Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Hybrid Cars Under $30,000
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
Go

2012 Lexus LS

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Lexus LS Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.0

This, some 20 years after the launch of the franchise, is the evolution of the car that established the tone for that franchise. And rarely has one model better defined a brand's mission, with craftsmanship, comfort and composure wrapped in a structure constructed by artisans. The 2012 Lexus LS sedan, in any of its iterations, isn't leading-edge in any one category (save, perhaps, the Hybrid), but is so complete in its concept, design and execution that its overall competence creates its own category.

You'll Like This Car If...

Any of the LS variants is built with a comfort bias, which isn't a bad thing in a luxury sedan. And if – in making an investment north of $70,000 – you care to hold onto it past the payment period, there's a lot to be said for older Japanese vis-à-vis older German. Lexus holds its high resale value, in part, because of better long-term reliability.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you enjoy leading-edge design, along with a cut-and-thrust capability, the LS sedan may not be your cup of espresso. That said, we've yet to see a BMW 7 Series or an Audi A8 on an autocross course, begging the question: Why not a Lexus?

What's New for 2012

With earthquakes followed by a tsunami in 2011, it's understandable that Toyota and Lexus may have been focused elsewhere. To that end, there's a new color, Nebula Gray Pearl, replacing Smoky Granite Mica. This is the sixth year for this LS, the fourth generation.

Driving the LS

Driving Impressions In a word: Isolation. And that isn't, thankfully, the isolation of your dad's 1953 Buick. Rather, the 2012 Lexus LS sedan – in any of its variants – provides the...

isolation of a good neighborhood, marked by well-paved streets, homes set back from the traffic, and businesses placed in business districts and not in someone's front yard. Steering, braking and suspension are all better than you'd expect from what is traditionally regarded as the luxury segment, although all three may fall dynamically short when compared to offerings from BMW or Audi. If you absolutely must be better connected to the roadway, Lexus offers a Sport kit, with upgrades to the LS 460's suspension, brakes and seating. Or you could buy an LFA...
Favorite Features

Sport Package (LS 460)
"Lexus" and "Sport" might seem to be an oxymoron, but if you're looking for a big sedan with a semblance of athletic capability, while wanting to do little more than fill the tank and check the oil level, there are worse alternatives than the LS 460 sedan fitted with the Sport Package. We like better braking and enhanced suspension, but even with the Sport moniker this isn't a sport sedan; it's a Lexus LS.

Executive-Class Seating Package (LS 460 L and LS 600h L)
One of the better reasons to buy a large luxury sedan is comfort. Of course, if you want to seat five or six comfortably you'd be better served by Cadillac's Escalade. But if it's only you and three close friends, you won't do better than the Executive-Class from Lexus. The rear compartment features two seats and a fixed rear console, in combination with power seats for both rear passengers, and a power recliner on the curbside seat. In short, first-class accommodation with everything but the warmed nuts.

2012 Lexus LS Details
Interior

From its wood-and-leather steering wheel to the closure of the cup holder's cover, everything – EVERYTHING – within the Lexus LS is intended to provide comfortable and composed transport of four or five adults. Of course, you can throw as much leather, wood and technology at an interior as you'd care to, but without the right platform, and full-time commitment, the recipe will fall flat on its face. With Lexus, the comfort begins at the contact patch of the tires and works up from there. Of course, should you want to take the standard interior furnishings up a notch, the Lexus product team is there for you, with Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio, climate-controlled front seating and power door closers (really!). Should you want more rear-seat space, the "L" version provides almost five inches of additional legroom.

Exterior

If the Lexus interior can boast of "quiet," the exterior of the LS 460 is "very quiet." Although the initial LS sheet metal virtually defined derivative, taken, as it was, almost intact from the Mercedes S-Class sedan, the Lexus LS has quietly evolved over the last two decades to define a style – albeit conservative style – all its own. And if you look beyond the less-than-expressive sheet metal you'll find body gaps pared to the absolute minimum, a low front grille and what Lexus terms "deep-drawn" fenders, all contributing to a carefully crafted, masculine footprint. One thoughtful addition is Lexus' anti-scratch clear-coat paint, whose molecular structure will actually restore minor scratches.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The emphasis, of course, is on luxury. To that end, for your $70K you can expect – and receive – a veritable boatload of comfort and convenience options fully appropriate to that luxury mandate. Customers can select from four leather-and-wood interior combinations, and enjoy 16-way power driver's-seat adjustment, dual-zone climate control, Lexus Premium Audio and a standard moonroof. All of this comes, of course, on top of a responsive 4.6-liter V8 with direct fuel injection, 8-speed automatic transmission and, for many, an optimal balance between comfort and control. Finally, with each and every LS sedan comes an almost obsessive attention to detail by the engineering team and assembly workers.

