Today, Japanese automakers have an iron grip on the affordable luxury segment, but it wasn't always so. All it takes is a quick look through the MotorWeek archives to recall that there was a time when most consumers didn't realize that Lexus and Infiniti offered cars positioned below the LS 400 and Q45 that coddled without breaking the bank. In 1990, MotorWeek compared the then-new ES 250 and M30. With 0-60 mph figures in the 10-second range and host of push-button controls, both vehicles offer a trip down memory lane.

The clip also demonstrates how far we've come since then, considering that a number of compacts now offer more refinement and better performance than these luxo-dinosaurs did 21 years ago. Hit the jump to watch the video for yourselves.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      Clipper44
      • 4 Years Ago
      At roughly 39k in today's dollars, both of these old school rides show me just how good today's cars are.
      Rich M.
      • 4 Years Ago
      weird in all the comparos during that time had the infiniti (Q45, I30) as the car of choice over the LS and ES. fast foward 21yrs and the Q and I are no longer available while the ES and LS still are. you got to see the old lexus commercials it brings back a lot of memories as a kid. they were the first to use that style of advertising and they still do it to this day.
        Hazdaz
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rich M.
        The Infinitis always won because they were (and still are) more of a "driver's car" than the Lexus equivalent. The problem with that though, is that if one really wanted a driver's car, and they had the money to spend, chances are they would go German instead. Infiniti never really got the popularity that Lexus gained and only has stepped out from Lexus' shadow more recently with sexier-looking cars starting with the previous-gen G cars.
      Rick
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was surprised too. Acura had the Legend, not perfect but a very nice automobile and talk about successful models in premium brands, the Integra.
      nlt624@aol.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      Strange, i've driven Nissan/Infiniti products for the last 13 years, but there is no way in hell I would have bought that M30 back then! I was all about the Acura Legend!
      Fugsworth@yahoo.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      I used to own an M30 convertible. It was heavy, slooooooow, and floaty, but man-- that car was a hoot. Definitely a "cruiser".
      Zoom
      • 4 Years Ago
      That was an awesome flashback. Entry level Lexus at $21,500. My first car was a 1990 Camry, and it was a great car. I still miss it.
      Chris
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love the ES250. There are a fair amount still on the road, too, especially since they didn't sell that many. Vastly underrated car.
      JSP
      • 4 Years Ago
      Holy nostalgia! Cars back then had really short wheelbase / long overhangs.
      Edward
      • 4 Years Ago
      The first ES was only a few hundred bucks more than the equivalent, loaded Camry, which quickly rusted away in the salt belt while the Lexus seemed to last longer, and the customer was certainly treated a lot better as now.
      dontneedpants
      • 4 Years Ago
      I recall the original campaign for Infiniti raised eyebrows by showing dew drops and river stones instead of the car. Nobody had stretched advertising to the abstract like that. Fast-forward a few years. Now we don't care about the merits of the product at all. We accept infantile puns like Geico and AFLAC as legitimate product pitches.
        ExoPlanet
        • 4 Years Ago
        @dontneedpants
        I know the ads...they were a good start, but the launch was a fail as (it turned out) the car didnt have a recognizable grille to distinguish itself. Lots of back peddling happened after that....
          ExoPlanet
          • 4 Years Ago
          @ExoPlanet
          I'll add, brands can have cars with obscure grilles....but it can't be your first and only car LOL
      kmanning83
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks for finding this, AB. I've always had a soft spot for the Nissan Leopard/M30 coupe. I'm surprised this video didn't mention that there was a convertible model available, too. Maybe it wasn't out yet?
        Greg
        • 4 Years Ago
        @kmanning83
        The Infiniti M30 Convertible did come out later. It was an aftermarket feature commissioned by a company in California. The M30 is best remembered as the car that is argued about in the movie 3 Kings (1999). Two of the characters argue about whether it was Infiniti or Lexus who made a convertible. Later they find an Infiniti M30 Convertible in the desert.
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Raymond
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess your screen name says it all so I will leave it at that.
        Elmo
        • 4 Years Ago
        Holy crap do these trolls have some retarded obsessions... Every comment from this moron is the same. He overpraises Japanese cars while trying to putdown Cadillac. Not GM, but Cadillac.
        Andy Drake
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with some of what you say, but, I don't consider Cadillacs cars for 85 year olds. They have a lot of style and most people I see driving the new ones appear to be under the age of 50. CTS-V coupe anyone?
        • 4 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        Brent Malesich
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am 36 and a proud owner of a 2009 Cadillac CTS DI AWD!
        • 4 Years Ago
        [blocked]
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