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3 Month Owner Review


amcdonal86
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Shortly, I will be coming up on the 3 month "anniversary" of the purchase of my '97 LS400 Coach Edition. With my 400th post (for the LS 400), I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the car.

First off, I'm glad I bought my LS400. It's roomy, comfortable, and silky smooth. In the rare chance that I get to drive a friend or two around in it, I always get comments about how quiet it is. My friends even like sitting in the back while I drive them (so they can play make-believe high-class "executive" with a driver named James). However, now that the weather is getting nice (time to tear up the twisties), my love of the car has started to dwindle.

The excitement is lacking. I didn't buy the LS to excite me, but I thought driving it would put a smile on my face every now and then. The handling, while very precise and reasonably nimble for such a large car, lacks any feedback at all. Today I was first at a stop-light just before an empty long 45 mph stretch of road. When the light turned green, I gave it full throttle and the car rushed to 55 mph, but it was in the style of Lexus--effortless and gentle, and completely lacking any sensory feedback at all. As Jeremy Clarkson said--I feel dead when I drive the LS400.

The most excitement I get out of this car is having a glance at it from far away. It is gorgeous. I love walking up to the car at night with its headlights glistening in the moonlight, the glossy paint mirroring the night sky. It won't be mistaken for a brand new car, but it looks stately and elegant in its own way. And it's not just on the outside. Inside, the cabin is well-appointed with relatively tight, yet luxuriously supple Coach leather. The gaps between interior panels are razor thin, and underway, not a rattle or squeak is to be heard. And the ergonomics!!! Every button just feels right--each clicks with the proper sound and touch, and is in the optimal position for easy, carefree operation. Sitting behind the wheel and peering out over long hood with those chiseled edges (UCF20 owners know what I'm talking about) really makes me feel like I'm getting a taste of what the well-to-do (or perhaps even their drivers) were cruising around in making their daily rounds. It's unlike any other car I've ever been in, not to mention gotten a chance to drive or even own.

But none of this can even begin to excite me. There is just so much that is missing. Passion! Thrills! Energy! Fireworks! Inspiration! I know most of the people on this forum are in love with their LS's and are excited to drive them around town, but I have trouble understanding how. To me, getting excited about driving an LS is akin to getting excited about sleeping on a comfortable mattress.

As I've mentioned before, my previous car was one of the greatest and fun to drive sports cars of all time, the Mazda Miata. That car put a smile on my face every time I drove it. But it was also incredibly crude and noisy, which is probably what led me to the LS. But now that I've had a taste of the LS, I've come to realize how much I miss having a responsive, agile car. You truly don't know what you have until it's gone.

I will definitely be keeping the LS for the time being, but in the future, I am afraid that the LS has reignited my desire for something more sporty, if not a sports car. But maybe that is what fate has in store for me....

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For sure the LS won't win in the sensory feedback competition. That said, there was a time when people thought power steering removed all sensory feedback. What did they know?

My GS satisfies what you are describing, but when I drive the LS I stuff it into the twisties on the highway like it's a BMW and just hang on while it rolls and porpoises. It will do more than most people ask of it anyways. Just looks a bit more dramatic.

We have a quite a few mountainous highway roads nearby, and I know them well. I was in the GS a while back when a dude in a big BMW 740Li steamed by me in the fast lane as we approached the uphill twisties. I put my foot into it, and passed him on the inside looking for the right line on the corner. Well the GS bottomed it's rear suspension at about 80 mph, porpoised on the edge as I fought it around, but the BMW didn't come close. In fact BMW dude refused to pass me again, even after I slowed down. Perhaps he thought I was psycho. LOL.

The LS wouldn't have done that, but I would have tried. A car's personality is only half the fault of the car. The driver can punch the car around regardless.

So yes, I understand your concerns, but the LS will grow on you. And dismiss Clarkson from your brain. He is an upper class twit punter from England, and what do they know about cars anyhow!?

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For sure the LS won't win in the sensory feedback competition. That said, there was a time when people thought power steering removed all sensory feedback. What did they know?

