Having received an update in 2004, the Lexus LS 430 receives some new technology for 2005. The Ultra Premium Package now comes with an advanced Pre-Collision System; if its speed, steering angle and yaw sensors detect that a collision is imminent, it tightens the seatbelts through a motorized pretensioner, switches the suspension to sport mode for better braking, and puts the binders into standby mode so they’ll react faster when you hit the pedal. As well, the Smart Access System, which uses a proximity key to unlock the doors and trunk, or start the engine, is now standard equipment. It was an option in 2004.

The LS is powered by a 4.3-litre V8 engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), hooked to a six-speed automatic with sequential shift capability.

The LS comes in a single trim line, but several option packages are available for it. The basic model includes 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels with performance tires, high-intensity discharge headlights, power moonroof, fourteen-way driver and ten-way passenger heated power seats with three-position driver memory, trip computer, power rear sunshade, six-CD premium stereo with seven speakers, programmable garage door opener, power trunk lid closer, clearance and back-up sonar, and rain-sensing wipers.

An available Premium Package adds dynamic laser cruise control, a nine-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, laminated side glass, power closers on all doors, and heated and air conditioned perforated leather front seats. A Premium Package with Navigation adds a DVD-based navigation system with backup monitor; an Ultra Premium Package with Navigation adds the new pre-collision system, air suspension, power rear seats with memory and massage, heated and air conditioned front and rear seats, rear seat cooler box, rear audio controls, manual rear window shades, power rear sunshade, and dynamic radar cruise control. A Sport Package includes dynamic laser cruise control, navigation system, heated and air conditioned perforated leather seats, Mark Levinson audio, a euro-sport suspension, 18-inch chrome alloy wheels and performance tires.

As Lexus’ top-end sedan, the LS offers everything expected of it: responsive handling, a fully independent suspension with front and rear double wishbones, coil springs, monotube gas shock absorbers with rebound springs and anti-lift front and anti-squat rear geometry for an incredibly smooth ride, a roomy interior with luxurious fittings, and a quiet, powerful engine. If it has a down side, it’s in the drab styling; when you spend this much money, you don’t necessarily want your car to scream “look at me”, but it would be nice if it didn’t blend entirely into the background.

The LS 430 is built in Tahara, Japan.

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