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VBdenny

Questionable Ls400 Review

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I found this review on the Times (LOndon I guess) online.

URL http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3804-916081,00.html

I just learned that my 1990 has only 3 forward gears and that a 2000 LS 400 will go 155mph. Obviously someone missed something. Just wondering exactly what my transmission is doing with that shift fee after 3rd gear?

Since its UK launch in 1990 the Lexus LS has split opinion. Owners wax lyrical about levels of comfort, equipment and reliability, while detractors major on the car?s bland styling and lack of pedigree.

But Lexus has huge confidence in the LS and earlier this month launched a new version of the LS430. But anyone with the necessary £56,850 to spend on a new LS should pause before handing over the cheque. That?s because the LS400 made up to 2001 is just as powerful, almost as quiet and virtually identical to look at. Best of all, you can pick up a used version for less than £20,000.

The LS400 dates back to June 1990 and the earliest cars (1990-93) curiously had only three forward gears. In fact, abundant torque meant this was not as bad as it sounds, but the car was given a facelift in October 1997, when it gained a five-speed gearbox.

At the same time the engine power was increased to 280bhp and a superb satellite navigation system was added. Performance from these models is brisk, with 60mph coming up in less than seven seconds, and a top speed of 155mph.

Driving a Lexus LS400 for the first time is an eerie experience: as there?s virtually no wind or engine noise, you?ll catch yourself checking the rev counter to assure yourself the engine is still running. Gearchanges from the standard automatic gearbox are all about smoothness, meaning the power remains virtually constant as you move up through the gears.

Luxury comes as standard on the LS400. Electric seats that remember several positions, leather upholstery, climate control that can alter the temperature separately for each side of the car and satellite navigation are all part of the standard package.

The Lexus LS is designed to appeal to the US market, so its suspension is set too soft and the power steering is feather-light. Even on cars fitted with the Dynamic handling pack, which lowers the suspension and increases the wheel diameter, the car?s floaty attitude dissuades the driver from pushing it hard. While enthusiastic drivers may not relish the experience, passengers will, as rear legroom is plentiful and the soft leather seats are vast.

But to really understand why a Lexus LS is such a great used car you need to look closely at how it is built. Cabin fit and finish are faultless, and more impressive still is what you find in corners that never get seen. Check out the electrical connections under the bonnet; each is beautifully made and carefully located. It?s this attention to detail that led a friend in the trade to say: ?You?re more likely to see a game of Quidditch at Cardiff Arms Park than an LS broken down by the roadside.?

The LS?s ability to shrug off huge mileages has also made it a target for ?clockers?, so used cars need to be checked carefully. Always look for a complete service history with original invoices and invest in a call to HPI to help authenticate the car?s mileage and ownership details.

While many manufacturers claim to build cars with more character than the LS, it?s safe to say that virtually none can build a car better.

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Lexus LS400

Engine: V8, 3969cc

Power: 280bhp

Transmission: Five-speed automatic

Fuel: 23mpg (combined)

Acceleration: 0 to 62mph: 6.9sec

Top speed: 155mph

Boot: Huge, larger than Mercedes S-class or BMW 7-series

Suspension: Electronically controlled, but still too soft for some tastes

Exhaust: Check carefully, as replacement is very expensive

Fuel consumption: LS400 will comfortably return 20mpg if driven with care

Parking aid: One thing Lexus forgot: an automatic parking aid wasn't standard until 2001

Mileage: These are a dream for 'clockers' as high-mileage cars show virtually no signs of wear

Front pads: Heavy V8 engine and auto box make front pads prone to wear

Gearbox: All are automatic. From 1990-93 the car had just three forward gears, in 1993 it got four, then five speeds in 1997. Latest LS430 introduced this month gets six speeds

Dashboard: Wood and leather in all the right places

Climate control: Can be controlled separately for passenger and driver

Satellite navigation: Touch-screen system on post 1997 cars is the best in the world

Steering: Ultra-light, which makes it all too easy to kerb the alloy wheels

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they are talking about european model and they differ drastically inside. i know people who tried to bring cars from europe and they didnt let em in since safety and emissions regulations here are much more strict. A340 tranny has 4 gears thats for sure and speed is not governed in europe thats why it can reach 155 or even more. US cars are electronically limited to 131 mph due to government restrictions.

