A world-class automobile

I arrived at the Lexus Kapiolani dealership early one weekday morning to put pen to paper about the new 2008 LS 460. Its predecessor, the 2007 Lexus LS 460, was declared the “2007 World Car of the Year” in Manhattan from an initial list of 28 challengers as selected by car jurors from 22 countries.

The hospitality displayed on my arrival by the receptionist and sales staff made me feel as though I entered an upscale day spa. Coffee and bottled water were offered to everyone as we walked through the showroom’s glass doors. Such a pleasant greeting in contrast to years past when I drove into a dealer’s parking lot and felt accosted by vulturelike salesmen upon alighting from my vehicle.

Alan Young, a graduate of Punahou High School, is group vice president and general manager of Servco Lexus, a Servco Pacific company in Hawaii. Watching the energetic Young in action, this charismatic manager is the ultimate salesperson who leads by example as he mixes it up with staff and customers always striving to bring the deal to a smooth close.

“Lexus is the No. 1 luxury nameplate automobile in Hawaii three years running,” says Young.

Young attributes Lexus’ success at his store to product quality, innovative up-to-date technology, excellent sales and service staff, detailed customer service, loyal repeat customers and a supportive administration.

According to Hawaii Automotive Market Recap (HAMR) August 2007, Lexus has Oahu’s highest market share at 3.8 percent of the total market.

After chatting with Young, I met with Gordon Tasaka, Lexus sales and lease consultant, and off we went to the much-anticipated road test in the 2008 Lexus LS 460. Tasaka immediately pointed out the keyless entry and keyless locking system upon egress.

Stepping into the 2008 Lexus, I entered into a “comfort zone,” an instantaneous relaxed atmosphere. The smell of real leather was unmistakable – like cedar in a Finnish sauna, you never forget that fulfilling scent. I settled in and admired the cockpit-like features within the cabin and its rich ambiance witnessed only in custom-built private jets.

What better vicinity to do a test drive than construction-laden Kapiolani Boulevard and Honolulu’s freeways?

The LS accelerated from zero to 60 in 5.4 remarkably smooth seconds. Even with that level of performance, this fourth-generation Lexus is rated at an estimated 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway by the new EPA testing method.

The LS 460 was unfazed by Kapiolani Boulevard’s brutal road surface as its super-strong body structure kept the vibrations and noise in check while maintaining incomparable silence within its inner compartment.

Active safety features include the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. Taking input from an array of sensors in the vehicle, VDIM foresees the beginning of a vehicle skid or slide while cornering, and then helps correct the condition with a combination of braking, throttle and steering control in a way that is actually transparent to the driver.

The LS 460 is standard-equipped with eight airbags, including side curtain airbags and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. Rear seat air bags are also available.

Bluetooth technology phones listed on lexus.com have been tested for compatibility with Lexus vehicles.

The 2007 Lexus LS 460 “World Car of the Year” is a tough act to follow. For this reason, the Toyota team came up with world first features for its 2008 Lexus LS 460.

A new-generation 4.6 liter V8 engine is partnered with the “world’s first” eight-speed automatic transmission. This pioneering eight-speed wonder produces 380 horsepower and 367 pounds per foot of torque.

The advanced accomplishment is due, in part, to new technologies, including another “world first” electric motor-driven Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and electronically controlled intake cam (VVT-iE).

Of all the LS’s technological innovations, the available Advanced Parking Guidance System may be the most welcome. At the push of a button – and with some breaking assistance throughout – the LS can use sonar and computer calculations to automatically negotiate its way in an appropriately-sized parking spot. Enjoy parallel parking as a precise and effortless endeavor.

Other LS models available are the LS 460 L and the LS 600h L.

The long-wheelbase LS 460 L has an extra 4.8 inches of leg room. Also available with several interior packages is the right-rear passenger side ottoman with leg rest.

The LS 600h L (Hybrid) is rated a Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle with fuel consumption estimated at 20/22 mpg, city/highway.

By the time you read this article, it’s too late to purchase a 2007 LS 460 unless you buy one pre-owned. My advice is to hurry down to Servco Lexus and place your order for a 2008 Lexus LS 460, LS 460 L or the LS 600h L, because chances are you will be ordering the 2008 “World Car of the Year.”

LS 460 and LS 460L

Engine: 300 horsepower at 6,400 rpm
Acceleration: 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds
Braking: Four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes with Electronic Controlled Braking (ECB), four-sensor four channel anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. 13.1-in. ventilated front, 12.4-in. ventilated rear discs (14.1-in ventilated front, 13.3-in. ventilated rear disc with LS 460L Touring Package)
Sound system: Luxury features include Lexus 10-speaker premium sound system with digital sound processor, automatic sound levelizer and in-dash, single-feed, six disc CD auto-changer

LS 600h L

Engine: 438 total system horsepower
Acceleration: 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds
Braking: Same features as LS 460/460L; 14.1-in ventilated front, 13.2-in ventilated rear discs, with regenerative braking function
Sound system: Mark Levinson 19-speaker, 450 watt Reference Surround Sound Audio System with Hard Disc Drive, 7.1 architecture and in-dash, single feed, six-disc DVD/CD auto-changer

tagged in Lexus, LS 460