Hand Lexus a trophy because its 2011 LS premium luxury sedan garnered one of the highest Total Car Scores for any car, period.
This Japanese executive express leads the segment by mixing the attributes shoppers in this category most care about. A serene ride and hushed isolation combine with excellent build quality and materials, top-notch after-sale service and very competitive pricing to effectively neutralize buyer’s remorse.
The 2011 Lexus LS 460 (a hybrid, the LS 600h is also offered) starts in the upper $60,000 range, nearly $10k less than the competition. A 4.6-liter V8 with either 344 or 380 hp provides strong acceleration through through an 8-speed automatic transmission, but doesn’t outshine the high quality interior, intuitive real-time navigation/entertainment electronics or spacious back seats.
In long wheelbase trim those back seats will recline up to 45 degrees, sprouting their own foot rests. Rear seat occupants also enjoy DVD entertainment and a refrigerator.
Despite an optional sport package the 2011 LS 460 is not really a driver’s car, with relatively numb steering, noticeable body roll, brake dive, and mediocre brakes. The 460’s relatively indistinct styling may appeal to well-heeled buyers looking to blend in, though long-wheelbase variants have presence nonetheless.
Lexus keeps its model lineup simple. The 2011 Lexus LS 460 is the primary model, offered in short and long (LS 460L) wheelbases.
In addition to standard rear wheel drive, all-wheel drive is optional on both body styles. The LS Hybrid 600h L is Lexus’ hybrid offering (covered separately).
The LS 460 is further simplified by a single engine choice, a 4.6-liter V8 that makes either 357 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque (with all-wheel drive) or 380 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque with rear-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission joins the V8, the combo motivating the LS 460 from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
The rear-wheel-drive models achieve 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined according to the EPA while the all-wheel drive cars post 16 city/23 highway/18 combined averages.
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