My GS satisfies what you are describing, but when I drive the LS I stuff it into the twisties on the highway like it's a BMW and just hang on while it rolls and porpoises. It will do more than most people ask of it anyways. Just looks a bit more dramatic.

That's exactly the problem.

Most cars will do more than what you ask of them (even minivans, but maybe not pickup trucks lol). It's a question of handling confidence and balance. The LS400's reflexes are just too slow for me to do any sort of spirited driving. I can see taking those twisties at a reasonable pace and just taking in the scenery, though.

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Mine dont really excite me, but its 18 years old with 218K miles. :P I have never had my car past about 2800 rpms but the othe day I was running late for work and went all out when pulling onto the highway and hit 3200 rpms! LOL. I was like, wow this car is peppy. :P It didnt help that I had a Trans Am on my tail and I wanted to pull away from it.... and I did. ;)

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Mine dont really excite me, but its 18 years old with 218K miles. :P I have never had my car past about 2800 rpms but the othe day I was running late for work and went all out when pulling onto the highway and hit 3200 rpms! LOL. I was like, wow this car is peppy. :P It didnt help that I had a Trans Am on my tail and I wanted to pull away from it.... and I did. ;)

Kudos! You are driving the car the way it was intended to be driven.

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All you need is some H&R sports springs, daizin sway bar bushing, brembo breaks, and a custom supercharger. LOL that is my dream for my LS anyway. Another option you have is buy a motorcycle. I'm getting my motocycle liscence in may and plan to purchase a bike in late summer-early fall. That will give you all the thrills you could ask for.

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All you need is some H&R sports springs, daizin sway bar bushing, brembo breaks, and a custom supercharger. LOL that is my dream for my LS anyway.
Ahahaha, what's the point? Still has an automatic transmission, and 3800 pounds to drag around the corners. :lol:

I will never get on a motorcycle.

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I know a guy that live 15 miles away from me and has three 1UZ's with 5-speeds behind them. Granted they are all on 4x4's and rock crawlers, but you could probably custom mount it. He has all the wireing figured out so everything works nice and proper. Take off the 500lbs. worth of mufflers and your set. There are several ways to put an LS on a diet. For instance after taking out my solid 20lbs. of factory radio and changer, I noticed significant mpg increase :D

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I know a guy that live 15 miles away from me and has three 1UZ's with 5-speeds behind them. Granted they are all on 4x4's and rock crawlers, but you could probably custom mount it. He has all the wireing figured out so everything works nice and proper. Take off the 500lbs. worth of mufflers and your set. There are several ways to put an LS on a diet. For instance after taking out my solid 20lbs. of factory radio and changer, I noticed significant mpg increase :D

Ahahaha. The LS400 would need a stomach bypass.

But there are much better cars for sport driving right out of the box. :lol:

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The LS is my mid-life crisis car. That means I will die at the ripe old age of 44! :P

Well soooory,, Have had my LS for couple of months. and Love it.. Nope it is not a Mustang, But then again, driving a couple hundred miles in one of those tin cans will jar anyone's brain.. No comparison of the Miata to the LS... so should not even try. Like going from a bicycle to a motorcycle.

Maybe not mid-life crisis,, But definitely growing pains, as in Maturity. and learning that sometimes it is the satisfaction of being smooth... Maybe loosing the teen-ager mentality is what you might be going thru.

Sure at 22 you not going to woooo any high school chicks in the LS like a sport car.. But then, try to go parking in a Miata and you will then wish you had the "sport" feel of your LS ....LOL

Not being tough on ya,,, just pulling your chain,,, all in fun... My son (16) likes his Avalon better than the LS... oh well..

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All you need is some H&R sports springs, daizin sway bar bushing, brembo breaks, and a custom supercharger. LOL that is my dream for my LS anyway. Another option you have is buy a motorcycle. I'm getting my motocycle liscence in may and plan to purchase a bike in late summer-early fall. That will give you all the thrills you could ask for.

