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Lexus LS 400/LS 430

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  • brtmdbrtmd Posts: 54
    S500: When I was shopping and visited my local MB dealer/salesman (a great guy who already knows me well from prior business), he actually steered me away from the S500 (yes, I was surprised too). He was much more interested in waiting to show me the new E500. He had an S500 in the show room ready to sell (even my color) and didn't even have a brochure for the new E500. He was being a little vague about about the S500, but said I would "probably be more satisfied with the E class." He also made the comment that the S class is a great choice for somebody who "has to have an S"--that seems pretty obvious.

    To me, the S500 (and the new 745i for that matter) seemed like a very nice car, but in the end it just came down to priorities, and I felt I would be more satisfied with the LS (somewhat of a leap for me since I have never owned a Lexus). Post 3261 from ljflx matches well with my thoughts that led me toward the LS and Eurotuned suspension.

    Windshield rock chips: Probably more bad luck than anything else, although forward surface area and angle of windshield obviously matter. By the way, it repaired very well.
  • TO brtmd:

    I was awfully glad to see that the eurotuned suspension would not be dropped after all, too. I meant to get back to you earlier about that, but have been so #$* busy over the last couple of weeks that I didn't manage to do that. Thanks for your confirm on that topic.

    TO all: new question. I see that the Mercedes E500 will do 0-60 in 6.0. Isn't the LS 430 a bit slower than that (like by .02-.03)? This annoys me, especially when I'm giving up the GS 400 and its close to 5.6 in the '98 version to get something new. OK. The LS 430 is a big step up in luxury and comfort. But maybe the E500 is, too. (I plan to try one out today to see.) I'd appreciate comments comparing the E500 with the LS 430, including service and pricing experiences.
  • brtmdbrtmd Posts: 54
    aklein2: I have only been driving mine for a few days now, but the Euro is clearly different. Negatives--I think there is slightly more road noise, but that is compared to the LS I drove with the 16" wheels/tires with a taller sidewall; the ride is noticeably more firm (which I prefer), but is probably very similar to your GS400 and reminds me of the bmw 540 (without the sport suspension option). Positives--most notable is the improved on-center responsiveness (like with a lane change) and seems to be less body lean when cornering. If you are driving a GS now, I'll bet you will feel at home with the Euro LS.
    As for the E500, I would definitely consider it if you don't need the larger sedan. The primary reason I did not really consider the new E was size. Since I was replacing an SUV, I wanted a bigger sedan with more interior/trunk space.
  • TO:brtmd

    What could I have been thinking of? It took me twelve years to consider straying from Lexus. It will be at least another twelve before I do that again.

    While the E500 looks good, if a bit gaudy (too many surface changes as one sweeps along the car for my taste), on the outside, the interior is tiny and very confined compared to my GS 400 (to say nothing of the LS 430). The front seats are hard and pretty uncomfortable, though I'm sure devotees will claim that they provide more "support" than Lexus seats, something I doubt.

    How does it drive? Well, quite well. The extra ride firmness options -- there are two -- seem superfluous in such a tight car. The E500 has a nice, tight "all of one piece" feel to it, and corners well at speed. Steering is tight, too, and accurate. The turning circle matches that of the LS, I think. The transmission operates very smoothly without noticeable shifts as one goes up the acceleration curve. A tap to the left of the shitfer is supposed to get the "right" gear at once at any speed. I could not learn to do this effectively, however, in my short drive -- though maybe it works better, like the rest of the complications in this vehicle, discussed below, with practice. The brakes are excellent. Benz claims that the car goes 0-60 in 6.2. (Lexus LS 430 tests reveal about that same pace, as I remember). The E500 felt slower than that to me.

    On to the details, where the Devil resides. The tach is tiny -- too tiny to be of any use. The car's controls are many and baffling: hard to operate at best and oddly placed. The gizmos, of which there are many, are overly complicated (switching functions to one's steering wheel hub, for example). The Benz sales person who showed me the car flunked the "how does each of these things work" test. I sympathize: learning what they all do and how to do it looks like a formidable task. While the cabin is quiet, there's an annoying, heavy "thunk" from the rear when one pushes the button that flattens out the rear seat head rests -- essential if they have been raised by a passenger and the driver plans on using the rear window to see things. The rear seats themselves are not up to snuff for a car of this price: no one will enjoy being in them for even a short trip. They are hard, flat and have no leg room to speak of. What's with the huge new turn signal lights on the outside mirrors? Wonder how long until they get scratched up by collisions with things (something that has persuaded other makers to make sure that outside mirrors swing away from such forward collisions)? The drink holders are a joke: to use any (and, yes, there are two in front and in back) the driver has to deploy -- and I use the word advisedly because it's a kind of automated lifting up and out and then unfolding operation, necessary only in a car that regards cupholders as an after-thought and surely vulnerable to malfunction) -- the passenger cup holder first. Then the driver can bury his/her own drink deep in the tiny hole in the center console compartment from which the passenger holder emerged. This holder might be large enough for a Coke can, but that's pushing it. Then there's the CD player. You get a single disc player in the dashboard. If you want more, you have to get a six-CD player installed in the glove compartment. Sort of last century stuff. (And even this is a first for Benz, apparently.)The lights on the inside, all on the dome, are huge and intrusive, like something out of my refrigerator.

    I could go on, but perhaps I've said enough to convey what the inside of this car is like.

    Finally, trimmed to mimic what one can get on the LS 430 without the navigation system, the E500 tops out at about $63,000 (before the gas guzzler tax).

