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I've written my actual comment in response to the first opinion by kenjohn - Advantages: Individual, rather than a fashion statement, Far cheaper than a similar standard BMW or Mercedes!, The price compared to a similar standard BMW or Mercedes - Disadvantages: Bulky Front Headlights, Smaller boot compared to others in the same class
~ ~ When I write a car review, I generally try to give as balanced an opinion as possible in regard to a cars’ relative merits or failings. The problem I faced when sitting down to write this review of the new model Lexus LS430, from Japanese manufacturers Toyota, was to find ANYTHING bad, or even slightly negative, to say about it. ~ ~ I have a friend in the limousine business, which explains how I found myself invited along for the morning as he put one of these beauties through its paces on an extended test drive. To be driven in a car of this refinement and luxury is a rare experience, to be savoured and relived for months afterwards. ~ ~ This car is an upgraded version of the “old” Lexus LS400. The first thing that strikes you about the Lexus is the noise. Or rather, the absolute lack of it! Passengers and driver quite literally glide around in cocooned luxury. It has been given a major reworking, with a fresh and lively 4,293cc V8 engine with 32 valves, double twin camshafts, and 281bhp at only 5,600rpm. I should also mention that it is kitted out with Toyota’s wonderful VVTi or variable valve timing, a system which had humble beginnings in the “baby” Toyota, the highly popular Yaris, and is now fitted as standard to all the Toyota and Lexus line-up. VVTi does for the Lexus what it does for all Toyotas, ensuring an even spread of pulling power right through the rev range. Even though the engine is larger than its 4.0 litre predecessor, it is also considerably lighter and more fuel-efficient. Lighter equates to faster, with a quoted 0 to 100kmh or 62mph of a mere 6.7 seconds, and fuel economy is given as 23mpg, a very acceptable return from such a large engine. ~ ~ But what the Lexus LS430 is all about is sheer luxury, and letting you know it. That’s why there are air-conditioned front seats: the leather is “perforated” so the air can flow through it.
The climate control system is automatic, and even takes account of the changing position of the sun, not to mention where passengers are sitting in the car. New items included on the standard specification in comparison to the LS400 include a wood and leather steering wheel, the aforementioned air-con seats, a CD autoplayer positioned on the centre of the dash, electric sunshades for the rear window, rain-sensing wipers, and 17-inch wheels. About the only negative comment I can come up with about this magnificent car is to say that it could easily cause some people to part company with their driving license. At 80mph on a motorway it seemed to be moving at a slow crawl!! ~ ~ For just under £5,000 (Irish Punts) or so extra, you can go completely overboard and order the “President Package”. This is definitely for those with a driver sat up front. It offers an electrically adjustable rear seat and head rest with memory control, a cool box, rear independent climate control, two extra sound speakers, and, believe it or believe it not, a rear seat “massage” function. Other extra options include an air suspension system, a satellite navigation set-up, and an incredible “Mark Levinson” stereo system. ~ ~ Off course, you are expected to pay dearly for all this luxury, and the Lexus is by no stretch of the imagination cheap at a book price of £78,215. (Irish Punts) However, this compares very favourably with a Rolls Royce, Bentley or top-of-the-range BMW, all of which this car compares well against. ~ ~ An old song of Simon and Gurfunkel springs to mind, which sums up this car very well. “The Sound of Silence”. Copyright Ken J. (Dec 2000)