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Lexus adds all-wheel drive to LS sedan for 2009

Lexus announces the addition of all-wheel drive to its flagship LS 460 and LS 460 L luxury sedan.

Lexus LS460L AWD tail lamp and badging

The all-wheel drive (AWD) system of the world's most expensive hybrid, the Lexus LS 600h L, has finally trickled down to the more conventional drive trains of the LS 460 and LS 460 L luxury sedans.

The AWD versions of the LS 460 and LS 460 L will utilize a drive train almost identical to their hybrid counterpart, with the obvious omission of Toyota's hybrid synergy drive. The AWD system features a Torsen Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) that distributes drive torque between the front and rear wheels. In normal driving conditions, the drive train carries a moderate rear-bias, sending 60 percent of available power to the rear wheels and the remaining 40 percent to the front. When conditions get slippery, the system can instantly increase the rear bias to 70 percent or send equal power to front and rear wheels.

The AWD LS 460 and LS 460 L will be powered by the same 4.6 liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear-wheel drive (RWD) versions, but will make less horsepower and torque in this incarnation. The AWD versions will produce 357 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque, down from the RWD model's 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque.

Like the hybrid LS600h, both AWD versions of the LS460 will come standard with Variable Gear-Ratio Steering (VGRS) and Adaptive Variable Air Suspension (AVS), which are optional features on the RWD LS sedans.

The 2009 LS AWD models will be available in dealerships in October 2008.