Lexus

Lexus For 1997

By Carey Russ

In a few short years, Lexus has become one of the standards of the automotive luxury market. The company didn't get there by standing still, and 1997 promises to be a busy year. Its most popular model, the ES300 sedan, has been completely redesigned. The flagship LS400 gets the first side airbags from an Asian manufacturer, and the SC300 and SC400 coupes have gotten a facelift.

ES300

Although it has an all-new exterior and interior and a heavily revised chassis, the newest ES300 has great continuity in design with the previous version. An evolutionary restyling makes it a little crisper and more aerodynamic outside. A new, more spacious and quieter interior takes advantage of the longer wheelbase, and offers more legroom than is found in some larger competitors. The 3.0-liter V6 engine now has more power. The 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission has new software that changes gears differently depending on how the car is driven. Lighter weight and reworked suspension and steering make the 1997 Lexus ES300 a sportier machine than its predecessor. It is a car that is designed to provide "first class accommodations at a business class value."

LS400

Redone for the 1995 model year, the second-generation of the Lexus flagship has some important safety and security enhancements for 1997. Side airbags for the driver and front passenger are mounted on the seats for optimum positioning in the event that they are used. A new electronic engine immobilization system makes the 1997 Lexus LS400 highly theft-resistant.

SC 300 and SC 400 Coupes

The Lexus SC coupes set new styling trends when they were introduced in 1991. They get their first major facelift this year, with bolder, more aggressive front styling, new rocker panels, and a wing- type spoiler and new taillights at the rear.

There are also some modifications to the interior. New, softer seats are shared with the LS400. A new trip computer provides information, and the gearshift lever and passenger airbag have been repositioned.

LX450

The LX450, the"Lexus of sport-utilities", was introduced early in the 1996 model year and is unchanged for 1997.

GS300

The European-styled GS300 sedan is unchanged for 1997.

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