2014 Lexus LS 460 F Sport Video Review
2014 Lexus LS 460 F Sport Video Review:
When you think of Lexus what comes to mind? Quiet, reliable, luxurious but what about excitement? Well Lexus has got that covered now too. This is the new LS F SPORT.
Unless you’re a fervent follower of the auto industry, the Lexus lineup can be a befuddling bowl of alphabet soup. So here’s a quick lesson in how Lexus defines the letter F. F Vehicles – of which there are only 3 – are the brand’s true high-performance models. F SPORT Vehicles, on the other hand, are more ubiquitous and mostly focused on imbuing performance through bolder design – though notable mechanical upgrades may also be part of the package. So here’s what the F SPORT transformation looks like on the company’s flagship 4-door, the LS. Having debuted for the 2013 model year, the F SPORT option brings some street cred and an edgier temperament to this traditionally sober sedan. And Lexus nailed the look – through a unique front fascia with a mesh version of the spindle grille, black surround, larger air intake, round LED fog lights, and a chrome bar under the rear bumper. Squatting about a ½” lower atop its air springs and 19” BBS wheels fitted with Michelin all-season low rolling resistance tires, this Obsidian LS possesses a restrained machismo that’s really attractive.
The LS comes in RWD, AWD, Hybrid and LWB models, but if you want F SPORT you have to forgo the stretched rear seat. You can get the all-weather confidence of 4-wheel traction however and that’s how my tester is equipped. There are a few caveats to that choice – as the 4.6-liter V8, which sees no increase in performance from F SPORT – is detuned by 26 horsepower and 20 pound-feet of torque from the RWD model in order to preserve some semblance of fuel economy. This one is rated at 16mpg city/23mpg highway on premium and I didn’t even make out that well. A more aggressive final drive ratio helps offset that power loss and lends to a gutsy and pleasantly vociferous takeoff, hitting 60mph in 6-seconds flat. It’s obviously also heavier, topping 4,700 pounds but the addition of Brembo front brakes aid in stopping that momentum, but man are they touchy and can grab abruptly.
Despite the racier F SPORT treatment this LS still has one of the sweetest, most coddling rides you’ll find. Sure, you can dial in the chassis anywhere from Comfort all the way to Sport +but the differences in handling are subtle and never from this car’s intended purpose; occupant comfort.
An adjustable air suspension is standard on F SPORT and does a beautiful job of keeping it soft but in control. At 360 horsepower it moves with ease and the 8-speed auto has sport and paddle shift modes though manual gear changes are quite deliberate. Variable gear ratio steering and a limited slip center differential add more driver control. It’s not the kind of car in which you’ll seek out curvy roads but if you find yourself on them the LS F SPORT will handle the chore.
After a long, hard day at work getting into this car would be such a relief. There’s an instant feeling of escape, kind of like you’re already home. From the soothing visuals to the isolating quietness you can just feel your stress level dissipate and the seats are to die for.
Bolstered sport front seats trimmed in the softest leather and embroidered with the F SPORT logo, the LS cabin is all about bringing the calm. When set to auto, the climate concierge takes care of all of the temperature requirements including seats, the mouse-like control of the Lexus Enform system is a bit clunky but easy to learn and new for 2014 as standard is Siri Eyes-Free – a safe way to communicate with your iPhone and even send text messages simply with voice commands. Even without the L the rear seats on this F SPORT are very generous as is the 18 cubic feet of trunk space – now accessible without the key fob when the vehicle is unlocked.
Priced from $76,000 and topping out at $88,155 with the full F SPORT treatment, this kind of exclusivity commands a premium. And though F SPORT is still a long way from the exhaustive performance reach of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG offerings, here on the LS it’s likely suitable for its core audience.