Lexus brings reputation for satisfaction to UK models
LAST century Toyota startled the motoring hierarchy with its Lexus LS 400 executive saloon which beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW for refinement, quality and value for money.
Oddly, it did not launch in homeland Japan until 2005.
In the US, Lexus has been a best-seller and, there and elsewhere, a regular top vote for customer satisfaction for the range of saloons, coupes, hybrids and SUV.
The flagship LS 460 and 600h have been revised for launch later in the year. They are joined by an F Sport model. Prices and performance figures are not revealed but we learn there are more than 3,000 changes responding “to customer feedback throughout every aspect of the car’s development,” says Lexus.
“The aim has been to raise the bar even higher in terms of refinement, comfort, driving performance, technical excellence and, above all, quality.”
Among three world-firsts is an integrated heating of the steering wheel and front and rear seating in a “climate concierge” system. The body has a sharper design. We are promised “improved driving dynamics, better sound insulation and more sophisticated and effective preventive safety systems” – includes the latest crash avoidance gizmos. The lane-keep assist system has been upgraded so that it can respond to factors such as road camber changes and crosswinds. All the lights are available with LED. The interior is lit by the world’s first “advanced illumination system” with soft white lamps and dynamic instrument panel lighting that moves and changes in intensity with vehicle start-up and switchoff. The rear-wheel-drive F Sport is lowered by 10mm, has Brembo brakes, a Torsen LSD and noise enhancement of the engine induction.
icon has also had an update. The Mercedes-Benz GL is a luxury all-roader ready for moor or mall. The revised model with a raft of technical and quality improvements arrives early next year. Prices are expected soon. A special off-road pack brings low ratio gears, under body protection and a fording depth of almost 24 inches. Most economical is the GL 350 diesel.
COMPETING: The Lexus LS F Sport and Mercedes-Benz GL, above, should appeal to similar drivers if the design and marketing are right.