- Lexus Spindle Grille

Lexus...Is it the Japanese Mercedes?

Today I attempt to answer one of the popular age old questions in the automotive consumer industry.

28w ago

Opulence or at the very least, being perceived as though you are doing well in life seems to be the goal for many Zimbabweans when it comes to vehicle purchases.” Kunyaradza vavenga” which translates to “Silencing the haters” in local Zimbabwean Shona language is what many of us strive for.

As a result there are ‘go-to’s’ Zimbabweans love, all thanks to the phenomenon of brand association. German brands like BMW and Audi are in favour too but Mercedes seems to reign supreme with C Classes, E Classes, S Classes and ML’s the weapon of choice to indeed ‘silence the haters’

In a way, those that do buy those cars indeed are living the rich life because old Mercedes cars (mid to late 2000’s models in particular)are notoriously expensive to keep running as parts are not only harder to come by and frequently requiring fixing or replacing, but also because parts and service companies will charge a premium because of said brand association and the complexities of European engineering.

But what if you wanted the best of both worlds. A car that oozes luxury but does not let your wallet ooze those precious dollars you work so hard for. Fortunately such cars exist and they adorn the Lexus Emblem. Some say that Lexus IS, GS and LS models are Japanese Mercedes. In this article, I will show you why this may be an accurate description.

Lexus IS250, GS300 and LS460

Lexus IS250, GS300 and LS460


The Million Mile Lexus LS400

The Million Mile Lexus LS400

Right off the bat, we shall start off with one of the Lexus attributes that make it an enticing alternative to the big German three. 'Lexuses' or 'Lexi' are well known to last forever and this has been well documented over time. This all makes sense when you realise that Lexus is actually the luxury brand of Toyota. To have any vehicle with Toyota underpinnings most certainly guarantees endless kilometre coverage. One of the famous examples of this hails from USA. It is a 1989 Lexus LS400 with an odometer which currently reads above 1 million miles, yet it still runs to near factory fresh standards. Astonishing!


Lexus LS interior

Lexus LS interior

Although modern Lexus models seem to be playing catch up in this category, older iterations give their then German competitors a good run for their money. Take the 2007 Lexus LS for example. You can have this car with a 19 speaker Mark Levinson sound system, automated parking, 6 way power seats that are heated and cooled and an overly quiet cabin for relaxing drives.

Driving Dynamics

Lexus ISF

Lexus ISF

A Mercedes has been long praised for seamlessly combining a comfortable ride with exceptional driving dynamics (sporty driving feel). Guess what, the Lexus can do it too... to an extent of course. It still leans if you push it to hard in corners. Power delivery is often smooth like a Rolls Royce, but the power does build up like a supercar so you don’t have to worry about holding up traffic. Steering is also precise and relatively intuitive so you have an idea of where each wheel is and what it is doing at any one given time.


Lexus IS for sale on beforward.jp

Lexus IS for sale on beforward.jp

This stems to both initial purchase prices and cost of ownership overtime. People often forget that preventative maintenance is often cheaper than repairs. When engines knock or transmissions fail, it is sometimes due to lack of preventative maintenance which is usually deemed as expensive, especially for German brands. For Lexus vehicles on the other hand, plenty of parts are interchangeable with Toyota models of which Toyota is the most popular auto brand in Zimbabwe.


Hybrid System

It's not all rainbows and shun shine with Lexus automobiles. They also come with drawbacks. One of them is related to their Hybrid models. Buying a second hand hybrid model in general is always tricky as one is more often than not likely to buy one with an electric motor or battery pack that is already dead or close to dying. As a result you are not able to benefit from the markup in price that comes with hybrid variants.


It is no secret that Mercedes, Audi and BMW car designs have presence. This is aided by big grilles, big emblems and distinct styling cues (BMW kidney grilles). Unfortunately this cannot be said with pre-spindle grille Lexus models as they had forgettable faces and overall body styling. They are not ‘vanilla’ but they come pretty close at times.

Looks however are subjective so this is always up for debate. All I know is, I DO believe that Lexus is indeed the Japanese Mercedes, and YES I do see myself buying one in the near future.

Author: Tinotenda Nyakudzuka

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Comments (1)

  • Lexus is more like Audi because it is well made but boring. Some might argue there is LFA and there is R8. Toyota brand makes great cars but generally dull.

    To be a Mercedes Lexus needs to put LFA in all their cars. IMO good example and failure is lc500. It is good looking but still not quiet exciting. It needs more power like pair of hair dryers and more aggressive styling like AMG. Maybe they will make LC500-F or new LCF

      6 months ago