Lexus has launched all-wheel drive (AWD) versions of its flagship luxury sedan, the LS460 and long-wheelbase LS460 L, in the US.

The 2009 model year LS460 is the fourth in the US to offer AWD after the IS250, GS350 and hybrid LS600h L.

The AWD LS460 has a drivetrain almost identical to the hybrid LS600h L with compact centre Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD) to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels.

In normal driving, the front/rear distribution ratio is set at a rear-biased 40:60, but it can instantly and optimally vary between 30:70 and 50:50 depending on driving conditions.

The AWD cars have a 4.6-litre V8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, identical to their rear-wheel drive equivalent. The AWD versions have 357 horsepower and 344lb ft of torque and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

Both AWD versions  come standard with air suspension, variable gear-ratio steering (VGRS), and adaptive variable suspension (AVS).

They also have 18-inch wheels with all-season tyres, a wood and leather-trimmed heated steering wheel and power rear sunshade.

First cars reach dealerships next month.