Highlight: The long wheel base model is available in a hybrid configuration.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $100,805 (base model: $79,760)
Seating Capacity: 4
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; LED daytime running lights; electronic parking brake; first aid kit; traction control; HID headlights; and Lexus SOS safety/concierge system.
Standard Equipment (base model): 18-inch wheels; a rear wheel drive system; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a navigation system; power opening trunk lid; 16-way power driver’s seat with memory; 12-way power front passenger seat with memory; climate controlled front seats; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; keyless ignition starter system; leather/wood steering wheel; and power rear sunshade.
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: adaptive variable air suspension; a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic cross alert; a windshield wiper de-icer/headlamp washer; a 19-speaker (450-watt) Mark Levinson audio with a DVD/CD player; a heated steering wheel; executive class seating package, which consists of a right rear passenger power recliner with a multifunction massager, a climate conccierge, rear seat wood trimmed table, a Blu-ray DVD rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, a 4-zone A/C system, a rear seat cool box, power rear door sunshades, rear seat audio controls, semi-aniline leather, heated/ventilated rear seats, power rear seats with rear adjuster, rear seat air bags, and genuine leather for the instrument panel
Other Trim Level:
LS 460 AWD
LS 600h L (hybrid)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker AM/FM/HD/satellite
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 4.6-liter, 8-cylinder/386-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: The brand’s limo-like flagship is basically a carryover for the 2015 model year. One of the major new highlights include a new multimedia system, which offers real-time traffic routing info and the nearest fuel stations when the vehicle is low on gas.
Pros: The Lexus LS is available in a variety of configurations: a short wheel base, a long wheel base, an all-wheel drive and a hybrid. While we’ve driven different variations of Lexus’ flagship vehicle over the years, this is the first time we’ve actually spent time behind the wheel of their extended base model, which is known as the 460L. The extended wheel base LS, which is slightly longer in both length and wheelbase, offers more rear leg room and luxury appointments that escapes the standard model.
The extra footage in the rear of the cabin literally allows one to adorn rear occupants with wall-to-wall luxury, so to speak. One of the ways Lexus does this is by offering an optional, but must-have $16,000 Executive Class Seating Package. This package includes a four-zone climate control system, a power Lay-Z-boy type recliner, a rear air conditioner, a knee airbag; rear seat side airbags; rear power sunshade and a rear DVD entertainment system. Now, if this doesn’t spoil the rear occupants, we’re not sure what will.
For those not quite willing to part ways with $16,000 to totally spoil their rear occupants with a living room-like type setting, they could spend a fraction of that outfitting the rear cabin with the Ultra Luxury Package, which consists of a four zone climate control system, power rear seats with climate control and lumbar support, a rear air conditioner with a cool box, rear audio controls and a rear seat side airbags.
While it may seem like all of the news is in the rear of the cabin, the front occupants have access to one of the largest infotainment screens we’ve seen. In fact, the 12-inch multi-display LCD screen houses the navigation system, the audio system and several new apps, too.
The infotainment system is housed in a huge 12-inch multi-display LCD screen. A heated steering wheel is only standard on the all-wheel drive model as opposed to being an option on the rear wheel drive models. This vehicle offers a ride that literally soaks up every bump in the road. Lexus has managed to up the ante as it relates to ride and handling capabilities, with the optional adaptive variable air suspension system.
Cons: One of the downsides of the brand’s luxury flagship is that it only seats 4 occupants, which make good sense to us. But this isn’t the typical 5-seater we’ve come to expect from the brand. Another concern of ours is that while the LS features many limo-like comfort features, the vehicle comes up short on making the latest safety driving aids standard. The current limousine-like LS lacked such standard features as a forward collision braking system, a radar-activated cruise control system and a heated steering wheel. In our eyes, these features should be standard, as opposed to being optional.
Both competitors are available with four powertrains, pushing the horsepower to the 500 range. The Lexus only offers two powertrains, a standard 8-cylinder and a premium priced hybrid, which offers slightly more power than the non-hybrid model.
Verdict: The Lexus LS continues to be the ultimate luxury cruiser, especially the long wheel base model, which is suitable for chauffeuring a king or a queen. The LS is available in a hybrid, a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. The feature-rich LS is available with the latest optional creature comforts and safety driving aids, as we noted earlier. Lexus’ LS is priced significantly less than its German counterparts.
Competition: Audi A8 L and BMW 740Li/750Li/760Li
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.