Back in the 1980s, luxury car manufacturers – especially the German ones – used to have good guffaws and belly laughs whenever someone brought up the topic of Japanese luxury cars. Honestly, nobody thought it could be done. So it came as a shock when the 1991 Lexus LS400 was introduced. It was everything that a luxury car should be, done as well as the big German companies could have done it, or better. Oops. The only negative thing people could find to say is that the design was pretty bland, but this was admittedly done on purpose. Since Lexus is owned by Toyota, the build quality was spectacular, as well as the reliability, and no expense was spared to make the ride not only comfortable but fun for the driver as well.
The LS400 wasn’t only a big, luxurious car; it could go, too, when needed, as it was equipped with a 32-valve, 4-liter V8 engine developing 250 horsepower. Those ponies were delivered to the rear wheels courtesy of a four-speed automatic transmission, for a 0-60 time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 147 miles per hour.
While the 1991 Lexus LS400 was a complete unknown quantity, its style, luxury and the reputation of its parent company combined to ensure that it was a complete success, and remains so to this day.