Changes don't compromise luxury

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One of my favorite songs from the hit movie "Dreamgirls" is "I'm Changing," touchingly rendered by rising star Jennifer Hudson.

Lexus might want to sign her to an advertising contract. For if there's one automotive company that's changing at lightning speed these days, it's Lexus.

At the most recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Toyota's luxury division unveiled the IS-F performance luxury sedan and the LF-A, a sports car concept that many observers think will go into production.

With all of that in mind, you can look for Lexus to hit the high performance world in a big way in years to come.

But don't think this company has forgotten its core marketing niche: luxury.

The 2007 Lexus IS-F.
Click photo for larger image.

Have you seen the astounding LS 460 and LS 460 L sedans? These two cars are blowing the super-luxury field apart with all of the features and technology they offer.

The LS 460 is powered by a new 380-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 backed by the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission. Mileage rating is 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. All this and an engine that hits 60 mpg in less than 6 seconds.

The first thing you'll notice of course, is the styling -- sleek, sexy, semi-fastbacked, voluptuous and not a thing like the current model. It's the finest expression of Lexus' new design idiom -- "L finesse," as it's known. With the introduction of the LS 460, the company's entire passenger car lineup, save the SC430 Hardtop Convertible, has been totally revamped. The 21st century stuff this car will pack includes an optional advanced parking guidance system that virtually parks the car itself, real-time traffic navigation, climate controlled front seats and a heated steering wheel.

If that all doesn't float your boat, try the Executive Class seating package. It includes a rear seat entertainment system, a four-zone independent front and rear air conditioning system with air purification, the world's first ceiling climate diffusers and a right rear-seat recliner with ottoman leg rest included. It even has a multi-function massage feature that includes an enhanced massage mode for the right rear seat.

Prices start at $61,000 for the LS 460 and $71,000 for the LS 460 L, billed as the company's first ever long-wheelbase model.

One caveat: Dealers tell me the LS 460 and LS 460 L are in extremely short supply, so if you want one, hurry -- or be prepared to wait.


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