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LS400 lacks a sporting character?

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Old 09-18-13, 09:57 PM   #1
Jeremiah87
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Post LS400 lacks a sporting character?

As the title states, does the LS400 lack a sporting character? Now, I understand this is a luxury car and not a sports car....not even a sports sedan like I would consider the Lexus IS models to be. Its all about the plushness and comfort, and boy does the car ride like its on a cloud.

But is it just me or this car really bad at taking corners? Coming a Miata that weighs 2,350 lbs with 50/50 weight distribution and Gokart like handling characteristics, I would never expect that of the LS400 but when I am taking turns on the on/off ramp or even doing mild spirited driving...the car feels like such a boat and taking turns is like when the titanic avoided that iceberg. Okay maybe that's an exaggeration because one thing for sure is the turning radius is really nice....being able to bust a U-turn and stay in my lane feels awesome.

The steering feels super light for such a heavy car but I do feel the heaviness of the car in the turns. The car is 3,890 lbs after all.

I guess my question more so is it because my 98 LS is stock? Is it the 225/60R16 tire size coupled with stock suspension that is limiting my cars handing potential in favor for comfort and ride quality?

Will simply just purchasing a set of those Tanabe lowering springs and upsizing my wheels to 17 with the appropriate tire size make the car handle better? I know it will still feel heavy because the car is heavy but can my handling be more "alive" for lack of a better description?

I just feel so detached from driving this car and this may sound weird and be a contradiction but while the car is so comfortable and effortless to drive around...its also tiring when I am trying to take turns at speed and feel like I am comfortable but struggling in the process. Its kinda like "Hey here I go taking this turn in mad comfort yo but at the same time turn dammit turn you big luxurious sedan!!"
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Last edited by Jeremiah87; 09-18-13 at 10:01 PM..
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Old 09-18-13, 11:09 PM   #2
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you may want to research some of threads where people have disabled or modded the progressive power steering - there are ways to make it more Miata-like
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Old 09-18-13, 11:15 PM   #3
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comparing a luxury car to a little sport car just doesnt work..


with everything luxury smoothness is more the focus than outright performance of components..

just gotta spend a few dollars and get it on track.. they dont go that bad once you tickle them a bit and sort suspension..
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Old 09-18-13, 11:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LScowboyLS View Post
you may want to research some of threads where people have disabled or modded the progressive power steering - there are ways to make it more Miata-like
Thanks will do. I did do some research and read about some suggestions/tips such as adding a supra strut bar, bigger wheels/low pro tires, swaybars, etc in addition to coilovers and spring/shock combos.
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Old 09-18-13, 11:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simrx3 View Post
comparing a luxury car to a little sport car just doesnt work..


with everything luxury smoothness is more the focus than outright performance of components..

just gotta spend a few dollars and get it on track.. they dont go that bad once you tickle them a bit and sort suspension..

Click the image to open in full size.
^Photo just for a visual...obviously not slammed like this but at a functional ride height.

Does the GS300/GS400 have noticeably sportier ride characteristics aka "European ride" that some GS owners have told me they have compared to the LS400/430? From what I read on wikipedia...the GS models are for those who want a sports sedan with refinement but many people tell me the GS300/400 is not that sporty and also lacks the luxury of the flagship LS models....as if it fails to deliver in both aspects. Personally I like the looks of them and their shorter wheelbase but reading lots of reviews on em have me conflicted.

But I can say I have done enough reading to have a plan for the car. I will be looking at 17 or 18 inch RPF1s with some good sticky rubber and a set of lowering springs (most likely Tanabe DF210) and some shocks. I dont need a massive difference just a significant one to make the car a bit more tossable.
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Old 09-19-13, 12:18 AM   #6
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stiffer spring rate will solve the lack of handling characteristics. Tower bar is just for looks the car is pretty soild it doesnt really need it.
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Old 09-19-13, 01:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremiah87 View Post
As the title states, does the LS400 lack a sporting character? Now, I understand this is a luxury car and not a sports car....not even a sports sedan like I would consider the Lexus IS models to be. Its all about the plushness and comfort, and boy does the car ride like its on a cloud.

But is it just me or this car really bad at taking corners? Coming a Miata that weighs 2,350 lbs with 50/50 weight distribution and Gokart like handling characteristics, I would never expect that of the LS400 but when I am taking turns on the on/off ramp or even doing mild spirited driving...the car feels like such a boat and taking turns is like when the titanic avoided that iceberg. Okay maybe that's an exaggeration because one thing for sure is the turning radius is really nice....being able to bust a U-turn and stay in my lane feels awesome.

The steering feels super light for such a heavy car but I do feel the heaviness of the car in the turns. The car is 3,890 lbs after all.

I guess my question more so is it because my 98 LS is stock? Is it the 225/60R16 tire size coupled with stock suspension that is limiting my cars handing potential in favor for comfort and ride quality?

Will simply just purchasing a set of those Tanabe lowering springs and upsizing my wheels to 17 with the appropriate tire size make the car handle better? I know it will still feel heavy because the car is heavy but can my handling be more "alive" for lack of a better description?

I just feel so detached from driving this car and this may sound weird and be a contradiction but while the car is so comfortable and effortless to drive around...its also tiring when I am trying to take turns at speed and feel like I am comfortable but struggling in the process. Its kinda like "Hey here I go taking this turn in mad comfort yo but at the same time turn dammit turn you big luxurious sedan!!"
the LS actually is a pretty nimble car for it's size (google some proper reviews and you'll see what I mean). It is pretty floaty and isolated but that's to be expected.

