When Lexus Built A Car That Feels Modern After 25 Years

It was the late eighties and Toyota wanted to beat the Germans big time. Surprisingly, the LS400 worked, just like it does today. But could it be a classic already?

A Series 1 Lexus LS400 is not really an option for those looking for cheap luxury on this side of the planet. Sure, I could still buy one for about $1,600 if I was really into it, but Lexus aimed this car right at America for a reason.


With all those crappy Cadillac's floating all over the United States, the LS400's conservative styling, bulletproof technology and affordable price turned the Lexus brand into something that could pull off the LFA two decades later. Because that singing Yamaha V10 and geeky carbon body came from Lexus while Acura and Infiniti still tried to figure out their purpose on this planet.

Sure, it's a shame that despite all the Fuji Speedway references and stacked exhaust pipes, Lexus is still unable to beat the Germans when it comes to sheer speed, but the original LS400 can't be blamed for its successor's incompetence. This car will be remembered for entering the nineties with a K.O.

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Handsome, comfortable, plenty of power when you need it, dead quiet on the highway, and "turn key, go, turn key, go, turn key, go, etc etc etc" reliable.

Exciting? No, but a fundamentally great car.