Stick Shift: 2014 Lexus LS460

By: Brandon Randall

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10 years ago, few would mesh the words ‘Japanese’ and ‘luxury’ in the same sentence. Rather, Germany dominated the fancy auto market with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi and why wouldn’t they? They’ve had time to develop into their leather-wrapped, gadget-heavy and shiny brands into what they are today. Though a little late, Lexus is an obvious heavy hitter in the plush-car game.

The 2014 LS460 reminds us why we love full-sized sedans; nestle into the soft, inviting cabin and you begin to see that the attention to detail and quality is borderline obsessive. When it comes to luxury cars, this is never a bad thing. The craftsmanship throughout is stunning. All of your senses are greeted with shiny, brilliantly illuminated things to see, soft, temperature adjusted things to touch, the smell of rich leather, the swirl and curve of natural wood grain seamlessly integrated with brushed aluminum trim. My model even came with the deeply impressive 19 speaker Mark Levinson sound system upgrade, which treated my ears to a wide range of studio quality sound.

The high resolution 12.3 inch screen with remote touch interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. With Lexus’ Enform subscription, the LS460 will even tell you about traffic, weather, stocks, sports, fuel prices and more. Back seats are roomy and fit for the occasions where you’d rather be chauffeured than doing the driving. There are more safety features than you could possibly remember. All there to help the car brake, turn, maintain traction and not swallow you in a ball of crushed metal and leather in the event of an accident.

The ride quality is perfectly quiet and comfortable. Dynamic chassis and suspension settings can be adjusted from Eco to comfort and Sport modes. While driving you get the sensation that you’re floating along, getting out and double checking at red lights that all four tires are still on the ground. Road noise is minimal. Any bump, crack or small animal barely registers thanks to the beautifully engineered air suspension.

Powering this large but nimble luxury sedan is a 4.6 liter, 386 horse power V8 engine paired to an 8-speed sequential automatic transmission. Gear changes are barely perceptible and power builds steadily and politely. This car really is the ultimate high-way cruiser.

The LS460 gives you seemingly endless quality and technology for the price. Compared to German luxury giants, the young automaker has proven itself as not just capable of hanging with the big three, but in many regards, beating them at their own game. And Lexus’ weapon of choice is the LS460.

Price as tested: $81,179.00

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