In the high-end category of cars, builders (and buyers) become specialists. The larger the check that is given and received, the more specialized the appointments. If luxury is what you want, then componentry covered in Alcantara and dermatologist-approved mammal hides may be on the list. If power reigns supreme, then triple-digit numbers achieved via the use of space-age materials should appear on the spec sheet.
As mentioned in AutoAcademics’ video review of the 2013 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT last year, this version of the F SPORT aims to offer the best of both worlds – luxury and power. And AutoAcademics was tasked at finding out whether or not it succeeded.
This time around, we had the opportunity to test the 2014 model. Although virtually nothing has changed from the previous year, we’ll share with you the details that make the F SPORT different from the standard LS. 19” forged-alloy wheels and summer tires, specially tuned and lowered Adaptive Variable Air Suspension, 14.8-in Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers, and a limited-slip rear differential cover performance. F SPORT specific front bumper, grille inserts, and L.E.D. foglamps represent the aesthetic.
Other options on our tester included a Mark Levinson 19-speaker stereo, F Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. The Comfort Package includes climate-controlled front seats, power rear sunshade, and power trunk open and close. Finally, the Accessory Package includes trunk mat, cargo net, and wheel locks. In all, there was over $12,000 in options added to this car for a grand total of $85,390.
Under the hood, the 2014 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT has the same 4.6L V8 engine that makes 386-hp and 367 lb.-ft. of torque as the previous year. This engine is mated to an 8-speed sequential shift automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels.
0-60 mph is achieved in 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. Estimated fuel economy is 16 city/24 highway with a combined average of 19 mpg on premium fuel. AutoAcademics saw an average fuel economy of 20.3 mpg during testing.
Outside, the blacked out spindle-shaped grille immediately catches your attention, as do the rear diffuser and integrated dual exhaust. The 19” wheels add style and there’s just enough “F SPORT” badging to let on that something is special about this car. Although L.E.D. headlamps are optional, our tester made due with the high intensity discharge bi-xenon standards, which look coolest of all when they are off because this Lexus has some of the best L.E.D. daytime running lamps this side of Audi (or maybe even BMW’s halo rings).
Now, while the outside is impressive, inside is where owners will spend most of their time. And this is exactly what we attempted to do.
From a technology standpoint, our LS had everything from active safety technology, to a myriad of airbags, to the very nice sounding 19-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system.
A 12.3-in high resolution screen with remote touch interface can show any combination of navigation, climate or media in a split configuration or just show one specific feature across the entire screen. The remote touch interface (i.e.- mouse) requires some fine motor skill practice, but works decent enough. Thankfully, there are redundant physical buttons to carry out some of the more basic, but necessary commands.
The rear seats are wide, comfortable and supportive; exactly what you would expect from a sporty version of the LS. Tons of leg- and shoulder room make this a pleasantly functional environment for rear passengers, both in and out of car seats. But no matter how comfortable the rear section of the LS’s cabin may be, this car is not intended for livery duties. Owners want to drive it.
Power delivery is smooth and to the point, with a gentle throttle tip-in that crescendos with the extension of your toes, similar to a philharmonic orchestra at the raise of its conductor’s baton.
The paddle shifters behind the F SPORT steering wheel allow greater control over the 8-speed sequential shift transmission and gear changes are never BANG BANG harsh as in some other popular sport sedans. This car is still a Lexus.
Obviously, the LS is no featherweight, yet proper componentry has been used to embolden athleticism in this 2-1/2 ton vehicle. First, there are 14.8-in, six-piston front Brembo brakes and 13.1-in, two-piston rear brakes to retard momentum rapidly. The initial bite is rather strong, requiring more attention than our caveman inputs allowed. Once engaged, however, modulation is less of a chore.
The other notable component is the suspension. It is F SPORT-tuned and lowered in comparison to the standard LS and has air springs and electronically controlled shock absorbers at each corner. Three driver controlled settings adjust from Comfort to Normal to Sport+, with each incrementally increasing in firmness. Comfort is perfect for the Lexus-like ride, yet AutoAcademics’ favorite, Sport+, never punishes you for choosing it.
Overall, we still feel the same way about the 2014 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT as we did the 2013 model. It continues to renew our confidence in the brand and its current sporting direction. Make no mistake, this is not a hardcore sport sedan by today’s definition, but it offers plenty of style and driving enjoyment, without losing any of its Lexus appeal.
Contact www.autoacademics.net for more info or to schedule a test drive near you.
Check out AutoAcademics’ video review of the 2013 Lexus LS 460 F SPORT below.