It was in 1989 that the first Lexus, the excellent LS 400, was marketed in the United States. A year later, Toyota's new luxury brand was already appearing in Europe.
Then came the first RX and the first hybrids. Models qu'Autoscout24 was able to take in hand on the occasion of 30 years of the brand.
In 1983, Toyota President Eiji Toyoda challenged his company to create "a car surpassing the best in the world". The Germans were clearly in the viewfinder and the means were given, with the necessary funds and 1,400 engineers around the boss of the project, Ishiro Suzuki. The ambition was both surprising and strong because the specifications imposed an unprecedented level of requirements: the maximum speed of the vehicle was to reach 250 km / h, for a consumption of 10.5 l / 100km. The aerodynamic lines were to provide a drag coefficient of less than 0.29 and the noise in the passenger compartment should not exceed 58 dB at a speed of 100 km / h.
The success of the LS
In 1989, the Lexus LS 400 was ready to be launched in the US market before quickly tackling twenty other markets around the world. We were able to take in hand a model presenting a superb state contest, in spite of nearly 200.000 kilometers on the odometer. First observation while taking a seat: the seats are as welcoming as a sofa. We then delight in the dashboard, whose different woods exude luxury, ultra-complete equipment and many neat details. Even the height adjustment of the belt is electrified. Built on a new platform, the Lexus LS also inaugurated a new 4.01 V8 241 horsepower. Ultra-quiet, it perfectly matches the character "cocoon" of the car. This LS was unquestionably a success, and its launch in the United States jostled BMW and Mercedes.
SUV and hybrid: first
A few years later, after the LS coupe, the success of the ES and GS saloon cars and the brilliance of its customer service, Lexus became one of the pioneers of the luxury SUV segment with the first RX. Launched in 1998, the RX was aimed at urban customers who wanted a luxury SUV but were not concerned about crossing abilities. Lexus had therefore chosen a monocoque body, like that of a traditional car, and gives the choice between a version with two or four wheel drive. Driven by a 3.0L V6, the first Lexus RX was a new kind of luxury vehicle, and it has given birth to a lineage that is the brand's biggest hit so far.
In 2004, Lexus made its hybrid revolution. It is the RX that inaugurates this mechanism, and claims the passage a first on this segment, which will not be followed for a long time. Combining a V6 gasoline engine and an electric motor, he promised to combine performance and low consumption. By taking over a 2006 RX 400h, we realize that this first Lexus hybrid was already very successful. The performances are indeed present, the sound of the V6 is pleasant and the consumption was already well mastered for the time. On a short trip, we found a little more than 9l / 100 km, a value very close to what the latest version (certainly heavier) can offer!
Since this first model combining gasoline and electricity, the hybrid Lexus range has continued to grow. Today in its fourth generation, the hybrid system is associated with the entire range, the small UX 250h introduced this year to the big V8 of the LS 600h. A Success Story that has lasted 30 years, and that others, like Infinity for example, have tried to imitate without much success, in Europe anyway.
Happy Birthday, Lexus!