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Johannesburg - What is the most underrated car brand on South African roads today? There is a hands down winner: Lexus. And that is surprising, because Toyota’s premium brand debuted 25 years ago with the mission to become the best car in the world.
In many other countries, Lexus is regarded, in quality terms, as the best of the best, even up against the top German makers. Yet here, at almost all price points, people opt for the Germans in bigger numbers.
That becomes difficult to understand because there can be no argument that Lexus vehicles are among the best made on our roads.
In the case of the top-of-the range (we’re excluding the LS-F hypercar here because very few have been imported) LS460 limousine, the Lexus tag line is “In pursuit of automotive perfection”. Spending a week with the car I can safely say they’ve almost achieved it.
Sure it’s not as flashy or as fast or as sharp-handling as some of the Germans (and even Jaguars) which are aimed at top-level executives (and, dare we say, government ministers?). But few cars have the ability to surround you in such a cocoon of elegant, yet laid back, luxury, as the LS460.
A CALM PLACE
From the superbly upholstered leather interior (and some of the comfiest seats in a car); to the air suspension (which dismisses most road imperfections with barely a raised eyebrow) and eight-speed auto transmission (which is so good it is nigh impossible to tell when gears are changed); along with the ultimate in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) suppression technology, the LS460 is a calm place to be.
Like its smaller GS series siblings, the LS exudes a Zen-like air of peace. The world outside, if you notice it exists, is hermetically sealed off.
For the sort of people who can afford this 285kW V8 limo (and it tips the scales at just on R1.3 million – although all the goodies are included, and not optional, at that price), peace and quiet and the sense of calm will be very appealing.
You don’t have anything to prove, you don’t need to flash anything. But you’ve worked hard enough to allow yourself this indulgence. -Saturday Star
Lexus LS 460
Engine: 4.6-litre, V8 petrol
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 285kW @ 6400rpm
Torque: 493Nm @ 4100rpm
0-100km/h (claimed): 5.7 seconds
Top speed (claimed): 250km/h
Consumption (urban, claimed): 11.1 l/100km
Price: R1 339 200
Warranty: Four-year/100 000km
Maintenance Plan: Four-year/100 000km