The Lexus LS (sold as the Toyota Celsior in Japan) is a V8-powered, rear wheel drive luxury car that serves as the flagship of Toyota's luxury Lexus division. A length of almost five meters (200 in) gives the LS a "large car" classification in Europe as well as in the United States. According to reviews, the LS 400 has one of the most silent cabins among modern cars and is sometimes hailed as one of the most refined, well-engineered and technologically advanced vehicles in the high-end luxury car segment. As the LS's suspension is tuned primarily for ride comfort and isolation, the model is often accused of not being as sporty as German competitors such as the BMW 7 Series. The exterior design has also been referred to as being unexciting and ordinary, yet has superb fit-and-finish and one of the lowest drag coefficients of any sedan on the market.
- 1 First generation (UF10)
- 2 Second generation (UF20)
- 3 Third generation (UF30)
- 4 Fourth generation (UF40)
- 5 Technical Specifications
- 6 Future possibilities
- 7 Awards
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
First generation (UF10)
UF10 I (1989)
The UF10 I LS 400 was produced from 1989 to 1994. The model introduced the Lexus nameplate to the US, and soon after won critical acclaim, becoming Wheels magazine's Car of the Year and earning a place on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1990. The LS 400 was initially intended to be introduced as a standalone model for Lexus, but ultimately was sold alongside the ES 250, an entry-level luxury car that was based on the Toyota Camry.
UF10 II (1993)
For the 1993 model year, the LS 400 (now designated as the UF10 II) was introduced with larger brake rotors, standard passenger's side front airbags, larger wheels and tires, and numerous other upgrades.
Second generation (UF20)
UF20 III (1995)
Introduced in 1995, the UF20 III LS 400 was an evolutionary redesign of the LS and featured a new body that eliminated 300 lb from the previous car. The wheelbase was increased by 1.4 in, resulting in more interior and trunk space, yet the overall length of the car remained at 196.7 in. The durability of the brake system was improved as well.
The most noticeable cosmetic upgrades included a new front fascia with an increased gap between the headlights and grille, new headlights and taillights,
The interior received a minor redesign with a more modern dashboard layout and the center console receiving a slight facelift.
UF20 IV (1998)
For the 1998 model year, the UF20 IV LS 400 was introduced. New interior amenities included retractable rear headrests, wood accents on the leather-bound steering wheel and gear selector, and a navigation system with a concealed antenna. A new "jam protection system" for the vehicle's windows was designed to reduce the risk of possible injury by preventing the windows from closing if an object came in between the window and the door frame. Door window controls were also added to the vehicle remote control.
Exterior updates included new five spoke wheels as well as redesigned rear view mirrors that reduced the amount of wind noise. The automatic headlights were now equipped with a delay feature that allowed the headlights to remain on while the occupants exited the vehicle.
The revised LS 400 featured Toyota's new 290 hp VVT-i UZ engine mated to a smooth five-speed automatic transmission. The drivetrain improvements not only enabled the 3,890 lb sedan to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds but also improved the vehicle's fuel economy.
Third generation (UF30)
UF30 I (2001)
For 2001, the UF30 I LS 430 was introduced. While previous LS redesigns were evolutionary, the 2001 update was a more thorough update of the model's exterior and interior. The UF30 had a completely redesigned suspension and a brand new 4.3 L engine generating 290 hp (216 kW) and 320 ft•lbf (434 N•m) of torque. A three-inch wheelbase stretch resulted in more interior volume than the competing Mercedes-Benz S-Class and allowed the engine to be positioned farther rearward for better balance. Features such as Dynamic Laser Cruise Control, a DVD-based navigation system and heated & cooled seats became available. These and other features, such as sonar assisted parking, power rear seats with massage and a rear cooler were bundled in the 'Ultra Luxury Package.'
In the interior the most notable design changes included additional woodgrain trim on the dashboard and doors as well as the addition of an LCD screen on the center console. The exterior of the vehicle was completely new with the vehicle's dimensions increasing in terms of length and height.
UF30 II (2004)
The UF30 II was introduced in 2004. Lexus freshened the front & rear fascias and added as standard equipment previously optional features, such as a one-touch power moonroof, power rear sunshade, and lighted rear-seat vanity mirrors. Some features previously included in the Custom and Ultra Luxury packages became available separately. The transmission got an added sixth gear, and keyless 'smart access' and Bluetooth technology became optional, while a pre-collision system, similar to Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe, which used millimeter-wavelength radar to predict crashes and allow distance-aware cruise control, was added as an option. Other updates included different wheels, projector headlamps, and LED taillights.
The 2001 to 2006 LS 430 was the most reliable luxury sedan in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality survey, and the early models of this series were the most reliable cars in the survey. In later studies of defects after 3 years of ownership, the LS 430 is also at the top of the pack.
Fourth generation (UF40)
Introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, a redesigned LS will arrive for the 2007 model year. Based on the LF-Sh concept vehicle, the new LS will use either a 4.6 L V8 producing 380 hp (283 kW) and 370 ft•lbf (502 N•m) or a hybrid V8. An 8-speed automatic transmission will be the world's first. The car's complex electronic and safety systems have been shown in detail at the Geneva Motor Show in February, while the hybrid version had its debut at the New York Auto Show in April 2006.
