The 2016 Lexus LS features two different drivetrains, both based around powerful V8 engines. The LS 460 uses a 4.6L engine making 386 horsepower sent to either the rear or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic. The LS 600hL uses a 5.0L engine in combination with an electric motor for a total of 438 horsepower, sent to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission. With the hybrid drivetrain the big sedan is capable of a combined EPA-estimated 20 mpg.
The LS is available in three basic trim levels: the standard LS 460, the new-for-2015 LS 460 Crafted Line and the hybrid LS 600hL. The LS is also offered in one of two basic body styles, standard and long wheelbase. The Standard LS 460 can be had in either body style. The new Crafted Line is available only in the standard wheelbase length and with rear-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains.
The base LS 460 is, of course still a very well-equipped luxury car and comes packed full of goodies and outright refinement. Features include a premium navigation system, Lexus' Enform system, a 12.3-inch digital display on the center console, Bluetooth technology, a 10-speaker premium sound system, a backup camera, a 16-way power driver's seat and 12-way power front passenger seat, a power moonroof and automatic dual-zone climate control. The seating surfaces are all leather, while the steering wheel is part leather and part wood, beautifully crafted through an extensive 38-day process.
The Lexus Crafted Line, available across all Lexus models, appears in the LS 460 with Crafted Line's signature Ultra White paint and black and scarlet interior leather trim. The Crafted Line model comes with automatic levelling air suspension, unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, directionally adaptive HID headlamps, an upgraded Mark Levinson Reference stereo with 19 speakers, integrated navigation, a blind-spot monitor and a rear camera. There are no additional options on for the Crafted Line.
The Hybrid LS 600h sits at the very top of the Lexus LS pyramid. It features a Mark Levinson 19-speaker 450-watt sound system, power adjustable premium rear seating, more leather trim around the dashboard on the interior, power rear door sunshades, 4-zone "Climate Concierge" system and a rear-seat air purifier.
Optional packages include an Ultra Luxury Package and an Executive-Class Seating package, both of which pour on the technology to make riding in the back seat of the LS an experience in and of its self. An Advanced Pre-Collision Package and an All Weather package are also offered and obviously address more utilitarian concerns.
Safety is, as expected top notch with a car in this price range. All of the regular electronic systems are in place, including anti-lock brakes and stability control. Airbags are plentiful and the LS features whiplash lessening front seats as well as a tire pressure monitor. Buyers opting for the Advanced Pre-Collision package will also get a driver attention monitor which can detect drowsy drivers, an adaptive cruise control with pre-collision system and a lane keep assist system to keep drivers in their lane.
The LS was the first car debuting under the Lexus brand way back in 1989. Today, the large, long and imposing 2015 LS 460 is still the quintessential Lexus car. Over the decades, the model has grown from a value alternative to the German competition into a true equal to, say, the BMW 7-series or Audi A8.
Lift the LS' large hood and you'll be greeted by...well, a sea of black plastic shrouds and a silver engine cover. With the exception of the washer fluid filler and the oil cap and dipstick, Lexus has hidden all of the sedan's mechanical bits from the driver. Nothing to see here!
Somewhere beneath the plastic is the same smooth workhorse of a 4.6-liter V-8 gasoline engine that Lexus has been using for years now. With a combination of port and direct injection that is largely unique to Toyota/Lexus vehicles, this internal combustion engine turns its crank with 367 pound-feet of twisting force and 386 horsepower.
The Good The 2015 Lexus LS 460L's buttery smooth V-8 engine and optional Adaptive Suspension work together to deliver an exceedingly comfortable ride. The standard tech loadout is better than most car's upgraded offerings. A full suite of driver-aid tech is available. Rear seat comfort is top-notch.
The Bad The Adaptive Suspension and its Sport+ mode don't add much excitement to the soft and isolated drive. The Lexus infotainment system is complex and awkward to control.
The Bottom Line Big on comfort and just plain large, the 2015 Lexus LS 460L continues to define the brand and proves to be an equal to the German luxury competition.
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