ABOUT CARS — A Change of Heart Leads to Lexus — NYTimes.com

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Toyota FXV-II

ABOUT CARS; A Change of Leads to Lexus

By MARSHALL

Published: April 8, 1990

Put it to weird-word mind glut. I to confusion. And if you are like me, Toyota and have a problem with blockbuster entries in the luxury-car

I have immersed myself in the two and still have to think before I know that makes Lexus and Toyota Infiniti, or vice versa.

versa wins (I stopped to but the befuddlement over names may be the serious difficulty that has with its new Lexus.

Several ago I was in love with Infiniti and now my heart has been won by the only competition. When you get behind the of a Lexus you can pretty much everything else in the luxury

You can certainly pay more, and you can maybe get a car in the BMW 7-series. You can have more and ahhs and fingerprints on the paint a Rolls or a Bentley Turbo. But else is offering a steal like the Toyota Lexus LS which has a base sticker of and will cost about by the time you get it home.

Yes, is a lot of money. But these are the days of Hondas, $25,000 Fords and Oldsmobiles, and the 40 big ones are well if you are in the market for an automotive bargain.

off, there is the technology. The car has an V8 that is so quiet you will try to it when it is already running. The is a four-speed overdrive automatic is among the smoothest ever. And there is Traction Control, means the rear wheels spin, despite the engine’s

Traction Control acts a limited-slip differential, but better. It the car’s standard antilock system, in tandem with an computer that closes a valve to reduce power wheel spin is imminent.

The itself is a masterpiece, with cams and 32 valves. Its 4 liters 250 horsepower, a bit less than Infiniti, but it moves the 3,759-pound from zero to 60 in about seconds, and top speed is rated by the at 150 miles an hour.

Even that kind of performance the sophisticated power plant fuel economy on the order of 17 a gallon, city, and 23, highway. of the V8’s high (10-to-1) ratio, you’ll have to up to the premium pump, and a fill-up take 22.5 gallons. the car’s range, the good is that you won’t have to the visit very often.

Two suspension systems are offered, the option of coil springs or air The air springs are a version of Toyota’s concept-car suspension system, and a in driving conditions creates an adjustment to minimize roll, and squat. The system also for rough roads, reducing and pitch. And it lowers the car at high for better aerodynamics.

Even that, the aerodynamics are as good as any in the The Lexus has a conservatively beautiful whose rounded contours a coefficent of drag of only And the interior is the exterior’s equal.

Toyota FXV-II

has taken bits and pieces hither and yon, and the car has almost What it doesn’t have is the steering offered by Infiniti, and if you to turn on a dime then you to buy Nissan. Otherwise, Toyota has it from power headrests to a emergency key for your newly wallet.

Leather costs $1,400, and Control will be another A 140-watt Pioneer sound which features a six-disk CD in the low-liftover trunk, is the basic equipment, but you can get a 220-watt Nakamichi if you really want to one-up the

Another nice interior is the computer that memorizes positions for the driver’s seat, the mirrors, the adjustable seat-belt and the wheel, which courteously up and out of the way when you remove the ignition

The leather-wrapped wheel also has controls to make it tilt and Maybe the best thing the wheel, though, is the horn, is proper and safe. Unlike all the cars with airbags in the hub of the there are no tiny and hard-to-find Toyota has found a way to make the hub serve as the button.

And then there is the dashboard, as looking as any I’ve seen. The panel uses lighted needles and white digits smoked glass. The analog are complimented by warning lights as but this time the lights are onto the smoked glass to the driver’s attention, a nice of technology that imparts a feel.

Among the gauges is a speedometer, and Toyota says car is tested at something more 100 m.p.h. before it goes the showroom. The point, the company is that capability at such translates into superb in the low and mid-ranges.

Neither Lexus nor has any trouble achieving speeds will irritate the troopers, but is a very different feel to the two

Infiniti is stiffer, more Mercedes. Lexus is silkier. But are super cars and the price is the same. You just have to which is which.


Photo: The is Toyota’s entry in the luxury-car

Toyota FXV-II

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