From £70,329
The latest Lexus is a technological tour de force reminiscent of the original LS. But it still feels like a very sophisticated Toyota, and lacks the inviting quality that we feel a luxury car needs.

Our Verdict

Lexus LS

The Lexus LS is a huge, high-quality limo. Great refinement, but high running costs and no Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • First Drive

    Lexus LS460 Luxury

    The 2013 Lexus LS is outclassed by all its rivals, but its refinement, equipment, construction quality and V8 powertrain still appeal
  • First Drive

    2013 Lexus LS 600h

    Luxuriously equipped and better to drive, the latest generation LS600h is a great improvement over its predecessor

What’s new? Only everything. This is the third entirely new generation of LS since Lexus was formed back in 1990 and it owes not one spot weld to its predecessor. Costing around £60,000 when it goes on sale in January, it is perhaps the most technologically sophisticated production road car ever created.Nevertheless its configuration is conventional, with a quad cam V8 motor in the nose driving the rear wheels alone while steel, rather than aluminium, is still the material mainly used in its construction. What is extraordinary about it is not so much the concept – it’s the execution.What’s it like? This is a car with an eight-speed gearbox that will slam the brakes on if it thinks you’re going to crash, move your headrests if it thinks you’re going to be punted up the rear and constantly watches your face to make sure you’re paying attention.If it thinks you’ve nodded off or are looking out the side window when your eyes should be looking at some fast approaching obstacle, it will ring bells, flash lights and even brake to jolt you out of your reverie. It is a technological showcase on wheels the likes of which we have never seen before.At its core, the new 375bhp, 4.6-litre V8 provides excellent performance (0-62mph in 5.7sec) but needs to be worked hard to deliver it. That strongly suggests that it actually needs its eight gears rather the transmission being a thinly veiled two-finger salute to Mercedes-Benz with its paltry seven-speed gearbox.Its handling is surprisingly good and its ride reminiscent of Lexus’ of old before the likes of the IS and GS became all stiff and sporting. But its strongest suit is its refinement. We haven’t done the group test yet but I’d be surprised if there was another car out there that made appreciably less noise at a steady 70mph.Should I buy one? However impressive the LS460 is on paper, in real life it’s a hard car to love, even though you cannot help but admire it. Technological overload is all very well but not when it’s achieved at the expense of that sense of occasion so critical to all true luxury cars.For all its undoubted abilities, it still feels like the world’s most grown-up Toyota. Its cabin functions effectively, but it is not the home from home customers increasingly expect from cars in this class and enjoy every time they step behind the wheel of most European rivals in general, and the Audi A8 in particular.Technocrats will doubtless love it, but for the rest of us, the LS460 suffers from the same fundamental problem as both its predecessors: objectively it does everything you could ask of it, subjectively it falls a little short.Andrew Frankel

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals
  • Hyundai Kona
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover with a peppy three-cylinder engine makes all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment