Lexus Division countered the German luxury offensive with a new flagship of its own at Detroit: the LS430. It revealed a more powerful engine and more luxury features than the model it replaces.
Jim Press, Toyota Motor Sales executive vice president, admitted that the previous-generation flagship, the LS400, had been designed in an era of endaka, or cost-cutting. But with the new LS430, 'that era has ended. This car's role is to elevate Lexus to a truly world-class level,' Press said at the auto show. The LS430 will also be the flagship of the Lexus range in Europe.
Its 4.3-liter V-8 propels the flagship to 100kph in just over 6 seconds, aided by an updated five-speed automatic transmission, variable valve timing and a new 'torque-activated powertrain control' that governs the throttle based on pedal position, engine speed and engine rpm. The engine also has an ultra-low-emissions vehicle rating.
Adaptive variable suspension, brake assist and vehicle skid control bring more road feel and control to the driver. The car is 50mm wider and has 76mm more wheelbase, but the overall length and width remain the same.
Chief designer Makoto Ooshima says he was inspired by the Japanese bullet train, especially since the car was tested in the same wind tunnel. It has the lowest coefficient of drag, at 0.25, of any sedan.