Driving the back straight at Wisconsin’s Road America, is guaranteed to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention.
There’s not an inch of run-off area along the mile-long ribbon of blacktop. Concrete barriers line each side. Wire-net fencing prevents pirouetting race cars from disappearing into the shrubbery.
We’re pulling 75 as we scribe an arc through the 180-degree Carousel. There’s just a touch of body roll as the car settles into the corner; just a hint of stabilizing understeer as the steering loads up.
Then it’s back on the gas; red line at 6400, and into fourth. Resist the temptation to lift for The Kink, hard through Kettle and then applaud the car’s awesome braking power as you shed speed for Canada.
At this point, you have to remind yourself that you are driving a Lexus. And an LS luxo-barge at that; the anti-enthusiast car that offered marshmallow ride and limp steering alongside supreme comfort and refinement.Terrific handling?
The supreme comfort and hushed refinement still top the list of the new LS430’s qualities. But you can now add terrific luxury car handling, and yes, dare we say it, driver involvement, all for a price which is likely to stay around the same as the outgoing LS400’s $54,000.
Lexus has created a technical tour de force in the LS430, which should start arriving in showrooms October 15. This is a car that drives supremely well, but takes occupant comfort, convenience and luxury to a stratospheric level.
2001 Lexus LS 430 rearEnlarge Photo