There is also an Eco mode, activated by a button placed on the left of the dashboard. An optional Pre-Collision System is bundled with the advanced cruise control; Cars. Response is excellent, as braking is quick without being jarring. The interface let us browse our iPod's music library with the usual artist, album, and genre categories, but it was very sluggish. The Sport package makes the vehicle more exciting, and a lot more fun to drive. However, it steers well and corners surprisingly flat, thanks to the three modes-Comfort, Power, and Sport-that afford different ranges of response for the throttle, steering, and suspension. Although the navigation system stores its maps on a hard drive, there is no onboard music library for the car.
The stereo itself gave us a reasonable number of choices for audio sources. Navigation system maps are easy to read, but they have not changed much in the last five years. Lexus claims a 0-60 mph time of 5. This problem may have been more because of the iPhone being overtaxed, as we did not encounter this problem with an iPod Touch. The interior features black leather seating with tan accents, dark brown ash burl wood trim and a unique-to-the-Sport Package heated leather steering wheel, while the front seats have improved lateral support.
Its air suspension offers a Sport mode, which noticeably roughens the ride and keeps it from horrible wallowing. Though it keeps the body under control, we noted the summer tires, rubber courtesy of the sport package, were more than willing to lose grip on dry pavement. Hitting it detunes acceleration, but we did not notice much change in the instantaneous fuel economy meter. Long-wheelbase cars have exceptionally controlled, smooth rides even in the air suspension's stiffest mode. This is the first Lexus on the market where the wood in this case dark brown ash burl wood has a matte finish, a look that we'd like to see in more of the company's vehicles. But the expected jolt did not come, the suspension absorbing the seismic shift and keeping it out of the cabin. Traffic information is integrated with this navigation system.
Bass came through strongly without being overpowering or rattling door panels. It delivers excellent instrumental detail over a wide stage. Lexus claims a 0-60 mph run of 5. The gearbox has to make lots of choices and lots of gear changes, so it can seem indecisive-but with the paddle controls fitted to Sport models, it's an obedient piece. Also unique are the sport seats in front, which are comfortable on the highway, yet provide terrific bolstering and support in turns. The Sport Package can be distinguished by its lower front air dam, side skirts, a dark grille and 19-in.
We were also impressed with the ease of entering an address through voice command, as the system understood our standard test address street, Tehama, a name that usually trips up voice recognition. The sports scores and stock prices are nice new features, and well-designed to avoid driver distraction. Although we like the audio system quite a bit, the rest of the cabin electronics do not raise the bar. We got used to touching the scroll button, looking back to the road for a bit, then returning attention to the screen. It changes gears gently but decisively, preserving the car's luxury character. A sport-tuned suspension couldn't make up for the heavy nose's understeer.
The Bad The iPod interface is very sluggish. During playback, we heard frequent pops, ruining the listening experience. In addition, it provides rev-matching throttle blips when downshifting. Let's talk about the gas-only models first. The Mark Levinson audio system produces excellent sound quality.
Direct injection--along with the eight gears in the transmission--contributes to decent fuel economy. We watched the formation of four jets fly low over the bay, but heard barely a whisper from inside the car. Scrolling down the alphabetical list, each new screen took equally long to load. The gasoline V-8 makes 389 horsepower on its own, but altogether the system achieves 438 horsepower. For the 2010 model year, Lexus added its Enform telematics service to the navigation system, giving users the option of calling an operator through the navigation interface and requesting an address lookup. A green light on the instrument cluster lets you know when you are driving economically. Rear-seat side airbags are available.
The system issues a vocal warning if traffic is running between 20 and 40 mph, and dynamically changes the route if traffic is slower than 20 mph. We particularly like the way Lexus insets the rear pipes in the body molding, something many other automakers have since copied. And the difference is noticeable. Lexus does not offer driver assistance features such as blind-spot detection and adaptive cruise control. Standard features include front side airbags, dual front knee bags, full-length side-curtain bags, and active headrests. The transmission lacks a Sport mode, though, and will not automatically hang onto low gears as you kick it through a turn. Lexus claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.