Optional Equipment

You could fill pages with what's available from the Lexus option sheet. Those options we regard as notable include all-wheel drive (AWD), providing all-season capability with a performance-biased system; 3-Mode Air Suspension, which includes a Sport setting for a controlled, athletic feel; Lexus HDD Navigation in combination with the Mark Levinson Reference Surround Audio; and the Sport Package (LS 460 rear-wheel drive), which provides both a functional and visual upgrade to the LS' platform. Of course, comfort at Lexus comes in two variants: Comfort and Comfort Plus. Opt for Comfort and you can replace the driver with a heated steering wheel (RWD only) and Lexus' Intuitive Park Assist.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Lexus LS 460 sedan family comes with a 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 380 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque in the rear-wheel-drive configuration. All-wheel-drive models boast a more modest 357 horsepower and 344 lb-ft of torque. Combined with a well-sorted 8-speed automatic transmission, either model can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around six seconds. Thanks to electronically controlled intake valves and hydraulically manipulated exhaust valves, the LS 460 manages to meet ULEV II emissions standards and return 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway in rear-wheel-drive models and 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway in the all-wheel-drive versions. For those wishing to go green – or at least looking as if they have – the LS 600h L combines a 5.0-liter V8 and two "motor generators" (one serving as a primary generator and a second driving the rear wheels) for a total system horsepower of 438. Despite its green credentials the resulting efficiency barely moves the needle, delivering 19 city and 23 highway.

4.6-liter V8
380 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
357 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm (AWD)
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
344 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm (AWD)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (rear-wheel drive), 16/23 (/18 AWD)

5.0-liter V8 with Hybrid Battery Pack and Two Motor Generators
389 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Sealed nickel-metal hydride battery (Ni-MH) producing 49 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Lexus LS Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 121 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.6/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Wonderful Vehicle

By on Sunday, April 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "For the money, the best top end luxury car."

Cons: "Cost of service and maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had BMW's, Mercedes, and Nissans, and the Lexus is by far the finest car I have owned. What one may lose in road feel and driving "response" is far over shadowed by comfort, quiet, and reliability. The only issue that I have is the same as with all luxury cars. As the car gets older, the cost of maintenance and repairs can become very costly. I have never held onto a vehicle for 7 or more years, but mine has options on it that are hard to get on new models unless you are willing to foot the increase in MSRP cost. I have had excellent experience in service departments where I bought the car (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and in Charleston, SC. (our second home)."

If Substance Means More to You Than Image

By on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, quality, reliability, dealer experience."

Cons: "Fuel mileage, idle noise, can't program underway."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third LS, after a 2001 and a 2004. This one has more horsepower, more torque, and more room. What makes the LS 460L AWD, and all of my LSs, outstanding is its reliability. Things don't break. My Mercedes E-Class was a great car - I loved it - but I got tired of windows not going up, or air mass flow sensors failing. Three LSs and one defective part: the backup camera on the 2004 failed and was repaired under warranty the same day. And this car can hustle when needed. Just turn off the traction control and stability control, set the transmission to "Power" and the suspension to "Sport" and experience a whole new car. I wish more reviewers would set up the car this way before they write about the cushy, bland ride. Properly tuned, the ride is stiff but well-controlled, and the transmission keeps the engine higher in the torque curve. The all-wheel drive is seamless, and in deep snow you can raise the suspension about two inches and get over the pile of snow shoved up against the end of your driveway by the snow plows. The interior has 95,000 miles on it and looks new. All the little things still work perfectly, from the electric screens on the rear passenger windows, to the self-closing doors, to the self-leveling suspension, to the one-touch auto-close windows (all four) and sunroof, to the easy-exit driver's seat, to the auto-dimming high beams, to the self-closing trunk. Even the automatic parking for parallel and back-in stalls not only still works, but is easy to use after two or three practice runs. Now the negatives. Fuel mileage is around 18.9 mpg mixed highway/city, down almost two mpg from the earlier, less-powerful cars. The direct-injection engine idles like a diesel. Both of these disappointments are offset for the most part by the increased horsepower and torque, but I would have thought Lexus could have retained its reputation for silent running with superior engineering. The driver's seat, though luxurious, has a seat pad that does not extend as far forward in its adjustment as the older cars and does not support my legs as well as before. (I am 6'3".) And you can't operate much of the navigation system and Bluetooth telephone by the information screen when the car is underway, a false safety feature. All in all a great car for about $10,000 less than the competition, and worth even more when you go to sell or trade it."

