The Lexus LS (sold as the Toyota Celsior in Japan, Australia, and some other countries.) is a V8-powered, rear wheel drive luxury car that serves as the flagship of Toyota's luxury Lexus division.
First generation (UF10)
UF10 I (1989)
The UF10 I LS 400 was produced from 1989 to 1994. The model introduced the Lexus nameplate to the US, and soon after won critical acclaim, becoming Wheels magazine's Car of the Year and earning a place on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1990. The LS 400 was initially intended to be introduced as a standalone model for Lexus, but ultimately was sold alongside the ES 250, an entry-level luxury car that was based on the Toyota Camry.
UF10 II (1993)
For the 1993 model year, the LS 400 (now designated as the UF10 II) was introduced with larger brake rotors, standard passenger's side front airbags, larger wheels and tires, and numerous other upgrades.
Second generation (UF20)
UF20 III (1995)
Introduced in 1995, the UF20 III LS 400 was an evolutionary redesign of the LS and featured a new body that eliminated 300 lb from the previous car. The wheelbase was increased by 1.4 in, resulting in more interior and trunk space, yet the overall length of the car remained at 196.7 in. The durability of the brake system was improved as well.
The most noticeable cosmetic upgrades included a new front fascia with an increased gap between the headlights and grille, new headlights and taillights. The interior received a minor redesign with a more modern dashboard layout and the center console receiving a slight facelift.
For the 1998 model year, the UF20 IV LS 400 was introduced. New interior amenities included retractable rear headrests, wood accents on the leather-bound steering wheel and gear selector, and a navigation system with a concealed antenna. A new "jam protection system" for the vehicle's windows was designed to reduce the risk of possible injury by preventing the windows from closing if an object came in between the window and the door frame. Door window controls were also added to the vehicle remote control.
Exterior updates included new five spoke wheels as well as redesigned rear view mirrors that reduced the amount of wind noise. The automatic headlights were now equipped with a delay feature that allowed the headlights to remain on while the occupants exited the vehicle.
The revised LS 400 featured Toyota's new 290 hp VVT-i UZ engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The drivetrain improvements not only enabled the 3,890 lb sedan to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds but also improved the vehicle's fuel economy.
Third generation (UF30)
UF30 I (2001)
For 2001, the UF30 I LS 430 was introduced. While previous LS redesigns were evolutionary, the 2001 update was a more thorough update of the model's exterior and interior. The UF30 had a completely redesigned suspension and a brand new 4.3 L engine generating 290 hp (216 kW) and 320 ftâ€¢lbf (434 Nâ€¢m) of torque. Lexus claims the LS430 can run 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. A three-inch wheelbase stretch resulted in more interior volume than the competing Mercedes-Benz S-Class and allowed the engine to be positioned farther rearward for better balance. Features such as Dynamic Laser Cruise Control, a DVD-based navigation system and heated & cooled seats became available. These and other features, such as sonar assisted parking, power rear seats with massage and a rear cooler were bundled in the 'Ultra Luxury Package.'
In the interior the most notable design changes included additional woodgrain trim on the dashboard and doors as well as the addition of an LCD screen on the center console. The exterior of the vehicle was completely new with the vehicle's dimensions increasing in terms of length and height.
UF30 II (2004)
The UF30 II was introduced in 2004. Lexus freshened the front & rear fascias and added as standard equipment previously optional features, such as a one-touch power moonroof, power rear sunshade, and lighted rear-seat vanity mirrors. Some features previously included in the Custom and Ultra Luxury packages became available separately. The transmission got an added sixth gear, and keyless 'smart access' and Bluetooth technology became optional, while a pre-collision system, similar to Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe, which used millimeter-wavelength radar to predict crashes and allow distance-aware cruise control, was added as an option. Other updates included different wheels, projector headlamps, and LED taillights.
The 2001 to 2006 LS 430 was the most reliable luxury sedan in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality survey, and the early models of this series were the most reliable cars in the survey. In later studies of defects after 3 years of ownership, the LS 430 is also at the top of the pack. The third season of the popular BBC television program, Spooks, featured a number of Lexus LS vehicles as part of the brand's introduction in the British market.