Moving inside the LS, what strikes you first is how little effort is needed to open the doors – the action is silky smooth yet oddly light. That’s the first clue to a theme that haunts this Lexus: the gap between perceived and engineered luxury.
From an engineering perspective, the LS is hard to beat. Witness the fact that, despite being tested on a wet surface and on a day with winds so strong that a tornado struck London, the LS460 recorded less cabin noise at 70mph than the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Phantom. What’s lacking is that subjective sense of substance you get with an S-Class.
Even in the most basic LS, each occupant sits on a supremely comfortable, heated leather seat, the front two electrically adjusted and air conditioned. Appropriately, though, the rear passengers get the best treatment, with excellent legroom and headroom, and even more toys if you opt for the Rear Relaxer Pack.
Fold down the armrest and you’re confronted with what looks like mission control. From here, each rear passenger can electrically slide, recline, heat or cool their seat, individually adjust the climate control, operate powered rear and side privacy blinds and control the stereo.
But by far the best toy is the roof-mounted, fold-down nine-inch screen. With a 19-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, the experience is better than most home cinemas. We can think of no less stressful way of passing a journey from London to Edinburgh than packing a couple of DVDs and enlisting the services of a trustworthy driver, who is accompanied in the front with a 12.3in Lexus infotainment system with sat nav, DAB radio, USB connectivity and Bluetooth included.
There is only one trim level - Premier, and it comes with 19in alloys, a Brembo braking system, adaptive LED headlights, a glass sunroof, keyless entry, and automatic wipers and lights on the outside as standard, while inside there is quad-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, massaging seats and a semi-aniline leather upholstery.