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Lexus For 2001

By Carey Russ

There is a new version of the Lexus flagship, now called the LS430 in honor of its larger engine. That engine also is found in the GS430 performance-luxury sedan, and will be in the high-performance SC430 coupe when it debuts in the Spring. The IS300, introduced last year, has brought Lexus into the compact sports sedan arena.

The third generation of the top Lexus sedan has been redesigned and re-engineered inside and out. It offers new styling, more space and luxury, increased performance with no increase in fuel consumption, and more responsive handling with no loss of comfort. The 430 designation comes from its 4.3-liter, 290-hp V8, which is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Sophisticated electronic controls make the new LS very smooth and quiet. If the regular LS430 isn't luxurious enough, a new Ultra Luxury trim level is offered, with, among other luxury features, an adaptive variable air suspension, power door closers, DVD-based navigation system, laser-based cruise control, ultrasonic parking assistance, Mark Levinson premium audio system, climate-controlled front seats, and an adjustable rear seat with heating and massage functions.

GS sports sedans
The Lexus GS400 and GS300 shook up the mid-luxury segment when they were new in 1998, and 2001 promises further disturbance of the status quo. The GS400 becomes the GS430, with a 300-hp version of the new Lexus 4.3-liter V8. The GS300 continues with its 220-hp, 3.0-liter inline six. Both have minor styling revisions, and the Mark Levinson audio system is offered on both.

The first Lexus convertible will debut this Spring as the SC430. It is a 2+2 based on the Lexus Sport Coupe Concept Car that was featured at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, and will have a retractable metal hardtop for coupe-like weather protection and convertible sunbathing.

Sport Utilities
The RX300 created the mid-size luxury "crossover" SUV segment when it debuted in early 1998. It's Lexus's best-selling vehicle, and combines the comfort and handling of a car with the look and versatility of an SUV. It gets fresh front styling and new safety features for 2001. The large LX470 combines the luxurious comfort expected of a Lexus with the ruggedness and towing ability expected of an SUV. The 2001 LX470 has an optional navigation system that can also play DVD movies while the vehicle is parked. A Mark Levinson audiophile-quality stereo system is also available.

Other Sedans
Lexus makes two 3.0-liter sedans, the ES300 and the IS300. They are aimed at distinctly different markets. The ES300 has been a mainstay of the Lexus lineup for many years, providing high levels of luxury comfort and convenience. The 2001IS300, introduced during calendar year 2000, is aimed at the compact sport-luxury market heretofore dominated by European manufacturers. The ES300 is unchanged for 2001.

Lexus Specifications 2001

4.3-liter V8
Peak horsepower:    290 @ 5600 rpm
Peak torque, lb-ft: 320 @ 3400 rpm

Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
 5 - speed automatic

Unit construction
Front suspension: independent double wishbone
Rear suspension:  independent double wishbone

4-wheel antilock disc

City / Highway: 18/25
Fuel tank:      22.2 gallons
More Information from the Manufacturer