Lexus LS Performance
Test drivers write that the 2014 Lexus LS is an excellent choice if you're looking for a comfortable, quiet and serene cruiser. Most caution that the LS is not a great choice for those seeking nimble handling, as most agree that even in the F Sport trim it lacks the handling poise and steering precision of its rivals from Germany. A hybrid model is available, and test drivers say it isn't particularly fast.
- "If I had never driven a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, I might call the LS 460 the best-riding car in the class. This big Lexus scores points from me mostly for not pretending to be sporty. It's fast, rides very well, coddles without complication." -- Consumer Guide
- "Compared with its European counterparts, though, it's nowhere near as quick or engaging to drive." -- Edmunds
- "But until its redesign last year, the LS had always been more about comfort and durability than driver engagement. That's what Lexus set out to change with the current LS. Particularly in the F Sport trim, the 2014 LS knows its way around a corner, and we even put an LS 460 through its paces at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with surprisingly rewarding results." -- AutoTrader
- "After consulting with our co-driver about our intended route, we almost forgot that the engine was already running. Ah, yes, this is the level of quietness and isolation that so charmed luxury-car buyers when the original LS400 debuted." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
Acceleration and Power
The LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine. In rear-wheel drive variants, the engine produces 386 horsepower and in all-wheel drive versions it makes 360 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. At up to an EPA-estimated 16/24 mpg city/highway, the LS 460's fuel economy is on par for the class.
The hybrid LS 600h L has a 5.0-liter V8 and two electric motors that together produce 438 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The LS 600h L earns an EPA fuel economy rating of 19/23 mpg city/highway, which is low compared to what rivals like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 or diesel-powered Audi A8 L earn.
Some test drivers say the LS 460's V8 has sufficient power, but others note that rival sedans deliver quicker acceleration with smaller engines. Reviewers mention that the transmission has a smooth shift quality, but that it isn't always in the right gear, and acceleration lags as a result. According to auto journalists, the hybrid LS 600h L is slower than the non-hybrid LS, which they attribute to its heftier curb weight. They say the LS 600h L's CVT delivers power smoothly.
- "Press the gas pedal to the floor and you'll find that the 4.6-liter V8 is lusciously smooth and sounds terrific. By today's standards, though, it's not very potent. Most rivals get considerably more power (and quicker acceleration) out of their V8 engines, and there are even a few six-cylinder luxury sedans capable of beating the LS 460 down a highway entrance ramp. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but competitors provide even more seamless gearchanges." -- Edmunds
- "After stabbing the throttle at speed, there is typically a rather long delay while the transmission hunts for the proper gear. You can hear the engine revs pick up as the trans is downshifting, but actual accelerative movement is a heartbeat or two away." -- Consumer Guide
- "The LS 600h L solves the torque problem, but it also weighs more than 5,000 pounds, so its acceleration is ultimately weaker than in the LS 460. That's particularly unimpressive given that the hybrid costs an extra $40,000." -- AutoTrader
- "The continuously variable transmission coupled to the electric motor delivers seamless power all the way up, with pleasing atomic-jet-techno noises accompanying the song of the V8 in a polite way." -- AutoWeek (2013 LS 600h L)
Handling and Braking
The Lexus LS comes standard with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on all LS 460 variants and standard on the hybrid LS 600h L. Reviewers agree that the LS has an incredibly comfortable and serene ride. Most mention that athletic handling is not a top priority for the LS, noting that it lacks the poise and steering precision of its German rivals. Some say the F Sport trim firms up the ride a bit and increases handling prowess marginally, though most add that even so equipped, an F Sport model is not especially nimble. Still, reviewers like the F Sport's strong Brembo brakes.
- "Predictably, the ride quality is downright luxurious. If you want the softest-riding car in the ultra-luxury sedan class, you've found it in the LS 460. However, this cushy demeanor comes at the expense of handling, as the big Lexus feels lazy and imprecise going around turns. The steering has more weight to it than you might expect, but there's not much feel nor any semblance of sportiness. The available F Sport package provides better balance and a smidge more athleticism on tight twisty roads, but so equipped, the LS 460 still isn't as engaging to drive as rival European sedans." -- Edmunds
- "Driven with spirit, the current LS feels significantly less floaty than its predecessor, while engaging the driver like never before. That's particularly true in the F Sport trim, which makes the LS an intriguingly affordable substitute for performance-oriented German rivals. You'll never mistake this softly sprung car for a sport sedan, but you'll also be pleasantly surprised by how it hunkers down through the bends." -- AutoTrader
- "Ride quality is good enough in the Normal and Comfort settings, if just a bit thumpy over smaller pavement imperfections." -- Consumer Guide
- "For a slightly more thrilling ride, consider the LS 460 F Sport, which uses a sport-tuned air suspension and Brembo brakes to deliver confident deceleration and noticeably sharper handling. It's a nice effort but, with no increase in horsepower versus the standard LS 460, we doubt the F Sport package will dazzle real performance enthusiasts." -- Kelley Blue Book