Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $29,500 – $92,500*

2008 Lexus LS

2008 Lexus LS

2008 Lexus LS

2008 Lexus LS

2008 Lexus LS

  • Acceleration
  • Control layout
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy

Gasoline-engine LS base prices when new started below those of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. Lexus’s top sedan is less sporty and more comfort-oriented than those German rivals, but this Best Buy is outstanding in its own right in terms of power, refinement, standard features, and available gadgets. The hybrid LS 600h L ranks as a technological tour-de-force for Lexus, but in its lofty price range, most European competitors offer the cachet of a V12 powertrain.


Lexus redesigned its flagship rear-wheel-drive, full-size sedan for 2007. In the process, the LS gained a long-wheelbase body style, more power, the industry’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, plus a host of high-tech features. Two models were offered: the regular-length LS 460, which was slightly longer and wider than the 2001-2006 version; and the LS 460 L, which added 4.8 inches of wheelbase and overall length.

A 380-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 replaced the prior 278-hp, 4.3-liter V8, prompting a model-designation change from LS 430 to LS 460. At the same time, the eight-speed automatic transmission supplanted a six-speed automatic. Front side airbags, curtain airbags, and front knee airbags were standard. Rear side airbags were optional. Antilock braking, traction/antiskid control, and steering-linked headlights also were standard. An air suspension with driver-selectable firmness was optional on the LS 460 L. A keyless entry and starting system with pocket transmitter was standard, too.

LS buyers had plenty of choices. Option groups included the base model’s Comfort Package, with heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rear power sunshade. The base model’s Comfort Plus Package added power rear seats, rear side airbags, and rear climate control. The LS 460 L could get a Rear Seat Upgrade Package that included a cooled rear console and four-zone climate control that reacted to occupants’ body temperature. Also offered on the LS 460 L was an Executive Class Seating Package that changed the seating configuration to four passengers and added a retractable table, DVD entertainment, and a reclining, massaging right-rear seat with a seat-cushion airbag. A Touring Package for the LS 460 L included uprated brakes, an air suspension, and 19-inch wheels.

Optional on the base model and standard on the LS 460 L was a navigation system with a rear backup camera and a wireless cell phone link. It could be ordered with a premium audio system, with a 15.9-gigabyte hard drive to hold music files. Lexus’s Pre-Collision Safety System was optional. Packaged with adaptive cruise control, it automatically tightened seatbelts and readied full braking power when sensors detected an imminent collision. Also available was Lexus’s Advanced Parking Guidance System, which provided hands-free parallel parking. Rivals included the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series,and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Yearly Updates

2008 LS
Not long after the appearance of the redesigned LS 460 and LS 460 L, a hybrid (gasoline/electric) version of the flagship sedan debuted as a 2008 model. Named LS 600h L, it came with all-wheel drive and a whopping $104,000 pricetag. The LS 600 L came with a 389-horspower, 5.0-liter V8 and two motor generators for a total output of 438 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) was used, and an air suspension was standard. So were the Rear Seat Upgrade Package and navigation system. The Executive Class Seating Package was optional. Also for 2008, the LS 460 L could get a suspension package, and the Touring Package added a sport-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension.
2009 LS
All-wheel drive was made available on all models for 2009; it remained standard on the hybrid LS 600 L, and became optional on the LS 460 and LS 460 L.
2010 LS
The 2010 Lexus LS lineup received freshened styling, some new features, and a performance-oriented Sport Package. Newly available for 2010 were a lane-departure warning system that alerts the driver and can correct the vehicle’s path if it drifts out of its lane. Also newly available were the Lexus Enform system with Safety Connect, an assistance system with convenience, safety, security, and emergency-response features. Available only on the rear-wheel-drive 460, the new-for-2010 Sport Package includes steering-wheel paddle shifters, sport-tuned air suspension, 19-inch wheels, Brembo-brand brakes, and unique trim.
2011 LS
The 2011 Lexus LS saw only minor trim changes following its modest model-year 2010 freshening.
2012 LS
The 2012 Lexus LS saw few changes.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The rear-drive LS 460 uses a 4.6-liter V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. A 5.0-liter V8 goes into the LS 600h L, which works with a hybrid (gasoline/electric) powertrain and continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive was made available on all models for 2009; it remained standard on the hybrid LS 600 L, and became optional on the LS 460 and LS 460 L.

dohc V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.6/281
Engine HP 380
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 367
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic


dohc V8/electric1
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/303
Engine HP 389
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 385
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic



1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Smooth, ample power arrives at any speed. A test base sedan took only a brisk 5.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. Lexus’ silky automatic transmission is generally responsive, but a deep stab on the throttle pedal is required to coax a downshift low enough for maximum acceleration. Because the hybrid-powertrain LS 600h L is heavier, it’s only slightly quicker than the gasoline-engine LS 460.

