Since introducing the LS400 and ES250 at the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows in 1989, Lexus has adhered to its famous tag line, “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.” That pursuit gave Mercedes and Cadillac a rude awakening, and it has led to an array of excellent products. It’s interesting to consider all Lexus has become.
Before Lexus, Toyota’s flagship was the Cressida sedan — a car that would be completely out-classed by today’s Camry. The idea that Toyota would rival the mighty Mercedes-Benz for prestige luxury seemed like a joke, but people didn’t laugh long: the $35,000 LS400 earned a reputation as one of the finest cars in the world with near-perfect durability – a Mercedes S-Class at half the price. The ES250 was a well-appointed mid-size competitor to the Cadillac Seville, Acura Legend, and Mercedes 190E. Lexus service was (and is) beyond compare, earning heaps of awards and schooling rivals.
Somewhere between wallowing in memories of past love, brooding in loneliness, lecturing at a university, engaging in mid-night trysts, frequenting gay bars, being pursued by a beautiful young man, romping in the ocean, confiding in Julianne Moore, and planning an exit from this earth, A Single Man’s Colin Firth drove a Mercedes 220S Coupe. If I were a college prof in 1964 and lost my partner in a tragic accident, I might have been driven to indulge in these diversions. I would also have driven the Mercedes.