Don't forget the Hood Scoop... LOL

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The LS is my mid-life crisis car. That means I will die at the ripe old age of 44! :P

Well soooory,, Have had my LS for couple of months. and Love it.. Nope it is not a Mustang, But then again, driving a couple hundred miles in one of those tin cans will jar anyone's brain.. No comparison of the Miata to the LS... so should not even try. Like going from a bicycle to a motorcycle.

Maybe not mid-life crisis,, But definitely growing pains, as in Maturity. and learning that sometimes it is the satisfaction of being smooth... Maybe loosing the teen-ager mentality is what you might be going thru.

Sure at 22 you not going to woooo any high school chicks in the LS like a sport car.. But then, try to go parking in a Miata and you will then wish you had the "sport" feel of your LS ....LOL

Not being tough on ya,,, just pulling your chain,,, all in fun... My son (16) likes his Avalon better than the LS... oh well..

There will probably be a time when I'm near death when I want a car that is smooth, refined and luxurious, and nothing else. That time is not now (I hope). :lol:

Having owned the Miata and the LS, I can say that they are both very influential vehicles. The LS is responsible for launching Toyota into the luxury market, and for opening the door for other Japanese manufacturers into that sector. The Miata, on the other hand, is responsible for single-handedly reviving the dead affordable lightweight roadster category in the early 90s. So no more Miata bashing! :P

Actually, I think the Miata is a very mature car as well. It is a throwback to old 60's - 70's sports cars (you know, when sports cars were actually really light and nimble). Heck, it's probably the quintessential midlife crisis car! :lol:

I'm really not trying to start a ruckus here and to bash the LS. I guess I'm just curious how most of you deal with the lack of driving fun, if that makes any sense!

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I think it depends entirely on how one defines fun then. I built a 460 powered 427 Cobra replica. That was fun. I stuffed a 5.0 HO Ford engine into a 242 Volvo. That was fun. I drive semi's every now and then, to make a few bucks and.....have fun. I drive the LS and the GS and they are both fun. I have a 5.2 litre Dodge Dakota 2WD and it's fun. They are all different, and the enjoyment is different, but they are fun - because they each did something well. So my definition of fun is obviously quite broad. If yours is dynamics while bending into a corner at high speed, well, the LS is not as "comfortable" as some doing that. I don't chase Mercedes with the Dakota for that reason.

Buy a 540i BMW. Hopefully the service manager at the dealer has a good sense of humour.....he might be fun to deal with.

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The LS is my mid-life crisis car. That means I will die at the ripe old age of 44! :P

Well soooory,, Have had my LS for couple of months. and Love it.. Nope it is not a Mustang, But then again, driving a couple hundred miles in one of those tin cans will jar anyone's brain.. No comparison of the Miata to the LS... so should not even try. Like going from a bicycle to a motorcycle.

Maybe not mid-life crisis,, But definitely growing pains, as in Maturity. and learning that sometimes it is the satisfaction of being smooth... Maybe loosing the teen-ager mentality is what you might be going thru.

Sure at 22 you not going to woooo any high school chicks in the LS like a sport car.. But then, try to go parking in a Miata and you will then wish you had the "sport" feel of your LS ....LOL

Not being tough on ya,,, just pulling your chain,,, all in fun... My son (16) likes his Avalon better than the LS... oh well..

There will probably be a time when I'm near death when I want a car that is smooth, refined and luxurious, and nothing else. That time is not now (I hope). :lol:

Having owned the Miata and the LS, I can say that they are both very influential vehicles. The LS is responsible for launching Toyota into the luxury market, and for opening the door for other Japanese manufacturers into that sector. The Miata, on the other hand, is responsible for single-handedly reviving the dead affordable lightweight roadster category in the early 90s. So no more Miata bashing! :P

Actually, I think the Miata is a very mature car as well. It is a throwback to old 60's - 70's sports cars (you know, when sports cars were actually really light and nimble). Heck, it's probably the quintessential midlife crisis car! :lol:

I'm really not trying to start a ruckus here and to bash the LS. I guess I'm just curious how most of you deal with the lack of driving fun, if that makes any sense!

