Vehicle Profile: The 2012 Lexus LS
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When the discussion turns to the best car in the world, the list narrows significantly and predictably. The one car that always seems to spring to mind is the car that changed the category upon its introduction in 1989: The Lexus LS.
Fast-forward to today, and the 2012 Lexus LS (MSRP $67,630) represents one of the most sophisticated sedans in the market overall. Elegance and luxury meld seamlessly with effortless power and innovative technology.
Sport Special Edition for 2012
A new addition to the mix for 2012 is the Lexus LS 460 Sport Special Edition. Building on the existing LS 460 Sport with its distinctive visual package – 19-inch alloys with summer tires, Brembo performance brakes, Sport-specific exterior trim and grille – the Sport Special Edition gets a unique paint finish and standard Sport and Comfort Packages.
There’s an LS for every driver. The standard LS 460 is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The same goes for the extended-wheelbase LS 460 L models, which offer even more space in what was an already generous backseat. Drivers can also choose the Lexus LS 600h L (MSRP $112,750). As the “h” in the moniker suggests, the LS 600h L is a hybrid, and it’s also the flagship sedan for the entire Lexus range – a comprehensive luxury and technology showcase.
Standard V8 power
The standard V8 engine in all LS 460 models is a 4.6-liter powerhouse that generates up to 380 hp and 367 lb/ft of torque. It utilizes both port and direct fuel injection and gets the big LS sedan sprinting from zero-to-60 mph in as little as 5.4 seconds. The marvelous V8 is paired with an electronically controlled, smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission that helps deliver high fuel efficiency as well. Drivers who live in areas where sloppier road conditions are a fact of life, or who simply prefer top-notch handling, may wish to consider the available all-wheel drive system for increased traction and control – and, by extension, improved confidence – in all circumstances.
Hybrid blends monstrous power, surprising efficiency
With 438 total system hp, the Lexus LS 600h L puts up the brawny power numbers you might expect from a V12 engine. The reality is that it does so with a 5.0-liter V8 working in conjunction with Lexus Hybrid Drive, which leverages a high-output electric motor, regenerative braking and an Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) to combine excellent performance (5.5 seconds zero-to-60) with remarkable fuel efficiency for a car of this size and power (23 mpg highway and 20 mpg overall). There’s even an “EV” mode that drivers can select to drive the LS short distances on battery power alone in certain conditions, providing the onboard battery has enough charge.
Jet-like luxury features
In addition to a large selection of amenities like standard leather, premium audio, Bluetooth, and power door closers, the 2012 Lexus LS makes available a long list of high-quality luxury features. For instance, the available Executive-Class Seating Package brings features that turn the backseat into something akin to a private jet for the passengers. There’s a DVD Rear Seat Entertainment System with wireless headphones and remote, as well as a powered nine-inch display that lowers from the ceiling.
The right rear seat is power-adjustable, heated, cooled and has a recline feature with an extendable footrest. There’s also a stowable wood table for the right rear seat, allowing for work to be done while being driven to a destination. The sophisticated climate control system uses an infrared sensor that reads the surface temperature of each rear seating position and then automatically adjusts the air conditioning accordingly.
A Luxury Package upgrades the leather seating surfaces, adds an Alcantara suede headline and power rear-door sunshades. A Rear Seat Upgrade features all the Luxury Package content and adds niceties such as massage, a cool box, rear audio controls and rear door airbags.
For an enhanced ride, an Adaptive Variable Air Suspension, available on select models, lets the driver choose the level of firmness. While on the road, the suspension constantly monitors road conditions and adjusts damping accordingly to optimize ride quality.
The best audio experience is achieved via the Mark Levinson Reference Surround Audio System, which combines 450 watts of power with a CD/DVD changer and 19 speakers for a completely immersive experience that’s tuned specifically for the LS cabin environment.
Comprehensive safety and security
The Lexus LS isn’t just a tour de force of performance and luxury. Its safety features are equally comprehensive. There are eight standard airbags, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Controlled Braking, Vehicle Stability Control (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) and the Safety Connect telematics system that features Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Location services.
Two tiers of available Advanced Pre Collision technology help the car determine whether a collision is imminent and then prepare various systems and features for impact while simultaneously warning the driver to take action. Even a driver awareness monitor and pedestrian detection is available.
Other helpful aids include the available Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, which helps keep the LS centered in the lane at all times.
Peerless luxury and technology
Elegant, understated, powerful and technologically advanced, the 2012 Lexus LS Sedans stand toe to toe with longtime stalwarts. Given the breadth of features and luxury available, the LS makes a compelling claim to the mantle of World’s Best Luxury Sedan.
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