Lexus. In the UK we see this company a lot differently to how people view them in other countries. In fact, if you ask around, a surprising number of people aren’t even aware that they belong to the Toyota group. Lexus in Britain are seen as clever, ultra efficient cars, as opposed to luxury (often high performance) Toyotas, which are reserved for boring professionals who wear shirts tucked into their jeans – even at weekends, but the rest of us have no idea what we’re missing out on.
The LS is very different indeed. Hop inside and you’ll discover what Lexus nowadays are really all about. Yes, their cars are still clever, and yes, they’re often very efficient, but they’re also exceptional, and just a little bit special.
This is a luxury car in every sense of the word. Luxury vehicles should give you something better than all those commoners in their standard cars, which have fewer than 12 cows worth of leather inside. The LS is superior to most other cars in every single way, so it can provide that sense of nobility that the business executive really enjoys.
When the LS was released, it shocked the entire world’s car industry – especially in Germany. The Japanese only made small cars, off-road cars and exceedingly well priced cars; so how could they possibly make a car which was better than the kings of the luxury market, the S-Class and 7-Series? I imagine it was to do with Lexus working hard to sell their cars only because they are good cars, rather than because they’ve a German badge on the front.
The LS also has one of my favourite characteristics: subtlety. The car is gargantuan, but without the German badge on the front one could park it in the roughest street of the most lowlife city without a hooded creature deciding to score the flawless paintwork with a key. Even if somebody tried to steal the car, it would be doubtful that they could accomplish such a task as it also happens to be one of the most secure vehicles available. Just because it’s discreet doesn’t mean that it isn’t a lovely looking car. It still has the proverbial ‘snarling’ front and be-chromed twin rear exhausts.
The inside of the LS is what you’d expect, with a generous helping of fine leather served with some overly polished wooden inlays. Space all-round is very good and the seats envelop you, as opposed to you sitting on the seats. Specify the LWB model (an exceedingly popular choice) and room in the back transforms from excessive to the point where you require a megaphone to contact those sitting upfront. For just a smidgen under £10000 you can also have a seat (that’s right, just one) in the back that reclines and massages. That also happens to be just about the only option available on the LS, because if you’ve everything, what else could Lexus add?
And now for the specs of the most commonly seen model, the LS600hL:
Power/Torque: 375bhp 383lb/ft
Max. Speed: 155mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds
CO2 emissions: 219g/km
Economy: 30.4 mpg
Insurance Group: 50
VED Band: K
The LS is, as the ‘h’ in this model’s name suggests, a hybrid vehicle – but with a 5 litre V8 engine. The benefits of this are never-ending, because the cabin is exceptionally quiet, one can still move over 2000kg to 60mph very quickly, and have enough cash left over from tax and fuel savings to buy your own island each year. This is a very rare thing for a car of this calibre, because, other than the insurance, you won’t spend much more running the car than a big family saloon – the Germans can’t offer you that.
To achieve that fuel economy, Lexus uses black magic and sorcery. They combine this with Lexus Synergy Drive and a constant variable transmission (a system that basically gives the car an infinite combination of gear ratios) and the car that you, Mr. Director, weren’t even considering suddenly becomes the only vehicle that will suffice.