£100,005 Price range
The Lexus LS gets mainly positive reviews. It’s a large luxury saloon that’s only available with an opulent petrol or powerful hybrid engine. The LS is extremely comfortable, luxurious and packed with gadgets.
Experts say that it’s is an engineering masterpiece. The near-silent hybrid drivetrain allows seemingly effortless acceleration, while the leather-lined interior offers Gulfstream levels of comfort and refinement. It’s just a shame about those dull looks.
Cheapest to buy: 460 Luxury petrol
Cheapest to run: 600h Premier hybrid
Fastest model: 600h Premier hybrid
Most popular: 600h Premier hybrid
Up front, you (or your chauffeur) will benefit from the excellent range of electronic-adjustment in both the driver’s seat and steering wheel. Meanwhile out back, the long-wheelbase model especially offers unrivalled levels of comfort and space.
Standard models however, without the ‘rear seat relaxation’ pack feel short changed, leg and headroom is only adequate. The dash may look a bit dated, but there’s no arguing it’s of the absolute finest quality.
The level of luxury offered in the LS competes with the very best the motoring world has to offer, and yes, that does include the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost, which are both noisier than the LS at 70mph!
There are mixed opinions regarding the LS’s driving dynamics. While some think it well judged, and not as wallowy as you might expect, others believe it handles “like a dead badger”. Some reviews have also pointed out that the CVT transmission is a bit hesitant when you put your foot down.
But does any of that really matter? The back is the place to be. There you can enjoy the superb ride quality, and marvel at the sheer silence, even at motorway speeds. Cars like this are not developed to deliver outstanding driving dynamics; it’s all about the ride in the back.
The flagship engine is the hybrid version of the latest LS, comprising a thumping-great 4.6-litre V8 engine married to an electric motor, which produces 439hp, can sprint from 0-60mph in a little over six seconds, and tops out at 155mph.
It’s not as green as you might think though, delivering economy of only 32.8mpg. Lexus may have a bulletproof reliability record, but that doesn’t mean the LS will be anything but horrendously expensive to run.
If the hybrid isn’t to your taste, then there’s the conventional petrol 4.6-litre V-8 that produces 387hp and 493 lb ft of maximum torque. However, economy then slips to a pretty awful 18mpg in an urban environment with the combined figure only coming out at 26.4mpg.
Reviewers are slightly critical, saying that the rear legroom lacks slightly. Although this version will be marginally more fun to drive (as is weighs less), we'd still recommend going for the bigger car.
The LS600h successfully marries a thumping-great 5.0-litre V8 engine to an electric motor, which in total produces 439hp, can accelerate from 0-60mph in a little over six seconds, and top out at 155mph. It’s relatively frugal too, at 30.4mpg and 219g/km of CO2, but this doesn’t mean it’ll be cheap to run... Reviewers say the acceleration is smooth, relentless, and utterly astonishing for such a substantial car.
The CVT gearbox is a bit hesitant, but otherwise, the LS is surprisingly eager in a straight line. Before you know it, you’ve passed 100 yet the cabin remains virtually silent.
Testers say that it's well worth going for, as the standard size car lacks a little in rear-legroom. If you are being driven, then it's the obvious choice. The only downside is that it won't be quite as fun to drive, or as economical, as the normal size car.
You be forgiven for feeling a little uneasy about the LS’s safety credentials when it hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP as you don’t have that industry standard to use to judge it against.
However, the smaller CT200h and IS saloon both received a full five-star safety rating. With a standard 10 airbags and just about every safety system acronym in its locker, the LS must be as safe if not safer than any car in its class.
There’s ABS, five driving modes, adaptive variable suspension (AVS), brake assist, EBD, ECB, electric power steering (EPC), traction control, tyre pressure monitoring, vehicle stability control and much more besides.
You’re looking at the expensive side of £72k and upwards for the LS460 and a staggering £99,995 and onwards for the LS600h L, and that’s a lot. Though depreciation isn’t any worse than rivals it’ll still be painful when it comes to reselling.
You do get plenty of equipment, like an excellent Mark Levinson stereo, air-conditioned, massaging seats and voice-operated sat-nav.
Some testers note that there are diesel powered rivals, which are cheaper, greener and just a bit more interesting than the big Lexus.
It’s expensive, yes. But it’s got plenty of equipment, a great power-train, and is as quiet as a Rolls-Royce. If you can live with the plain-Jane looks, and questionable handling, it’d make a fine limousine.