Despite a "thermo-nuclear product war," Jim Press, President and COO, Toyota Motor Sales, North America described the fourth-generation 2007 Lexus LS 460 as fully worthy of competing head-to-head with the best prestige luxury sedans of the world and the "crowning touch" of Lexus's fully rejuvenated car lineup. Now, 17 years after the original LS was unveiled in Detroit at the North American International Auto, Toyota's luxury division has fully redesigned its flagship LS 460 in two versions for the U.S. market, including a 203-inch long-wheelbase model. A hybrid LS 600 will be unveiled at the upcoming New York Auto Show. The sleek and bold rear-drive sedan, styled under a new design direction called L-Finesse, was revealed at the 2006 NAIAS before an audience of thousands of automotive writers, who laughed and showed approval when Press listed the new model's upscale accoutrements that include real-time traffic updates on a navigation screen and a Mark Levinson Surround Sound System with 19 speakers and a built-in hard-disk audio server which holds 4,000 songs. "It will take you three years to hear all your favorite songs," teased Press. Additionally, the new 2007 Lexus LS 460, which is now started by a 'smart card', is so smart it can park itself, using the car's Intelligent Park Assist system that requires "pushing a button..and a little brake work." The 2007 Lexus LS 460 arrived on-stage under an enclosure constructed with champagne glasses designed to resemble an ice house. Lexus's Press raised a symbolic glass to toast the redesigned luxury sedan's "startling performance" with its "world's-first " eight-speed automatic transmission. Powered by an all-new 4.6-liter V8 that will produce 380 horsepower and 370 lb.-ft. of torque, the new model will travel from zero to sixty in 5.5 seconds. The Toyota-owned luxury brand, renowned for ride and construction quality, also debuts a rear-seat ottoman package, with a right-side seat that reclines up to 45 degrees and has an adjustable leg rest and massager. Lexus has also emboldened the exterior design, flaring and widening the wheel wells, pulling the roofline back, eliminating the door moldings, strengthening the sheetmetal's convex/concave intersections, and raising the tail end. Super sophisticated equipment including adaptive radar cruise control, a lane departure warning system, and infrared night vision technology are also available on the new 2007 Lexus LS 460.
Photos by Ron Perry