By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 Lexus LS 460 and its long-wheelbase LS 460 L variant represent new benchmarks in both technical sophistication and passenger pampering. The fourth generation of the flagship LS luxury sedan line embodies the kind of innovative features, impeccable build quality and attention to detail that have helped established Lexus as a preeminent power in the premium vehicle segment. In the case of the LS 460 L, additional rear-seat room and an even more compelling selection of standard and optional equipment put it squarely in contention with European prestige sedans, such as the Audi A8L, BMW 750 Li, Jaguar XJ8L and long-wheelbase-only Mercedes-Benz S550.
If you're looking for a world-class luxury sedan that bristles with technology and delivers a smooth, quiet, comfortable, safe and reliable ride, the 2009 Lexus LS 460 should be on your must-drive list. If you have a chauffeur or just want to further pamper your rear-seat passengers, you'll be better served by the even-more spacious and opulently-appointed LS 460 L.
Should your tastes run towards a more aggressive sense of style and overtly sporty handling characteristics, any number of European competitors could well prove a more rewarding choice than either the LS 460 or LS 460 L.
For 2009, Lexus adds an all-wheel-drive variant as well as standard passenger seat memory function.
Driving Impressions Both LS 460 variants embody all of the character traits you'd expect in a Lexus luxury sedan. Each excels in smooth, quiet and effortless cruising with little meaningful performance variation...to differentiate between standard and stretched models. We noted an occasional bout of tire thump over rough pavement and slight wind whisper at freeway speeds, but overall cabin isolation is outstanding. The engine and transmission pairing also merits high operational marks for responsiveness and the confident feeling that there's always plenty in reserve for freeway passing or emergency maneuvers. While the suspension is far better suited to long-distance cruising than to attacking twisty back roads, it, too, places a premium on keeping things under control, ably assisted by the LS 460's well-sorted Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system.
Eight-speed Automatic Transmission
Fully integrated with the engine's computer controls, this transmission features an exceptionally wide ratio spread that enhances mileage and performance. It delivers quick, seamless upshifts and downshifts both in full automatic mode and when using the manual sport shift feature.
All LS 460s pamper their passengers with superbly supportive and exceptionally adjustable front buckets, plus a roomy, comfortable rear bench. Among the numerous upgrades offered are full climate controls for the front seats, heat and power-recline features for the rear and the four-place LS 460 L-only Executive Class variation that brings a leg rest and built-in back massager.
Refined, comfortable and decently roomy even in standard-wheelbase form, the LS boasts a passenger cabin that makes excellent use of polished wood, brushed aluminum and perforated leather upholstery to create a high-end ambiance. A comprehensive array of power assists, 10-speaker premium audio system with six-disc CD-changer, signature Optitron electroluminescent gauges, legible displays and intuitive control layouts makes for a uniquely enjoyable driving experience. Complementing its additional 4.8 inches of rear legroom, the LS 460 L brings an even richer standard feature set and offers unique options that include executive-style power reclining and massaging rear seat configurations, a rear DVD entertainment system and a dedicated air conditioning package.Exterior
The bodywork of the latest LS Series still has a conservative, albeit contemporary, appearance. Both models share a long-hood and short-deck design, with the LS 460 L's 4.8-inch wheelbase stretch most directly reflected in its longer rear doors, portals that conveniently open extra-wide to permit easier access. The projector-beam headlamps – which Lexus says are inspired by Baccarat crystal – and wraparound taillights meld smoothly into the mix. Equally notable are the heated outside mirrors, large enough to compensate for sightlines that are mildly compromised by prominent C-pillars, which automatically fold in when you shift into Park. While its trunk appears modest from outside, there's a generous 18.0 cubic feet of cargo space in all but the LS 460 L with optional Rear-Seat Upgrade or Executive-Class Seating packages, where a separate rear-seat air conditioning system trims that figure to a still-usable 12.0 cubic feet.
Highlighting the 2009 Lexus LS 460's extensive standard equipment list are orthopedically-designed power front bucket seats – with 16-way driver and 12-way passenger adjustability, plus an integrated memory function – dual-zone climate control, power moonroof, keyless remote entry and startup, eight airbags, a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system that includes traction and stability control, anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Controlled Braking functions and high-intensity discharge headlamps with a corner-following adaptive feature. The LS 460 L adds a host of items that are LS 460 extras, including a voice-activated navigation system, rear-view backup camera, climate-controlled front and heated rear seats and a power rear sunshade.