    Bottom line: Benz will have to find other buyers for its new offering. I'm sure it will, but I doubt that many of them will have spent much time in either the GS or the LS sedans.
  • Nice report. But don't post that stuff on the Benz boards - you'll be stoned as a heretic.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    Apparently nothing much has changed from the old model in regard to interior confinement. This is indeed a very tight car for a family of four. Remember it's the size of an ES300/Camry. When I drove the E-430, many times, it didn't feel like a luxury car nor did it feel like the expensive car it was. For my wife and I, before we had kids, it would have been a good car but not at its price point. It's a beautifully styled car, as are most MB models but it will not convert too many Lexus buyers. We've been spoiled.
  • You are simply telling it like it is. Before my 2001 S500, I had a year experience with an ES300. The seats were great, I could drive 500 miles to Toronto from New York without aches, and the car did not even have thw massaging feature. It was the wind noise of that 98 model (one without the door frames) which had me switch for another. Now, after 3 other cars, I have this overgrown status symbol. My main issue with the S is the bad material and interior noise which I discussed here earlier....

    Now that you mentioned it, I really do not enjoy driving even 100 miles in the S, with the massaging seats. I think the seats might be comfortable for people with more cushioning, I am too lean for these seats. Using the S to race down the highway though, is quite satisfying, as not too many 2 ton+ luxury liners can be as agile.

    Finally, I also post on the S class board, and I am not the only one complaining there.
  • brtmdbrtmd Posts: 54
    So are you saying you didn't care for the E500? (just kidding)

    The new E500 is a fine car, and I would imagine those who purchase the E500 will be quite satisfied. However, I would suggest you are making a good decision by choosing to not "stray" from Lexus if you have been a satisfied owner. Different strokes. . .
  • et610et610 Posts: 40
    When is the body style of the ls430 due for a change? The 2003 is exactly the same and I believe that the previous couple years were the same.
    Don't want to buy an 03 and have it change next year or two.
    Also, the msrp difference between 02 and 03 with custom package was about $2,000. A big jump with no feature change.
  • et610, doesn't the '03 custom package add for that extra money:
    Dynamic Laser Cruise Control,
    Intuitive Parking Assist,
    Front climate-control seats with heat-and-cool knob and rear-seat heaters,
    Headlamp washer, and
    Power trunk and door closer?
    I'd go for it, but you have to pay for the "fancier" leather.
  • Comments from Auto Consumer Guide:

    You can also forget about major changes until the next LS redesign, which shouldn't come before model-year 2006. But do expect minor year-to-year updates, including an appearance alteration or two and a few new comfort and convenience gadgets. Though the LS already offers so many gizmos that it's hard to imagine what else could be added, you can bet Lexus will think up some new ones
  • From the Lexus website the only increase I see is on the base price (up $520). However when you consider that the 17 inch wheels are standard ($100 option in 2002), the actual increase is really only $420. All the packages and single options are the same as 2002.
  • brtmdbrtmd Posts: 54
    The Mark Levinson/Navigation combo package did have a minor change as it now includes the climate control seats and parking assist. There was an associated price increase for this package. Like, chuck107, I had not noticed any other changes.
  • oac3oac3 Posts: 373
    The LS4, like many cab-forward designed cars does ride low in the front (for me it appears a tad too low w/out the air suspension), and may be susceptible to more rock chips like brtmd found on his ride home from the dealership. So far I've got no chip on the windshield.

    FWIW, a friend of mine has an '03 LS430 UL on order due October and he told me he is itching so bad for it. And this guy is HUGE on German cars - own a '98 S500 and a '95 740iL Bimmer, and loves to drive real fast..... Now he is a Lexus convert.
  • Guys,

    If my lease expires on 9/28/2003, would I be ordering a 2003 or 2004 Ls430 then?

    Thanks,

    Paul
  • brtmdbrtmd Posts: 54
    Paul,
    I don't know for sure, but to give you an idea, I ordered my vehicle in the middle of June 2002 (the order was written for a 2002 model year)and ended up with a 2003. However, it probably also depends on exactly what you order--i.e. whether there is already a vehicle in the order/manufacture "pipeline" to fill the bill. Mine was a Euro suspension, of which fewer are made, which may account for why my June '02 order ended up as a '03.

    My guess is you could specifically order a 2004 model early enough and have it by the time your lease expires; my 2003 was delivered to the dealer on 9-10-02.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    If you go the Lexus route I'd wait till 2004 for sure. It'll be updated at least in power and Lexus tends to introduce significant changes every 3 years. 2004 would be the year. Many of the changes are not cosmetic so they are not noticable but all of them advance the car significantly. I'm sure if you need a loaner car to bridge your lease they will get you one. If your in NY area Ray Catena (White Plains and Ocean NJ) or Lexus of Manhattan are fabulous to deal with and will give you outstanding service and attention.

    Flint350 - saw your color today with all around tinted glass. It looked great. All of these lux cars, the MB S especially, look best with tinted glass. I may go the tinted glass route next time.
  • To all of you who have ordered an LS430, instead of taking one off of the lot, have you been able to discount/negotiate a good price? I've been quoted $3,600 off for a special order, not as good as one off of the lot. I emailed another dealer to get a quote from them and got no response at all. My wife wants a color that is apparently on only 1% of the cars.
  • Back in the middle of August, I ordered a 2003 Silver with Black Interior Ultra Lux. After a little haggling I was able to get $5,500 off. At first they were only willing to go this amount if I took an '02, but they finally agreed. The car is due in the first of October. I would imagine the silver is a pretty popular color.
  • To all of you who have ordered an LS430, instead of taking one off of the lot, have you been able to discount/negotiate a good price? I've been quoted $3,600 off for a special order, not as good as one off of the lot. I emailed another dealer to get a quote from them and got no response at all. My wife wants a color that is apparently on only 1% of the cars.
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