New high-tech options on the LS 460 will include a 19-speaker "Reference Surround Sound System" with an 8 GB hard drive, front and rear climate-comfort seats, and a 4-zone climate control with an air purifier. A new automatic parking system with a push-button starting feature, as well as the 8-speed automatic transmission will both be standard features.
The 2007 LS will also mark the first time the car is sold under the Lexus marque in Japan — the Lexus brand was launched there in 2005 as part of Toyota's vision to make Lexus a 'global luxury brand.'
LS 460 L
For the first time, Lexus will offer two wheelbases. The base LS 460 will use the shorter 116.9 in (2969 mm) wheelbase, while the gasoline engine will also be offered as a long 121.7 in (3091 mm) wheelbase LS 460 L.
The LS 460L will also feature an optional rear seat comfort package. The package includes a reclining right-hand side rear seat with massage features. Both rear seats will feature an automatically operated footrest while an LCD screen will be an available option for the rear seat compartment.
LS 600h L
Lexus introduced the LS 600h L as the world's first V8-powered full hybrid to the audience at the 2006 New York Auto Show. Introduced only in long-wheelbase form (it will be available in other parts of the world in both wheelbases), the LS 600h L uses a 5.0 L V8 engine mated to a high-output electric motor with Nickel-Metal Hydride battery packs to generate a total of 430 hp (321 kW) which is comparable to the BMW 760Li's 438 hp (327 kW) V12. The LS 600h L will be available with an all-wheel drive system and a two-stage continuously variable (CVT) transmission. Lexus is also predicting the LS 600h will be certified as an SULEV vehicle. It claims the LS 600h is the most technologically advanced vehicle in the world.
More details such as curb weight, price (speculated to be in the region of $90,000) are yet to be released.
Advanced Safety Systems
At the same time the hybrid model debuts Lexus will offer its Advanced Pre Collision system, with such features as a driver monitoring camera (to sound an alarm if the system determines the driver's attention is needed), stereo video cameras and millimeter radar for advanced obstacle detection, pre-crash braking, and lane keeping assist, which nudges the car back in line if it strays from its intended lane on the highway. The system will also feature rearward-facing radar to detect impending rear collisions and prime the active headrests to reduce injury to passengers.
|Lexus LS 400/430 model years|
|Power||173 kW (250 hp)||186 kW (260 hp)||214 kW (290 hp)||214 kW (290 hp)|
|Torque||353 Nm (260 ft•lbf)@4400rpm||366 Nm (270 ft•lbf)@4500rpm||407 Nm (300 ft•lbf)@4000rpm||434 Nm (320 ft•lbf)@3400rpm|
Critics point out the absence of a range-topping V12 as another significant omission in the Lexus lineup. The closest competitors to the upcoming LS 460 such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class offer range-topping S600 and S65 AMG sedans with powerful V12 engines and prices exceeding US$120,000. For 2007, a gasoline-electric hybrid variant currently dubbed the LS 600h L (see above) will become available in the Lexus lineup and is expected to boost the esteem of the Lexus LS. Critics, however doubt whether Lexus will be able to command more than $12,000 premium over LS 460 L, thereby resulting in a MSRP in $80,000-85,000 range for LS600h L; still $15,000 short of the $100K ultra-luxury segment mark.
Rumors persist that a new and improved version of a Toyota V12 used in the Japanese Toyota Century will be upgraded to more than 500 hp (currently 280 hp) for the European and North American markets to more successfully compete in the ultra-luxury segment with the Mercedes-Benz S600 and BMW 760, but nothing concrete has been confirmed by Toyota.
The LS has received numerous awards since its introduction.
- The first-generation LS earned a place on place on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list and became Wheels magazine's Car of the Year.
- The LS 430 was judged as the "Finest Luxury Sedan In America" by Automotive Marketing Consultants, Inc. in a 2002 comparison test. Competing against ten other luxury models, including the Mercedes S500 and the BMW 750iL, the LS placed first in three out of seven categories: NVH, ergonomics, and utility. The LS 430 was also the quietest car in the comparison, with an idle reading of just 31.1 decibels in the front seat.
- Antony Leung, the former secretary of finance of Hong Kong, purchased an LS 430 just before implementing a new tax that would have cost him an additional HK$50,000. The scandal, known as "Lexusgate", led to his resignation.
- The third season of the popular BBC television program, Spooks, featured a number of Lexus LS vehicles as part of the brand's introduction in the British market.
- The 2005 J.D. Power initial quality study found just 90 problems per 100 LS vehicles, the first time in the study's 16 year history for a vehicle to have less than one problem per vehicle.
- Bill Gates owned a 1990 LS 400 in burgundy and subsequently donated it to the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School in Portland, Oregon in 1995.
- A Toyota Celsior is one of the cars driven in the racing arcade game and manga Wangan Midnight. The car, driven by Gen Sasaki (Gatchan), is often regarded as a joke due to the ricer features and Gatchan's reluctance to give his car more race features like removing excess weight and using garish bodykits.
- 1. Lexus LS competitors:
- 2. Advanced Safety in LS 460\
- 3. Lexus Ultra-Sedan
- 4. Lexus V12
- 5. 
- 6. [http://lexus.com/about/press_releases/popups/2002/pr_02_11_a.html Finest Sedan in the World]
- 7. Lexus_LS_430_Sport.S183.A7351.html Pricing
- 8. lexus_ls_600h_poor_mans_v12.html Lexus 600h: Poor Man's V12