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I found this review on the Times (LOndon I guess) online.

URL http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3804-916081,00.html

I just learned that my 1990 has only 3 forward gears and that a 2000 LS 400 will go 155mph. Obviously someone missed something. Just wondering exactly what my transmission is doing with that shift fee after 3rd gear?

don't know about the gearing - but the limited top speed is probably correct.

In Europe, to prevent competition between brands resulting in absurd top speeds, there is a 'gentlemans' agreement that vehicles will be limited to 155mph.

This is still much too fast for public roads - but still a better situation than manufacturers ever increasingly upping each new models top speed.

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Does the 98 and newer LS have the A340E transmission? That's the same one that's in my 2000 4Runner! So theoretically, one could make a 4x4 LS! :wacko:

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Actually the US cars are limited to 149, the limit was dropped to 131 in 2001 when the LS430 came out.

There is no government regulation in the US about speed limiters, its actually the "ULEV" rating, if the car were geared to run over 131MPH it would no longer be ULEV compliant.

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The 90-92 LS sold in the U.K. had four forward gear speeds even if the center gear indicator showed only "L", "2" and "D" - just like U.S spec LS's. You have to remember that England is the home of Laycock de Normanville, the maker of the two speed overdrive units that were fitted to many if not most English and Volvo cars over a 40 year period. The English think in "overdrive" terms. Whether or not the early LS transmissions were technically a "three speed with overdrive" or a "four speed" is a moot point. The early LS transmissions functioned as true four speed transmissions and were infinitely more sophisticated that the awful "4 + OD" transmissions I tolerated on English and Swedish cars in the 60's and 70's. I suppose the new 7-speed transmissions on Mercedes could probably be called overdrive transmissions too but they still provide seven forward gear ratios.

The early LS sold in the U.K. was much better equiped than a U.S. spec fully loaded LS. I was in the U.K. when the LS was introduced in 1990 shortly after I purchased an LS in the U.S. While the base price of a U.S spec LS was $35,000 in 1990, the base U.K. price was 35.000 pounds! - the equivalent of about $65,000 in 1990. Most U.K. LS's had headlight beam adjusters and washers, rear seat heaters and cupholders, rear seat A/C control - they were marketed as chauffeur driven "director class" vehicles.

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The 90-92 LS sold in the U.K. had four forward gear speeds even if the center gear indicator showed only "L", "2" and "D" - just like U.S spec LS's. You have to remember that England is the home of Laycock de Normanville, the maker of the two speed overdrive units that were fitted to many if not most English and Volvo cars over a 40 year period. The English think in "overdrive" terms. Whether or not the early LS transmissions were technically a "three speed with overdrive" or a "four speed" is a moot point. The early LS transmissions functioned as true four speed transmissions and were infinitely more sophisticated that the awful "4 + OD" transmissions I tolerated on English and Swedish cars in the 60's and 70's. I suppose the new 7-speed transmissions on Mercedes could probably be called overdrive transmissions too but they still provide seven forward gear ratios.

The early LS sold in the U.K. was much better equiped than a U.S. spec fully loaded LS. I was in the U.K. when the LS was introduced in 1990 shortly after I purchased an LS in the U.S. While the base price of a U.S spec LS was $35,000 in 1990, the base U.K. price was 35.000 pounds! - the equivalent of about $65,000 in 1990. Most U.K. LS's had headlight beam adjusters and washers, rear seat heaters and cupholders, rear seat A/C control - they were marketed as chauffeur driven "director class" vehicles.

I class my mk1 uk LS400 as a 4 speed auto,like you say on mine its got L,2 and D and on the back on the selector a O/D button.I also own a car which you will not of heard of over in the states,which i believe has the same autobox,the shift up speeds are the same,but on that selector it has 1,2,3,D and is a 4 speed auto,its a Vauxhall(GM) Senator 3L 24V.What does disappoint me is on the vauxhall which is the same age as my mk1 LS400,i also have a Sport button which keeps the revs up,but more importantly a winter button,the car will pull away from stand still in 3rd which makes it more driveable in snowy or slippery conditions,which is missing on my 400.

