The first Lexus-branded model, the LS 400, appeared in 1989. It had a unique design, sharing no major elements with previous Toyota vehicles, with a new 4.0-litre V8 engine. It was widely praised for its quietness, well-appointed interior, fine engine performance, outstanding build quality, and value. (In some markets, it was priced against Mercedes-Benz's and BMW's mid-sized models, while offering size, performance, and quality comparable to their full-size cars). It was generally regarded as a major shock to the European marques, but it has never managed to gain the affection of the public in the way of the older luxury manufacturers (a fact not helped by anonymous styling and suspension regarded by reviewers outside the U.S. as a compromise of handling for ride comfort). It won several major motoring awards when released.
These virtues have been maintained in subsequent iterations of the LS, including the LS 430, and the range has been expanded with other models (the Toyota Camry-based ES 330, the small, rear-drive IS 200 and IS 300, the Toyota Land Cruiser-based LX 470 SUV, and the GS models). The world's first mass-production hybrid SUV was a Lexus.