Monday, 15 January 2007

First Drive Impression: Flagship Lexus LS460L

The spanking new Lexus showroom is indeed a 5-star hotel parading as a car showroom.

Customer service is impeccable with fine mannerism, courtesy and attentive service ruling the day.

Here is my brief impression with the LS460L because there was a long wait-list for the GS300 tester.

This luxury limousine is full of sheer presence, measuring at 5.15m in length, with an extended 3,090mm wheelbase. Powering it is a 32V DOHC V8 with Dual-VVTi displacing 4,608 cc. Power output is rated at 380bhp @ 6,400rpm and torque is a bolt-wrenching 493Nm at 4,100rpm! All this glory is neatly nestled under super-clean engine covers. I dare challenge anyone to find a single wire dangling upon popping up the hood.

Check out the engine bay!

Before we drove off, our sales consultant, Tareq demonstrated the 16-speakers Mark Levinson DVD-CD-Radio system. It was mind-blowing for an in-car entertainment system to reproduce such clean, uncluttered and balanced sound! Capable of dts and Dolby-Digital 5.1 in all its glory!

Most striking impression of this flagship Lexus must be its baffling silence. The LS460L is so refined you don’t even hear its engine idle. Outside noises are practically filtered out while rolling tyre noises are almost absent. The V8 is simply marvelous with a linearity of power that attests to the cliché saying: “No replacement for displacement.”

Prod the throttle and you get creamy smooth acceleration and pick-up capable of hauling this 2 tonne beast in 5.7 secs to the century sprint.

Tackling those rough speed strips on the highway was as if they were non-existent. In similar fashion, all lumps and bumps plus nasty road irregularities are effectively dampened. Steering felt light and lifeless at high speed but what the heck…I guess such a limo was meant more for the chauffeur! Ride comfort is carpet-like even though air suspension was not part of the deal here.

Pushing the car into high three digits speed was a breeze. Due credit to Lexus for the superb 8-speed auto ‘box which is very smooth, with truly imperceptible upshifts and downshifts - even in manual mode. However, care must be taken for a LWB car like this because it oversteers easily and the rear end felt floaty and twitchy at times. Tracking stability in those fast sweeping corners is a little lacking – a dark blot marring its otherwise pleasant chassis dynamics. Braking power is excellent and pedal feel is good.

So how does this super-limousine bred from ‘The Pursuit of Perfection’ rate in the company of the new W221 S-Class and the current 7-series?

Towards this, I can only say: “The backseat is the best place to be in”.

Written by: Dr S.P. Long
15th January 2007. 

No comments: