Autocar Drives 20-year-old Lexus LS 400

Lexus LS 400

In a nod to their 20th anniversary in the UK, Lexus put automotive journalists behind the wheel of an old LS 400 at the annual Society of Motor Manufacturers Test day.

Purchased off eBay, the LS 400 had 103,000 miles on the odometer and still plenty of life — here’s a quick review from Autocar:

[…]yacht-hits-swell body-roll and steering that simultaneously fascinates and alarms with its level of tactile disconnection made for plenty of torrid amusement through the bends, further enhanced by quite pronounced line-tightening on throttle lift-off that I don’t remember when they were new.

The man from Lexus reckoned it needed some new wishbone bushes and attention to the steering gear. But there appeared to be little else wrong with this car, which was rattle-free, calmingly quiet and convincingly pulled by its fabulously smooth 242bhp 4.0 V8.

As a LS 400 owner (110,000 miles), I’m remorselessly bias toward this vehicle — it’s an absolute classic and a luxury car milestone.

[Source: Autocar Photo: Richard Aucock]


  1. All of those are babies compared to my dad's LS which as over 200,000 miles on it.
  2. It's amazing how far the LS has come in just 20 years. (Posted from
  3. RDS

    Honestly , I really love the looks of LS400 compare with the new LS600hL (which I like too) . The 1st Celsior have the Japanese styles looks while the new LS make me feel it's a European car . Two of them always spotted in my area , the LS400 had been called as poor man Mercedes in my area . Well , it's simple why they called it like that , it's cheap but the car perform just like a S-class (and , it's from Japan) .
  4. @James: Imagine another 20 years... I'd hate to wait that long though; GET ME A CRYSTAL BALL! or a genie.
  5. @James: Thanks for the picture. Just goes to show that the 600h can't hold a candle to the soft curves of the 400 & I'm not even going to mention that hideous hybrid grille. The 2010 LS460 design looks far better & is a better comparison with the LS400. Sigh... How I miss the good old days (read LS400 & SC400) :-(
  6. @LEXUSBOY: And not just the design of the two cars but everything. Power, performance, price, prestige. The LS400, even though it was better, was still seen as a poor man's Mercedes. But now in 2010, the LS600hL is almost $20k more than the S-class. And back in 1990, who would have ever thought that Lexus would create a 552 hp supercar to battle Ferrari and Lamborghini. It's also amazing to see how Lexus has influenced the entire auto industry. I don't believe I've ever seen another car comnpany do so much in such a small amount of time.
  7. I live in Canada. I bought my Lexus LS 400 1991 new. I still own it, and love it. Except for the Radio(1992) which was replaced nothing has ever gone wrong. Except for regular service I have not spent anything on repairs. I also own ES 350 now. These are the best cars I have ever owned including Mercedes :-)
  8. @James: I'm gonna have to cut you back a bit: the S600 is $149,700, while the LS 600h L is $108,800; The S600 is more expensive in the UK, and I'm pretty sure it's the same situation in the rest of Europe. Let's admit it; Lexus isn't at the stage of being more expensive than a Mercedes-Benz with the obvious exception of the LFA (however, the all carbon fiber SLR McLaren is tremendously more expensive). There are still places in which a Lexus model lack, and I can only assume Toyota is just playing conservative.
  9. The LS400 is still a great looking car when the body is in good shape. All you need to do is add some nice real to fill up the wheel well and drop it a some to kill the finger gap. The old LS400 is better built then some new cars.........
  10. @WorldofLuxury: When I said S-class, I meant the hybrid version which is only $87k compared to the LSh's price tag of $108k. The LSh is also more expensive than the BMW Active Hybrid 7. I realize that the LS600hL's intended target was the S600 and 760Li, but now that both brands have hybrid versions of those sedans, I think more people will be comparing the LS Hybrid to other luxury hybrids, not high performance V12's. And lets not forget, the LS600hL is the most expensive hybrid sedan in the world. I don't think that Lexus will ever be more expensive than Mercedes (except for the S400 vs LSh), but I think they could be closer in price though. But even now, there's just not that big of a difference. The IS starts at $32k and the C-class starts at $33k. The GS starts at $45k and the E-class starts at $48k. The RX starts at $39k and the M-class starts around $44k with the GLK starting at only $34k. And the LX starts at $76k and the GL550 starts at $82k. I know that there's a small difference in price, but no more "half price specials" like their were in the early 90's. Remember when the LS400 started at only $38 while the Mercedes 420 SEL started at $68k? Sure the LFA is cheaper than the SLR, but look at it this way. The LFA is almost double or even triple the price of the comparable Lamborghini or Ferrari. Quite frankly, I think that means more than trying to be more expensive than Mercedes. And In the UK, the SLR and LFA have almost the exact same starting price anyway.
  11. I own a 1991 LS400 in Oregon, it's approaching 400K miles, and besides the worn leather on the door side of the driver's seat, it'll run better and feel more luxurious than any current camry level vehicle. And pass just about anything with O/D off.
  12. lol typo, 200K*
  13. @James: lol I just wanted to clarify things. I look at it this way: I hope the LSh never gets compared directly to the S-class hybrid. They have completely different intentions, and Lexus is just gonna end up being bashed. On the other hand, both the S600 and the LSh have some sort of way of getting extra power without using that much more fuel - S600 with its turbos and the LS with its electric motors. And both offer interiors superior to models with smaller engines as standard.
  14. @WorldofLuxury: I do see your point. By the way, the LS600hL has been compared directly to the S400 Hybrid multiple times. Autobild pointed out that the S400's engine felt "rough and uncultured". And that was even from a German magazine. Automobile Magazine compared the two and noted the smoothness of the LSh's V8 and said that it accelerates "effortlessly". They said that the S400 felt just like a normal V6 S-class. I honestly think that the LS600hL can be compared to multiple cars for different things. It can be compared to the S400 because of it's hybrid technology. And I think it can be compared to the S600 becuase of it's luxurious cabin and performance. I also think this goes for the price as well. Think about it, the LSh sits right in between the S400 and S600 in terms of price. $20k above the S400, $20k below the S600(when comparably equipped that is).
  15. Greatest Car ever built by Toyota.
  16. Hi everyone , I had purchased a 1991 Lexus ls 400 in year 1998 with 92k miles on the clock , I kept It for six years and I sold it with 305k miles , the only things I had done in that car was only the alternator, the battery , brake , and regular oil change , now it's 2011 I haven't have nothing like that 1991 Lexus ls 400 , including Mercedes S600 coupe , 1999 bentley arrange , 2002 mercerdes Benz S500 ,I had them all , when I go to sleep at nite I am picturing my self on that old 1991 Lexus ls400. what I did I bought another one 1993 ls400 same body style but to keep with little bit more technology I also bought a1998 ls400 , I kept the 1993 in the garage this is nothing like that car and I am driving the 1998 , and I also keep the 2002 Porsche 996T and the 2002 Mercedes Benz G500 in the garage , but the 1991 Lexus ls400 nothing like it .
  17. Hey,nice post.Its really an amazing car . All the pics are to good.LS400 is really a classic & awesome car. I love this .Thanks for sharing this information with us.Its great keep sharing with us.
  18. I purchased my 1990 LS400 new and at 92,000.0 in the year 2012 have not done anything but oil changes and 4 batterys, the brakes still have 50% were left and I had the timing belt checked and it is still in good shape.I am considering having everything done all at one time and spending just over 4,000.00 on repairs,My LS400 has never been left outside ever! so it is like new,I hope who ever gets her next does not turn her into a daily driver,that would be a shame. I am getting to the point in my life were I may have to stop driving so I may have to sell her in 2013,THANK YOU Toyota for a get car.