A 1990 H-plate Lexus LS 400 passed by the other day and it gave pause for thought. Are there any cars on the road, apart from a Lexus, that can still retain their showroom looks after 20-plus years?
There are dozens of mollycoddled classics of course kept in dry-storage but they don’t count especially since they have had fortunes spent on them and only come out when the sun is shining. At a push you could say that the Mercedes SL of that period could qualify but there are enough tatty examples around to suggest that even the mighty Merc may not quite be as bullet-proof as a Lexus.
So in just over twenty years Lexus has established itself as a producer of the world’s best-built cars with a very large cupboard-full of silverware to prove it. And very modest they are about it too.
The LS model is currently in its fourth generation, known as the XF40, the latest incarnation of which is about to be launched in the UK with prices starting at £71995.
In spite of its towering build-quality the LS has never, from a design perspective, been likely to stir the loins of any car-buff.
In spite of its towering build-quality the LS has never, from a design perspective, been likely to stir the loins of any car-buff. It is conservative to the extreme and you can almost imagine the designer chappie being locked in a room full of images of the Mercedes Benz S-Class being told, in a polite Japanese way of course, to come up with a car that looks very much like it. Just don’t copy it.
However, each generation of the LS has seen a gradual progression from S-Class design cues to shades of BMW 7-Series, but interestingly getting ever closer to a larger version of their, better-looking, GS model.
The latest model will still satisfy the old LS die-hards who seek anonymity from their daily ride but it certainly looks a lot more individual than previous versions with its new ‘spindle’ front grille. This gives the car a much more aggressive ‘angry’ face that grabs attention which is a first for an LS.
There are three models in the new range: The LS 460 Luxury, LS 460 F Sport and LS 600h Premier priced from £71995 up to £99495. When you consider that whichever LS version you choose it will come with a standard specification that does not require an ‘options list’ then the car is very good value indeed. If you specify a new 7-Series, A8 or S-Class to the same level as the LS then make sure you leave enough space on your cheque book for six figures.
Lexus has pushed the envelope too this time by adding an F Sport version to the range. So the first time there is a ‘sporty’ LS to tempt those who like their Lexus to come with 19″ Alloys, Brembo brakes, sports suspension and a myriad of ‘F Sport’ goodies to spice up their life.
The whole LS range will feature a neat climate control system called ‘Climate Concierge’ that will heat or cool each individual occupant of the car by using infra-red sensors – spooky but very clever.
The LS 600h L Premier is even fitted with an ‘Advanced Pre-Crash Safety System with collision avoidance assist’. This is supposed to help you either avoid or lessen the impact of an accident should you find yourself in that unfortunate position. Since it is unlikely that this feature would not be part of a road test review we will just have to assume that the anti-crash system that works, erm, very well.
The 600h does is fact have one optional extra which is a night view system available at a cost of £1515. This includes a camera which will display night-vision images on a 12.3 inch display that will highlight hazards outside of the direct beam of the headlights. Presumably this is where the Advanced Pre-Crash Safety System comes in useful while the driver is staring at his night vision screen instead of keeping his eyes on the road ahead. Sorry Lexus, this is technology over-kill and just plain daft.
Lexus has not published any performance figures for the new LS range yet but with 328 bhp from the 4.6 litre V8 petrol powerplant and 439 bhp from the 5.0 litre V8 hybrid drive system the cars should perform more than adequately for the typical LS buyer.
The question is whether Lexus has done enough to tempt customers from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and of course Jaguar with their successful XJ.
Well if you are the sort of person looking for value for money, you like lots of toys in your car and more importantly you like to be a little different from everybody else then the answer has to be yes. You can also be assured that your LS will still look as good as new in twenty years time too!
See more at thecarspy.net
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