6.27.2015

A Happier Medium: The 2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT
The 2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT.
The word "uncompromising" is considered a compliment in many circles, especially in performance automobiles.  But compromise can be necessary, even good. And the 2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT is a classic example.




Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT
2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT.
Michael reviewed one a little over a year and a half ago here in Phoenix, before moving TireKicker World Headquarters to California, and he, who has been of the firm belief that the LS460 is the best luxury sedan on the market for the past 13 years, didn't care for it.  Here's what he wrote:

A car that resists being driven smoothly.  With other options added, the F-Sport we drove was eight grand more than the stock LS 460, didn't go any faster (they share the same engine), and all the performance bits just made it worse.  If it were worse in an old BMW Alpina way, if there was some measurable payoff for having your kidneys bludgeoned, that'd be one thing...but this doesn't give you that and while your kidneys don't get the Alpina treatment, there is no comfort to be found anywhere in the vehicle.  It's what you'd get if Lincoln had decided to do a Shelby GT 500 version of the Town Car.

Ouch.

The good news is that Lexus has made revisions to the $8,350 F SPORT package for the 2015 LS460 and the result is a better-handling car that doesn't remove the car's legendary comfort and composure.

This year, the F SPORT package keeps the 19-inch, 10-spoke forged alloy wheels but re-adjusts the F SPORT adaptive variable air suspension, dispenses with the stabilizer bars and stiffer shock absorbers and the limited-slip rear differential.  The 15-inch Brembo brakes are traded for 14-inch two-piece front rotors with four-piston calipers. Not only is there no appreciable loss of handling or stopping power, the driver also feels more in control and able to use the handling capabilities the adaptive suspension allows.  


Interior view of 2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT
2015 Lexus LS460 F SPORT interior.
All the other upgrades, including the F SPORT seats, with power side bolsters for the driver, remain intact.  Our test vehicle began with the typical LS460 base price of $72,520, then added $8,350 for the F SPORT package, $500 for a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, $1,650 for the F SPORT comfort package (climate-comfort front seats, a power rear sunshade and a power one-touch trunk), $1,450 for LED headlamps with intelligent high-beams and washers and $1,580 for an upgraded Mark Levinson 19-speaker audio system with CD/DVD player.

With $925 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $86,975.  With an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 4.6-liter, 366 horsepower V8 gets an EPA estimated 16 miles per gallon city and 24 highway.

Our publisher and executive editor is right.  The Lexus LS 460 is the best luxury sedan on the market.  And Lexus has wisely tuned the F SPORT package for its flagship so that it enhances, rather than detracts from that.

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