EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 29, 2013

Lexus LS 460 offers all-season luxury

Winter is the best time of year to be pampered, and the Lexus LS 460 might be the best car for the job. The big, stately cruiser even looks the part, with a shape, stance, style and demeanor that make it the moving equivalent of a mansion staffed by butler and maids.

The four-door, five-passenger sedan starts with a list price of $73,050. But around here – after the last couple of weeks especially – drivers feel tempted to add the extra traction of all-wheel drive for an additional $2,945 on the base model. In standard trim, this flagship Lexus sedan uses rear-wheel drive, the common configuration for full-size cars in the luxury class.

You have to add even more to get the pampering that’s particularly appreciated in the Merrimack Valley, where our winters can make common life a hardship. The LS 460 I evaluated last week came with a $2,090 “Comfort Package” option that bundled together four extra features. The power-hinged trunk was nice. The power up-and-down back-window sunshade was an amusing distraction that could prove moderately useful in summer – or very useful to our neighbors in southern climates. But the big bonuses for us northern toughs were the package’s heated front and rear seats. The front seats also had dial settings to provide cooling ventilation, but who cares?

For an additional $110, my test model also included a heated wooden steering wheel. The wooden portions were glossy, thick arcs making up the top crescent and bottom sections of the wheel. The finely polished wood adds an aura of rich craftsmanship, and brings the authenticity of a natural material to the opulent Lexus. But who cares? I wanted the heat, which seeped luxuriously into my fingers from soft grips at the three-o’clock and nine-o’clock positions.

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