The original LS was a genuine industry shift for luxury cars. However, the latest versions of Lexus’s flagship sedan have arguably lost their premium edge and their bargain pricing. But sometimes, buying a used Lexus makes more sense than getting a brand-new one. And as YouTube team Throttle House explains, when it comes to the Lexus LS 500 and its LS 460 predecessor, you might be better off buying used.
2021 Lexus LS 500 vs. 2009 Lexus LS 460: how the luxury motivation game has changed
Given that the two luxury sedans in Throttle House’s latest video are separated by over a decade, they naturally have different equipment levels. And that includes their drivetrains.
The 2009 Lexus LS 460 in the video is an AWD model; RWD was standard. And under its hood is a 4.6-liter V8 rated at 380 hp and 367 lb-ft, linked to the world’s first production 8-speed automatic, Car and Driver reports. Given the LS 460 is designed around luxury and not performance, it’s not exactly fast. Still, its 0-60 mph time of 6 seconds is respectable. Plus, the V8 itself is “buttery” in its smoothness, MotorTrend reports.
The 2021 Lexus LS 500 is also a RWD-standard, AWD-optional sedan. However, instead of a naturally-aspirated V8, it offers a standard 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6, along with an optional hybrid powertrain. The V6 is rated at 416 hp and 442 lb-ft and is linked to a 10-speed automatic.
For 2021, Lexus tweaked the LS 500’s transmission tuning, MT reports. The automaker claims that in RWD trim, it goes 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, Car and Driver reports. Plus, Lexus also modified the sedan’s engine mounts, active noise cancellation, and seats to try and make the LS’s engine quieter, Car and Driver reports. Those efforts have definitely worked, Motor1 reports; the V6 is now “as powerful as it is refined.”
How the equipment compares
As we stated earlier, given the age gap, the 2021 Lexus LS 500 has more technology than the 2009 LS 460. But it’s not as large as you might think.
True, the 2021 Lexus LS 500 comes standard with Apple CarPlay, navigation, Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi, and a full ADAS suite, Car and Driver reports. And Lexus finally put in a touchscreen, a 12.3” one, along with Android Auto. Adaptive air suspension is also standard, but it’s also been modified for 2021—and the ride quality is “noticeably” better, Autoblog reports.
Plus, besides the optional pleated leather, there are optional hand-folded door fabric and cut-glass trim pieces handmade by Japanese takumi artisans. And if you get the Luxury Package, it adds rear-passenger touchscreens to control the audio and HVAC settings, MT reports. But while there’s an optional 360° camera system, the backup camera itself has rather poor resolution, Roadshow reports.
However, the 2009 Lexus LS 460 isn’t exactly barren. True, its parking-assist system is primitive compared to modern systems, Autoweek reports. But the 2009 sedan’s features list includes adjustable air suspension, heated front and rear seats, optional navigation, radar cruise control with pre-collision, and leather upholstery, Autoblog reports. And, like in the 2021 car, an optional Mark Levinson audio system. Plus, the AWD system has a standard limited-slip center differential.
What the 2009 Lexus LS 460 gives up in technology, it makes up for in smooth refinement
And once you’re on the road, the 2009 Lexus LS 460 doesn’t give up much compared to the 2021 LS 500, Throttle House reports. Both cars have comfortable seats and quiet interiors. Material and build quality are excellent, as are the ergonomics and ride comfort.
Admittedly, the 2021 LS’s interior has a bit more flair, and it has a bit less body roll in the corners. But the 2009 LS 460 has more rear headroom and legroom. And while it has fewer screens, the physical controls are arguably more intuitive. The older V8 is less fuel-efficient, but because of its low-end torque, there’s a smoother, more effortless sense of acceleration.
Lexus had some quality issues with the 2007 LS 460, to be fair. But these had largely disappeared by 2009, CarComplaints reports. And it’s worth pointing out that Consumer Reports considers pre-2018 LS models to be more reliable than 2018-and-later ones.
Plus, there’s the price gap.
The used car is a genuine bargain
The 2021 Lexus LS 500 starts at $76,000. But the car in Throttle House’s video was optioned up to the equivalent of $110,000. In contrast, the 2009 LS 460 in the video is currently listed for sale for the equivalent of $8600. That’s not a typo: the used LS is less than 1/10th of the price of the new car. And even the most expensive LS 460s from this period typically cost less than $21k, Autotrader reports.
Once you consider the savings, the used Lexus LS becomes even more of a bargain. Yes, it means losing out on the latest infotainment and ADAS features like blind-spot monitoring. But if you’re looking for a reliable, refined luxury sedan, it’s a hard deal to ignore.
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