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 New flagship LS430. Photograph by Lexus. Click here for higher resolution picture.
New flagship LS430. Photograph by Lexus. Click here for higher resolution picture.
New flagship LS430. Photograph by Lexus.
New Flagship LS430. Photograph by Lexus.

Story by Lexus: 24th February 2000


Lexus raised the stakes in the European luxury car segment with the unveiling of its new flagship LS430 model at the Geneva Motor Show today. The all-new car which is bristling with innovative technological features in addition to a sophisticated new platform and new V8 engine will go on sale in Europe in the late autumn.

"Ten years ago Lexus set new benchmarks for quality, comfort, and the whole ownership experience. Now it is doing it all again with added performance and sophistication with this stunning new car," said Mr Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, sales and marketing Vice-President of Toyota Motor Europe.

"Lexus is fast developing as a major brand with an ever-widening range of luxury passenger cars," he added. "With the LS430 as the brand leader we can offer stunning high performance luxury cars in several different sectors of the market."

Highlights of the new model include:

  • A new platform and new roomier body
  • New V8 engine which gives increased performance with almost identical fuel consumption
  • New manufacturing tolerances which mean Lexus 430 is even quieter than 400
  • Class-leading aerodynamics giving CD of 0.25 for cars fitted with air suspension.
  • Torque activated powertrain control which offers driving with much greater torque around the low and medium range of engine rpm
  • An improved five-speed automatic transmission with electro-hydraulic control system for exceptionally smooth changes
  • New suspension system which gives a consistent flat ride and excellent straight-line stability
  • Sophisticated air conditioning which adjusts for sunshine and shade and features a pure air filtering system
  • Air conditioned front seats (with own heating and cooling device) through which cool or warm air can be driven
  • State of the art stereo system Ė a system designed by hi-fi guru Mark Levinson is an option
  • Low reflection windshield glass and water repellent side glass

LS430 in more detail

Lexus 430 has a new 4.3 litre V8 engine which produces 280 hp and a massive 430 Nm of torque, enough to give this luxury saloon acceleration of 0-100 kph in 6.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 kph. Significantly it achieves this with near-identical fuel consumption compared with the LS400 it replaces.

The engine is lighter than the previous generation V8, and meets the European Step IV standards and the USAís Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification.

Power is delivered through a five-speed automatic transmission which has electro-hydraulic control to give very smooth transitions from one ratio to another. New friction materials and a more efficient torque convertor contribute to the carís fuel economy.

Lexusí torque activated powertrain control system measures throttle pedal position, vehicle speed and engine rpm and controls engine torque when a car is climbing a gradient. It generates greater engine torque without down shift of the automatic transmission.

An extremely powerful computer used to digitize the precise surface design of the Lexus LS430 body measures to a tolerance of 1/1000th of a millimetre, ten times more precise than the industry norm of 1/100th of a millimetre. The result is exceptionally good fits for every aperture, and with laser welding of the roof which improves both rigidity and appearance, Lexus is again setting new standards.

Lexus engineers tested the LS430 in the same wind tunnel used for development of Japanís famous bullet trains, and fine tuning of airflow round the bumpers, mirrors and even the angle to the front grille bars contribute to aerodynamic efficiency. The car also has a tray which smooths the underside of the car, and helps achieve a CD figure of 0.25.

Further noise reduction comes from the fitting of laminated glass in all the door windows, and this is also a useful anti-theft measure. Low reflection windscreen glass is another first, and the front door glass is also water repellent.

Thanks to completely new designs of both front and rear suspension, Lexus has achieved excellent straight line stability and a consistently flat ride. Aluminium is used for major suspension parts to reduce mass unsprung weight. The new designs give improved roadholding and with carefully tuned bushes, springs and dampers the ride is extremely smooth.

New air suspension is also available as an option which gives highly balanced excellent ride comfort and handling performance through an auto-leveling system and 9-step variable damper with new control logic.

Before designing the interior of the new LS430, Lexus designers re-studied first-class aircraft cabins, luxury hotel suites and the work of premium watch and jewellery makers to gauge current trends.

The result is an interior which combines the best of the traditional including the finest leather and wood, with the very highest technology equipment. The Geneva Show car (which is a USA specification model) features DVD-ROM satellite navigation system which can carry maps of the entire United States on one disc.

The climate control system includes temperature and sun-sensing air registers which automatically adjust cooling air to those parts of the car in direct sunlight. The system can detect if there is a front seat passenger and adjust airflow accordingly.

Another world first is the air conditioned front seats, faced in perforated leather that allows cooling or warm air to be fed through the cushion or the seat back from dedicated units.

Audio controls are on the wood/leather steering wheel, and for the USA hi-fi guru Mark Levinson has designed a state of the art audio system which includes 11 speakers in seven locations and 350 watt amplifiers. This will be an option on European models.

Re-design of the boot shape has resulted in the largest capacity in this class of car, with the potential to carry four large and one medium-size suitcase, or four complete sets of golf clubs.

Smart key system
Lexus 430 owners will be able to unlock their car, open the boot and even start the engine without inserting the key. The Lexus smart key system only requires that the owner has the key in his or her pocket, or even in a handbag, and it will recognise the "smart" signal.

When the owner touches the door handle or boot lock it opens, and the engine start mechanism is primed by turning the collar of the aperture in which the key would normally be placed.

A very strong passenger cell protected by crumple zones front and rear is the basis for the LS430ís exceptional safety package.

Safety equipment includes multi-level two-stage airbags. In a low-speed collision the passenger side bag inflates slowly to prevent the airbag causing injury to children. In a high-speed collision it inflates normally. The Lexus LS430 has front and rear curtain airbags, anti-whiplash seats and additional rear seat belt pre-tensioners and force limiters.


Lexus has won many awards with previous models. The brand has sold more than 540,000 cars worldwide (principally the USA and Europe, the Lexus name is not used in Japan) and has 60 per cent customer loyalty.

Chief Engineer Yasushi Tanaka who led a huge team of engineers to produce the new LS430 said his aim was: "To achieve a luxury design that will lead the next generation".

Sales of the new car are scheduled for late autumn in most European countries, but further details will be released during the year.

Note: the car displayed at the Geneva Motor Show car is to USA specification. Full details of the European specification, including colours and interior trim, and optional equipment, have not been finalised.


Code name3UZFE
Valve MechanismDOHC 32 Valve (VVT-i)
Displacement (cc)4293
Max. Power (kW/rpm)206/5600
Max. Torque (Nm/rpm)430/3600


  • 0-100km/h - 6.8 sec


  • Combined - 12.2
DIMENSIONS (exterior)
Overall length (mm)4995
Overall width (mm)1828
Overall height (mm)1496
Wheelbase (mm)2926
Coefficient of Drag0.25

FrontCoil spring air spring optional
RearCoil spring air spring optional
Front16 inch Disc
Rear16 inch Disc

TypeRack and pinion

Wheel size 17 inch
Tyre size (front)225/55/17
Tyre size (rear)225/55/17
Spare tyre225/55/17

Note: Some options set forth in this documentation may not be available in every country and therefore, local dealers may not be able to provide vehicles with such options. Please contact your local distributor should you require specific information regarding your country.