By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
The 2017 Lexus LS luxury sedan is the very definition of automotive perfection. Exquisite in detail and bathed in Lexus’ best technology, luxury trappings and build quality, the LS luxury sedan has all it needs to challenge newer models such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and even the Porsche Panamera, often with better pricing and superior resale values. With an all-new LS due out in 2018, the current model carries over with little change, save for the loss of the hybrid LS 600h. That leaves only the 2017 LS 460 and long-wheelbase LS 460 L to carry the mantle, although both models still offer the option of all-wheel drive, and on the smaller LS 460, the sport F Sport Package.
If you’re the type who cares less for what impresses others and more about what impresses you, the 2017 Lexus LS luxury sedan is an easy choice. The LS’s resume includes impeccable luxury, world-class build quality, impressive power and handling and, come trade-in time, an unbeatable return on your investment.
If you’re actually the one behind the wheel and not being chauffeured, the 2017 Lexus LS won’t satisfy your enthusiast side to the same degree as will a BMW 7 Series, an Audi A8 or a Porsche Panamera. The LS styling is also somewhat controversial.
With the exception of two new special-edition packages, the 2017 Lexus LS 460 carries over unchanged. The hybrid LS 600h is dropped.
Lexus strives to make the 2017 LS 460 sedan supreme in all areas, and when it comes to luxury, build, value and technology, we’d say they’ve nailed the...
... target. However, in the area of performance, more precisely handling, the LS still takes a back seat to the BMW 7 Series and Porsche Panamera. On the open highway, the LS glides effortlessly mile after mile. Its steering is precise and responsive and the cabin is whisper-quiet. Those who wish a bit more involvement in the driving process need only fiddle with the Drive Mode Select knob that features different settings for throttle, steering and suspension response. Order the F Sport Package and you’ll get the LS in its most aggressive form. With 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes and a sport-tuned air suspension, the F Sport trim brings the big LS a step closer to its European rivals, but not enough so to overtake them.
REMOTE TOUCH INTERFACE
Found in a number of Lexus vehicles, this mouse-like controller allows for easy control of the infotainment and navigation systems. The controller’s location at the base of the driver’s right arm makes it easier to use than tapping a touch screen while the car is in motion.
EXECUTIVE CLASS REAR-SEATING PACKAGE
Available only on the stretched L model, the Executive Class Package includes a reclining right-side seat with ottoman and shiatsu massage function. Separating rear-seat passengers is a wood-trimmed console table with controls for climate, audio and the Blue-ray entertainment system.
The 2017 Lexus LS’s interior is proof that if you put in the effort you can get as close to perfect as imaginable. There is not a stitch out of place, not a flaw from headliner fit to carpet thread. Seating is wonderful, technology features abound, ergonomics thoughtfully ideal. There are choices of leathers, colors and accompanying trims, including a very attractive matte bamboo. Rear-seat passengers are treated as well as those in front, and perhaps even better in the long-wheelbase versions. The F Sport models are sportier, at least within a Lexus definition of that concept.
The wide grille, bulging hood and distinctive rear make the 2017 model the most radical-looking LS to date although, compared to some other Lexus offerings, it's appropriately restrained. The long-wheelbase LS 460 L hides its length, if not considerable image, well. On the other hand, the LS 460 F Sport, with its aggressive front and rear ends, 10-millimeter-reduced ride height and 19-inch wheels stands out in the crowd. The LS 460, in all forms, is a good-sized, impressive-looking luxury sedan and no parking valet will miss the big L in the middle of the grille.
Standard equipment on the thoroughly equipped 2017 Lexus LS 460 includes 18-inch wheels with hollow spokes that reduce noise, power door closers, grain-matched wood trim, a 12.3-inch display screen, TFT (Thin Film Transistor) color multi-information display, individual rear-seat vanity mirrors, parking sensors and rearview camera, power tilt-and-slide moonroof, and Lexus (SD memory card-based) Navigation with a wide range of features, conveniences, integrated smartphone apps and data services. On balance, we can easily recommend the standard-issue LS 460; we like its blend of moderate size and generous luxury and, with its extensive complement of features, it represents excellent value for the money.
The 2017 Lexus LS 460 offers an extensive list of options. For demanding audiophiles we recommend the 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound system. Packages include the Ultra Luxury Package, F Sport Package, Adaptive Variable Air Suspension Package, the Comfort Package and the Executive Seating Package; notice, most of these are to enhance the already-impressive luxury and convenience attributes of the LS. Safety-related options include the Lexus Advanced Pre-Collision Package, which sounds an alert if the driver isn't paying attention; adaptive cruise control, which maintains a preset distance behind the vehicle ahead; and a pedestrian-detection and pre-collision system.
The 2017 Lexus LS 460 has a 386-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, silky 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive (RWD). With the optional all-wheel drive (AWD) the horsepower drops to 360. Despite its sportier intentions, the F Sport trim does not include a bump in horsepower. Expectedly, the LS requires premium fuel.
4.6-liter V8 (LS 460 RWD)
386 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg (RWD)
4.6-liter V8 (LS 460 AWD)
360 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
347 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (AWD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The standard-wheelbase 2017 Lexus LS 460 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $73,500 including the $975 destination charge. The long-wheelbase LS 460 L will cost just under $80,000; AWD will be about $3,000 more for the LS 460 and around $4,000 for the LS 460 L. By comparison, the Jaguar XJ, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series start in the $75,000 range, the Porsche Panamera is about $80,000 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is well above $90,000. Still, everyone loves a bargain, so check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Lexus LS 460. Smart investors will be happy to know that no other car in its segment beats the 2017 Lexus LS on residual values.