Lexus LSLexus LS: First GenerationVideos

How to Restore a First Generation Lexus LS 400

Wheeler Dealers was a british TV show with a very simple premise: buy a beat-up classic, restore it, and sell it off for a profit.

In one episode, they tackle a first generation LS 400 (judging by the rims, a 91-92 model), purchased from some poor sod for £1300. Here’s the first part to whet your appetite:

Mike & Ed start off by fixing some of the standard first-gen LS 400 issues, like the front control arms and the blacked out temperature display, and taking the rear bumper in for a repaint.

They move on to modernizing the car, and some of the changes they made, like replacing the amber signal lights with clear lenses and converting the headlights to halogen lamps, really improve the look. However, they replace the stock rims with IS 300 wheels, which seem small in the wheel wells and ill-suited to the car. Still, they’re definitely a step up.

Definitely makes for some interesting viewing, and seeing how easy it is to replace those turn signals gives me some ideas of my own.

Continue reading…

1st GenerationHybridsLexus LS Hybrid

The Lexus LS 600h: A Misguided Hybrid?

The Lexus LS 600h: A Misguided Hybrid?

Hybrid Cars has taken a dim view of the LS 600h, slamming it as “bizarre and misguided”, and urging his readers to steer clear. Understandable, I suppose, when your point of comparison is the Prius.

It’s true that LS 600h doesn’t get better gas mileage than its non-hybrid version, the LS 460, but why criticize a car for having 70% cleaner emissions than its competitors, or for being 50% quieter than a conventional car? What does it matter how many 600h’s are made, and how does the price of the car affect its environmental impact?

It’s impossible to argue the duality of the LS 600h, we are after all, talking about an ultra-luxury car purporting to be eco-friendly. However, there is a significant counterpoint to Hybrid Cars’ analysis: the car’s effect on the luxury car industry as a whole.

Already Mercedes is scrambling to put out its own hybrid to compete with 600h, as will every single one of Lexus’ competitors. This car has started a movement that will bring truly clean-running high-end luxury cars, a segment that has long favored horsepower and torque over gas conservation. Nevermind that with each successive iteration of this model, the technology will improve and the environmental punishment will lessen. How could being the forerunners to this movement be considered “bizarre or misguided”?

Lexus LSLexus LS: Fourth GenerationReviews

Motor Trend & The Splendid Isolation of the LS 460

The Asphalt Jungle

The latest Motor Trend editorial by Arthur St. Antoine really captures what makes the new LS 460 special:

I discovered the perfect antidote to L.A.‘s roadgoing toxins: our long-term Lexus LS 460. If there’s an automobile that better defends its driver from the slings and arrows of outrageous things that happen on the other side of the windshield, I haven’t driven it.

Mind you, the LS 460 is not a sensory-deprivation chamber in the grand tradition of Bygone Detroit – i.e., steering ratio inspired by lottery odds, body panels stuffed full of old issues of National Geographic, shock absorbers set on “Brie.” Instead, it’s almost as if the Lexus injects its occupants with an invisible dose of Prozac: You still notice the annoying things going on around you, but you just don’t care.

To me, this is the very heart of the LS experience, not to dazzle, not to push new technology, but to comfort and shield driver and passengers from the insanity of driving. The way the roads are today, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on an even keel. Dealing with poor drivers and traffic jams and road rage is taking its toll on everyone.

Really, what other concern does a full-size flagship luxury sedan have other than to remove the stress of driving?

1st GenerationCommercialsLexus LS HybridVideos

The Lexus LS 600h Commercial: Fast Reimagined

The LS 600h commercial Fast Reimagined has been posted to Youtube, and it’s classic Lexus imagery:

For a little background information, I found an interview with the digital effects team at Dexigner:

For this spot’s end-footage of the car, Balden explained that the Lexus was shot with a Canon digital SLR on the end of a camera rig as a series of long exposures. … “As soon as we got a look at the first take, we were all instantly convinced that this would look great,” Balden explained. “The footage looked amazing on its own, but once Pat Murphy and I finished with it, re-editing the takes to create a sort of day-to-night transition, adding a little move, blurring the background, and playing with the reflections on the car itself, it really looked gorgeous.”

1st GenerationLexus LSLexus LS HybridLexus LS: Fourth GenerationTechVideos

Lexus LS 460 Hold Button Demonstation

Youtube user h4×0r0x was nice enough to post a demonstration of rather unique LS series feature found on the steering wheel, namely the Hold button:

As you can see, this button allows you to hold your brakes, meaning that you can rest your feet while at a stoplight. In essence, we’re looking at the anti-cruise control.

This is Lexus’ Passionate Pursuit of Perfection in full-effect.

Lexus LFASpy Shots

Lexus LF-A Spotted at Nürburgring

World Car Fans has some fresh-off-the-track spy shots of the upcoming Lexus LF-A, which now sports a shop class spoiler and some honest-to-goodness rear view mirrors:

Lexus LF-A Spy Shots

The V-10 super car has stayed quite close to its original concept, with the only noticeable differences being the aforementioned spolier and some minor bumper and light housing differences.

The production LF-A is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September. Check World Car Fans for more photos.

AwardsIn the News

Reflecting on Initial Quality

While not Lexus specific, Joseph B. White of the Wall Street Journal has taken a deeper look at J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey and is driven to wonder, Is Initial Quality still relevant?

J.D. Power TrophyNow, most of the major auto makers have made so much progress, that the Power Initial Quality Survey has less to offer the consumer.

Let’s stipulate that most journalists should not be allowed to analyze statistics in public. But this example isn’t that hard. Lincoln scored 100 problems per 100 cars. That means, on average, buyers of new 2007 model Lincolns reported one problem per car to J.D. Power.

Mercedes owners reported 111 problems per 100 cars. Put another way, the Mercedes owners identified, on average, 0.1 more problems with each individual vehicle than did the Lincoln owners.

Except, there is no such thing as 0.1 of a problem. Problems are like pregnancy. It’s all or nothing.

This echoes my own thoughts while reviewing the recent results, the margins are incredibly thin — practically every automaker can build a car that remains relatively trouble free for three months(with the exception of Land Rover, seemingly).

This doesn’t necessarily make the Initial Quality Study obsolete, especially when you consider the significant weight it has with the general car-buying public. No matter how tiny the difference between rankings, low scores mean bad press. Mercedes-Benz illustrates this point perfectly. Constantly ridiculed for their poor results, MB took considerable action to raise their score this year, jumping from 25th place to 5th.

I would consider long-term tests much more important, but it stands to reason that a vehicle that posts worse-than-average scores in the first 90 days of ownership has the potential for more headaches years down the road.