Luxury meets technology in the 2010 Lexus LS 460, featuring innovative modern conveniences and a smooth drive train

Ted LaturnusFourteen years on, let’s look at Lexus’s first self-parking car: the 2010 Lexus LS 460.

Available in two wheelbase sizes, with optional all-wheel-drive, it featured two versions of Lexus’s 4.6-litre V8 engine, and the transmission was an eight-speed automatic with manual shift mode.

Whatever you chose, you were getting one of the smoothest and most usable drive trains in the industry. Fuel economy, if it mattered, was 12.9 litres/100 km in town and 8.2 on the highway for the base model.

The good news is that the LS 460 was not affected by Toyota/Lexus’s massive sticky gas pedal recall, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an advisory.

If you were partial to fancy automotive modern conveniences and technological refinements, the LS 460 was heaven on earth. You could get things like a heated steering wheel, four-zone heating and ventilation, full leather, automatically adjusting headlights, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a DVD navigation system, backup camera, headlight washers, electronic rear window shade, and on and on. It even came with a first-aid kit.

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This was also the famed self-parking Lexus. But unless you like to fiddle with gadgets for their own sake, I found that parallel parking using this feature took too much time, was too fussy, held up traffic, and the thrill wore off in a hurry. It was actually faster to park without it.

The Sport version of the LS 460 came with extras, including upgraded disc brakes, sport-tuned suspension, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the transmission, and adaptive cruise control.

But the 2010 Lexus LS 460 was, first and foremost, a luxury saloon and not really aimed at high-performance enthusiasts. That said, it’d go from zero to 100 km/h in about six seconds. 

As a luxury sedan, the LS 460 ticked all the boxes. It had an imposing presence, pampered its occupants, featured more than enough power, felt luxurious inside and was a pleasure to drive in almost every way.

Transport Canada and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. had one recall on file for this vintage of the LS 460. It concerns the steering system control unit, which could malfunction and cause the steering wheel to be off-centre by up to 90 degrees, possibly resulting in loss of control and maybe even a crash. Consumer Reports says: “It may occur after the driver fully turns the steering wheel in one direction and then quickly attempts to turn it back to the centre position.”

NHTSA also had six technical service bulletins for the 2010 LS460, one of which was a precautionary advisory to check out the aforementioned accelerator pedal sensor malfunction.

Other bulletins included a glitchy cooling fan motor that could stop working, steering that pulls to one side, and a knocking or clicking noise coming from the brakes when they’re applied. This last item could be a faulty actuator.

Complaints from owners included having to replace faulty front wheel bearings, experiencing an overpowering smell of fuel after a fill-up, a surprising number of issues with the steering mechanism, and my personal favourite: “While driving approximately five mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated independently until crashing into a post. The contact was not injured.” Some eight complaints in all here.

Consumer Reports liked this one. It said: “The Lexus LS 460 is a sedate, majestic freeway cruiser that glides comfortably over bumps and is filled with luxury features.”

CR gave the 2010 LS 460 top marks in just about every category, except for minor quibbles with the audio system and suspension/brakes. Enough to rate a “Good Bet” designation.

Comments from owners: “ Silence, comfortable ride,” “A great car with little or no noise from the outside world,” and “Highly recommend this car if you are in the market for a higher-end auto.”

Marketing researcher J.D. Power was less enthusiastic, giving the 2010 Lexus LS 460 high marks for overall mechanical, body, and interior quality but a rather surprising average grade for overall performance and design.

2010 Lexus LS 460

Original base price: $82,900
Engine: 4.6-litre V8
Horsepower/torque: 357 and 380 horsepower 367 foot pounds
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.9 city/8.2 highway, with premium gas
Alternatives: Mercedes S-class, Audi A8, BMW 750i, Porsche Panamera, Infiniti M-series, Maserati Quattroporte.

Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976; he has been named Canadian Automotive Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

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