Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lusting for Lexus

A buddy of mine was teasing my about my recent mention of the use of a new Lexus LS-460 for the week. (As an influential member of the Media, Lexus has deemed my opinion of their automobiles worth of a 7-day loaner now and then, an impression I am reluctant to dissuade.)

He wanted to know if this was the car that will parallel-park itself. Yes, it does…but...I never got out of it long enough to test that little feature.

You see, the new Lexus LS- 470 also has an 8-speed automatic transmission married to a powerful 4.6-litre V-8 engine producing 380-hp that just defies you to ever stop. The fleet vehicle I’ve been driving is clad in soft leather with a moon roof, the premium sound system, and a Satellite Radio receiver.
You become very reluctant to step outside its high-tech cocoon.

But it’s the little things that Lexus has done with this vehicle that really charmed me.

The keyless ignition and entry system, for example, that senses your presence, and triggers several welcoming functions: Red LED’s glow from the driver- and passenger side window sills, lamps in the underside of the rearview mirrors throw pools of light at your feet, and the mirrors themselves silently unfold like tiny arms to draw you to the car.

There are some details I found a little humorous, too--like a photo of the LS460 that appears when you push the ignition button, just in case you forget what you're driving.

There are some intangible benefits to the new LS-460BMW and Mercedes Benz drivers visibly covet the car, for one. It’s a head-turner, with the smooth, sleek lines, and elongated wheelbase. The back seat is spacious enough to start a family in…and I can personally vouch for the cavernous trunk area, which easily swallowed the entire contents of my daughter’s closet in an impromptu demonstration of its appetite.

By the way, that drive train package is trimmed under the hood by a system of plastic plates and covers that minimize noise—and confusion, should you need to poke around in there. Receptacles for coolant, windshield fluid, and engine and transmission lubricants are clearly and crisply marked, with the labyrinth of hoses and cables shielded from view.

I’ve often said that Lexus builds the last car you’d ever need to own.
With the LS-460, they just built a reason to trade up.

No comments: