Old Top Gear 1990 – Lexus LS

Chris Goffey tests the Lexus LS and sees what advantages it has over the main rivals, the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S Class and Jaguar XJ. Taken from season 13 episode 12.

If you’re spending 35,000 pounds on a car you want the image to be right well with the lexus toyota rav undoubtedly produced a quality car but they seem rather coy about admitting that they make it that’s because they want to create a separate superior identity for this luxury vehicle in fact lexus is being sold through just 44 of toyotas 200 or so dealers and each

Case you’ll find it on the right-hand side of the showroom now while silica’s and supras may be acceptable stablemates for a prestige car there’s no denying it’s also a companion to the humble starlet but that’s not the association you’re supposed to make because lexus is challenging the stars of the motoring permanent now the cars most obviously in the firing

Line for lexus are the traditional european competition mercedes jaguar and bmw from mercedes the s-class is now getting rather long in the tooth and a replacement is due this is the 420 se long wheelbase version a 4.2 liter v8 engine good performance ride and handling but those mercedes extras come very expensive the latest from jaguar now with a four liter

Engine very good performance exceptional ride and handling and it’s got traditional instruments something the americans demanded and finally from bmw the 735i very much a driver’s car very efficient in design and layout inside and superbly put together so how do the cars compare on paper lexus offers the best performance of the bore and a high specification at

A very competitive price about the only thing it lacks is a trip computer the bmw nearly matches the lexus on performance but for that similar price offers no air conditioning cruise control or sound system the jaguar also fall short of the lexus on top speed that matches it on specification you get a trip computer but no sunroof is standard and it’s not much

More expensive the mercedes in standard wheelbase form has similar performance to the other european cars that that much higher price does not include air conditioning cruise control a sound system or power seats and there’s no catalyst since stockbrokers often have a rough track leading down to their mansions you’d expect lexus to be able to cope with this sort

Of surface it does admirably but once out on the motorway the boulevard ride of a car that was after all launched in america a year ago really comes over in the states when will he drove it last year it was equipped with air suspension in this country and in europe it’s wishbones all round but steel coil springs that said it’s difficult to see how they could

Improve on the ride and handling that we’ve got here in europe one of the most impressive aspects and excesses the near total silence as you walked along the road for instance we’ve got the air conditioning and the fan on and you really can’t hear it we’ve taken noise meter readings at steady 70 mile an hour speeds and it confirms that lexus is considerably quieter

Than four sadie’s bmw or jaguar one reason why it’s so quiet is the smoothness and silence of the beat four liter v8 engine but there’s one aspect of that engine i’ve got to show you when we come to rest now this is not a test we normally perform on top gear but it’s a perfect illustration of the lexus engine i can put a glass of water on top of the unit and at

Idle there isn’t even a disturbance in the surface better still i can have the engine revved to 6,000 rpm and as you can see the water doesn’t even tremble now that’s not something you can do with the other three rivals toyota tell us they had a team of 60 engineers working on noise vibration and harshness and the results speak for themselves for those who like

Electronic toys in their cars the lexus will be a source of endless amusement the seat position memory for two different people not only controls the position of the seat itself but also of the steering wheel and the shoulder mounting of the seat belt and the position of the head rest inside lexus the first thing that strikes you is the instrument panel they’ve

Actually illuminated the dials from behind so it has an almost 3d effect that’s almost magical the attention to detail in the leather work is very good and the wood is excellent they’ve actually gone to yamaha the japanese piano and violin manufacturers for their veneers and it was worth it by comparison the mercedes is much more teutonic traditional approach if

You want the epitome of traditional luxury in a car though you really can’t beat the jaguar with its lovely leather work and it’s walnut finishings the bmw has an instrument layout that hasn’t been bettered by almost any other manufacturer and that really is a driver’s car for the man who’s going to press on down the autobahn in comparison with those three you

Could argue though that the lexus looks almost bland we used to say that the japanese industry would look after the mass market of cars but the europeans would dominate in the niche markets that’s not true anymore the japanese make excellent sports cars and this their first entry in the luxury market is petrifying li good in terms of ride handling comfort and

Silence it equals or beats the european opposition when you look at the level of equipment it’s amazing value for money what it hasn’t got is the heritage the charisma the image of the european manufacturers with their history of competition success now if toyota can convince rich businessmen that they don’t need that heritage they’ve got a real winner

Transcribed from video
Old Top Gear 1990 – Lexus LS By celticmadliam