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Lexus LS 460 F Sport blends luxury and performance with concert quality audio

Lexus LS 460 F Sport - distinctive Lexus styling stands out
Lexus LS 460 F Sport - distinctive Lexus styling stands outLexus

2014 Lexus LS 460 F Sport RWD

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Lexus, with its flagship LS 460 for 2014, continues to offer discriminating high end luxury sedan drivers a solid performing and luxurious option for buyers – at a slightly lower price point – to its other segment competitors.

Lexus LS 460 iconic spindle grille
Lexus LS 460 iconic spindle grilleLexus

The 2014 Lexus LS 460 line includes the LS 460 in regular and long-wheelbase versions with a 386 horsepower 4.6-liter V8 (360 horsepower with all-wheel drive) and the LS 600h L hybrid with 438 total system horsepower from a 5-liter V8 paired with an electric motor.

With an entry level price point of $72,140 for the LS 460 RWD, the LS line of vehicles arrives in 2014 with just a few changes from the 2013 model year line.

Of significance are the addition of a Siri Eyes-Free Mode Technology (leased from Apple) for the infotainment system and an ability to open the trunk lid without key fob being in range when he vehicle is unlocked.

Yes, along with some trim changes, these are pretty minor, but when you already had a strong performer in the LS – not much change was called for.

We have driven all of the 2013 model year LS 460 series vehicles in the line including the standard four-door sedan, the LS 460 L limo version and the LS 600h L hybrid over the course of several months.

Our drive impressions have been almost universally positive in response to this superbly styled luxury sedan that provides a very comfortable and quiet ride with a luxuriously appointed and generously sized cabin (front and rear) that includes all of the feature functionality that you would expect from a vehicle in this segment.

Our most recent experience with the LS 460 was a week long drive of a Liquid Platinum color 2014 LS 460 RWD (MSRP $72,140) with the F Sport Performance Package ($8,350 premium) for a base F Sport MSRP of $80,490.

The F Sport add – along with other optional equipment - takes this very well equipped, quiet riding and nice handling luxury sedan to another level of performance for a luxury sedan enthusiast wanting a bit more road performance (with balance) in their vehicle.

Things we liked about the LS 460 F Sport included the bold Lexus styling, superb fit and finish, remarkably quiet cabin under all road conditions, high quality interior materials, outstanding seating comfort, lots of room front and back, concert venue quality Levinson Audio plus good ride and handling that is enhanced by the F Sport Package.

A bit of disappointment was the absence of a turbocharger version of the otherwise very capable V8 that gives a bit of an acceleration and top speed performance edge to competitor vehicles. Having said that, we would point out (in our opinion) that some of those more powerful competitors do not as effectively strike the same balance between performance and luxury ride as the LS 460 F Sport.

The standard and only power train in the LS 460 or the LS 460L is a 4.6L DOHC V8 featuring Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and Electronically controlled intake (VVT-iE) which is mated to an eight-speed sequential shift automatic transmission. In our test car (RWD) the V8 generated a very capable 386 horsepower with 367 lb.-ft. of torque.

Our test LS 460 F Sport was equipped with the Drive Mode Select System and Adaptive Variable Air Suspension that offers five modes of driving (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+) that alters vehicle trim and adjusts shift points and throttle response to enable the driver to vary the drive experience to suit their preferences.

The fuel economy ratings for the RWD are 16/24 mpg City/Highway with an expected average of 19.1 mpg.

We covered a fair amount of driving miles during our week with most of it on the highway. Our mileage calculation show an impressive 19.7 mpg. More so especially as we drove most of our miles in the high performance Sport S or Sport S+ Drive Mode which adjusts the Air Suspension for a more aggressive road profile along with tightened Variable Gear Ration Steering (VGRS) that, along with the shift point and throttle response changes, generally take away from the rated fuel economy.

Some of the other standard luxury or convenience features on our LS 460 needing to be highlighted include:
• One-Touch Open/Close Power Tilt and Slide Power Moonroof
• Advanced Illumination all-LED interior lighting system
• High Resolution 12.3-inch split-screen multi-media display screen in the center stack that enables Navigation and other feature visibility and access at the same time
• Lexus unique Remote Touch Interface System to manage the infotainment and feature functionality (works like a computer mouse)
• Premium woods like Walnut, Shimamoku Espresso and Matte Brown Bird’s Eye Maple along with unique metal interior trims
• Wood and leather steering wheel with controls
Lexus Enform system for destination and travel assist including NavTraffic, NavWeather and Fuel Price search
• Intuitive Park Assist
• Automatic Door Closers
• Push Button Start and Stop
• Electronic Parking Brake
• Leather trimmed driver and passenger seating with 16-way power adjustment for the driver and 12-way for the passenger
• Rain-sensing Variable Intermittent windshield wipers
• Dynamic Load Leveling Headlight system
• Electronic Controlled Braking
• Rear Backup camera
• Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
• Traction Control (TRAC)
• Smart Stop Technology

One of the highlights of our drive experience in our test car came from the F Sport Package which added many performance and styling elements lik the larger 19-inch split-10-spoke forged alloy wheels and a 0.4- inch lower road height that enhances the performance of its special sport-tuned air suspension.

An F Sport Adaptive Variable Air Suspension was mated with tuned stabilizer bars and shock absorbers for added performance control. This RWD version also added a Torsen limited slip rear differential to the power train. Brakes were upgraded to Brembo six-piston front calipers with 14.8-inch ventilated discs.

And on the exterior, the F Sport Package added a distinctive front fascia that showed off an exclusive mesh version of the Lexus spindle grille with a black grille surround, larger air intake openings and round fog lamps.

While inside, the F Sport LS 460 featured an Alcantara headliner, unique aluminum trim, F Sport leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, F Sport Scuff Plates, aluminum pedals and F Sport bolstered perforated leather front seats with embossed headrests.

The other notable highlight of this LS 460 F Sport was the addition of the Mark Levinson Reference Surround Audio System for $1,580.

The Mark Levinson Audio System turns the inside of the superbly quiet Lexus LS 460 cabin literally into a concert venue with its finely balanced 19 speakers powered and managed by the 15–channel ML3-16 450 watt amplifier processor.

During one trip of about 200 miles we experimented with all varieties of music from the SiriusXM Satellite Radio network to see how well the system delivered quality sound from a wide range of music genres. Outstanding would be a single word to describe our listening experience for every single music genre.

The other options included on our test vehicle were:
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert - $500
F Sport Comfort Package with climate controlled front seating, power rear window sunshade and one touch power trunk open and close - $1,650
LED Headlamps with intelligent high beams and washers - $1,450

Delivered, our 2014 Lexus LS 460 F Sport priced out at $86,580.