The Lexus LS has been with us for almost 30 years now and it’s hard to imagine a world without it. The Lexus brand was a risky move for the Japanese automaker. In the late 70s and onto 1980, they firmly established themselves in the American market as a worthwhile substitute for (at the time) the rather craptastic American alternatives. But it was time to take on the Germans and the rest of the world by creating the ‘world’s best sedan’. That sedan they created was the LS.
The project started back in 1983 and it was code named F1 or Flagship One. Eiji Toyoda threw down the gauntlet to his employees to create the world’s best car. To help do so they benchmarked all of their competitors to not just meet their criteria but also beat it. They wanted the new LS to beat them in aerodynamics, NVH (Noise Vibation and Harshness), top speed (yay) and fuel efficiency.
1 billion dollars later the LS was created. It didn’t just meet its creator’s expectations, it blew them away. So much in fact that they created a whole new brand to help launch the vehicle…that brand was Lexus. This is a car that looked like your German counterpart but came in at a cheaper price and offered world class reliability and performance. It’s something no other Japanese manufacturer has come close to matching. Honda was the first with Acura but its been floundering for decades in confusing product launches and misdirected goals and Nissan has been trying with Infiniti but ripe with mismanagement from the beginning, it’s also been swaying in the wind for decades.
That brief history comes to a culmination for the following car. We were loaned the most expensive version of the LS, the LS460L. This has literally everything that Lexus/Toyota can engineer on a car. You want your rear heated and cooled seats to fully recline? While offering you a full body massage, personal Blu-ray player, and ash wood tray to lay your drinks on? Yeah it’s got you. Do you not want to annoyed by road noise, potholes and the outside world? No problem. Yell at your driver to put in comfort mode and press your window shade buttons to blot out the outside world. For the backseat passenger this is not just a car. This is how you know when you have fully ‘arrived’ in life.
All is not lost for the driver though. Yes you can put in ‘comfort’ mode and then ride on that cloud- like sensory deprivation chamber to your destination. Or when your passengers are not looking…put the car in Sport + mode, mash the gas and hold on. Because the car doesn’t just wake up, she comes alive with a roar and snarl from underneath the hood, take a corner and the body is so planted you won’t believe your careening down the road in a car that weighs 4700 pounds and is 17 feet long. At the same time it never loses its civility. That’s the beauty of the LS and we’ve said this before in our prior reviews of the brand. Lexus tagline is ‘pursuit of perfection’. But for most buyer’s this is the perfection they’ve been searching for. The Lexus LS460.