Quality and Reliability for Less Money

By on Sunday, April 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, quiet under way, powerful, roomy"

Cons: "18-19 mpg overall, noisy at idle, plain styling"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Lexus LS, after a 2001 and 2004. I, my friends or my relatives have owned, and I have driven their, S-Class and E-Class Mercedes-Benz; 5-Series and 7-Series BMW; Jaguar XJ; and Audi A8, A7, and A6. I owned two Mercedes before switching to Lexus. All nice cars, but what I need most is a luxury car that never breaks, and the LS has come closest by far. The 2001 and 2004, essentially that same car with a face-lift, were much quieter but did not offer the long wheelbase. Try it, and your friends and colleagues will never let you go back to the shorter wheelbase. The 2010 direct injection motor is noisy at idle but generates much more horsepower and torque. Turn off the traction control and stability control (how did we ever safely drive a car before these inventions?), put the transmission in "Power" and the suspension in "Sport," and the car can hustle. Reviewers never seem to tweak the car in this way, but it changes the character of the sedan. The interior (black aniline leather, Alcantara headliner) looks fantastic even after 95,000 miles of daily commuting. Rear seat passengers love the power screens on the rear passenger windows and rear window when the sun is out in summer. No trying to find the tiny hook by hand. All the systems - Bluetooth phone, satellite radio, CD/DVD player (and yes, you can watch DVD movies with fantastic Mark Levinson sound on the media screen when the car is in not in drive, but why would you?), navigation, voice command - have been flawless. In fact, of the three LSs there has been only one component failure: the back-up camera in the 2004 failed and was replaced under warranty in one day. My friend spent $17,000 in repairs on his BMW 540i in the last two years (6th and 7th) of ownership, and my brother left the BMW fold after three 7-Series because of the massive repair expense. I know each person has his or her own thoughts on where to have service/maintenance performed, but I have always had the dealer work on my cars (Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus). I spent more, undoubtedly, up front but I have always had a car in great shape, and a new, clean loaner while it was being worked on. And the resale value was always at the top of the range. It is hard to get excited about an LS if you value style over substance, or image over reliability. I love Mercedes-Benz, but I got tired of showing up at the dealership with a rear window that was stuck down, or an inoperative mass flow air sensor (again) and a $600 repair bill. (Mercedes split the cost of the first one and I had to eat the second one.) Also, the dealer experience with Lexus has always been professional and courteous. All scheduled maintenance done in one day with a loaner. Test drives overnight or over the weekend so my family of six and I can appreciate whether the potential purchase is right for us. Couldn't be happier with the car and the dealer."

Quality and Reliability for Less Money

By on Sunday, April 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, quiet under way, powerful, roomy"