Oh I have a lot of fun in my LS... pulling out from behind a slow driver, and go from 45 to 75-80 by the time I am even with the slow cars doors, is a blast.

When I was in High School I drove a 63 chev Super Sport.. my friends drove sport cars... On Date night they always begged me for a trade, so they had room for their girl to ride like a queen.. I drove all kinds of hot rods that way,, from sting rays, to a Boxer, to MGs and some of the finest mustangs and 442s around. Fun?? being tall, I always felt cramed into a can with the sport cars for more than a couple hours.. Imagine 6'4" driving 400 miles in some of the first CVCC Honda's sent over..My cruise contro was a can of oil on the accelerator. LOL Now those sardine cans were a blast.. I had tires that would fit a 3/4 ton truck on that little skateboard, Painted it Canary Yellow. They only came in Brown, or dirty White, i think. , Maybe I started a fad, as so many of those cars did get tricked out.. If some of you can't imagine the size of the CVCC, I think the Smart car is bigger LOL

Was it fun?? HELL YESSSSSSSS! but I was 24 ish, Is my Lexus fun Hell Yes, but I am 40 years older, and have been there done that..

I also had one of the first super cab Fords, 88 Extended Cab Chevy, and a tricked out 75 Ford van,,, not to mention several bikes, a Vett or two, mustangs, and firebirds, . Also had Chrys New Yorker, T-bird boat, Lincoln Town Car, Volvo 740 and others,, While I had fun in the little ones,, only the luxury cars gave me satisfaction.

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Buy a 540i BMW. Hopefully the service manager at the dealer has a good sense of humour.....he might be fun to deal with.
That's actually the car that I initially wanted. I was getting ready to make an offer on a '99 540i 6 speed when suddenly, the thought of having to maintain a German car hit me. I decided to make a compromise on the "fun" factor and trade it for reliability with the LS.

I think the LS is a perfect luxury car. It's everything a luxury car is supposed to be. (A flagship luxury sedan need not be sporty.) It's just that I will probably be complimenting it with something sportier in the future in my garage.

One of the most interesting things to see (having bought different cars and participated in all of these different enthusiast communities) is that there are enthusiasts for every conceivable kind of vehicle, and it's interesting to see what makes people happy. And there's nothing wrong with people having different tastes. Different folks, different strokes.

And don't get me wrong! I do like driving down Main Street and watching the reflection of my car in the storefront windows. We're not so different! :lol:

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I don't get overly excited about anything.

I got a slight grin when I found out that when you pull up to a stop light, the windshield wipers will automatically switch from ON to intermittent and then switch back to ON when you start moving again.

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I don't get overly excited about anything.

I got a slight grin when I found out that when you pull up to a stop light, the windshield wipers will automatically switch from ON to intermittent and then switch back to ON when you start moving again.

WOW that is pretty sweet. I will have to test that out next time it rains to see if my '93 will do that too.

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You're right, it really gets done to preference and what we feels like he needs. I like smooth crusing and there's nothing that can beat the LS on that count. I'm very happy with my car and anticipate years of driving it and when it gives up the ghost, I'll get another LS.

If you want balance between speed, fun to drive and near luxury, there is a car that I think that fits the bill. That's the Nissan Maxima. I had a 98 prior to buying the Lexus and that car is hair trigger fast. The newer ones are even faster. Reliability is really good also. I was pretty happy with my Max before I drove the LS. No doubt, the LS is a step above, but that Maxima is one hell of a car and I wouldn't rule out getting another one.

Buy a 540i BMW. Hopefully the service manager at the dealer has a good sense of humour.....he might be fun to deal with.
That's actually the car that I initially wanted. I was getting ready to make an offer on a '99 540i 6 speed when suddenly, the thought of having to maintain a German car hit me. I decided to make a compromise on the "fun" factor and trade it for reliability with the LS.

