2001 LS 430 New Car Test Drive
What a way to ride: The Lexus LS 430 luxury sedan, stretched with more room for passengers and outfitted with elaborate luxury elements, carries advanced mechanical components that can outthink and outperform lesser cars and, in some cases, lesser drivers. The LS 430 functions as a deluxe limousine but acts more like a sporty touring car. It delivers quick acceleration performance along with features designed to take all work out of the driving experience.
A fresh design featuring world-class aerodynamics and incredible production quality marks a new generational treatment for the full-size Lexus flagship. Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, set benchmarks for quality and customer satisfaction when it was introduced, and much of its initial success is attributable to its LS 400. It was a wakeup call for German auto makers. This new version, the LS 430, confronts heightened competition from Germany, Japan and the United States.
The LS 430 for $54,005 begins as a premium full-size sedan loaded with sophisticated mechanical equipment, extensive safety systems and luxurious appointments. The sole engine, a four-cam 4.3-liter aluminum V8, produces 290 horsepower and mates to an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission.
High-tech hardware that comes in the aptly named Ultra Luxury Package ($12,290) sounds like science fiction: The package includes laser-guided cruise control, a sonar-based parking guide, a navigation system that triangulates by satellites and coordinates with a DVD-powered data base, and an adaptive electronically controlled suspension. A fan imbedded in the front seats circulates either heated or chilled air. Rear passengers relax with rear air conditioning, heated seats, electric seatback adjustment with memory control and a lumbar back massager. A power-operated sunscreen shades the rear windscreen, but rear passengers must pull down the side sunscreens manually.