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Top Cars: Lexus

By Angus Frazer

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

From the timeless to the technologically fantastic, we have selected the very best in automobile innovation. Highlighting the classic cars that created a legend, alongside the latest offerings on the road that will turn heads, our rundown of top cars is sure to inspire those in the market for a new ride.

Lexus

JAPAN, 1989

Lexus was introduced to the world by its parent company, Toyota, in the form of the LS 400 sedan at the Detroit Motor Show in January 1989. But the idea for the new brand and the new model was born, in secrecy, in 1983, when Toyota decided that its loyal baby-boomer customers, particularly in the US, would be receptive to stepping up to something a little more prestigious. The assumption proved to be correct. By 1999, Lexus had sold 1 million cars and a year later it became the top-selling luxury brand in the US. lexus.com

IS 200
CLASSIC

The IS 200 was the third and smallest model. Introduced in 1999, it was styled very much on BMW’s 3-Series, and while the junior Lexus may not be as dynamically competent as the German car, it still has plenty to recommend it, not least its sharp, sporting looks. The IS 200 is powered by a smooth-revving, 2.0-liter straight-six cylinder engine, with a choice of a manual or automatic transmissions. Inside, the cabin is beautifully detailed, with an instrument cluster designed to resemble a chronometer. The top spec versions feature 17in alloy wheels, leather and electrically adjustable seats.

LS 500 F SPORT
MODERN

Do people still talk about cars in bars? Maybe in juice bars, or more likely the discussions take place on Twitter.Well, no matter where the game is played, the rules remain the same, big numbers carry the day. And the new LS 500 F Sport sedan recently unveiled by Lexus boasts some pretty large numbers. The twin-turbo charged V6 engine delivers 415hp and 600Nm—reasonably impressive if not spectacular figures. However, if you really want to out-trump your friends, here come the killer facts. This car boasts a 10-speed automatic transmission and a front grille containing more than 7,000 individual surfaces.

THE LS 500 F SPORT IN NUMBERS

Engine 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo
Power 415hp
Torque 600Nm
Transmission 10-speed automatic
0-62mph 4.5 seconds