Fuel economy is unimpressive with a gasoline engine, but better in the city with the hybrid-though not necessarily better in highway driving. A test base sedan averaged 22.7 mpg in mostly highway driving, 15.1 mpg in a test that included gas-eating performance runs. A test LS 460 L averaged a thirsty 13.7 mpg in mostly city driving. Lexus requires premium-grade gasoline.

Ride comfort is a big bonus, but not perfect. The base suspension is pillowy on most surfaces, with noticeable highway float. The available air suspension’s Sport setting induces some body jiggle. Steering is light, though direct, and the turning circle is impressively tight. An LS is no sport sedan, of course. The base suspension permits marked body lean. So does the air suspension’s Comfort setting, and its Sport mode is slightly sharper overall.

Lexus’s Advanced Parking Guidance System is a marvel for parallel parking, and works as advertised, though not everyone is likely to use it much. It can also back the car into a parking-lot space, but that function takes too long to program.

One of the quietest cars around, an LS is nearly silent at idle. The engine emits a subdued growl under aggressive acceleration. Virtually no tire, road, or wind noise is noticeable.

Controls are mostly handy and logical. Lexus earns praise for foregoing a complicated central control system, and for keeping basic audio and climate controls separate from the navigation screen. Note that the premium audio system’s hard drive can download music files from CDs, though a USB port would make loading the hard drive a faster process. Test cars have exhibited top-quality materials with numerous soft-touch surfaces.

Spacious for adults, the front seat may be short of headroom for taller drivers. The power tilt and telescoping steering wheel and wide, supportive seats with multiple power adjustments make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Visibility is fine all around.

Adult-size roominess is evident in back, too, though foot space is tight with front seats pushed fully back in the standard-wheelbase model. The long-wheelbase sedan adds its length in useful rear legroom. Backseats blend fine support with soft padding. If installed, the Executive Seating Package combines upgraded leather with indulgent amenities, such as a massaging right-side seat and body-temperature sensors linked to the climate control. For some passengers, the Executive Seating Package’s leg rest can lift the occupant’s feet into the seat ahead. Also, note that with the leg rest extended, the front passenger seat cannot be occupied.

Cargo space is sufficient for most travel needs, but rear air conditioning trims trunk volume by a full 6.0 cubic feet. Trunklid hinges further steal useful space. In-cabin small-item storage is good.


Model Tested: 2007 LS 460 L w/Touring Pkg.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 8
Fuel Economy - 2
Ride Quality - 9
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 10


Controls/Materials - 9
Room/Comfort Front - 9
Room/Comfort Rear - 10
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 8

Total: 74


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
116.9 198.0 73.8 58.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
18.0 22.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.1 37.9 43.7 NA
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.7 202.8 73.8 58.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
18.0 22.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.0 37.9 43.7 NA
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.7 202.8 73.8 58.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 NA 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.0 38.0 NA NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: There may be a knocking or clicking noise, sometimes mistaken for ABS noise) when the brakes are applied unless the brake actuator assembly is replaced. (2007-10)
Description: The outside mirrors may vibrate unless the bolts inside the housing were replaced with shorter ones. (2007-09)
Description: The rearview mirror becomes discolored or appears to have lines in it for which an improved mirror is available. (2007-09)
Audio system
Description: Noise may come from the speakers when using an MP3 player, etc. plugged into the auxiliary power port and an improved port with electrical filters has been made available. (2008)
Steering noise
Description: Noise when the steering wheel is turned to full lock comes from the springs for which there are revised parts. (2007)
Description: The moonroof may not auto close requiring reinitialization. (2007-09)
Transmission problems
Description: The vehicle may not accelerate properly when the “brake hold” feature is activated requiring a new transmission control module. (2007)

Recall History

2009-10 LS460 and LS600 vehicles manufactured from August 20, 2009 through May 13, 2010
Description: A programming change of the steering control ECU for the variable gear ratio steering (VGRS) system can cause the steering wheel to become off-center up to 90 degrees. This may occur after the driver has fully turned the steering wheel in one direction then quickly attempts to turn it back to the center position. Should this occur while driving, the risk of a crash is increased. Toyota will notify owners and Lexus dealers will replace the steering control ECU free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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