1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400
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Cadillac or competing brand model ? Why ? Discussion, 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400 in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; This is a silly comparison . However, I have and regularly drive both cars. If Motor Trend can get away ...
  1. #1
    Jesda's Avatar
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    1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    This is a silly comparison. However, I have and regularly drive both cars. If Motor Trend can get away with such ridiculous comparos, then so can I!

    Engine -- The 4.9 is old-tech. You can feel it in the somewhat lumpy idle and coarse sounds. On the other hand, power comes on immediately and there's plenty of it. 200hp, yes, but its all made up for with gobs of torque. Merging is swift and takeoffs are instantaneous. Without care, its easy to spin the hell out of the drive wheels on a perfectly dry day. At about 90-100mph it runs out of breath.
    The 1JZUFXCZREwfasdfasdg4334fasdf 290hp V8 in the Lexus is ridiculously smooth, to the point of not being felt or heard from inside the cabin -- I have to assume it makes nice sounds from the outside. Power comes on strong at 4000rpm but there's plenty below, thanks to the 5-speed transmission, to get moving in almost any situation.

    Economy -- Both are very efficient fuel sippers. The Lexus gets credit for achieving 290hp and 27mpg.
    Lexus: 19/27 mpg
    Cadillac: 18/26 mpg

    Transmission -- Props to GM for the Hydramatic. 4T80-E is a perfect match and does its job without making itself known.
    I keep the Lexus's 5-speed in 4th gear around town, because the two lurches from 5th to 3rd under heavy acceleration reduce performance (wasted time shifting) and feel a bit obnoxious. Otherwise, shifts are completely imperceptible.

    Style -- Both are clean and beautiful, but the STS is gorgeous. Even with its faded bumpers and fogged up tail lights, I find myself looking back at it over and over as I walk away. The STS's sharp lines are convey performance and assertion.
    The Lexus holds it own in this regard. Its a clean MB knockoff design. The look conveys wealth and intelligence. Its the kind of car you can be completely ignored in, but still respected.
    Both cars have spoilers elegantly integrated into their trunklids. Both cars have nice OEM wheels. Both cars have a nice stance.
    The Seville STS is just the prettiest damn four-door ever.

    Handling -- No question. The Lexus loses, big time. Despite being lighter, the LS400 feels like its going to roll over on to its side every time I approach a curve. The STS is, to my own surprise, very well-controlled and balanced in routine handling. Its actually a good bit of fun to carve corners in the big Seville.

    Braking -- The LS has a comfortable initial bite followed by smooth and even modulation. The Seville feels somewhat wooden and requires a lot more effort from my right foot.

    Ride -- No question. The Cadillac loses, big time. Blame the use of leaf springs and the lack of any kind of high-tech goodies (like CCR, air ride, or CVRSS) in this particular Seville. Over normal surfaces its nice, but expansion joints and ruts are somewhat jarring. I'm not sure if these Good Year Allegras make the ride better or worse than stock.

    Steering -- The Lexus's worst feature is its massive yacht-like steering wheel and its yacht-like behavior. When changing lanes or cornering, I have to keep correcting the wheel to get it to finally hit the intended target. The whole experience is nervous. The Seville, though it doesn't offer enough road feel, is reasonably accurate and reasonably quick. In fairness to the Lexus, its a far far cry from the rubber band feel of most old Cadillacs.
    The Seville has a terrible turning radius (41+ ft).

    Comfort -- Toyota must have surveyed a lot of fat Americans before designing the LS400's seats. They are absolutely perfect. Air conditioning in both cars is fiercely cold. Both have effective rear seat fan and ventilation controls.

    Room -- The Lexus seems bigger because of its apparent height, but I can fit more boxes into the Seville. That has more to do with the Cadillac's more space-efficient FWD configuration.

    Features -- This Lexus came with an eargasmic Nakamichi sound system ($2600 option). No OEM sound system compares. Late 90s LS400s also have American-style computer displays (range, mpg, error messages, etc).

    Quality -- The Seville was slapped together by union slobs. The Lexus was meticulously assembled in Japan.

    Overall -- The Lexus is a far superior 'luxury' car. The Seville is sportier, about as quiet, roomier, and much better looking. I suspect that as I pour money into the Seville's restoration including structural bits (bushings, etc) and cosmetics, I might find myself driving it more often.


    This comparison is, I repeat, silly.

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    Jesda's Avatar
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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    The Seville also has much quieter power windows. I don't know why; they just are.

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    ted tcb's Avatar
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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Fantastic ... I was hoping to see something written about your 2 cars.
    As you know, I've owned 4 STS's, and pick up an LS400 on Tuesday.

    I agree on the styling issue ... the 1992-2004 STS is the most elegant yet muscular designed sedan on the road, IMHO.
    After a test drive in the Lexus, I would call it a soft limousine, whereas my STS is a rip snorting sports sedan by comparison.

    The seats in the STS have many adjustments, but I can never get completely comfortable in them ... it sounds like the STS wins here.
    I'm looking forward to comparing the Nakamichi sound system to the Bose 425 watt STS stereo ... it sounds like the Nak system is
    world class.
    My big preference is the longevity engineered into the 4.0l Toyota V8 over the N* ... many LS owners run these motors up to well over
    300k.
    The body roll on the LS400 reminded me of driving my old 1971 Marquis on bias ply tires ... lots of roll.
    I agree that the STS tracks straight as a train on rails.
    On the racetrack, I'll take the STS.
    Over the frost cracked, pot hole lined streets I live on, I think I'll enjoy the LS400.

    BTW, with some newer style OEM wheels, your STS will look just like a 1997 model.
    It should clean up nicely, after some paint touch ups and a new driver's seat.

