This car is equipped with a 5L V8 naturally aspirated (NA) engine that outputs 477ps and 530Nm. I test drove this car on a public road.
Most German cars output the same high power and high performance; however, none of them are NA-equipped models.
In Europe, uniformly downsizing of turbo engines has become a trend, but Lexus deliberately took the challenge of equipping it with NA engine displacement. But the question still remains: would it still have an unsatisfactory performance? There are still places in Germany that has no speed limit, while most of the other countries do have. When you drive it at a certain speed limit, its performance is just enough. Particularly, even when you are cruising at low speed, its NA engine performs well; thus it really feels good to drive it.
At first, I tried driving it in Eco mode, which I couldn’t use when in the circuit. I initially had bad impression of its performance; it had slow acceleration when I fully drove it, so I can only use this mode when I’m driving slowly or at normal speed on the highway.
As for its standard mode, when I increased my speed from driving slowly, it outputted an acceleration that is acceptable for me, and that is suitable for driving at normal speed. With the Sport S and the Sport S + modes, I can enjoy driving at a circuit level; nevertheless, in exchange for better accelerator response, its gears pull up to higher rpm so it would not shift up too much. Thus, it might be difficult to drive it on public highways where you’d want to drive really fast. You may shift it to manual mode though. As I mentioned, I headed towards mountain roads. No matter what type of mode I chose, its steering performance did not change. I tried switching to another lane quickly using all the modes, but its speed was still the same.
When I drove it roughly, I was able to remarkably grasp its torque vectoring differential (TVD), which I was not able to notice when I drove it in the circuit (probably because of the rainy weather). I tried driving in full throttle while grasping the steering wheel when I started entering a huge parking lot (inside the Fuji Speedway). Usually, there is certainly a need for counter steering, but it was not necessary in this case. It excellently absorbed the direction of the differential and allowed me to drive smoothly. An orange bar graph that shows the torque transmission of the rear wheel can be found in the meter, but although the height of that bar is the same as in the left and right rear wheels, this special function should necessarily display its torque value; you will witness that once the bar raises to a higher level. That is actually possible. Furthermore, this torque vectoring is different from the “not proper” torque vectoring, where it just often pinches the brakes because it really speeds up. This is the real torque vectoring.
I was only given a short time to test drive this car, and even though I can’t really say something in conclusion to that, I can guarantee that its seats have excellent stability and hold as I drove it on the circuit and even on the public highway. Furthermore, I was also able to feel its comfortability, and I was immersed by it. If I’d drive it on a longer distance, it wouldn’t probably feel as tired as when driving other cars.
Moreover, when I drove it in the circuit, I almost didn’t take notice of its Active Sound Control (ASC); nevertheless, it was fairly interesting. According to Performance Testing Division Vibration and Sound Development Manager Atsushi Hayashi, its engine has 1,500rpm during idling stop, and it would certainly let you hear that crisp intake sound when you run at full throttle. Incidentally, the ASC would take effect when you use the Sports S mode. Its effect is apparent only in the rear part with the Sport S, while it manifests in both the front and rear parts with the Sport S+. I could not identify that difference, nevertheless. When you’re at full throttle with the Sport S, its sound range becomes better, thus you can hear a clear sound.
As for its suspension, I was surprised that it guarantees you a comfortable performance when tuned to circuit setting. It simply expresses flexibility. It is worth noting that it is not equipped with a variable-damping system, as for big tires. Besides, its great comfortability is apparent when driving on a public highway. Its price may be lower compared to the AMG and the M, but it feels just right as it is.
â– 5 Star Rating
Interior / Comfort: â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…
Power Source: â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…
Takahito Nakamura | AJAJ Member
Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines, even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to continue his pursuit of knowledge about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977, and has been a fixture in it for the last 36 years. He continues to be active as a freelance journalist.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)