: Review and Road Trip: 1998 LS400, Clinton Library



Jesda
03-20-11, 03:32 PM
http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/wpid-map-2011-03-20-01-35.jpg

Destinations Covered:
Tampa FL
Fayetteville NC
Nashville TN
Memphis TN
Little Rock AR
Wichita KS
St Louis MO

Total Distance: 2400 mi


The short version:
The LS400 is really, truly perfect. The seats are incredible, the sound system is exquisitely crisp, the build quality is impressive, fuel economy is outstanding (27mpg), and its actually pretty quick, but... its boring. Its a car I'd recommend to others but wouldn't really want for myself.

Powertrain: 8/10
Steering/Handling: 6/10
Audio/Accessories: 10/10
Interior: 10/10
Comfort: 10/10
Quality/Reliability: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

The long version:
http://jesda.com/2011/03/20/review-and-road-trip-1998-lexus-ls400-the-south-and-president-clintons-library/

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-20-11, 05:25 PM
Jesda, you drove my '99 S320 back in '09 at the Chicago meet. Can you compare it at all to that LS400 you had? Obviously the power of the Lexus V8 will tromp the Benz's I-6, but how do they feel in terms of ride & handling, steering feel and transmission sportiness? I drove a friend's father's '94 LS400 and with it's less potent 4.0L V8, it felt VERY similar to the S-Class, aside from the different dashboards and interior designs.

I will own a late '90s era Lexus at some point in my life, I'd prefer a 98-00 LS400 with all the options, but a nice SC400 would be great as well. It's a life goal.

Playdrv4me
03-20-11, 06:25 PM
Jesda, you drove my '99 S320 back in '09 at the Chicago meet. Can you compare it at all to that LS400 you had? Obviously the power of the Lexus V8 will tromp the Benz's I-6, but how do they feel in terms of ride & handling, steering feel and transmission sportiness? I drove a friend's father's '94 LS400 and with it's less potent 4.0L V8, it felt VERY similar to the S-Class, aside from the different dashboards and interior designs.

I will own a late '90s era Lexus at some point in my life, I'd prefer a 98-00 LS400 with all the options, but a nice SC400 would be great as well. It's a life goal.

I almost bought an S320 just like yours at one point, so I can compare.

The S felt more solid and upscale, but the LS was far more athletic and nimbler on it's feet. The S has better stopping power, typical German car braking. The electronics in the LS are much nicer, more useful (ie trip computer from 98-2000) and far more reliable.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-20-11, 07:30 PM
On our used car lot, we've got a '98 E430, and I've driven it a couple of times, and the throttle/brakes/steering feel the same as they did in the S-Class, and I've gotta say, they don't exactly inspire confidence. They're less isolated than the big Lincolns & Cadillacs, but they still have a syrupy, loose feeling to them. They're night and day from a good Audi, BMW or Infiniti.

Jesda
03-20-11, 07:33 PM
The W140 probably has a more rigid chassis; going down the road the Mercedes feels like a solid piece of granite, dominating the earth beneath it. Its an "old money" feeling of wealth that the LS400 simply cannot duplicate. The LS430 gets pretty darn close, however.

The LS400 feels more like a Lincoln, not wallowing or floating but more easily unsettled by undulating pavement. While its infinitely more reliable, it doesn't feel invincible from the driver's seat against the outside world.

If money was no concern, I'd own an S-class. But, since it is, the LS400 gets you 80% of the Mercedes-Benz experience with far, far, far fewer headaches.

Jesda
03-20-11, 08:12 PM
Here's an analogy:

I'm a big fan of The Carpenters. The smoothness and quality of the instruments, background vocals, Richard's composition/production, and Karen's voice are outstanding. Modern music pales in comparison to the balance and beauty of songs like "Superstar." But, I'd be lying if I said anything The Carpenters composed was in any way exciting. So, I can admire, appreciate, and even enjoy quality, but I get my kicks elsewhere.

http://www.richardandkarencarpenter.com/LEIBOWITZopt_4x3%205-22-74.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-20-11, 08:18 PM
Oh, kinda like Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". The lyrics were wonderfully written, the sound was perfectly engineered and the vocal harmonies are untouchable (hear that, Queen??), but it's not something I'd choose to pump me up for a long run or a big day at work.

Every time I get into a used Lexus at work, I'm impressed. The build quality, even on the '00 ES300 with 168k miles, is fantastic. Panel gaps are nonexistant, the materials are supreme, leather is super soft and long lasting and the entire car feels as if it's just one machine.

Jesda
03-20-11, 08:55 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZqFI2wtUVU

ben.gators
03-20-11, 09:04 PM
^
Well, to make a good impression, it would be much nicer if they have tried this experiment on a normal sedan to show how much unstable (or stable) this tower of glasses can be...

Jesda
03-20-11, 10:38 PM
Indeed. Lexus did it in response to a dumb guy who tried to do it in his driveway but ended up with shattered glass all over his car.

Playdrv4me
03-20-11, 10:47 PM
Apparently the 1990 LS400 (if that's really a '90, the wheels suggest '93 or '94) had some kind of height adjustable air suspension option. My '91 didn't have that. Interesting.