    Enjoy.

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    The 4.9l isn't teamed with the 4t80-e, you have a 4t60-e. Nice review though, honest and accurate.

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Quote Originally Posted by JC316 View Post
    The 4.9l isn't teamed with the 4t80-e, you have a 4t60-e.
    Ah! What are the main differences? How much power they can handle? I assume I can interchange mine with one out of a Deville or Eldo if it ever fails.

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Great, joking review (though a magazine probably would do such a comparo), and this....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesda View Post
    Quality -- The Seville was slapped together by union slobs. The Lexus was meticulously assembled in Japan.
    ...was just TOO exact. One is boring but engineered and assembled like a space craft, and the other can be fun, but feels like it was made in a barn. Thank god this difference is finally evaporating, however.

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    It's funny, we both own a Cadillac and a foreign made exective class luxury sedan. Now your Cadillac handles better than your foreign car, and my foreign car handles better than my Cadillac.
    "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues."

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Cool comparison !
    LOL at Chad reply

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesda View Post
    ... and feel a bit obnoxious...
    Jesda... obnoxious... NOOOOOOOOO!

    Anyway... good comparo... I've never driven an LS so I can't comment on most of the things you said except for the looks.

    The only difference between the earlier LS and the LS of today is that the earlier ones were boring and the new ones are bloated and boring. You're exactly right - the Lexus is THE perfect car to blend in with. I think that's a big part of the reason why the few *really* wealthy people I know drive them. They want a top-notch car that's built almost perfectly, that no one will notice them in.

    The Seville on the other hand is a head-turner... I remember when the '92 redesign came out... Compared to the boring little boxes they replaced the '92 was a show-stopper, It was something no one would have expected from GM at that time.

    Despite the fact that I prefer the '98 and up's sleeker, more rounded look I still love the original body. My uncle still has his red '96 and whenever I go by his house I always slow down just to look at it.

    You've got yourself a great car... and while it's a little rough around the edges, the 4.9 is a great engine! Even though it's 15 years old now, I suspect you'll get many more years out of it!


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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesda View Post
    Ah! What are the main differences? How much power they can handle? I assume I can interchange mine with one out of a Deville or Eldo if it ever fails.
    I dunno, I think that some of the early SC Riverias had it, so thats like 230HP.

  12. #11
    illumina's Avatar
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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Correction Jesda, any 4.9 model will have the 4T60-E transaxle; the Northstar had the 4T80-E tranny...

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Quote Originally Posted by illumina View Post
    Correction Jesda, any 4.9 model will have the 4T60-E transaxle; the Northstar had the 4T80-E tranny...
    Already beat you to it lol.

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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    On a related note, I got to ride in Brian's (90Brougham350) dad's '94 LS400 today and would like to compare it to my S320, and the '90 (?) Q45 Jesda had, that I rode in and drove during the May meet.

    LS400 v. S320.


    The LS400 was smaller, a lot actually, and felt a lot more intimate inside. There's not nearly as much headroom as in the S and the legroom in rear is paltry in comparison. But on the plus side, the LS400 had much softer seats, with better upper back support...well they just seemed like they were much better bolstered overall. The LS400 seemed like it had less squeaks and rattles, and it seemed like it had less ambient noise, around town atleast...we didn't take it out on the highway at all. The V8 in the LS seemed like it propelled the car pretty good, maybe a bit quicker than the S, hard to tell though, I'd have to say that the peak powerband wasn't as wide as it is in the 320, but those I-6's were always known for a wide powerband anyways.

    I really like how the LS looks though, it's sleek and somewhat sporty, yet very subtle. It was a beautifiul midnight jade color, with tan leather, and the Torque Thrusts really complimented the car. The tail light is especially reminescent of the 92+ STS, just the way the tail lights are designed and the way they flow into the bumper...nice looking car. The LS looks a lot leaner than the W140...the W140 is very tall and stately...the LS is low and lean.

    I wanted to race the S and the LS, but we didn't have enough time. It would be neat to see how the 3.2 I-6 in the 4500 lb car would stack up against the 4.0L V8 in the 3800lb car. The 3.2 makes 228hp and 232 lb/ft....the 4.0 makes 250hp and 260 lb/ft. I'm pretty sure I'd get beat, but it would be interesting to see how badly. The LS had that "power, normal, econ" transmission control switch....the S only has "standard and winter", I wish it had the sport and econ modes too...

    Interior of the S



    Interior of the LS







    '94 LS400 v. '90 Q45.

    This is from memory, so bear with me, but from what I can remember, the Q definitely felt a lot more sporty than the LS...the seats were firmer, engine louder (but then again, Jesda did have the aftermarket exhaust on), steering stiffer, etc etc. I like the way the Q looks more...the lack of a grille and neat tail lights, and those wheels!! I love the base Q45 wheels from that era! But the LS would definitely be more comfortable over the long run....the seats in the Q were far too stiff for me!

    Glad I've had the opportunity to ride/drive in these cars and hope I didn't offend anyone during my review.
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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Wow, that LS400 stood up well to time!!!!

    And yes, absolutely, the Q's stiff seats can make road trips uncomfortable.

  16. #15
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    Re: 1992 Seville STS 4.9 vs. 1998 Lexus LS400

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesda View Post
    Wow, that LS400 stood up well to time!!!!
    Most definitely! I haven't seen many cars look that nice after 175k!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesda
    And yes, absolutely, the Q's stiff seats can make road trips uncomfortable.
    Uncomfortable like when you've got bad gas and a hot chick sitting shotgun.
    "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues."

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