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Lexus: Lexus unveils the LS 430 at the NAIAS 2000

The LS 430 was unveiled at the Detroit motor show. According to Bryan Bergsteinsson, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus "spent literally thousands of hours talking with customers and our dealers to discover their dream car." Their "researchers carefully studied luxury jets and five- star hotels, as well as emulated the meticulous craftsmanship of fine jewelry, watch and guitar makers. Armed with that research, design teams worked diligently to create the new LS 430. It is the ultimate answer to our customers' needs and desires."


Lexus LS 430 introduction by Bryan Bergsteinsson

Bryan Bergsteinsson introducing the all new LS 430

The responsible project leader of the LS 430 was Chief Engineer Yasushi Tanaka. It took Mr. Tanaka and his team of designers 16 full-scale models, but they eventually chiseled out an all-new, cutting-edge design. It retains some of the flavor of our original LS design, but it features a bolder front end with new head lamps and grille... a taller, more substantial profile that features three-window styling... and a sportier rear end with angled rear lamps.

Mr. Tanaka, head of the development of the LS 430

Mr. Tanaka, head of the development of the LS 430

While the original LS 400 established a new level for quietness, the next generation LS re-invents the term. In a cooperative effort with Japan's Railway company, Lexus borrowed the same wind tunnel used to test the Shinkansen, or Bullet Train. This special large-scale, low-noise wind tunnel enabled Lexus to concentrate on reducing high-frequency wind noise. By making the undercarriage of the car completely flat and fine-tuning the exterior lines, Lexus was able to reduce the LS 430's coefficient of drag to 0.25. This gives the LS 430 the lowest coefficient of drag of any sedan in the world.

Powering the LS 430 is a new 4.3-liter V8 engine that will propel the LS 430 from 0-60 in just 6.2 seconds, which is decidedly world-class. The electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission, has been redesigned to provide even smoother shifts. And an all-new suspension creates better stability, responsiveness and handling. This car begs to be driven fast.

Lexus LS 430

The exterior of the new LS 430 projects a greater presence than ever before. The sleek new lines exude a more muscular identity. Enhanced front-end styling communicates a bold, aggressive personality.

The extended wheel base significantly enlarges the passenger cabin - while the overall body dimensions make it incredibly maneuverable. The available air suspension helps the LS cut through the wind with the lowest coefficient of drag of any passenger sedan. A new sonar system warns of nearby objects while parking...and an auto rain sensor activates the wipers in inclement weather.

The interior sets a new standard for luxury. The finest leathers ever offered in a production car cushion the occupants, While safety features such as dual front and side airbags and new full front and rear side curtains protect them.

The front seat offers additional adjustments including dual lumbar controls and adjustable cushion length to provide greater thigh support for taller drivers.

The LS 430 also introduces the industry's first "torque-activated" power train control that communicates seamlessly with the new 4.3-liter engine, with VVT I, thus improving the already amazing LS smoothness and acceleration.

Lexus now offers Mark Levinson Audio Systems, legendary for their performance and reputation as one of the world's most prestigious and exclusive high-end sound systems. An in-dash six disc single-feed CD changer is standard The LS 430 now provides class-leading interior storage, with a new dual glove box, additional compartments in the center console, underneath the front seats and in- door pockets. The dual automatic climate control is enhanced with articulating vents and an advanced air purification system. Seat heaters and dedicated AC cooling units keep the front seats comfortable under any conditions.

With the new LS 430, it's never been more inviting to ride in the rear compartment. This spacious rear seating area comes with its own controls built into the center armrest. From here, passengers can operate their own climate controls, the audio system, a range of power seat adjustments, including seat heaters, massage, and memory.

The trunk is more spacious and is now "best in class." An advanced hinge allows the lid to articulate out of the way for better head clearance.

The LS 430 truly is a world-class sedan that will once again raise the bar in the premium luxury sedan segment. With its performance, handling and quiet luxury, it will be the standard by which other sedans are gauged. It will go on sale in October of this year and we expect to sell 25,000 annually.

Photos: Automotive Intelligence

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