Audi's job is to compete with BMW. The purpose of the A8 LWB variants is to compete with the 740iL and to provide a platform for the upcoming Bentley and Bugatti sedans with long wheelbase and AWD.
Volkswagen's job is to compete with Mercedes-Benz. The D1 will trump the S600 with W18 power and will be available in a hatchback configuration (which the S-class is not).
The Japanese can't sell a car at that pricepoint and they know it, they've been trying and failing for years. NSX's sell at 22% of their 1991 predicted volume. Six Corvettes are sold for every Supra. Twelve S-classes are sold for each Acura RL. Blah blah blah.
There are just some things there's no reason to own like a DVD copy of Spice World, a front-wheel-drive car, a Japanese car, etc.
The more gadgets = more sales formula works for Sony, it will never work for Toyota.
I've seen a few pictures and have read about the changes to the LS for MY 2001. I am sure the performance will be even better than the current LS400 with the additional displacement and bump in torque. Also, I am sure the new safety features, equipment and gadgets will be well reeived in the marketplace. I think the LS400 outsells the A8 by a huge margin (only about 2,000 A8's sold in the U.S. last year), so the updated A8 is no threat to Lexus in terms of sales volume. Lexus only concerns themselves with BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar in the luxury segment.
Having said all this, I think the styling of the new LS430 stinks. It looks like they tried so hard not to mess with success that the all-new body looks remarkably like the outgoing model (worse IMO), with major styling cues stolen from the 2000 MB S-Class. Why can't Japanese designers come up with something unique on their own? Lexus has had some unique designs (GS 300/400), but they have really stuck to the original design of the LS400. I am pretty disappointed at some of the recent stylings from Japanese automakers. The Acura TL, Mitsibishi Diamante, Infiniti I30/Maxima are recent examples of generic, bland and copycat body designs.
I would gladly take an A8 (with its unique AWD system), BMW 7-Series or MB S430 over the LS430 any day, even though they cost more.
Press Release -- 15 options !! More interior&truck then S430 LWB !!
LEXUS REINVENTS THE PREMIUM LUXURY CAR... AGAIN
In the fall of 2000, Lexus will again raise the automobile market's expectations of luxury models next fall when it introduces the third generation of its flagship sedan, the 2001 LS 430. Designed to be as much of a leap over current competitive luxury models as the first LS 400 was more than a decade ago, the all-new LS 430 provides ample evidence of the brand's unyielding pursuit of automotive perfection.
In a field of much-improved competitors, Lexus has again presented a world-class array of performance, safety, luxury and quality while delivering unmatched value in the premium luxury segment. The first generation and current LS 400 models established new benchmarks for performance, quality, quiet ride and content in the luxury category, yet the new LS 430 exceeds even these lofty standards. Compared to the current LS 400, the new LS 430 features:
• a 4.3 litre engine that offers increased performance and Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification
• a more spacious interior
• a high degree of passive and active safety
• more advanced luxury features, yet with controls that are simple to use
• new suspension for greater stability, response, and handling
• an even smoother, quieter ride
• a richer, more stylish interior
• a greater range of options for more individuality
"With the LS 400, Lexus created the benchmark by which others are judged," said Warren Orton, National Manager of the Lexus Division of Toyota Canada Inc. "Now, as the competition has caught up in many ways, we need to set newer, higher standards."
Super-Sleek Body Virtually Eliminates Wind Noise
While retaining the "flavour" of the original and second-generation LS 400s, the new LS 430 exudes a more muscular presence. The sleek exterior, with the available Air Suspension, meets the wind with a 0.25 coefficient of drag (Cd), the lowest of any current passenger sedan. To achieve this level of aerodynamics, Lexus engineers tested the LS 430 in the same wind tunnel used in the development of Japan's legendary bullet trains. Fine tuning of airflow around bumpers, fenders, floorpan, mirrors and even the angle of the front grille bars contributed to the LS 430's unprecedented aerodynamic efficiency, which virtually eliminates wind noise, making the LS 430 even quieter inside than its benchmark predecessors. In addition, the ultra-low Cd helps keep fuel consumption about the same - even with the increased engine displacement and performance. Lexus was able to achieve the impressive wind tunnel performance despite raising overall height by 61 mm.
To increase interior room in the LS 430, Lexus lengthened the wheelbase by 76.2 mm (to 2,926 mm) but kept overall length the same at 4996.18 mm. Compared to the externally larger Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the LS 430 offers more front leg- and headroom, slightly more cabin volume (105.3 cu. ft. vs. 105.0 cu. ft.), and a larger trunk (16.1 cu. ft. vs.15.4 cu. ft.).
In building the new LS 430, Lexus used a supercomputer to digitize the precise surface design of the body. The unit of measure used was 1/1000 of a millimetre, ten times more precise than the typical 1/100 of a millimeter unit used by other car companies. The result is more-precisely stamped sheet metal for better fit and assembly quality. While Lexus has won the J.D. Power and Associates five-year Vehicle Dependability Study every year it has been eligible, the company made what it considers 57 major improvements for even longer-lasting durability.
In Search Of True Luxury
Before designing the LS 430, Lexus designers and engineers studied luxury and craftsmanship outside the automotive realm. They visited five-star hotel rooms, including presidential/royal suites for national guests, and surveyed first class aircraft cabins and luxury jet interiors. They also observed high-end jewelry/watch makers and guitar makers at work.
The LS 430 adds new, higher grades of leather and wood. The climate control system features temperature and sun-sensing articulating air registers. If, for example, sunlight is concentrated on one side of the car, the registers will automatically deliver more cooling air to that side. Additional adjustments for the driver's seat include dual lumbar controls and adjustable cushion length for greater thigh support.
The standard combination wood/leather steering wheel features controls for the audio system, which will include as standard an in-dash, single-feed 6-disc CD changer. The new CD changer location allows for a larger dual glove box, and expanded interior storage includes compartments in the centre console and under the front seats.
The options available on the new LS 430 place it into a different category entirely. There are more than 15 major systems and features available:
• advanced Adaptive Variable Suspension
• climate control front seats (which use separate heating and cooling elements, not just fans)
• parking clearance sonar
• power moonroof
• power adjustable rear seatbacks with memory
• power rear sunshade and manual rear door sunshades
• rear air conditioner with air purifier
• rear seat heat and massage
• voice-activated portable phone
• power door and trunk closers
• dual-level heated seats
Lexus incorporated the new technology to make driving the LS 430 more comfortable, convenient and pleasurable. Even with the navigation system and high-end audio, controls are easy for the driver or passengers to identify and operate.
High Performance With Ultra-Low Emissions
The original Lexus LS 400 prescribed a V8 engine as the "price of entry" in the premium luxury segment more than 10 years ago, when European luxury models typically offered less powerful six-cylinder engines. The new 290-horsepower 4.3-litre V8 in the LS 430, mated to a computer-controlled five-speed automatic transmission, will rocket the Lexus flagship sedan from 0-60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Its 320 lb/ft of peak torque and enhanced torque curve outclass some larger-displacement engines, thanks in large part to Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). VVT-i eliminates the traditional compromise between low-end torque and high-rpm horsepower by optimizing valve overlap throughout the engine's speed range (not just at one or two set speeds). Lexus tuned the LS 430 engine to produce more torque across a broad engine speed range, making the car feel more responsive under all driving conditions.
The LS 430 introduces the industry's first "torque-activated" powertrain control, which governs the throttle based not just on pedal position, but on vehicle speed and engine rpm, as well. When climbing a hill, for example, the controller will increase the throttle opening to provide more power without the driver having to "floor it." The car will behave more smoothly because unwanted up-shifts and down-shifts are avoided, and the driver does not have to keep depressing and releasing the gas pedal to maintain a set pace over varying road conditions.
Even with the increased performance, the Lexus LS 430 V8 meets Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification - unusual in this segment.
Taking Safety To The Next Level
The LS 430 features a strong passenger cell protected by front and rear crumple zone structures. The Supplemental Restraint System in the 2001 LS 430 adds advanced variable-force front airbags and side curtain front and rear airbags. Sensors determine the force with which to deploy the front airbags, helping to maximize occupant restraint performance. The front seats and rear outboard seats feature seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters.
Lexus believes in giving the driver the technology to help avoid danger on the road. The LS 430 includes Brake Assist, which Lexus introduced on the LS 400 for 2000. Brake Assist interprets a quick, hard push of the brake pedal as emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped hard enough on the brake pedal to activate the Antilock Braking System (A.B.S.), Brake Assist supplements the applied braking pressure.
Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), introduced on the 1998 LS 400 and now available on most Lexus models, helps maintain traction control under demanding conditions by detecting and helping to correct for understeer and oversteer. The VSC system integrates traction control to help limit rear wheel spin on slippery surfaces. Both VSC and Brake Assist employ the sensors and actuators of the standard 4-channel A.B.S.