2000 Lexus LS 400 Platinum Edition 4.0 Liter V8, from North America
Everything a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi luxury car is and more, for much much less
Absolutely nothing has gone wrong yet.
This is my second LS400, my first was a 96'. Back in 95' I was looking for a luxury car, and really wasn't interested in a Japanese car. I had owned Japanese cars before like an 88' Supra and a Celica, which by the way were great cars, but I really didn't think that Toyota/Lexus could make a good luxury car. I was dead wrong.
At the time, I was looking at Audi A8's, BMW 740's, and Mercedes. Then, a friend of mine told me to just take a look at the LS400. I have been thanking him ever since. After taking a test drive and seeing the low price tag on the car (compared to its German competition) I was sold. At first I had ill feelings toward the Lexus. I thought that a car of this quality at such a low price must have a downside. Again I was wrong and still can't find a downside. I put 100,000 miles on the car, sold it to my brother who put 80,000 more miles and the thing just won't die. He still has it, and says that the engine still runs silently at idle, and has the same beefy pickup it always had. I'm not talking about 180,000 easy miles either. My brother and I both drive hard in stop and go traffic all day, everyday, through the bitter cold Chicago winters and hellishly hot and humid summers.
Now are you ready for the best part? I wasn't even talking about the 2001 LS400 in the above paragraph. I was talking about the 96', and the 2001 is even better than the 96'. I have put 42,000 miles on my 2001 and plan keep it a while longer.
The ride is soft and cushy. The Nakamichi sound system is spectacular, the wood trim on the shifter, dash, doors, and steering wheel is beautiful. The 5 speed automatic gearbox is smooth yet quick, the engine is potent and delivers all 290hp directly. At redline, the all aluminum engine grunts a musical note out of its twin stainless steel pipes. The leather is so soft, it makes you want to sit naked in it, although I don't recommend this outside of your own driveway. Highway gas mileage is great- 32 mpg.
The only thing I can think of offhand that subtracts from the car is that the brakes have a loose feel. Don't get me wrong, they are still good brakes and Lexus traction control and ABS has saved me many an accident, the brakes still feel a little loose.
The fact is, these LS400s are really remarkable and reliable cars, and to anyone who in the past has overlooked Lexus as a company to buy from, I say look again and see the light. Just give them a try, you won't be disappointed.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th August, 2003
It's disappointing to read of your Lexus experience. One wonders what kind of a vehicle history your car had before you acquired it. Some of it sounds like flood damage. My company used to purchase new MBs for me, and often from day one, they had multiple problems, spending days in the shop. I asked a MB tech's advice when I was shopping for a car of my own, and it was he who whispered "Lexus" in my ear! That was a long time ago, and I still have the same 1998 LS400. Everything works and works well. I do minor service (oil, brakes, etc.) myself, sometimes with the help of the Owners' Forum. Like you, I avoid the dealer like the plague. The "service managers" know very little about the vehicles, and I've heard them make recommendations to customers that are just plain wrong. In my opinion, their charges are outrageous. I strongly suspect even worse behavior on their part, but since I can't absolutely prove it, I can't comment here. Talking with friends, my experiences with them certainly aren't unique.
Most good independents can handle virtually all service requirements, and the Owners' Forum is populated by well-informed people who can often help with the odd problem.
As for my own car, having driven most of the German brands, Jag., several Bentleys, etc. I hope never to part with my LS400!