The Vauxhall also has a ecu controlled sort of gear lockup so theres no slip effect on the transmission when the car is going at 58mph or over.the car then drives like a manual transmission in a sort of direct drive giving it better mpg....

I think the later LS 400 have the winter button on them.

So can anyone tell me more about the LS 400 autobox,it may also have this lockup feature,ive no manual with the car.I have read that if i register with lexus.com theres loads of info,but being in the uk i cant register on there..

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Your LS should have both those buttons, they're called "ECT PWR" and "ECT SNOW"

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Your LS should have both those buttons, they're called "ECT PWR" and "ECT SNOW"

The original "MK1" LS sold in the U.K. and U.S. did not have a "snow" button like on the later LS series. I still have my 94 LS U.K/Euro-spec owners manual which shows the same transmission mode buttons as the LS's sold in the U.S. I think most automatic transmission cars sold in the U.S. by 1990 were of the "lockup" type and I am fairly certain that the early LS transmission was of this type.

It is always nice to hear from people the U.K. where I've had happy times touring with family (and hanging out in pubs) -- and stressful times driving on the "correct" side of the road -mainly trying to not get hit by other U.S drivers on holiday! A co-worker friend of mine in Portsmouth - not all that far from Bristol - has a Mk1 LS too - much nicer than the Mk1 I used to have. We've never made it to Bristol - mainly spent time nearby in Bath doing the tourist thing.

Yes, I am familier with the Opel Senator of the 80's - a really nice car and one I liked to hire because of its roomy interior. GM considered selling it in the U.S. as a Cadillac but I don't remember that actually happening.

No offense was meant with my comments on Laycock. But I did have a "Lucas, Prince of Darkness" T-shirt back in the 60's or early 70's. And I live only a couple of miles from Long Motors (http://www.victoriabritish.com/) where

friends from the U.K. have wanted to visit when they are here.

Jim

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i dont have snow option as wel, just normal and power for ect

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Your LS should have both those buttons, they're called "ECT PWR" and "ECT SNOW"

The original "MK1" LS sold in the U.K. and U.S. did not have a "snow" button like on the later LS series. I still have my 94 LS U.K/Euro-spec owners manual which shows the same transmission mode buttons as the LS's sold in the U.S. I think most automatic transmission cars sold in the U.S. by 1990 were of the "lockup" type and I am fairly certain that the early LS transmission was of this type.

It is always nice to hear from people the U.K. where I've had happy times touring with family (and hanging out in pubs) -- and stressful times driving on the "correct" side of the road -mainly trying to not get hit by other U.S drivers on holiday! A co-worker friend of mine in Portsmouth - not all that far from Bristol - has a Mk1 LS too - much nicer than the Mk1 I used to have. We've never made it to Bristol - mainly spent time nearby in Bath doing the tourist thing.

Yes, I am familier with the Opel Senator of the 80's - a really nice car and one I liked to hire because of its roomy interior. GM considered selling it in the U.S. as a Cadillac but I don't remember that actually happening.

No offense was meant with my comments on Laycock. But I did have a "Lucas, Prince of Darkness" T-shirt back in the 60's or early 70's. And I live only a couple of miles from Long Motors (http://www.victoriabritish.com/) where

friends from the U.K. have wanted to visit when they are here.

Jim

Thanks for you coments and everyone else on here for there help.

Thought id give the states forum a try,in the uk,looking on the uk forum the IS200 is by far more popular than the LS models,so its nice to see the amount of LS members on here.

Sorry to hijack the post topic..

Only had my LS 400 a month,but for a 13 year old car..im very pleased with her :D

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chips229,

I hope that you will visit and participate in the U.S. forum any time you want. The whole idea is to share experiences and have fun. Lexus branded cars sold in various markets are not all that different and I often have found helpful and interesting information on the U.K Lexus forums.

Thanks,

Jim

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Yea no probs, :cheers: ...i like your icons :chairshot: ..not got these on th uk site :(

I found alot of useful info from this site..think it helps theres loads of people on here with them.

I Think that im hooked now :D

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