In the world of performance vehicles, certain marques are well-known for their prowess. If you bring up the letter “M,” it’s hard not to dive into a discussion about the race-car heritage found in BMW’s E30 M3, the roaring V8 found in the early-2000’s M5, or even the on-rails handling provided by the M Coupe – all three of which were offered only with a standard gearbox. Talking about “SS” nomenclature stirs memories of the throaty muscle cars of yesteryear at your local small-town car show, while “STi” reminds you of a boxer engine’s distinctive rumble, and the likelihood of vape smoke billowing out of the windows.
Nearly two decades have passed since the first RX went on sale, riding a ripple of enthusiasm for crossover SUVs that has since transformed into a towering tidal wave. Fast-forward to today, and the RX faces an onslaught of competitors from nearly every premium automaker. Nevertheless, it not only leads its segment in terms of sales, but it is also the most popular luxury model in America.
Lexus is introducing an all-new generation of its range-topping LS sedan. It’s a car that steadfastly embodies the virtues that got the brand where it is today, with a sumptuous, roomy and quiet cabin, ample power and great reliability. But in the stratosphere of premium luxury where ownership or lease terms seldom outlive the factory warranty, long-term dependability may not be quite as important as having the latest style and tech. According to Brian Bolain, General Manager of Lexus marketing, research shows that luxury buyers are looking for something different. LS Chief Engineer Toshio Asahi adds, “We wouldn’t turn their heads with a conventional premium product.”