From its inception, Lexus has been
at the forefront of technology that enhances safety and performance, and supports
the most enjoyable ownership experience possible. The following is a review
of some of the advanced technology featured in 2004 Lexus models.
New Six-Speed Automatic Transmission: In the updated LS 430 for 2004, a new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the five-speed unit, enhancing both performance and shifting smoothness. The additional gear ratio essentially allows for smaller steps between gear ratios, which makes shifts smoother and improves acceleration.
The six-speed transmission also makes it possible to use a lower first gear ratio, which provides quicker off-the-line acceleration and response. Significantly, the new transmission is as compact and light as some competitors' five-speed automatic transmissions. A Sequential Shift feature allows the driver to enjoy a more involved driving experience by controlling gearshifts manually when desired.
Ride, Handling and Traction
Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS): The GX 470 luxury utility vehicle offers a new type of suspension for 2004. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) enhances this versatile vehicle's on-road ride and handling prowess and off-highway capability. The new system uses electronically controlled hydraulic cylinders to help vary the degree of sway resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars.
KDSS technology, which has been proven in World Rally Championship (WRC) competition, helps provide more sway stiffness when needed for crisp handling response, less sway resistance for more comfort over bumpy roads, and even disengages the stabilizers for some off-highway driving conditions. With the stabilizers disengaged, the suspension gains more travel and articulation for handling obstacles and improved traction. KDSS is the first such suspension system in an SUV to combine all of these dynamic control functions.
Air Suspension: The second-generation RX 330 luxury utility vehicle offers a new optional air suspension system that helps enhance handling, driving comfort, and versatility. Automatic leveling ensures generous suspension travel and helps to preserve ride comfort. Four driver-selectable height settings allow the driver to tailor the RX 330 to specific driving conditions or needs.
In "Normal" mode, the system automatically lowers the RX 330 by 0.3 inches at speeds over 62 mph for better handling and ride comfort. A "Low" mode lowers the ride height by 0.6 inches to enhance handling response.
"High" mode raises ground clearance by 1.2 inches for driving over rough surfaces at speeds of 30 mph and under. An "Access" mode lowers the RX 330 by 1.2 inches to provide easier entry, exit and loading. All RX 330 models with the air suspension system are equipped with a multi-mode automatic (sequential) transmission.
Comfort and Convenience
Rear Backup Camera: Four Lexus models for 2004 offer a new rear backup camera, including the LS 430 sedan and the brand's three luxury utility vehicles, RX 330, GX 470 and LX 470. The camera comes as part of the available navigation system (standard in LX 470) and gives the driver a view of what can be seen by the camera lens behind the vehicle to provide an extra margin of confidence when driving in reverse. The camera automatically projects a color image on the navigation system's LCD screen when reverse gear is engaged.
Entertainment, Navigation and Security
XM Satellite Radio: Newly available for the updated 2004 LS 430 is the XM Satellite Radio system, which provides the customer with CD-quality sound and a wide selection of music and news/talk stations coast-to-coast. Broadcast from studios to orbiting satellites and then to surface-based "repeater" antennas, XM Satellite Radio ensures that the owner's preferred music or news station remain available continuously, eliminating the need to search for new stations when driving long-distance. The subscription service, offered at an additional cost, provides 71 music channels with a wide variety of styles, as well as 29 news/talk and entertainment stations. About half of the available stations broadcast commercial-free. As an added benefit, the head unit in the center console displays the current song and artist.
DVD Navigation System: Lexus offers an optional DVD-based global satellite positioning (GPS) navigation system in all models for 2004, and was the first company to offer this technology across its model line. The system is standard on the SC 430 hardtop convertible and the LX 470 premium luxury utility vehicle. In all applications the system uses a DVD disc for map data - one Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) can hold all the map data for the contiguous United States, plus additional areas in Canada.
Several Lexus models for 2004 incorporate Bluetooth®wireless technology and updated features, including a larger point of interest (POI) database, improved screen graphics, phone number-based address location and building footprint display. Bluetooth® technology uses radio signals to allow Bluetooth®-enabled cellular telephones to wirelessly connect with the navigation system to synchronize phone books and to make hands-free phone calls.
The DVD map database in the new system now contains more than five million POIs, compared to two million for the previous system. The map database for Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York features new "building footprint" graphics, which shows a 3D rendering of the building in its location. This feature can be useful for identifying buildings and their surroundings - helpful for example, when looking for nearby landmarks. Additional functions of the navigation system vary by vehicle. The LS 430 features a large seven-inch screen and incorporates voice command recognition. The driver can operate the system totally hands-free using 300 different voice commands. The navigation systems offered in the ES 330, SC 430, GS sedans and RX 330 feature touch-screen technology.
SmartAccess: New for 2004, the SmartAccess feature available for the LS 430 allows the driver to unlock the car simply by touching the door handle (with remote control in pocket) and then start it at the touch of a button. The SmartAccess key fob, carried in the driver's pocket, transmits a radio signal to onboard antennas, authorizing the security system to unlock the car and permit engine starting. By simply carrying the SmartAccess key fob in a pocket, the driver does not need to fumble for the car keys in the dark or rain or cold weather, and you can enter the car easily even with hands full. The system includes a SmartAccess key wallet card that allows the driver to unlock and start the car if the main key fob is lost.
Adaptive Headlamps: The updated LS 430 sedan and the new RX 330 luxury utility vehicle offer a new advancement called Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) for 2004. AFS helps illuminate a turn or curve as the driver steers into it. A central controller calculates the optimum lighting direction based on input from vehicle speed and steering angle and swivels the right and left headlights independently. The left beam can rotate from 0 to 15 degrees in a left turn while the right beam remains in the center position. The right beam can rotate from 0 to 5 degrees in a right turn while the left beam remains in a center position. As a result, the driver can see further into a curve.
The headlamps also have a self-leveling feature (similar to HID headlights) that levels the lights depending on road conditions. An AFS on/off switch allows the driver to disengage the AFS system at any time.
Night View: Lexus offers an option called Night View to on the LX 470. The optional Night View system uses near-infrared technology designed to help enhance nighttime driving visibility. This technology differs greatly from other nighttime driving vision aids on the market. Lexus Night View projects near-infrared beams from two lamps in the front bumper. The near-infrared light reflects from objects ahead back to a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) camera mounted inside the vehicle at the top of the windshield.
A dedicated computer processes the resulting natural-looking images, which are then projected onto the lower section of the windshield within the driver's field of vision, resulting in a picture similar to that on a black and white television.
In contrast, systems that use infrared-based technology work passively, detecting infrared waves from sources that reflect or radiate heat, including people and animals. Those systems display only a "ghost like" image of such sources but not necessarily their surroundings. Lexus Night View is designed to give the driver relatively clear, illuminated images of what is ahead of the vehicle out to a distance of nearly 500 feet - about three to four times the range of low beams.
New Pre-Collision System: The LS 430 for 2004 is the first Lexus model equipped with the new Pre-Collision System (PCS), which is designed to help reduce collision injury and damage (January 2004 availability). This advanced new system uses a millimeter-wave radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car and a pre-collision system computer with vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate inputs that helps to determine in advance whether a collision is unavoidable. If the system determines that a collision is not avoidable, it can preemptively activate the Pre-Collision seatbelt to retract the driver and front passenger seatbelts prior to the collision. Also, the Pre-Collision Brake Assist automatically applies increased braking force after the driver applies the brakes to help reduce collision speed.
These are but a few of the many technologies found in the 2004 Lexus products that are designed to enhance the pleasure of ownership by providing outstanding performance, safety, comfort, convenience and security.