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One of the most endearing qualities about many luxury automobiles is the ease of handling. The great ones drive smooth and effortlessly as if you’re merely along for the ride.

And that’s always the feeling that overcomes me when getting behind the wheel of a Lexus LS 460. There’s no second guessing that this is indeed a luxury sedan. It looks the part, very regal and refined, but it’s the magnificent handling that that makes any driver or passenger feel truly indulged.

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The 2012 Lexus LS 460 is rated among the quietest vehicles on the market. There’s barely an audible sound when the ignition start button (no key required) is engaged and only a faint hum when one aggressively hits the gas. Forget about road, tire and wind noise – they are practically nonexistent.

Driving the LS 460 requires no great exertion. The steering is extremely precise and responsive, whether one is driving on the freeway or executing a challenging tight turn that causes most vehicles to temporarily lose their solid grip on the road.

The superior handling also makes the LS 460 easy to maneuver for parking. And if one needs to parallel park, there is a built-in feature (parking guidance system) that will do it for you. How cool is that!

2012 Lexus LS 460

  • Performance: 4.6-liter, V8, 380 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 16-24 mpg
  • Price: $67,130
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles

When introduced more than two decades ago by parent company Toyota, the Lexus brand was launched to compete with well heeled German luxury vehicles. Lexus was popular almost immediately, producing highly reliable, classy vehicles like the LS model that could not only compete well, but were offered at a lower price.

Some 20 years later, nothing has changed in regards to costs. At $67,130 for this year’s model, the LS 460 is still beating many competitors in the sticker price wars. Besides the first-class ride, this large luxury sedan also delivers tremendous performance, has a ton of standard features, and possesses an exterior elegance that two years ago was enhanced by a wider grille and a few other changes in a mild redesign.

The rear-wheel drive LS 460 is considered one of the finest sedans in a very competitive premium luxury class. It doesn’t take long to call roll in this class, only the Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, Jaguar XL and the BMW 7 series match up with Lexus’ flagship sedan.

Most of those rivals can’t match the LS 460 in price. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class ($94,500), Audi A8 ($78,750), Jaguar XJ ($73,700) and BMW 7 series ($71,000) are all priced higher.

Only the up-and-coming Hyundai Equus ($59,000) can be purchased at a lower price. However, right now the Equus remains a small notch below the LS 460 and these other heavy hitters because its interior is not as luxurious and performance isn’t as robust.

Speaking of performance, the LS 460 delivers quite a bit of power. This 4.6-liter, V8 produces 380 horsepower and accelerates from 0-60 mpg in 6.4 seconds. Although it’s pretty darn quick, the LS 460 actually lags behind some rivals by nearly a second when traveling from 0-60 mpg.

One knock against this Lexus sedan is the braking. The brakes can be a bit grabby when stopping quickly at higher speeds.

The LS 460 interior features numerous technological gadgetry, although some might argue not enough. The feeling here is less is better because these controls are easy to master, thanks to their intuitive nature. Leg and head room are exceptional for all occupants in the LS 460, which delivers terrific comfort and sizable trunk space as well.

The flagship Lexus LS 460 sedan remains a great buy thanks to its refinement, cost, performance, comfort, and of course its effortless driving capability.

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