Cons: "18-19 mpg overall, noisy at idle, plain styling"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Lexus LS, after a 2001 and 2004. I, my friends or my relatives have owned, and I have driven their, S-Class and E-Class Mercedes-Benz; 5-Series and 7-Series BMW; Jaguar XJ; and Audi A8, A7, and A6. I owned two Mercedes before switching to Lexus. All nice cars, but what I need most is a luxury car that never breaks, and the LS has come closest by far. The 2001 and 2004, essentially that same car with a face-lift, were much quieter but did not offer the long wheelbase. Try it, and your friends and colleagues will never let you go back to the shorter wheelbase. The 2010 direct injection motor is noisy at idle but generates much more horsepower and torque. Turn off the traction control and stability control (how did we ever safely drive a car before these inventions?), put the transmission in "Power" and the suspension in "Sport," and the car can hustle. Reviewers never seem to tweak the car in this way, but it changes the character of the sedan. The interior (black aniline leather, Alcantara headliner) looks fantastic even after 95,000 miles of daily commuting. Rear seat passengers love the power screens on the rear passenger windows and rear window when the sun is out in summer. No trying to find the tiny hook by hand. All the systems - Bluetooth phone, satellite radio, CD/DVD player (and yes, you can watch DVD movies with fantastic Mark Levinson sound on the media screen when the car is in not in drive, but why would you?), navigation, voice command - have been flawless. In fact, of the three LSs there has been only one component failure: the back-up camera in the 2004 failed and was replaced under warranty in one day. My friend spent $17,000 in repairs on his BMW 540i in the last two years (6th and 7th) of ownership, and my brother left the BMW fold after three 7-Series because of the massive repair expense. I know each person has his or her own thoughts on where to have service/maintenance performed, but I have always had the dealer work on my cars (Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus). I spent more, undoubtedly, up front but I have always had a car in great shape, and a new, clean loaner while it was being worked on. And the resale value was always at the top of the range. It is hard to get excited about an LS if you value style over substance, or image over reliability. I love Mercedes-Benz, but I got tired of showing up at the dealership with a rear window that was stuck down, or an inoperative mass flow air sensor (again) and a $600 repair bill. (Mercedes split the cost of the first one and I had to eat the second one.) Also, the dealer experience with Lexus has always been professional and courteous. All scheduled maintenance done in one day with a loaner. Test drives overnight or over the weekend so my family of six and I can appreciate whether the potential purchase is right for us. Couldn't be happier with the car and the dealer."

Quality and Reliability for Less Money

By on Sunday, April 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, quiet under way, powerful, roomy"

Cons: "18-19 mpg overall, noisy at idle, plain styling"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Lexus LS, after a 2001 and 2004. I, my friends or my relatives have owned, and I have driven their, S-Class and E-Class Mercedes-Benz; 5-Series and 7-Series BMW; Jaguar XJ; and Audi A8, A7, and A6. I owned two Mercedes before switching to Lexus. All nice cars, but what I need most is a luxury car that never breaks, and the LS has come closest by far. The 2001 and 2004, essentially that same car with a face-lift, were much quieter but did not offer the long wheelbase. Try it, and your friends and colleagues will never let you go back to the shorter wheelbase. The 2010 direct injection motor is noisy at idle but generates much more horsepower and torque. Turn off the traction control and stability control (how did we ever safely drive a car before these inventions?), put the transmission in "Power" and the suspension in "Sport," and the car can hustle. Reviewers never seem to tweak the car in this way, but it changes the character of the sedan. The interior (black aniline leather, Alcantara headliner) looks fantastic even after 95,000 miles of daily commuting. Rear seat passengers love the power screens on the rear passenger windows and rear window when the sun is out in summer. No trying to find the tiny hook by hand. All the systems - Bluetooth phone, satellite radio, CD/DVD player (and yes, you can watch DVD movies with fantastic Mark Levinson sound on the media screen when the car is in not in drive, but why would you?), navigation, voice command - have been flawless. In fact, of the three LSs there has been only one component failure: the back-up camera in the 2004 failed and was replaced under warranty in one day. My friend spent $17,000 in repairs on his BMW 540i in the last two years (6th and 7th) of ownership, and my brother left the BMW fold after three 7-Series because of the massive repair expense. I know each person has his or her own thoughts on where to have service/maintenance performed, but I have always had the dealer work on my cars (Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus). I spent more, undoubtedly, up front but I have always had a car in great shape, and a new, clean loaner while it was being worked on. And the resale value was always at the top of the range. It is hard to get excited about an LS if you value style over substance, or image over reliability. I love Mercedes-Benz, but I got tired of showing up at the dealership with a rear window that was stuck down, or an inoperative mass flow air sensor (again) and a $600 repair bill. (Mercedes split the cost of the first one and I had to eat the second one.) Also, the dealer experience with Lexus has always been professional and courteous. All scheduled maintenance done in one day with a loaner. Test drives overnight or over the weekend so my family of six and I can appreciate whether the potential purchase is right for us. Couldn't be happier with the car and the dealer."

quality vehicle

By on Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"My 3rd LS. The first 2 met all my expectations. However, this model had wind noise issues in the front windshield posts which they were unable to correct. this was very disappointing."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?