1999 Lexus LS 400 Review
Pros & Cons
- Less expensive than its European competitors with excellent performance and luxury.
- After one trip through the twisties, you'll never mistake it for an "Ultimate Driving Machine."
Edmunds' Expert Review
First introduced in 1989 as an alternative to more expensive European sedans, the LS400 continues to undercut the competition's sticker price while maintaining a high level of luxury and performance. Last year the LS received a more powerful V8 engine with variable valve timing and a five-speed automatic transmission. Capable of zero-to-60 times in 6.5 seconds, the new engine also maximizes fuel economy while cutting emissions to a level that keeps even California's smog stations happy.
Inside you'll find a high level of comfort with leather seating surfaces and plenty of wood trim on everything, including the steering wheel. In fact, Lexus reports that the steering wheel alone takes three weeks to produce! For climate, audio, and navigation purposes, a touch screen display was installed last year. The navigation system uses a 1.5-gigabyte hard drive to store information on the U.S. highway system and detailed street maps of 35 major metropolitan areas, in addition to a GPS system that pinpoints the car's location using satellite technology.
Other interior enhancements include a climate control feature that automatically re-circulates the airflow when a pollution sensor detects high levels of exhaust emissions in the air. The system also automatically re-circulates the air when it detects a high level of interior humidity.
The LS400 is a car that does everything for its driver. For some, however, that takes the fun out of driving. While it may be the perfect vehicle to get from point A to point B in the lap of luxury, it will leave driving enthusiasts wondering if the trip ever took place. It is quick, quiet and comfortable; better yet, it costs thousands less than premium sedans from BMW and Mercedes. Unfortunately, the LS400 does almost too good a job of isolating drivers from the road.