Lexus: it’s still all about the buttons

BMW was the first, with its controversial and much-derided iDrive system.

Premium rivals snorted. Then rolled out their own button-replacing central controller systems: Audi MMI, Mercedes Comand.

And, the Lexus Remote Touch. Unlike others, this doesn’t use a form if rotary controller, but a form of computer mouse, which you scroll across the screen.

Despite built-in variable resistance that helps you nudge towards the icon you want, I still found it frustrating and much harder to use than simply pressing a button. But, as my time in the car was limited, I’ll reserve judgement.

We did, after all, take years to ‘get’ iDrive. And who’d have thought it would be so widely praised now, given the press reviews of it back then?

However, Lexus does offer salvation – in the rear. Japanese cars have long been all about buttons and the rear of the new LS gloriously proves this.

Behold the above; count the buttons on the central armrest if you wish, but note that there were dozens more on either side of the armrest too. If button count is a measure of luxury, the new LS is the world, best luxury car by far.

Needless to say, each one operates with wonderful precision too.

Just one challenge: can you tell me, in a flash, how to adjust the headrest on the left-hand rear seat..? Exactly. And that’s why the logic of rotary controllers, in an increasingly feature-packed automotive world, are ultimately the way to go.

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