The Lexus LS400 is celebrating its 33rd birthday

May 1987 was a very special month in the history of the Japanese automotive industry. The Toyota driver is then nodded her first Lexus sedan same plan, the LS400-Asher, right, had not yet agreed on how they will call his new prémiummárkájukat, which break into the league of German luxury cars. Everyone only mentioned it as “F1” (Flagship-1) in the early days, it was given the now legendary type name two years later when it debuted at the NAIAS Motor Show in Detroit in 1989.

Toyota can be said to have taken a virgin design for the LS400, although it had previous luxury cruisers (e.g. Century), but they were made specifically for the Japanese market, according to Japanese tastes. But they knew that there were different winds in America and the old continent, so the design was inspired by the design of German limousines, especially the S-Class of the W126 Mercedes. They worked with square lines, leaving huge surfaces on the LS400 to make the car look robust enough, as it was really cool at the time. Of course, aerodynamics have also been given special attention by Japanese engineers to compete with German rivals in terms of driving dynamics and consumption as well.

Of course, a streamlined body would not have been enough for this, it also required a percussion engine in the nose of the car. They didn\’t mean anything in line for the flagship, they knew it would take at least eight cylinders to get their attention. They succeeded, and the 4.0-liter unit, coded 1UZ-FE , proved to be one of the silky-running and most durable V8 engines of all time , making even a mileage of up to 1 million a huge challenge. Success (one of) the key was that it did not strung high performance point of view: the factory 250 hp and 353 Nm of torquewhich was paired with an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. With this combination, it accelerated from 0 to 100 in 8.5 seconds and reached a top speed of 250 km / h.

In the case of the LS400, ode to technical over-design and the maximalist attitude of the Japanese are used, not by chance. 14 different models were built just to fine-tune the aerodynamics over the 16-month period (up to a maximum of 6 of an average car) to test everything there was: the Lexus interior was filled with microphones in the wind tunnel to find and eliminate even the tiniest wind noise. 1,400 engineers and 2,300 technicians worked on the flagship, and nearly 900 prototypes were built from the V8 engine before it became perfect. The development team has covered 2.7 million kilometers of LS400s worldwide in the most extreme weather and road conditions.

Inside, customers could choose from 24 different wood inlays and at least that much leather, making it almost impossible to find two identical LS400s. The designer of the instrument, Michikazu Masu, was confronted with the current trend at the time: he did not make a digital panel, but a traditional analogue, the pointers were fluorescent tubes, which at the time resembled only “laser swords”. Because Lexus specifically wanted to break into the U.S. market with its flagship, it thoroughly mapped out the needs of customers there. Surveys have shown that the grandiose look was considered the most important in this category, with driving performance only in fourth place, so the LS400 was designed accordingly.

In my opinion, Lexus ’first luxury car to date is their most beautiful model, their current design is too chaotic, a bit of an exaggeration for the Japanese style. I am confident that in the future they will have a similar, conservative yet authoritative design, technically redesigned luxury cruiser with which they can once again cause headaches to the members of the German Trinity!

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