CHUALAR, CA: So here we are on the road to the 2007 LA Auto show. We decided to drive down from CNET's office in San Francisco for a couple of reasons: first, we get to take all of the contraband travel accessories we would have had to forego had we flown (knives, guns, all-in-one shampoo and hair conditioner); and second, because we have a compelling reason to stay on the road in the shape of the new Lexus LS 460L. We had a look at this car earlier in the year at a press launch in San Francisco, but this is the first time we've been let loose in it, and so far, we like what we see (and hear). As I write, my ears are being massaged by no fewer than 19 speakers--part of the car's bespoken Mark Levinson sound system currently playing audio tracks stored on the LS460's built-in hard drive.
Our photographer in the back seat is enjoying the kind of legroom reserved for first-class airline passengers, although she is having to make do without the LS460's ottoman-style reclining seat with built-in massage. Unfortunately, our $80K tester came without the rear-seat luxury package, which also adds a foldout table to enable the kinds of people who will ride in the back of this car to set monetary policy, or whatever they do. Adding to our disappointment is the fact our tester also comes without the available rear-seat DVD system with a 9-inch LCD display and wireless headphones.
But before you start to pity us too much, console yourselves that we are pretty comfortable in the leather-and-wood-trimmed cabin (all of the wood apparently comes from the same tree). XM Nav traffic is helping us avoid the traffic hotspots as we make our way south to LA; and the LS460's eight-speed transmission is making for a smooth journey. We also can take solace in the fact that when we arrive in LA, we won't have to worry about parking, as the LS460 is the first car ever to be released in the US that parks itself.
Look out for some more blog entries as we make our way toward LA and for CNET Car Tech's live coverage from the show floor throughout this week.