LS used to be at the top of the pack, offering a quieter interior, over-the-top comfort, and a level of luxury that can rival its German competitors that cost thousands more. We recently drove the 2014 Lexus GS450h, and noticed that acceleration wasn't as quick as it could have been. We attributed that to the model being a hybrid, as the standard GS is quick and can keep up with its rivals. As the LS is a larger model, we wondered if acceleration would also be an issue. Just how well does the 2014 Lexus LS 460 hold up against its German competition? Read on to find out.
What We DroveWe were given the base 2014 Lexus LS 460 RWD that comes standard with a 4.6-liter V-8 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that puts out 386 horsepower. While the starting price for this model is just over $72,140, our test model came with some added features, including blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert ($500), the All-Weather package ($200), the Comfort package (1,650), and a heated wood steering wheel ($150), bringing the total price to $75,550 after the $910 destination charge.
Standard features include a 12.3-inch display with navigation and a remote touch interface, Lexus Enform, intuitive park assist and auto door closer, leather-trimmed interior, power front seats, keyless entry and ignition, one-touch open and close power sunroof, and a premium 10-speaker sound system.
Standard safety features include driver's and front passenger's advanced airbag system, electronic controlled braking, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist. Other standard safety features include automatic electronic parking brake, smart stop technology, HID Bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED foglamps, rain-sensing wipers, advanced active headrests, and Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button, and enhanced roadside assistance.
The CommuteDriving to work in the 2014 Lexus LS 460 was like driving to work on a cloud. It flew down the winding hills of Palos Verdes with ease, and while it's usually windy up there, hardly any noise permeated into the cabin. There is usually some construction happening on my daily route into work, and whenever I needed to move out of the way of objects on the road, it handled precisely and without jerking me into the center console or window. I was able to glide over bumps and dips in the road.
During bouts of traffic on the congested Pacific Coast Highway, it was hard to keep my eyes open. There were two reasons for that, one being the ungodly hour at which I was driving and the other being the comfort of the LS. The seats seem to envelop you in comfortable materials, and if you had the heated seats turned on--and I did--it's like being back home curled up in bed.
The infotainment system, like in many Lexus sedan models, uses that perpetually annoying mouse-like control. I decided to bypass using it completely and relied on the voice commands. While there was a brief pause between the commands and actions, it made pairing my phone, switching between stations, and setting destinations less stressful. It was also convenient, as it let me pay attention to the road in front of me. Acceleration was a little slow as the car itself is rather large and heavy, but getting up to speed proved to be easy and relatively quick.
The Grocery RunAlthough the Lexus LS 460 is a full-size luxury sedan, maneuvering it around cramped parking lots was surprisingly easy. The size of the vehicle belies its nimble handling. Loading the trunk up with a weekend's worth of necessities, I had no trouble fitting every item in the LS with room to spare. I'm sure if I took a trip to the grocery store and bought a week's worth of groceries, there would still be plenty of room.
All seats, both front and back row, offer plenty of comfort and leg and headroom to accommodate all passengers. Those needing a little extra legroom should consider the long wheelbase model, but the standard wheelbase version does the job quite well. One of the features that stood out when trying to shuffle all my stuff in and out of the car was the power-closing doors. If I didn't close it all the way, it would do it automatically, saving those valuable few seconds of me struggling to open and close the door.
The Weekend FunThe 2014 Lexus LS is a heavy car. While driving on the highway, the weight isn't as noticeable as this thing flies down the road. You're up to speed before you know it, but when I was driving to and from my motorcycle training classes over the weekend, it's immediately noticeable how this beast can be sluggish. Acceleration isn't that great off the line, as there is a lot of car to get moving. But this isn't a sport sedan.
Because this model is so quiet, it's hard to gauge how fast you're going. While driving down a 45 mph street, I managed to get this car up to almost 70 mph, and I couldn't even tell. The transmission is so smooth that it just seems to glide over most road imperfections with ease. Although this isn't too big of an issue when on the freeway as most drivers disregard the speed limits, when on city streets, this might get you a few tickets.
Just like with the GS and other Lexus sedans, the infotainment system proved to be my biggest issue. Phone connectivity, Bluetooth, and streaming music were perfectly easy to deal with. But the mouse-like control used to go from app to app is too distracting for me. I know there are plenty of people out there who love this feature, but I don't think it's a good idea. The magnets underneath get stuck, you choose the wrong category, and it constantly has the driver taking their eyes off the road.
SummaryLexus has gone through leaps and bounds to produce a truly great full-size luxury sedan, and although there are still a few things we would change, our overall opinion doesn’t change. If you're looking for a tourer, the Lexus LS is the perfect model. It's quiet, unbelievably comfortable, and offers all the amenities you'd need at a price that doesn’t break six figures.
Taking into consideration some of its competitors, you'd have to spend upwards of $100,000 just to get all the features offered on the LS. The performance may not be up to the standards set by its German rivals, but Lexus has produced a model that can offer a smooth ride, a powerful engine, and a vehicle in which you can feel comfortable you're not getting the short end of the stick.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $75,550
EPA City: 16
EPA Highway: 24
EPA Combined: 19
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Estimated Combined Range: 422 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: N/A
"The Lexus LS epitomizes the Lexus brand. It is quiet, spacious, and dangerously comfortable" -Kelly Pleskot, Online Editor