The 2LS actually has a better turning radius than the 2GS and is within a foot of an IS300....
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Old 09-19-13, 01:50 AM   #8
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Refreshing that 15-20+ y/o suspension will do wonders for how the car feels.. Old sloppy worn out suspension parts can cause a major disconnected feeling between the driver and the road!
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Old 09-19-13, 02:35 PM   #9
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Your rolling on 16x7's & stock suspension. What did you expect.
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Old 09-19-13, 02:53 PM   #10
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As PD mentioned, the LS is a nice handling car even in stock form but that is up to driver for technique with such characteristics. With a few simple suspension and tire mods you will be able change the handling characteristics. Re-engineering the car is a $ exercise. Easier to pick up a purpose car for that type of driving.

If you want a spring combo, don't get Tanabae DF210's, those are mostly low (Not that low really) and for comfort. We have a Tanabe spring thread for additional reading. Instead some H&R or the long discontinued Eibach which are progressive rate springs. Coupled with the Bilstein shocks you get a good normal ride and it works well for modest twisties. Lots here on Megans or BC-R so those would be options to consider. Considering the cost, the adjustables are the better option and you can get higher rate springs if you want that firmer ride.

Sway bars were a long lost desire so that goes nowhere. Many of us have replaced the sway bar bushings and that helps to some extent but is largely unfelt due to other parts of the car that are soft. Poly bushings in other areas are squeakfest additions.

IMO, a modest handling improvement with Megans or BC-R, some 18-19's (light weight as possible) on a non stretched tire quality summer tire would be my suggestion. Depends how much $ you want to throw at it. The stock 16's weight in at 52-53#'s.

The 2-GS handles well enough. The factory 2JZ was lacking for the weight of the car. The 4 and 4.3L variants had better engine response but even then, it wasn't as fast as comparable Euro models. The 3-GS 350 handled quite well stock and the engine was pretty lively. Haven't driven the latest so can't comment how the suspension feels.
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Old 09-19-13, 03:36 PM   #11
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The GS, in a sense, is like the LS' younger brother that's into sports. Kind of like how Acura's TL is, compared to the RL. It's not quite as luxury, or sporty, but it's leaning more into the direction of a sporty car. If you want an abundance of aftermarket modifications, get a GS. They're literally the Civic (in terms of aftermarket support) of Lexus. However, if you feel like keeping the LS, what you should look into is "restoring" or upgrading your suspension. You can do this by getting new shocks/springs if you want to restore the stock suspension, or you can opt for coilovers so you can adjust your damping (yep, got it right this time!) towards a semi-stock ride or a cut-springs Honda ride, as well as ride height, so you can figure out that aggressive stance you wanted I would also recommend upsizing to 18s. 18" wheels are plentiful, and a decent amount of OEMs run them, as well as aftermarket. Typically, you'll see wheels from G35/7s and 350/70Zs finding their way to our cars. You can also get the LS430 5-spoke wheels (which a few members run here). Another good thing about 18s is that you can run fatter tires on them, so they absorb most of the shock you're putting on them, as opposed to 20s on low(er) profile tires.
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Old 09-19-13, 03:42 PM   #12
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the car is meant to feel that way from the factory. as already mentioned, a few tweaks to the suspension and tire/wheel combo will definitely yield a considerable change to the handling characteristics. even a simple as changing the tire compound will give a drastic change in braking and cornering (as with any car really).

after working on the suspension bits of the LS, it definitely has the potential to handle well when setup properly. i say a mild lowering with stiffer springs and accompanying shocks will make the car nimble.

and a GS is more comparable to the IS suspension. the LS is has its own geometry.
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Old 09-19-13, 07:03 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input guys, I decided on 18s. Looking at the RPF1 wheels (all of my previous cars had run RPF1s, love em).

Now for a functional standpoint, what size exactly for the 18s would you suggest? 18x7, 18x8, 18x9, and what offset? The stock offset is 45mm right? And what tire size for the 18s?

As for the suspension Ill go for the suggested H & R springs. Coilovers are nice for the adjustability but since I am looking for a no fuss just drive daily driver....the springs will suffice for me.

I have always stayed conservative with my offsets/wheel size usually just upsizing from stock and keep the same offset but I wouldnt mind a "mildly aggressive" wheel and tire set up this time. I am not into the hellaflush/stance set up so nothing crazy.

Click the image to open in full size.

^I like how this looks but they look like 19s? I wanna stick to 18s.

BTW I was tempted to strip the car to get the weight down as much as possible but then thought okay thats a bit wacky but it would be dope to see a LS400 at a mere 3,000 lbs (or maybe even less) with good suspension on lightweight wheels/appropriate sized rubber. It would handle pretty well since so much weight has been lost.

I wonder how much weight is lost by stripping door panels, back seats, carpet, rear spare tire would save.
Just a thought but I wont do that, this car was meant to haul the occupants in comfort and I need to be able to do that anyways.

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Old 09-19-13, 07:51 PM   #14
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the turning radius is amazing.

Every time I do a U turn I cheer!
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Old 09-19-13, 08:49 PM   #15
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the turning radius is amazing.

Every time I do a U turn I cheer!
LOL I thought I was the only one who did that.

After I bust my U-turns I scream out a "Yeah wooo!" (meathead style)....but I only do that when I am alone in the car. If I have passengers I do it in my head so they don't question my sanity.
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