Here Are Our 12 Favorite Lexus Cars To Celebrate Lexus PH's 12th Anniversary
Lexus Philippines is celebrating its 12th anniversary this month. The brand itself is just over three decades old, so it’s fairly young as a true luxury car brand. However, it’s backed up by one of the world’s biggest carmakers, Toyota. And car fans know that the Japanese take their craft very seriously, especially when building a luxury car.
True to its Experience Amazing tagline, Lexus employs only the best “Takumi” masters, a Japanese term for very skilled artisans. It takes at least 10,000 hours to become an expert and a total of 60,000 hours to be qualified as a Takumi master. The level of dedication and attention to detail ensure that each Lexus vehicle is crafted and built with a level of excellence like no other.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to drive many Lexus vehicles and models both here and in Japan. So to celebrate 12 years of Lexus Philippines, here are my top 12 favorite Lexus models:
This one is, by far, my all-time favorite, and one of the few in this list I (still) have not driven. But I had the chance to ride one at full track speed. This Lexus halo car took over a decade to develop from scratch and, with only 500 units produced, the LFA serves as a backbone to future high-performance models like LC500 and RC F coupe. It was purpose-built not only for exhilarating performance, but it was designed and engineered for the senses as well. The powerful 553hp V10 engine and the car’s acoustics were tuned in collaboration with Yamaha to give one of the best sounding engines ever. This car was also one of the most expensive Japanese cars ever built.
2| LC 500 coupe and convertible
Driving the LC 500 is the closest experience to driving the LFA. I took this beauty to some of the most scenic places in Japan, including crossing the Tsunoshima Bridge in Yamaguchi. Too bad it was the coupe; we haven’t tried the convertible version yet. The coupe was so awesome and ahead of its time that it was the car of choice of Marvel’s Black Panther and the fictional King T’Challa.
When I drove the LC 500 in Nagayo, I got to meet then-Lexus chief engineer Koji Sato, who is now the president of Lexus. The LC 500 was his baby project and he said then that the fenders of the LC were so wide that they had to modify the bending machines at the Lexus plant to maintain the integrity of the original design of the car. He intimated that “I am very proud of my team. Instead of giving up, they insisted on finding solutions so that the original design of the LC500 will be followed.”
3| RC F Coupe
Some would say it’s the baby brother of the LC 500, but I think this car stands out on its own. I once drove this car from Lexus Manila straight to the 2016 Manila International Auto Show’s main lobby where it was showcased for a charity event. I shed a tear or two when I had to bring back the car after the event. The RC F has since then been given a facelift and improved suspension, but still uses the same V8 engine as its bigger brother, giving it superior on-road and on-track performance.
4| LS 500
The LS 500 and LS 500 Hybrid are definitely on top of the list, with all the refinements and accoutrements expected of a full-size luxury flagship sedan. The cabin interior is a showcase of Japanese traditional aesthetics and advanced manufacturing techniques, from its handcrafted Kiriko glass ornaments and origami-like hand-folded fabric pleats to the finest leather trimming. The backseat cabin of the LS is where the captains of industry are cocooned and transported in luxury.
5| LS 400
As a classic car buff, this was my first love. In 1989, Lexus first showcased the first-generation LS 400 by famously using this photo with a stack of champagne glasses on top of its hood for a TV and print ad, with the engine running. The silky smooth V8 engine was so refined it did not even shake the five layers of champagne glass and set the benchmark for future LS generations. These cars are so well built, evidenced by my friend’s then 20-year-old LS that continued to purr softly and still rode very well a few years back.
6| LX 570
Using a shared platform with the virtually indestructible Land Cruiser, this flagship SUV is the ultimate statement and is a paragon of luxury and hardcore off-roading prowess. Its husky 5.7 V8 engine and 4x4 drivetrain plus the tough high-strength chassis and multiple drive modes is the perfect combo for this go-anywhere land yacht.
7| GX 460
For those who want a luxury SUV but use their vehicles for real off-road conditions, I would probably get the GX. It gives you one of the best daily driver experiences and the ability to tackle almost any off-road environment. Thanks to its powerful 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers power to all four wheels via a six-speed sequential shift transmission, it is also equipped with a Torsen limited-slip center differential with an electronic differential lock and other advance off-road tech with Multi-Terrain Select which optimizes performance to handle rock, dirt, mud, and sand. Paired with this is an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) which continually adjusts shock-absorber damping rates while driving, delivering the type of smooth ride expected of a Lexus.
8| SC 400
This is a grand touring coupe I have never driven but continue to wish to own. Produced in the 1990s, its classic long hood and rear wheel drive and front engine layout made the SC age very well over the years. The powerful V8 engine and excellent road manners make this a collectible and future classic.
9| IS 350F
This lovely new generation IS “is” the best iteration yet to come out of Lexus. Unveiled late last year in PH it is one of Lexus’s most popular models. The first generation IS sedan ushered in the brand’s foray into the highly exclusive and competitive performance sedan market. Patterned after Germany’s famous Nurburgring track, the IS350F is the first Lexus car to use its new Shimoyama test track as proving ground.
10| LM 350
The LM 350 was quietly introduced last year despite the pandemic. It comes in both 4-seater and 7-seater layouts, but the 4-seater is the one to get. Perhaps less really is more. This 4-seater variant—which comes with more legroom and space, plus cool features like a glass front and rear cabin retractable glass divider and better equipment including business class seating—makes it the ultimate luxury MPV and perfect social distancing vehicle.
11| RX 350
The first-generation RX was introduced in 1998 and its formula of combining the robustness and ride height of an SUV plus the driving comfort and nimble handling of a compact sedan opened a new segment in the luxury SUV market. The sharp looks and creases of the RX, luxurious packaging and a choice of hybrid and gasoline powertrains made this model one of the bestsellers for the brand.
12| NX 300h and NX 300 F Sport
Lexus says that the NX crossover was engineered and designed to please not only the most discerning driving enthusiasts but also those who are looking for a comfortable and practical vehicle that can do it all. It seems like a tall order, but thanks to years of making highly capable SUVs like the RX and LX, Lexus did very well in building compact crossovers that deliver an engaging on-road driving experience, and still have the capability to tackle more challenging terrain. Too bad I wasn’t able to take the NX for some light off-roading yet. For a more dynamic on-road experience, the F Sport variant is the one to get.
To start your own Lexus journey, contact your Lexus dealer at (632) 8856 5050 or fill up the Lexus Remote Website for a hassle-free contactless purchase inquiry. Lexus is now offering 24 to 36 month zero interest payment plans with attractive packages for select models.