2008 Lexus LS


$10,344 - $10,723

2008 Lexus LS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Lexus LS was new.


Performance: 8.6

Both LS 460 trims come with a smooth and steady 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 380 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 367 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. But while the LS is great for long distance driving, it's not necessarily a performance machine, though it provides an impressive ride compared to other sedans in its class.

About.com says the LS 460 is brilliant whether you drive fast or slow, and the Detroit News adds that the LS is "meant to be driven, and driven hard. It will take all kinds of punishment without complaint, and will return many satisfying miles without leaving you drained and exhausted at the end of the journey." Kelley Blue Book says: "If you're looking for a world-class luxury sedan that bristles with technology and delivers a smooth, quiet, comfortable, safe and reliable ride, the 2008 Lexus LS 460 should be on your must-drive list"

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers agree that the V8's deliver ample power and pull this heavy sedan with plenty of acceleration.

Consumer Guide says the V8s deliver "[s]mooth, ample power at any speed." Cars.com says the engine "remains unobtrusive even on the highway, unless you open it up -- warn your passengers before you floor the gas pedal, though, because you'll throw them back in their seats; the acceleration is rather astonishing."

Automobile Magazine adds that during acceleration there's a "wonderfully subdued but distinct V-8 rumble, stripped of all extraneous elements." The New York Times says the engine "delivers the cruise-ship power expected in this class." Kelley Blue Book concludes that the "engine and transmission pairing also merits high operational marks for responsiveness and the confident feeling that there's always plenty in reserve for freeway passing or emergency maneuvers."

Some find the LS's acceleration more sedate, quoting it as a bit slow to deliver but still filled with authority. Car and Driver says the LS "jumps off the line but falls flat until the engine reaches the torque band at 3500 rpm." About.com says in spite of all the power, the LS 460 "accelerates like a 747; slow to get rolling."

The 2008 Lexus LS 460's base trim and L have an Environmental Protection Agency estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. A few comment that these numbers are impressive for such a heavy V8 sedan. CNET says the LS performs well and offers "amazingly good fuel economy" as a perk. About.com says that for a V8 luxury sedan, the LS 460 "boasts respectable mileage."

Both the LS 460 and the LS 460 L come with a smooth eight-shift sequential-shift automatic transmission that helps retain fuel efficiency and adds to acceleration. Reviews all agree that it's very good. The New York Times reports the "silken, sophisticated engine is joined to the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission, one-upping Mercedes's seven speeds. The gearbox shifts almost imperceptibly and helps the LS hum from 0 to 60 miles an hour in just 5.4 seconds." CNET reports that the eight-speed transmission is "not just excess, as this transmission is pretty smart. In our test driving, shifts were smooth, and most of the time not even noticeable."

Some find fault in the transmission in particular cases. Consumer Guide says the "[s]ilky automatic transmission is generally responsive, but a deep stab of the throttle is required to coax a downshift low enough for maximum acceleration." And the Detroit Free Press adds the transmission "was more problematic in deceleration and stop-and-go traffic."

Handling and Braking

The LS is a luxurious cruiser, delivering a soft and supple ride, especially with the longer wheelbase LS 460 L. As the Detroit News writes, the LS has "impeccable manners on all sorts of road surfaces." Motor Trend calls the LS "so quiet and dignified," and the Arizona Republic says "passengers may be impressed by the limousine ride, but the driver will miss any semblance of sporty response."

The base LS 460's front and rear suspension is an independent multi-link with shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. Many find the base suspension soft, but almost too soft, even for a luxurious smooth-riding sedan. Consumer Guide reports the base suspension is "pillowy on most surfaces with noticeable highway float." The Chicago Tribune says that the "soft ride will rock you to sleep."

Most commented on the LS 460 L's optional Air Suspension Package. This system fits the sedan with Variable Gear-Ratio Steering, and Adaptive Variable Air Suspension that is electronically controlled and helps add comfort to the ride by adjusting the damping rate. This additional feature makes for a supple and well-controlled ride and is worth the cost. Kelley Blue Book says: "While the suspension is far better suited to long-distance cruising than to attacking twisty back roads, it, too, places a premium on keeping things under control, ably assisted by the LS 460's well-sorted Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system." Automobile Magazine says this optional feature has "remarkable body control, with very little roll and no lurching as the car changes direction from right to left on a winding road, while the ride quality remains limousinelike." But, the Arizona Republic calls the settings "mushy, mushier and mushiest," finding the ride altogether too soft.

The 2008 LS 460 also comes with a light and direct electronic power steering system. The Detroit News says its "well-damped, yet provides good feedback and responses to driver inputs." Cars.com reports the sedan's steering wheel "spins freely with little hint of friction, and while the car goes where you point it, the emphasis here -- as with the car as a whole -- is on preventing the road from disturbing the driver, so feedback is minimal." Consumer Guide also adds that the LS 460's "turning circle is impressively tight."

Reviewers are confident that the four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes confidently stop the large LS 460. The Detroit News reports they're "simply sensational." The Detroit Free Press adds the "strong brakes and well-tuned ABS performed brilliantly in sudden stops from high speeds, however." Yet some disagree, criticizing the LS's brakes for being a bit touchy. Edmunds says: "In stop-and-go traffic, the electronically controlled four-wheel discs are grabby and abrupt and inserted a slight hiccup into an otherwise suave progression down the road." Cars.com writes "they aren't especially satisfying to use because they lack linearity," adding, "Smooth stops are possible if you're delicate with the pedal, but achieving them requires a lot of concentration."

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