Lexus LS600h L - Comfort

By Jeremy Laird

Reviewed:

Summary

Comfort is what Lexus does best and the LS600h L is unquestionably the most salubrious member of its range. It's literally rammed with luxury-oriented features including four-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather, scores of vents and diffusers throughout the cabin, LED lighting and, of course, electric everything. Indeed, it's a measure of this car's luxury prowess that features like keyless go are little more than a given.

The 'L' model tested here also boasts a 120mm wheelbase extension, allowing more rear legroom as well as incorporating the optional Rear Seat Relaxation Pack. This equips the seat behind the front passenger with an airline-style reclining throne complete with an 'ottoman' foot and thigh rest. In fact, such is the priority placed upon this particular pew, it's possible to fold the front passenger seat completely out of the way at the flick of a single switch. But the really snazzy bit is the multi-function massage feature which Lexus says faithfully replicates techniques including Shiatsu and acupressure. We can't comment on how true that is. But we can say with confidence that 20 minutes of gentle pummelling courtesy of the leather recliner is an extremely pleasant experience.

Needless to say, overall refinement is beyond reasonable reproach. Drivetrain noises are supremely well suppressed with just a hint of V8 rumble penetrating the cabin under hard acceleration. Likewise, the ride quality with the switchable air dampers set to comfort eschews any pretence at 'Nurburgring' handling antics in favour of pillowy, unruffled progress. Frankly, that's as it should be in this sort of car. It's unlikely that rear seat passengers will arrive at their destination after a long journey in a more serene physical and mental state in any other car.

The driver has it pretty good too, what with the triple-memory-slot power seat, the effortlessness of the drivetrain and the soothing tones of the navigation system. That said, the driver would be well advised to restrict use of the hit-and-miss voice command system to a minimum. We doubt whether it's really any less effort or any safer to call out "lower temperature" than it is to hit a console button a couple of times. Especially if you have to shout it three times to get a response.

As for the overall fit and finish of the interior, it's nothing short of exemplary. It's also packed with numerous surprise and delight features such as sun blinds that slide effortlessly and silently out of both rear passenger doors and the rear window, and soft-closing doors. However, the cabin's actual material quality and ambience are less consistent. The quality of the leather which clads most surfaces including the seats and dashboard is outstanding. But the infotainment console suffers from a faintly late 90s Japanese Hi-Fi vibe. Similarly, Lexus has also done a stand up job of making genuine wood veneer look and feel like polished plastic. Ultimately, the overwhelming air of density and robustness found in the best German cars simply isn't present.

needlegun

March 26, 2009, 5:47 am

Drove the LS600h at the Lexus Open Road event - was surprised to find the dashboard creaked and buzzed in an 80 grand car. In the end the best thing about the car is that it looks (slightly) less like a barge than the previous model LS.

Keldon

March 26, 2009, 6:09 am

Unless im mistaken (a fair chance!) this was the car in tonight desperate housewives :p





Aside from the snazzy driver/safety aids the best thing is that flip down screen in the back and all the gubbins that go with it :D

Isaac Sarayiah

March 27, 2009, 1:40 am

why are you doing cars!!! Don't be silly.

Chocoa

March 27, 2009, 5:26 am

@Needlegun


That build quality issue surprised me too. I have tried other range variants and whilst ( In a TR context) they were stuffed full of kinds of current 'technologic'. Lexus have kind thrown the baby out with the bath water and largely forgot about the driving experience, for a 'bloated plutocrat' kinda ride comfort





@ Issac Sarayiah


Why not? - the site is Trusted Reviews - no mention of just 'living room' consumer desirables. I applaud the range extension. Providing of course, it /they stay true to the spirit of the site and not a version of Top Gear et al...

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