Toyota is a global brand but it suffers an image crisis when it wants to sell luxury or premium cars. The brand is known as a manufacturer of good reliable and cost effective cars which doesn’t entice clients that are interested in higher end cars. Exclusivity is what gives luxury brands their power. For Toyota they were faced with a conundrum and the Lexus was born a brand for which Toyota could express itself in a more extravagant manner. The first car to be made from the Japanese automaker was the Lexus LS, which was met with strong sales.
What’s in a Name?
The initials LS stand for “Luxury Sedan,” however there are dealers that use the bacronym “Luxury Saloon.”
The story of the first ever LS goes all the way back to 1983 where the Toyota manager Eiji Toyoda challenged his company to build the world’s best car. This gave birth to the codenamed F1 (Flagship 1) project, which took five years to develop at a cost of $ 1 billion. It was unveiled in 1989 and was named the LS 400. The car was meant to expand the Toyota brand in the premium car segment, and it did just that with its V8 engine that was such a joy at the time. This was done hot on the trails of Honda which had launched its premium brand Acura.
The Current Model
The Lexus LS 460 is the fourth generation and the current model of the Lexus flagship car. Work on the XF40 as it was codenamed had started way back in 2001, and it finally got unveiled in the January 2006 North American International Auto Show.
The LS 460 has a couple of models that you can use, these are:
- LS 460
- LS460 AWD
- LS 460 L
- LS 460 L AWD
- LS 600H
Note that the L is for the long wheelbase version. All cars are rear wheel drive except for those that have been indicated as AWD (All Wheel Drive). Finally, the H is for Hybrid.
A V8 is the source of power for the LS 460 range. The V8 produces 386 hp as a rear wheel drive and 360 hp as an all-wheel drive. However if you are going for ultimate power the LS 600H is going to give you that electric boost to 438 hp.
When you enter the cabin you have climate control and a central knob to change the driving mode of the car. As for entertainment you’ll be able to use the LEXUS ENFORM® system. As for the leather upholstery its quite well trimmed and exquisite.
The car’s front fascia looks a little bit like the Toyota Corolla. The guys who are trying to differentiate the brand aren’t going to be too pleased with that assessment. However, the grille especially has me second guessing. However, all in all it’s a beautiful car well worthy of its status.
When it comes to Lexus, Toyota have managed to transfer their reputation for reliability and efficiency into a more exclusive package. The Lexus LS is competing with the three German giants that’s Mercedes Benz S Class, Audi A8 and the BMW 7-Series. Now that is a tall order considering the innovations this other cars are springing up each model year. Eiji’s challenge to build the world’s best car is far from realized when the S-Class seeming to have that title locked down for what seems eons now. However, he would have been proud that Lexus found a way to merge Japanese reliability and Eurpean luxury into a winning formula.
This is a Toyota that you are going to have to start budgeting from $ 73,470.
Has Lexus as a brand imposed its image into the minds of car aficionados or are they chasing the wind? Have your say leave a comment.
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- Audi A8: The Current Reigning Best Full Luxury Sedan