Never, say never. The minute you boldly stake claim in not doing something, karmic forces catapult you to insert your big fat foot-stuffed shoe in your mouth.
Five years ago, I scoffed at my newly graduated college friends purchasing four-doored sedans trying to act all growns up. As if buying a vehicle with an additional two doors represented the plight of a working man. Me? Hell, it was ride or die in a sport coupe till the bitter end-hence the five cars with a grand total of ten doors, no more no less. Whether they all run or have cup holders is another issue all together.
Fast forward. Now in my, sob, 30s, the prospect of owning a sedan has changed. When you're young and limber, leaning forward to scrunch your face on the steering wheel while reclining the seat forward to let additional passengers into the back was easy. Now, with osteoporosis settling in, I might as well be asked to perform a forward handspring. That and the possibility of owning a secondary car with an actual trunk, cup holder and-gasp-automatic transmission for my daily commute doesn't sound half bad. Try balancing an ice-cold Big Gulp in your numb crotch with a cell phone in your left hand while shifting with your right. I'm like a roadside IED ready to go off.
Enter the LS 460. Right off the bat, this car is pimp. Scratch that, capital P-I-M-P. Plush roomy leather interior with charcoal wood accents, more digital wizardry in the cabin than the Wachowski brothers, solid construction and more room than a Japanese business hotel-the car simply oozes elegance. Equipped with the Comfort Plus Package, the seats even have ass-conditioners! Sweaty leather-induced Murph's no more!
Another option worth mentioning is the Mark Levinson Premium Audio and Navigation upgrade. With intuitive steering wheel controls and a killer DVD/audio system, the LS 460 has got to be the sweetest stock system we've heard to date. Excellent high, mids and super-lows, we popped the trunk half-expecting to find amps and subs. And for the pocket-protector-type there's an internal hard drive to dump your favorite eight-bit Nintendo sound bytes. The navi is smooth with user friendly interface and sharp LCD screen. Artist of choice during our weekend adventure? Jim Jones-Ballin'!
The exterior is an extension of the Lexus L-finesse, corporate fancy talk for all of them looking alike. But calling an LS a glorified IS would be the understatement of the year. While it has styling cues from the Lexus familia, its silhouette and size command respect amongst it 7-Series and S-Class peers. Although we didn't get to test the LS 460 L-"L" designating 4.8 inches of longer goodness-the base LS is a big car that makes angular lines look smooth.
But don't let the huge size fool you, this big boy can run. Equipped with an all-new 4.6L V-8 engine boasting the world's first electric-motor driven Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and Electronically controlled intake cam (aka VVT-iE), it puts out 380 hp with 367 lb-ft of torque. And if that mega-long acronym didn't impress you, there's another world's first under this hood-an eight-speed automatic transmission. That's the mathematical equivalent of taking your Mom's old automatic Camry and multiplying it by two, only the LS is a whole lot cooler. Off the line, the hefty car is no slow sow, either. When the light turns green, you'll hit 60mph in 5.4 secs. Try that in your stock single cam Civic.
The suspension and ride of the LS won't win any Time Attacks, but you pick up chicks, not trophies, in this bad boy. Simply dump, body kit, rim up and enjoy. While the ride might be a little hard, it wasn't half as hard as turning the keys back to Lexus. It's a good thing it'd take three years of my Primedia pay to to put a down payment on the LS or I might have had to revoke my never-owning-a-sedan clause.
Choke, choke. Hear that? That's the sound of me gagging on my foot as I look up used LS 430 prices on the Internet.
That New Car Smell
'07 Lexus LS 460
The Sticker Starting at $61,000b
(LS 460), $71,000 (LS 460L)
Under The Hood 4.6L aluminum long block 32-valve V-8
The Power 380 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 36 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
Scale Tipping 4,244 lb (LS 460);
4,332 lb (LS 460 L)
Layout front engine, rear-wheel drive
Gearbox eight-speed sequential shift automatic
Stiff Stuff aluminum intensive multi-link, double joint
Rollers 18x7.5 aluminum alloy wheels, 235/50R18V tires
Stoppers power-assisted (ABS, ECB, VDIM) four-piston calipers (front), two-piston calipers (rear)
At The Pump Estimated EPA 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway (standard wheelbase)
The Pack Mercedes S550; BMW 750i; Infiniti M45
Deep Thoughts While most of us can't afford the LS 460, this car is the epitome of luxury. Matched with Toyota reliability, the LS is a front-runner in the flagship saloon market.