2009 Lexus LS Performance
This performance review was written when the 2009 Lexus LS was new.
The 2009 LS is great for long-distance driving, with more passing power than any driver could need, a softly-tuned suspension that gives it all-day comfort, and light steering that requires little effort. It's not necessarily a performance machine, however. Reviewers say it insulates drivers from the road, rather than making them feel connected to it.
- "The LS 460 is easy to drive and operate and is less fussy than the German luxury cars. It delivers excellent performance but tilts more to the luxury side of the equation." -- New Car Test Drive
- "Backs its direct-injection 380-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 with the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission and uses an advanced "adaptive variable suspension" to smother any road divots that might intrude into the cabin." -- Car and Driver
- "+It loves the open highway, and it gobbles up miles faster than my kid eats Skittles. On a long road trip, you really appreciate a quiet ride, and few cars are quieter than this big Lexus." -- AutoWeek
- "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 Lexus LS 460 should be on your must-drive list" -- Kelley Blue Book
Acceleration and Power
Both LS 460 trims come with a smooth and steady 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 380 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 367 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Reviewers agree that the V8 gives the car class-competitive acceleration. That power is sent through the first eight-speed automatic transmission available, which is nearly undetectable in operation. The 2009 Lexus LS 460 carries an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated fuel economy rating of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway.
- "The LS 460 is the first car in the world with a computer-controlled eight-speed automatic transmission. Its 4.6-liter V8 can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 5.4 seconds, according to Lexus, yet it gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg Highway. The eight-speed automatic is super smooth and plays a big role in the fuel-economy story." -- New Car Test Drive
- "Smooth and ample power at any speed. In Consumer Guide testing, an LS 460 did 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The silky automatic transmission is generally responsive, but a deep stab of the throttle is required to coax a downshift for maximum acceleration." -- Consumer Guide
- The engine "remains unobtrusive even on the highway, unless you open it up -- warn your passengers before you floor the gas pedal, though, because you'll throw them back in their seats; the acceleration is rather astonishing." -- Cars.com
- "A wonderfully subdued but distinct V-8 rumble, stripped of all extraneous elements." -- Automobile Magazine
- "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
- The eight-speed transmission is "not just excess, as this transmission is pretty smart. In our test driving, shifts were smooth, and most of the time not even noticeable." -- CNET
Handling and Braking
With its standard suspension, the LS 460 delivers a supple ride, floating over the highway and smoothing out imperfections. It is not, however, as responsive as many luxury sedans. An optional Air Suspension Package adds an electronically-controlled Adaptive Variable Air Suspension, which includes a Sport setting for those looking for something more entertaining. Test drivers say, however, that even this package doesn't allow the LS to compete with a BMW 7-Series or Audi A8 in handling and balance. There seems to be some dispute among reviewers about the car's brakes - some find them perfect, others say the brake pedal responds too powerfully to normal pressure.
- "The steering is light though direct, and the turning circle is impressively tight. LS is no sport sedan, however. The base suspension permits marked body lean, as does the air suspension's Comfort setting. Its Sport mode is slightly sharper overall." -- Consumer Guide
- "Under more aggressive maneuvers, the base LS suspension exhibits a rather steep nosedive during heavy braking and pronounced body roll while cornering, although it does stay planted to the pavement with minimal drama. Brake feel is excellent, although at first it can seem a bit grabby and abrupt." -- Edmunds
- "The ride quality and handling are exemplary, and an optional Touring package brings a new level of sportiness to the LS 460. The brakes have been improved, and now they are fully electronically controlled, working with all of the other computers on the car to determine how much brake force to put at each individual wheel, rain, snow or sunshine." -- New Car Test Drive
- "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
- The sport suspension offers "remarkable body control, with very little roll and no lurching as the car changes direction from right to left on a winding road, while the ride quality remains limousinelike." -- Automobile Magazine
- The steering wheel "spins freely with little hint of friction, and while the car goes where you point it, the emphasis here -- as with the car as a whole -- is on preventing the road from disturbing the driver, so feedback is minimal." -- Cars.com
- "In stop-and-go traffic, the electronically controlled four-wheel discs are grabby and abrupt and inserted a slight hiccup into an otherwise suave progression down the road." -- Edmunds