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Lexus LS Performance

If you’re looking for a comfortable, quiet cruiser, automotive journalists agree that the 2015 Lexus LS is a great choice. However, many agree that it falls short of rivals in terms of handling and acceleration, even when equipped with the F Sport package. The LS and LS Hybrid also get lower fuel economy than many rivals.

  • "Though extremely comfortable, the LS 460 can't match the power and dynamics of its best rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2014)
  • "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)
  • "… the big LS isn't the sort of ride that you'll want to go diving into a hairpin turn with; even in this F-Sport trim, it's simply too much car." -- CNET (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lexus LS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that makes 386 horsepower in rear-wheel drive variants and 360 horsepower in all-wheel drive models. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. The LS 460 gets an EPA-estimated 16/24 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for the class.

The hybrid LS 600h L has a 5.0-liter V8 and two electric motors that produce a combined 438 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. According to the EPA, the LS 600h L gets 19/23 mpg city/highway, which is low compared to what rivals like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and diesel-powered Audi A8 L TDI earn.

Reviewers agree that the LS 460’s V8 engine is fairly potent, but they note that the turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines in European rivals feel more powerful. Some attribute the LS 460’s lack of responsiveness to its slow-shifting transmission. Although the LS 600h L is more powerful than the LS 460, test drivers say its heavier weight results in slower acceleration.

  • "The car's 386-horsepower V8 is no slouch, but it falls short in performance and fuel economy to the turbocharged V8 engines, and even some turbo six-cylinders, from Europe." -- Edmunds
  • "Under the hood, the LS 460's 4.6-liter V8 is a sweet-tempered motor, but it lacks the immediacy of the latest forced-induction engines from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and others. On its own merits, it's awesome; driven back-to-back with any of those foes, its limited low-end torque becomes apparent. 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." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "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 (2014)
  • "… at lower speeds, the transmission can get a little flummoxed if you nail the gas and expect immediate response." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)

Handling and Braking 

Lexus LS 460 models come standard with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on LS 460 models and standard on the LS 600h L. Test drivers agree that the Lexus LS has one of the most comfortable rides in the class, but its handling is sloppy and its steering is numb. In the F Sport trim, most critics say the LS feels a little more composed but isn’t as agile as some rivals.

  • "This big luxury sedan glides over bumps, with lightweight steering and a silent interior that isolates occupants from the outside world." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you want the softest-riding car in the ultraluxury 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 or 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
  • "Look up ‘ride comfort and suspension compliance’ in your automotive dictionary, and there will be a picture of the Lexus LS460." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "Over the road, the F-Sport is more sprightly than the base car, but don't mistake it for a corner-carver. It's more a high-speed, long-distance transport." -- AutoWeek (2013)
Review Last Updated: 3/2/15

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