Steve Parker Motoring / The Car Nut

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October 08, 2006

2007 LEXUS LS 460. $61,000, ON-SALE THIS WEEK — NOT PRICEY ENOUGH? HYBRID VERSION WILL BE $100K

A long time ago I went to the first Acura press conference/announcement. The big question? Would Americans spend as much as $20,000 for a Japanese car. The answer?

Some 20 years after that first Acura intro, Toyota’s luxury division announces their new 2007 Lexus LS 460 is priced at $61,000. The long-wheelbase iteration is $71K. The car goes on-sale October 20th — The hybrid version, which might be available by Spring of 2007, is slated for near $100,000, putting it smack up against a decked-out S-class Mercedes or 7-series BMW. (Photo: 2007 Lexus LS 460L).

For the latest info, here’s the (abridged) press release from Lexus (remember, ignore the hype and read it for the details):


The fourth-generation LS blends new levels of performance, sophistication, contemporary styling, and luxury refinements while redefining the full-size luxury-sedan segment. With a base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $61,000 for the LS 460 and $71,000 for the LS 460 L, Lexus’ new flagship luxury sedans will represent a compelling value in their segments.

The new LS achieves a segment-leading combination of acceleration performance and excellent fuel consumption with an all-new 4.6-liter V8 engine mated to the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine, Lexus’ first all-new V8 since the brand’s launch, produces 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. It features Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and the world’s first Electronically controlled intake cam (VVT-iE).

The LS 460 will travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in approximately 5.4 seconds while achieving an estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, 18 city/27 highway for the LS 460 L, by the EPA testing method. The LS sedans also achieve an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEV II) rating.

In an effort to create a more intelligent vehicle, Lexus has combined advanced active and passive safety technology into a consolidated system. Among the new active features on the LS is the next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability system, which integrates and manages a new Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.

The driver can also choose to completely disable the VSC system via a console-mounted button. In addition to the active safety features, the new LS has eight standard airbags, including a twin-chamber front passenger airbag with both driver and passenger knee airbags, and a potential of ten airbags with option packages.

Both LS models include a number of standard luxury features including SmartAccess keyless entry with push-button start/stop, an electronic parking brake, a 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system, 18-inch nine-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, and seven new exterior colors. The paint is applied by a new proprietary paint process that includes double hand sanding.

Optional comfort and convenience attributes on the LS include a pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control, Lexus Link(R), and Intuitive Park Assist.

The long-wheelbase LS 460 L brings with it 4.8 inches of additional space and a long list of outstanding standard conveniences, including fifth-generation Lexus Navigation with factory-installed XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, a new heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, a new one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, headlamp washers, and laminated side glass, which is exclusive to the long wheelbase.

Suzuki Mini Free MF1
Suzuki Mini Free MF1

The new navigation system includes a hard disk drive (HDD) for faster calculations. The HDD can also store as many as 2,000 digital songs when partnered with the optional Mark Levinson(R) Reference Surround Sound system. The specially developed 19-speaker, 450-watt discrete 5.1 Mark Levinson(R) audio system creates a new benchmark for automotive sound with its theater-level entertainment experience.

The Executive Class Seating Package offered on the LS 460 L includes a rear-seat entertainment system featuring the world’s first ceiling-mounted 3.0 VGA high-quality display with a nine-inch screen that operates with an electronic-motor open/close function. It also incorporates a right rear-seat recliner with multifunction massage and an ottoman leg rest, a four-zone independent front and rear air conditioning system with air purification and the world’s first ceiling climate diffusers, rear-door power sunshades, and a fixed rear console with foldout table.

The all-new LS sedans offer the Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) as an option to assist with parallel and back-in parking. With this optional technology, once the driver has correctly positioned the car and identified the desired parking spot via the nav screen, APGS utilizes the back-up camera, parking sonar sensors and electric power steering system to automatically guide the car into the spot, while the driver controls speed via braking.

The all-new LS 460 and LS 460 L both come with a standard 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles and a special 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty unique to both Lexus and the luxury segment.

HYBRID VERSION

Lexus showed us their hybrid version of the all-new LS (dubbed LS 600h) at the TOKYO MOTOR SHOW in October of 2005. The car was also shown at the NY Auto Show in April, 2006. The car is expected to cost $100,000. Scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007, it will be the world’s first vehicle of any class or category to feature a full hybrid V8 powertrain.

The LS 600h will combine an all-new five-liter V8 gas engine with combined massive, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack. It will deliver a peak, combined output of more than 430 horsepower. As a SULEV-rated (Super Low Emissions) vehicle, LS600h is estimated to produce just 20 per cent of the smog-forming emissions of a conventional five-litre V8.

Power is delivered to the wheels via a 2-stage ECVT transmission. It also had the first LED front headlights of any production vehicle when it was first shown, but the Audi R8 seems to have beat Lexus to market with the first LED lamps front and rear.

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