An All-New Trim for the Lexus LS 460
Lexus attempts the impossible: Attracting younger buyers
Last weekend, Lexus announced a new variant of its flagship LS 460 sedan. Aimed at attracting a younger audience, the new Touring Edition intends to inject a squirt of excitement into the refined but vanilla luxury sedan. The new package is purely aesthetic, featuring an exclusive Smoky Granite Mica paint scheme, 19-inch wheels and a sport-oriented grill and subtle body kit. On the inside, the Touring Edition sports a steering wheel and shift knob trimmed in wood and leather, black and saddle leather sport seats and a classy matte brown wood trim. Oh, and premium floor mats -- let’s not forget those premium floor mats. The package is also available on the all-wheel-drive model, although that slashes an inch from the 5-spoke wheels. The price for all this excitement? It starts at $73,000.
While the LS 460 is a perfectly nice sedan and has historically led the way with some cool innovations over the years, it’s no secret who’s buying them. The average LS buyer is retired or is soon to be, and appreciates a vehicle that’s quiet, comfortable and luxurious and that offers a lot of standard features for a reasonable price. It’s hard to imagine some sport-oriented bits attracting a new demographic in large numbers. It could certainly, however, intrigue the existing fan base. You know what would interest younger, affluent car-loving buyers searching for a premium sedan, though? Pulling a few thousand more out and getting the all-new Audi A8 instead.
Plus, when you think about the extent to which other companies have gone to produce full-on performance variants -- Mercedes’ AMG models, Audi’s S models and BMW’s M cars, to name the most obvious -- or even what those companies’ regular sport packages tend to include, this new Touring Edition from Lexus isn’t even in the ballpark. Floor mats? C’mon -- how about stiffening up that suspension a bit and freeing up some horsepower instead? We’d be OK with a little extra cost if it’s done right.
Regardless, the new trim will be produced in limited quantities, with the first examples hitting dealerships within the next few weeks. Lexus expects it to sell out quickly, though that probably depends on how limited production will be. There’s nothing offensive about this package, but if the goal was to raise the heart rates of younger buyers out of flat-line territory, this is not enough by a long shot. With the exception of the delightfully no-nonsense, M3-fighting IS F a few years back, Lexus has never had much luck with the enthusiast crowd. This new LS package won’t change that any time soon.
So why not buy an automatic if you don't need to shift?
Until the guy in the gasoline car downshifts and lets her sing. Then bye bye.
"Yes, the BMW 320d is the faster car,.... (non pertinent commentary ommitted), but this is the gentleman's choice". In short, I am no gentleman. I think if I lived in England, and could afford it, I think I would take the Richard Hammond route from Top Gear. Everyone drives bland boring BMW/Mercedes/Lexus/Infinity look-a-likes, and I show up in a Vauxhaul VXR Bathurst edition (if anyone here remembers that episode). That or an RX-8.
IS350 is gasoline and automatic only. Unacceptable.
That's what I meant. Make a manual transmission available. I think that would reach younger enthusiasts better. I am thinking something like the Infiniti G37 Sport 6MT trim. Personally, I would prefer the gasoline engine.
Or they could expand the TRD catalog with CARB-legal goodies for older Lexus models. Actually, that option may work better.
I would argue that offering the Lexus IS350 with a manual would be a better option for enthusiasts.
the IS is a better base than the LS. The LS/A8/M56/7 series/S class/whatever is a far too expensive carI may be alone in this but I'd argue, in addition to what you've pointed out, that the IS is a more aggressive looking vehicle than the LS, which would help draw in a younger fanbase.
Yes, the Lexus IS250d. With a manual. A8 is the same boredom as the LS460.I would argue that offering the Lexus IS350 with a manual would be a better option for enthusiasts. That or offering a real performance package (stiffer springs, LSD, shorter final drive, manual transmission, maybe even a turbocharger) on the IS250.
Still, I think we are on the same page for younger enthusiasts: the IS is a better base than the LS. The LS/A8/M56/7 series/S class/whatever is a far too expensive car for the majority of the under 35 crowd. For younger, well off, and well educated auto enthusiasts, it's best to go with the IS/A4/G/3 series/C class/CTS/whatever.
You know what would interest younger, affluent car-loving buyers searching for a premium sedan, though?
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