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Lexus LS

UCF20R (Mk2 Series II) LS 400

Lexus logo1 Nov 1997

Toyota acknowledged that its second-generation LS from 1994 didn’t expand the customer base and left existing customers confused over what had really changed.

So the ’98 facelift brought palpable differences to the styling, engineering and interior. Yet it still looked a whole lot like the LS 400 did back in 1990.

Every panel forward of the A-pillar was new, including high-discharge headlights, bumper and grille. So were the tail-lights and wheel design. And the glass was now significantly thicker for even quieter (and more aerodynamic) function.

A trip computer, better seats and climate control and new colours and trim completed the visual titivations.

Underneath the 4.0-litre V8 gained variable-valve timing for a new power and torque output of 210kW and 400Nm respectively, all channelled via a new five-speed automatic gearbox.

Matching these were a 10 per cent upgrade in the spring and damper rates for firmer, better controlled handling, roadholding and high-speed stability – a long-time LS bugbear. Stability control was also incorporated.

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