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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Less sidewall height, less sidewall squirm, better handling.
  • Disadvantage (for me)-harder ride. My wife's LS400 with 16" tires has a more comfortable ride than my LS430 with air and 17" tires.
  • As promised -
    Options (Hard button on dash)
    System transition
    Select On of Off

    Keep your audio, climate or other screens as long as you like by selecting off.
  • although the ls430 ran as expected, it is still a long way. The map is handy if you are in doubt, and I find the radar*laser* is really handy in heavy traffic, if you just do not want to fight for every car length. Just get over a lane or so and pay attention, but don`t push it until the traffic eases up. Tony
  • fabtfabt Posts: 22
    My understanding is the 17" tires could be a little noiser than the 16", as well as not having as long a life (potentially under 20,000 miles.) At least that's what is says in the dealer brochure for the 2001 LS430 that I bought two years ago.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I don't find the 17" tires to be noisy, and I am sensitive to road noise. I have about 24000 miles on them now, and they look like they have a lot of miles left in them.
  • The 16 inch wheels describe as being ugly is an opinion and not a fact. Any one in the Maryland area who would like to trade their "ugly" stock sixteen inch wheels for my 17 inch ones,please know that I'm ready for a trade.

    I'm a fast and maybe an agressive driver. I'm not adversed to cornering hard. My wive's 98 LS400 with the Bridgestone 16 inch Turanza LS-H tires allow me to do all of that because of their UTGQ 400 AA A rating. Now if I was to enter the racing circuit, the 17 inch wheels with Michein Pilot Sport A/S (W rating & UTQG AA A) or the summer tire from Bridgestone (Potenza S-03)would be the tires of choice and if I'm unable to trade my wheels by the time the E33's wear out I will probably go with the Pilot Sport.

    I had anticipated that my ultra with the air suspension would give an even more comfortable and softer ride than my 11 year old 90 LS400. It didn't happen and primarily because of the 17 inch wheels.
  • Wondering if any of you were ex S500 owners and care to share your experience driving (better yet, living with) both vehicles for a time.

    I am in the "thinking process" of going with a 2004 Ls430 when my 2001 S500 lease is over. I have only driven the Ls430 a couple of times at a dealership, and each time I had been impressed on how much more isolation the Ls was over the S. I am not an aggressive driver and have a young child with me most of the time, so the sporty features of my S500 with adaptive body control never gets any use. After 2 years, I really hate the noise from interior panels of my S500, and frankly I don't like the idea of covering the noise with loud music.

    Any thoughts is appreciated!

  • This is not a direct answer to your question. My experience with the LS430 is favorable, but I have had two rattles. One was a rattle in the trunk. The dealer fixed it by adjusting the way the trunk liner was attached. I now have an intermittent rattle in the front passenger window. It only happens with the car is warming up. I'll take that one to the dealer when the rattle is more consistent. My uncle's S500 is a very quiet car. My point is that these cars are so quiet that their owners become sensitive to noises that would not be issues in other cars. Rattles are bound to happen if you own one for a few years. To me the big question is whether the dealer will fix them. I'd be interested in learning about your experience with your MB dealer.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    You have to consider two different factors-the size and the composition. When the LS430 was introduced,two different "17 tire options were offered. you could get a "European" suspension or just some "17 wheels(which were quite handsome).
    the most meaningful figure is the aspect ratio-usually between 40 and 55 on modern sedans. A shorter sidewall(40 or so)will give more responsive steering(less squirm in the tire)but it will also give a rockier ride and increase the chance of various rattles intruding.
    But an all weather tire can be composed in a way to decrease wear and noise and harshness. This same modification will also decrease the sporty responsiveness(a good trade off,IMO)of the car.

    So a larger all weather tire is a fine choice in a luxury car,but stiffer sport suspensions and sport tires can often be a mistake.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    All-weather tires are always noisier that summer tires.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I should have been clearer that I was referring to rattles rather than road noise generated by the tires themselves.
  • I tried on 2 occasions to get the MB dealer to address the noise, and the area was actually identified. The panels underneath the comand nav system and the panel around the nav screen. Once they sprayed something like WD-40 on it and the noise came back after a week, and the second time they just say the service manager could not hear any rattles. So the short answer is no.
  • Merckx is correct when he alludes to the aspect ration causing the harder ride. Unfortunately for the Lexus, 55 is the highest available for the 17 inch wheels, whereas the 16 inch have a ration of 60. It's not really the size of the wheel; the determining factor is the aspect ratio.
  • oac3oac3 Posts: 373
    While this is also not a direct answer to your question, but I'd like to disagree with whybuy1's assertion of rattles in the LS. The consensus opinion you'd find here is that the LS is a much quieter car than the S500. Not to say that whybuy1's opinion is not true, but most are rattle-free. My '99 LS has ZERO rattle. And I suspect that will be the same for many many LS's you'd find/hear or read about.
  • Dr brt mentioned that he had a rock chip on his new Ls while driving home. Is the height of the Ls windsheld perhaps more susceptible to debris hitting it at a vulnerable angle?

    What's the verdict here on this count? I once had a sports car that was very low riding and had 2 bad breaks while my old Volvo 240 never had any for 11 years.

    And thanks for your comment on the rattles....

  • Knock wood, I too have had no problems with rattles. The car is incredibly quiet. The only minor issue I had was a groan from the steering wheel when I turned on the ignition when it was hot out. Service took care of the problem immediately. So...after 8 mos. of ownership, I am 100% satisfied.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    There are ex S-class buyers here so I hope they step up and give you some of their feedback. I agree with post 3258 on rattles and quietness. It's a noticably quieter car than an S-500 with better build quality and higher reliability. It seems that you are very much like myself and others here in your needs and desires based on your driving preferences. Lexus will suit you better than MB because it excels there and pleases better. It took me quite sometime to decide between the two cars in 2001 but in the end I stayed with Lexus (came out of 95 and 98 LS400 leases). Never had a rattle or a repair needed in all that time. This is as close to perfection as you can get and it handles well - particularly the Euro suspension. It just overpampers (which I like) thus you don't feel the road the way you would in a BMW.

    By the time 2004 rolls around though you will be dealing with an updated design, a 360hp engine and maybe even a v-12 option. So the car will be changing but I am sure they will keep the wonderful isolated ride. They'd better!
  • I simply related my own experience. I cannot claim to know about other's experience. It is nice to know that my dealer will take me seriously when I bring in the car to fix a rattle rather than blowing me off as other dealers might. Posts 3252 and 3256 seem to reveal a difference in dealer commitment to the maintenance of the quietness of these high-end vehicles. I agree that nothing substitutes for solid construction and intelligent design at the factory.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Same type of experience for me - I once requested touch-up paint at the dealer to have around - just in case. They were out of it but the next day I got it from Lexus via fedex. It was certainly not anything urgent but they treated it that way.
  • 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: 4,690
    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.
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