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Lexus LS 460 F-Sport's bark is worse than its bite (pictures)

This large and angry-looking sedan may look like it wants to beat you up, but it really wants to coddle you in its luxurious cabin.

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Spindle grille

The LS leads with an aggressive spindle grille that is the trademark of the L-Finesse design language. The F-Sport model looks even angrier with its unique front bumper and dark grille inserts.
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F-Sport package

Lexus' packaging options for the LS are a bit confusing, but our model shipped with the most loaded of the F-Sport packages, a sort of all-inclusive performance package that gets pretty close to maxing the sedan out on tech and performance upgrades with a single $15,230 line option.
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LED headlights

The LS is available with LED headlamps that steer with the front wheels and feature intelligent high beams that dim so as not to dazzle oncoming drivers.
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Engine bay

Somewhere beneath this sea of plastic is the LS' 4.6-liter V-8 engine.
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The LS is a large sedan, but it wears its size well. Drivers who need more rear-seat legroom can opt for the LS 460L with its extended wheelbase. (Not pictured here.)
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Rear drive

Power from the V-8 engine meets the road at the rear axle. F-Sport models distribute that power between the wheels via a Torsen limited-slip differential.
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Rear view

The rear end is remarkably tame when compared with the aggressive front end.
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Trunk space

There's plenty of space for storage in the truck, but the lack of fold-flat rear seats means that bulky items will need to find other transport. Long items, such as skis, can be fed through a small center pass-through.
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The cabin is handsome and well-designed, particularly when decked out in F-Sport black leather with aluminum trim.
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Hold feature

The heated F-Sport steering wheel features paddle shifters, buttons for the adaptive cruise control system, audio and hands-free calling controls, and a button for an odd feature called Hold, which holds the LS' brakes after you release the pedal until you tap the gas pedal. This feature is useful for hills and in stop-and-go traffic, but I'm not so lazy that I can't hold my own brake pedal, thanks.
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At the top of the dashboard is the large 12.3-inch color display. Below that is a bank of buttons and knobs for the audio system and climate controls.
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Electronic power steering

With F-Sport package, the electronic power steering gains variable gear ratios, which allows the steering to be weightier and more responsive when placed in the Sport+ mode.
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Split screen

The Lexus infotainment system takes advantage of the ultrawide screen by using an uneven split screen that displays auxiliary information on its far-right edge.
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Instrument cluster

The instrument cluster features two large gauges -- a tachometer and a speedometer -- with a spindle-shaped display between them that displays Drive Mode, trip computer, and fuel efficiency information.
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Control zone

The center console is home to a variety of physical controls. There's the shift lever, the Remote Touch controller, the Drive Mode knob, and the pots for the heated and ventilated seats (which I left in their clever automatic mode for most of my testing).
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Analog clock

You couldn't call this a luxury sedan without an analog clock being installed somewhere in the dashboard. The Lexus' is unique in that it is tied into the GPS system and automatically sets itself using the satellites' signals. Drive into another time zone and the clock resets itself.
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This bank of buttons is largely dedicated to the automatic climate controls, but there are a few knobs and buttons for accessing the optional Mark Levinson premium audio system.
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Driver aid

Our loaded LS shipped with an assortment of driver aid technologies, including intelligent high beams, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Pre-Collision system that is bundled with the Adaptive Cruise Control. Most of these features can be enabled and disabled using this bank of buttons near the driver's knee.
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Home screen

The infotainment home screen is where you'll find top-level icons for the navigation system, destination search, the audio sources, climate controls, hands-free calling system, and the Enform app integration system.
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The navigation system is quick and responsive with routing and rerouting. The 2D maps, while clear, look a bit primitive compared with the 3D building data offered by Audi and BMW.
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Virtual buttons

The split-screen interface is slightly confusing to navigate with the Remote Touch controller. What's more, I'd like to see Lexus move away from the "virtual button" metaphor if its not going to use a touch-screen interface.
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Bluetooth hands-free calling

Hands-free calling with voice command via Bluetooth is standard on all LS models.
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Audio streaming

A2DP Bluetooth audio streaming joins HD Radio, USB/iPod connectivity, an analog audio input, a DVD drive, and Enform apps like Pandora Internet Radio in the audio source list.
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The economy information screens allow you to track your fuel efficiency, which the EPA estimates at an average 19 mpg combined. LS 600h models also let you monitor the Hybrid Synergy Drive system from this menu.
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The standard SiriusXM connection receives satellite radio, which plays through the audio system, but also beams traffic data, fuel prices, stocks, sports scores, and weather forecasts into the dashboard.

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