I think the LS is a perfect luxury car. It's everything a luxury car is supposed to be. (A flagship luxury sedan need not be sporty.) It's just that I will probably be complimenting it with something sportier in the future in my garage.

One of the most interesting things to see (having bought different cars and participated in all of these different enthusiast communities) is that there are enthusiasts for every conceivable kind of vehicle, and it's interesting to see what makes people happy. And there's nothing wrong with people having different tastes. Different folks, different strokes.

And don't get me wrong! I do like driving down Main Street and watching the reflection of my car in the storefront windows. We're not so different! :lol:

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Each day more than the last, the LS seems to be incredibly soul-less to me.

I'm making tentative plans now to sell the LS to my parents (their minivan is almost dead, and when I bought my LS, my mom said she was going to buy another one that was newer on the lot that the dealer had, but never followed through). I'm thinking of going back to my roots and getting a Mazda RX-8. In my mind, it's like a Miata with none of the drawbacks.

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ive had my 95' LS for 8 months now...driven it on many trips! Panama city, Texas, Gatlinburg, Cades Cove, Nashville, and soon Texas again!! Im a Traveling man, so comfort and safety is my priority...if i want to get a little wild, ill just hop in my 400HP 69' fastback w/4 in the floor and go nuts!!..you know what i mean SRK!!...two totally different personalities that everyone needs to juggle sometimes!

in the past, I had an 86 Mazda RX-7 - pretty fun car!! 84 5.0 stang, - easiest car to get squirly with!

94' Vigor - suprisingly balanced, solid, agile, and quick! Hard to find a decent one for sale though...

i would have to say in the comfort/Luxury class....the LS takes the cake over Cadillacs, MB's, Lincolns and Mercs for long hauls...you seem to be able to drive longer periods in the LS without getting tired or too worn out!

Happy Lexin' round yall! ;)

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ive had my 95' LS for 8 months now...driven it on many trips! Panama city, Texas, Gatlinburg, Cades Cove, Nashville, and soon Texas again!! Im a Traveling man, so comfort and safety is my priority...if i want to get a little wild, ill just hop in my 400HP 69' fastback w/4 in the floor and go nuts!!..you know what i mean SRK!!...two totally different personalities that everyone needs to juggle sometimes!

in the past, I had an 86 Mazda RX-7 - pretty fun car!! 84 5.0 stang, - easiest car to get squirly with!

94' Vigor - suprisingly balanced, solid, agile, and quick! Hard to find a decent one for sale though...

i would have to say in the comfort/Luxury class....the LS takes the cake over Cadillacs, MB's, Lincolns and Mercs for long hauls...you seem to be able to drive longer periods in the LS without getting tired or too worn out!

Happy Lexin' round yall! ;)

I feel the same way you do. The Lexus is a great car. But since it is my only car (and I can only afford/store one at a time right now), I need something else more sporty.

At least I have the luxury car bug out of my system--for the short term.

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You're not the only one who has posted these same feelings before. I too felt that way about my 95. I loved that car, but got a horrible itch to drive something a lighter on it's feet, and fun. I bought my wife a 07' Mazda 3GT in April of 07', new. One drive, and I was hooked. But my wife was not comfortable driving the LS. So, the LS became the 4runner, so I could get my hands on the Mazda more. We had our 1st child, the 4runner became her car, the Mazda mine, and after a year of the Mazda, I've returned to Lexus with a GS. The GS is a good balance between the two. You get a soft ride when you want it, but have the more nimble feel when you want that too. It's basically Lexus's definition of the BMW 5 series. Granted, it's not a BMW, but you get the point. The LS is the 7 series, the IS is the 3 series, and the ES, well I'm not quite sure, but they're also very nice and even more nimble. But if you're looking for more feedback from the road type of car, then I'd say either the IS, or a different brand all together. Maybe an Infiniti G35 would fit that bill? I've heard lots of folks loving them for that quality. I've got a buddy who had a G35 sedan, but had to sell it when he was starting is own law practice. He replaced it with a used IS300. Said the G35 was a lot more fun to drive, but overall he loves the IS better.

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