In 2010, the Lexus LS460 was well established as the brand's flagship sedan in Canada. It was available in two different wheelbase sizes, with optional all-wheel-drive.
Power was handily supplied by two versions of Lexus' 4.6-litre V-8, and transmission was an eight-speed automatic with manual shift mode. Whatever you chose, you were getting one of the smoothest and most useable drivetrains in the industry. Fuel economy was 12.9 litres/100 km in town and 8.2 on the highway for the "base" model.
And good news: the LS460 was not affected by Toyota/Lexus' massive sticky gas pedal recall of this year, although NHTSA did issue an advisory for it.
If you were partial to fancy automotive modcons and technological gew-gaws, the LS460 was heaven on earth. You could get a heated steering wheel, four-zone heating and ventilation, full leather, automatically adjusting headlights, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a DVD navigation system, back-up camera, headlight washers, electronic rear window shade, and on and on. It even came with a first-aid kit.
This was also the famed "self-parking" Lexus, but unless you liked to fiddle with gadgets for their own sake, parallel parking using this feature took too much time, was too fussy, held up traffic and the thrill wore off in a hurry. It was faster to park without it.
The Sport version of the LS460 came with extras that included upgraded Brembo disc brakes, sport-tuned suspension, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the transmission and an adaptive cruise control. But the LS460 was first and foremost a luxury saloon and not really aimed at high-performance enthusiasts. That said, it would go from 0 to 100 km/h in the six-second range.
But in terms of a luxury sedan, it ticked all the boxes. It had an imposing presence, pampered its occupants, featured more than enough power, felt luxurious inside and was a pleasure to drive.
Transport Canada and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have one recall on file for this vintage of the LS460. It concerns the steering system control unit, which could malfunction and cause the steering wheel to be off-centre by up to 90 degrees, possibly resulting in loss of control and maybe even a crash. Says NHTSA: "It may occur after the driver fully turns the steering wheel in one direction and then quickly attempts to turn it back to the centre position."
NHTSA also has six technical service bulletins for the 2010 LS460, one of which is a precautionary advisory to check out the accelerator pedal sensor malfunction. Other TSBs include a glitchy cooling fan motor that could stop working, steering that "pulls" to one side and a knocking or clicking noise coming from the brakes when they are applied. This last item could be a faulty actuator.
Complaints from owners include having to replace faulty front wheel bearings, experiencing an overpowering smell of fuel after a fill-up, a surprising number of issues with the steering mechanism and my personal favourite: "While driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated independently until crashing into a post. The contact was not injured." Some eight complaints in all here.
Consumer Reports likes this one. To quote C.R.'s editors, the LS460 is "a sedate, majestic freeway cruiser that glides comfortably over bumps and is filled with luxury features." C.R. gives this year of the LS460 top marks in just about every category, with the exception of minor quibbles with the audio system and suspension/brakes. Enough to rate a "Good Bet" designation. Comments from owners: "Silence, comfortable ride," "A great car with little or no noise from the outside world" and "Highly recommend this car if you are in the market for a higher-end auto."
Market research firm J.D. Power is less enthusiastic, giving the 2010 LS460 high marks for overall mechanical quality and body and interior quality, but a rather surprising "average" grade for overall performance and design.
From a base price that was close to the mid-$80,000 range in 2010, the LS460 has dropped by about half. You can expect to pay less than $50,000 for the regular-wheelbase, non-AWD version, adding another $5,000-$8,000 for the AWD version with all the bells and whistles.
2010 Lexus LS460
Original Base Price: $82,900; Black Book: $48,575-$57,450; Red Book: $49,800-$52,150
Engine: 4.6-litre V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 357 hp/366 lb-ft and 380 hp/367lb-ft
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 12.9 city/8.2 highway; premium gas
Alternatives: Mercedes-Benz S-class, Audi A8, BMW 750i, Porsche Panamera, Infiniti M-Series, Maserati Quattroporte
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