2015 Lexus LS 460 AWD: The new Buick?

2015 Lexus LS 460 AWD | MSRP (base model): $75,465 | Price as tested: $80,630
Engine: 4.6L; 360 h.p.; 347 lb.-ft. | MPG: 16 city / 23 hwy
Features: Blind-Spot Monitor, Brake hold, Heated and ventilated seats, Navigation with 12.3-inch screen, etc.

In 1989 Toyota introduced the Lexus LS 400 to the world, and it was a shot across the bow of the then luxury car establishment German brands. What Lexus, along with Acura and Infiniti, did was force the Germans to get off of their laurels and improve their cars to stay competitive. Now things have changed and it is the Koreans who are doing the same, and Lexus seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle of this battle. The value the Lexus LS once brought to the table is diminished when there are other options out there for less money with more standard options.
The LS 460 AWD we have here has an MSRP of $80,000 and yet does not have some of the technology that we are already seeing trickle down to entry-level and mid-priced cars. I just drove a $29K 2015 Subaru Legacy with adaptive cruise control, and Lexus can’t see it fit to have this standard on their flagship? Come on Lexus, I realize the average age of the LS buyer puts them in a group that is not as interested in all the latest gadgets, but them folks may not be around very much longer and you need to appeal to the younger crowd, who do want the latest and greatest tech. I certainly do appreciate the effort Lexus has put forth with the F Sport line of their cars, but they need to put a bit more content into the LS.
When going over this car I was surprised to learn that if you select the AWD version you go from 386 HP to 360 HP. According to Lexus, this is due to changes made to the exhaust system to make room for the AWD system. I can see losing 5 HP, but 26 seems like a lot. Add that to the additional weight and this car feels a little lacking, more like there is the V6 under the hood and not the V8.
The 8-speed transmission is extremely smooth shifting and won’t spill your Evian as you accelerate away from a light. You are whisked around in a well-damped environment isolated from the rest of world, crank up the classical music and you will arrive well rested and relaxed. You also have Lexus Drive Select, with which you…
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