Key extras for the 2009 Lexus LS 460 and LS 460 L include a 450-watt/19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, Pre-Collision system with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the Intuitive Park Assist that can detect objects in proximity to the car and the Advanced Parking Guidance System with rear-view camera that aids in parallel and back-in parking. While LS 460 buyers can add Comfort and Comfort Plus Packages with supplemental climate controls for the front and rear seats, the LS 460 L offers a similar Luxury Package, a Rear Seat Upgrade, a four-seat Executive Class Seating Package and an Air Suspension Package that includes 19-inch wheels and Variable Gear-Ratio Steering.
The 2009 Lexus LS 460 is fitted with a 4.6-liter V-8 that features variable electronic control of its intake valves and hydraulic control of its exhaust valves to help improve overall efficiency while meeting stringent ULEV II (Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle) standards. While it makes 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque in the rear-wheel drive models, and 357 horsepower with 344 pound-feet of torque on all-wheel drive models, the engine earns very impressive 16/24 and 16/23 mpg city/highway EPA fuel economy numbers when backed by the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission. Together, these two smooth operators can send either LS variant from a stop to freeway cruising speed in about six seconds.
380 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
367 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
357 horsepower @ 6400 rpm (AWD)
344 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm (AWD)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (RWD), 16/23 (AWD)
By Dav2149 on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 141,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "the car will run on regular gas, 87"
Cons: "AM radio reception on Levinson audio is awful."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased the car new from a Lexus dealership. I have 141,000 miles, and I have not had one single problem with it. Never in my new car vehicle history of cars have I ever had a car which has not had to go back to the dealer (other than regular maintenance). Comfortable with many amenities. Average gas mileage (although I use regular only gas - some people advise that mileage might be better with premium but I don't think the cost of premium offsets lower mileage). I don't like that the trunk release button is on the bottom of the dash. I hate it that the courtesy lights come on slowly when a door is opened (if it's a sub-freezing night and I left something in the car and have to go out to get it and open the door I have to wait seconds for the lights to completely come in - ridiculous)."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Jeff on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Complaints need to be in the area of nick picks. The entry exit process is not the best for tall drivers, although this is better than most cars. Mileage is in the over all 20 mpg. Nice! For a big sedan, or as the Europians say, saloon, this is a great car. Maybe better suspension control and a bit more power but Avery nice on huge whole."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Steve on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great riding and driving auto."
Cons: "Image was best quality.. Image is not same for me."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"My original LS 400, 1994 lasted forever and I still don't know why I sold it.. My newer 2010 has had some serious issues.. very costly from front end suspension to rear shocks ($2000), for one shock.. Front suspension 2800. I highly recommend the extended warranty as this car is very expensive to fix.. period.. I've already gotten more value from the warranty repairs than it cost me. Big disappointment in the quality vs the older 'tank' quality models."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Red on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun and fast"
Cons: "Love the sun roof"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Nice sleek line on this car. The extra feature of the perma plate has kept the hood and mirrors of the car protected. It is easy to drive and very comfortable with light tan interior, the heated and air conditioned seats plus back up cam are just great features. Rear air, mirrors in the back plus the movable seats make it fun to be in the back seat. The sun shades in the back window are so effective since we live in a hot area. The storage in the trunk with the open area into the back seat is great for ski's etc. Over this is an excellent model of Lexus."
By Larry on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great drive. So many great amenities."
Cons: "None...love my Lexus"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned Cadillacs for 25 years. I bought my Lexus in 2007 and it is by far the best car I ever owned."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By cj on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,400overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful, comfortable Luxury Car"
Cons: "Not so reliable I guess…."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This is my third Lexus….all of them LS models. I own a 2008 LS460 and this time though, I've had more problems than my first two Lexus cars combined. First, the navigation system had to be replaced. Next, the water pump went out on me (unfortunately, it went out on the way to my daughter's who was in labor with my first grandchild) and now, at just 79K miles, the starter motor is out! This is unheard of with Lexus and I am VERY disappointed to say the least….. I will be selling this car when this repair is done."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful