Posts Tagged ‘Lexus’

2017 NAIAS: 2018 Lexus LS 500

January 9th, 2017 No comments

Lexus owes its existence to the flagship LS so they take their time developing replacements and leave it up to consumers to decide if the wait was worth it. With the 2018 LS 500, the wait was a particularly long one and until we drive it the jury will remain hung on the  verdict. Our problem with the styling comes down to the greenhouse as it approaches the c-pillar and the substantial window tracking required on the rear doors. Its a surprisingly inelegant wart on an otherwise polished design. The already substantial wheelbase grows  to 123 inches and a twin-turbo 415hp V6 is the only power plant. We found that interesting since the closely related LC Coupe is launching with V8 power. Will it matter to the average Lexus buyer? Probably not as long as the 10 speed automatic shifts unobtrusively and no noise makes it into the cabin. Look for the next LS in showrooms this fall.

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2016 NAIAS: 2018 Lexus LC 500

January 16th, 2016 No comments


Lexus has a long history of coupes, starting with the balloon shape SC 300 and 400 back in 1992 and followed by the bathtub shaped hardtop retractable SC 430. Let’s not forget the IS 350C convertible or the wild LFA. We recently enjoyed a bright orange RC 350 coupe so we shouldn’t be surprised that Lexus previewed an upcoming coupe with the LC 500 at this year’s North American International Auto Show. The LC bucks the trend towards forced induction and features a 467 horsepower 5.0L V8. Lexus is targeting to transfer that power through a 10 speed automatic to the rear wheels in just 4.5 seconds to achieve 60 mph. The lines are certainly exotic and continues Lexus design language of tortured sheet metal trailing behind the massive spindle grille. The interior looks to feature plush and luxurious materials draped over a very horizontally styled dash design. A 2+2 coupe, the LC 500 is claimed to be one of the brand’s flagship products. This is a far cry from the staid LS 400 and ES 250 that launched the Lexus brand back in 1989, and we like the general direction this LC points the brand.

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2015 NAIAS: 2016 Lexus GS F

January 15th, 2015 No comments


Lexus continues its pursuit of perfection by rounding out the GS sport sedan’s lineup with the GS F. The GS F goes beyond the sporty GS F SPORT by offering 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque from its 5.0-liter V8. The GS’s spindle grille becomes massively oversized on the F model and is flanked by gaping intakes in the corners of the lower fascia. Once upon a time the entire Lexus lineup was accused of being bland and anonymous. Love or hate the GS F’s looks, it can not be accused of subtlety. Gears are shifted via an eight-speed automatic with manual-shifting capabilities. To further perfect the driving experience the GS F features a Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) that is also shared with the Lexus RC F. The TVD strives to enhance the car’s agility and steering responsiveness. While the GS F isn’t quite the full fledged super sedan that rival Cadillac revealed across Cobo Hall, this may be the type of precision performance sedan that will keep Lexus loyalists in the fold.

First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX

September 21st, 2014 No comments

Lexus Builds a 2.0T and Wraps it in a Dynamic Crossover

Small crossovers don’t get a lot of love around the Automotive Trends office. They just don’t get our enthusiast blood boiling. We aren’t fans of the compromises that go hand in hand with blending an otherwise rugged or useful SUV with a sedan (sporty or not). We desire something that is nimble, poised and has room for a few child car seats as needed. A compact / midsized station wagon or hatchback better fits our definition of a “sport utility”. But Lexus presented us with something intriguing in Nashville, Tennessee of all places. Read more…

First Drive: 2015 Lexus RC 350 and RC F

September 12th, 2014 No comments

Lexus Makes a Big Entry into a Small Segment

It’s been a long time since Lexus offered a sport coupe. Too long, we’d say, since we’re not counting the folding hardtop luxury cruiser that the SC became in the 2000’s. Lexus knows that for years it sent prospective buyers seeking a stylish two-door to the likes of Audi and BMW, and it knows their new offering will have to be special to bring them back. The confident tone of the brand’s executives convinced us they’re certain the RC will now have the looks and performance to win new buyers to the brand. Based on our spirited drive through New York’s Hudson Valley and subsequent flogging around Monticello Motor Club’s 3.6-mile road course, the wait has been worth it. Read more…

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Video Review: 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport

August 14th, 2014 No comments

F Sport is Lexus talk for sport package equipment and styling layered onto one of their mainstream models. We’ve come to like the idea, especially in the GS F Sport configuration which feels far livelier and more rewarding to drive than lesser GS models. Unfortunately the IS 250 F Sport we just spent a week with doesn’t feel as comprehensively upgraded as it should. The result is a tidy little sedan that should be light on its feet and responsive being hampered by a transmission that shifts slowly even in sport mode and steering that doesn’t deliver the corner carving connection that you can find in other F Sport models. Of course the F Sport package does improve the IS’s looks with attractive wheels and the gauge cluster is one of the neatest on the market. We’re afraid it’s just not enough to win our recommendation for Lexus’ little sport sedan.

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2014 NAIAS: 2015 Lexus RC 350

January 17th, 2014 No comments

The personal luxury coupe is a bit of an endangered species these days so we were excited to see Lexus offer one in the form of the RC 350. The nicely sized two-door features an intricately detailed version of Lexus’ giant front grille but here it works with the overall design that is also highlighted by beautiful wheels, stunning greenhouse and tidy rear end. The interior remains our biggest concern where, like all Lexus models of late, a design theme inspired by the late ’80s seems to be in place.  The RC 350 uses the corporate 3.5-liter V6 tuned to 314 hp to move it’s rear-wheel drive chassis through the corners but we’re even more excited for another NAIAS debut we’ve heard about where this car receives the full-monty F package and the delicious V8 that goes with it. Now that is the kind of personal luxury coupe we all want to see more of.

2014 NAIAS: 2015 Lexus RC F

January 14th, 2014 No comments


We’ve covered the standard RC 350 that this new sports coupe is based on, but we’re excited to tell you about the fire-breathing F version that Lexus rolled out on the second day of the North American International Auto Show. The F uses the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 and 8-speed automatic from the IS F sedan, but the engine has been modified to produce “more than 450 hp” and Lexus has fitted an advanced torque-vectoring differential to help put the power down. All-wheel drive will not be offered so this powerful rear driver should be a lot of fun in the twisties. An active rear wing and a carbon fiber roof are other racing parts that have us excited to get behind the wheel when it goes on sale late this summer. Inside we see aggressive sport seats and a trackpad in place of the Lexus “mouse” controller that we’ve loathed the last few years.

2013 NAIAS: 2014 Lexus IS

January 17th, 2013 No comments

     The Lexus IS has been languishing for a while and has recently found itself a tad smaller than the class average set by cars like the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes C-Class. Of course the simple fix is to increase the dimensions while improving the packaging, and that’s exactly what Lexus has done with the 2014 IS. A very significant 3 inches of additional rear seat legroom will improve the sedan’s usability while the great 8-speed automatic from the IS F now trickles down to improve the IS’s performance. Both 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines will power the IS and the styling will be sure to turn a few heads. We can handle just about everything including the most extreme variation of the new corporate grille we’ve yet seen, but the two piece headlamps are going to take a while to adjust to. At least they look way cool when illuminated. We’ll be lamenting the lack of a manual transmission, but an IS F Sport is now available and places a big emphasis on rewarding handling so we’d be willing to bet a drive of that will help ease the pain. Lexus is prepping the 2014 IS for a summer on-sale date. Read more…

First Drive: 2013 Lexus LS

October 22nd, 2012 No comments

Comfort is King in the Redesigned Lexus Flagship

     Since its debut in 1989 the Lexus LS has emphasized comfort over everything else. Through the relentless pursuit of perfection engineers have been on a never ending quest to eradicate every hint of noise, vibration and harshness no matter how seemingly insignificant. If you want to truly understand the phrase “detail obsessed” lock yourself in a room with the LS’s chief engineer for an afternoon. The flagship’s reputation has been built upon its unmatched ability to isolate passengers from the harsh and hectic world and the thoroughly refreshed 2013 model intends to move that reputation to the next level. And having already established a lead in the luxury hybrid market with the range-topping LS 600h L Lexus engineers are taking this opportunity to get in the sport-minded market by adding a new F Sport trim to the LS lineup. Lexus recently invited us to sample the LS family and when we weren’t reclined in the massaging back seat pretending to be a business titan we made some observations you might be interested in. Read more…

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