autojaponica

Archive for the ‘Lexus’ Category

New Lexus RX350

In Lexus on January 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Earlier this week Lexus launched its new RX model replacement in Tokyo.

Japan will receive both the RX350 and the RX450h hybrid model.

The RX350 gets a 3.5 litre V6 engine that produces a very reasonable 280 PS.

As expected the car is dripping with technology focused on fuel economy, safety and comfort as well as driving dynamics.

Making such a large and powerful SUV fuel efficient must be quite a challenge but Lexus have endeavoured to do so.

Most of these improvements are naturally focused on the RX450h but the RX350 achieves a figure of 9.7 km/l which is actually worse than the outgoing model (sold as a Toyota Harrier here) although largely irrelevant because the new car now has a much larger engine (3500 cc vs 2400 cc) with an incomparable power increase.  To put it straightly the RX350 is not very fuel efficient at all but probably about as good as it gets for such a large capacity petrol unit.

Lexus claim that the RX has emission levels 75% lower than the standard adopted by the government for low emissions vehicles.  With that knowledge in hand you might wonder what monster of a car would only just scrape through the approval process. 

The new car has apparently been manufactured using more environmentally friendly materials and most fascinatingly the company say it has reduced the volatile organic compounds (their words) used in some of the interior parts to reduce discomforting odours.  So if you are the owner of a festering stink bomb of a previous generation RX then know that you won’t have to suffer anymore cold winters with the windows open if you trade in now.

All a bit of a mystery to me.

Safety is enhanced by side monitors that enable the driver to avoid obstacles that may lie within the turning radius.   A pre-collision system that uses radar to predict a frontal impact works with a brake assist function and no less than 10 airbags (which is 8 more than my car) are fitted.

All this risk decreasing adds to the disconcerting evidence that if you can afford an expensive car you stand less chance of being injured or worse in a car crash although it is nice for some to know that they’re money is appreciated and that Toyota are taking care of their high value customers. 

The rest of us are just cannon fodder.

Fundamentally, handling is said to be improved by a re-designed rear suspension as well as computer assisted stabilising while cornering.  A number of less dramatic steps have also been taken to aid driving enjoyment.

The old RX styling was loved by some, disliked by others but for the most part left people feeling indifferent.  I myself thought it looked a bit like a boat with its downward sloping front under body.

Thankfully the new car has lost most of its maritime influence and now presents a more solid form than its predecessor.

The front looks particularly well resolved with an attractive light and grille arrangement.

Lines across the body are well executed although i can’t help feeling that the front wheel arches are a little too distinct.

The rear is frankly conservative but perfectly acceptable.

People who like to buy premium SUV’s are a difficult bunch.  They don’t want the car to look or be utilitarian but at the same time want it to have some degree of off road ability if only for when they are asked to defend their purchase.  It is of course doubtful that any Lexus RX’s will ever experience much mudplugging however. 

Because of these unique requirements, all makers of this class of vehicle try to design their car to look as close to its more conventional family members as possible but with a rasied ride height.  

The RX is no exception and and it has me wondering if after employing a stable of sumo wrestlers to sit on the body for a day or two the end result would be a Lexus IS350.

Inside the RX exudes quality and certainly looks to be a comfortable place to spend time. 

Leather and lots of tactile surfaces seem to be the order of the day topped off with some tastefully appointed wood.

Prices for the RX350 start at 4,600,000 JPY.  The much higher spec hybrid RX450h won’t be released for sale until April.

Lexus RX350

Lexus RX350

Lexus LF-A Update

In Lexus on January 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

 Adding further fuel to the fire that the Lexus LF-A will finally make it to production in 2010 comes the news that the Nagoya company will unleash the racing car version once again at this year’s Nurburgring 24 hours race. 

The 4.8 litre 570 PS V10 powered super car is expected to priced at a  horrendous 25 to 30 million Yen when it finally reaches the market putting it firmly in the realm of the very well heeled.

Weight is reported to be an impressive 1550 kg.

Production is apparently going to be kept to only 200 to 300 units initially but will increase as the car gathers momentum in sales. 

Previous rumours have suggested that the car is not as fast around the Nurburgring as the GT-R but then neither is a Ferrari  F430 or Lamborghini Murcielago which are both cars that the fast Lexus will compete against.

This car will have to be not just good but bloody marvellous if it hopes to compete in the prestigious European market (a target area) where at such a large price it will find itself very much in badge snob territory.

New Lexus SC Rumours

In Lexus on October 3, 2008 at 3:35 pm

A little unclear all this. 

Lexus have been trying for some time to flog their SC Model around the world with varying degrees of success. 

The SC does quite well in America with its US focused design but has struggled in Europe and most insultingly in its Home market. 

speculation suggessted that Lexus would most likely pull the model but the most recent word on the street angles towards Lexus releasing a completely rethought design to be released in 2011. 

Engine line up is rumoured to be the 4.6 litre V8 from the current LS range and to fit in nicely with Toyota’s near term outlook the option of a 3.5 litre hybrid.

The current SC sort of divides opinion with its ostentatious design and lack of sporting flair but upmarket image and exquisite quality. 

It will be interesting to see if lexus decide to add to or reduce the bling value of the next model.

    

Lexus SC Current Model

Lexus SC Current Model

Lexus LF-A Update

In Lexus on September 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Testing still continues on the Lexus LF-A supercar due to receive its Japanese debut in the autumn of 2010. 

Lexus have been busy at the Nurburgring for a long time trying to whittle away seconds to compete with its domestic and foreign rivals and it looks as if they still have a way to go before hitting their target. 

Although it seems that Toyotas target is not to blow the GTR out of the water but rather offer around the same performance, as they have probably sensibly decided that gran turismo style time attack glory will not be the dominant influence on sales. 

On the other hand, Honda with their new NSX  will be trying for absolute ascendancy in the sports car market and can occasionally be found at the Nurburgring nailing their prototype around the road course until it at least equals the upcoming Nissan GTR V Spec performance. 

The LF-A is an undeniably beautiful car and with such a ravishing body will come a hefty fee of reputedly 25 million yen. 

That should by my calculation make it the most expensive Japanese car ever to be put on the market. 

Some people will say that is too much and it clearly is but then so is a Ferrari 430 or any Lamborghini and this is the kind of market that the Lexus will be competing in. 

Its clear that Japan’s premium manufacturer has now matured and is not shy about its pricing even with the perceived lack of heritage  that always dogs any special offering from Japan.  particularly in the prestigious European market where the LF-A will be looking to take advantage of the continents huge appetite for sports cars .   

 

Lexus IS F Racing

In Lexus on September 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm

It has come to light that in a further challenge to BMW’s M3, Lexus will be producing a hotter version of its High performance IS F. Designated as the IS F/R ( the R presumably standing for racing), the new model will feature several new developments and should debut in its home market in the autumn of 2009

Rumour suggests that the car will be 100kg lighter than the standard IS F, achieved through an all carbon roof and the use of thinner exotic materials in the body.

Attention has also been focused on the 5 litre V8 to produce a 12ps increase in power.

Expected selling price in Japan should be in the region of 10 million yen.

I’m afraid the image below is of the standard IS F ( lovely as it is ) as i can`t get an image of the IS F/R but if you just try to imagine a black carbony roof and maybe a bit more carbon round the front wing then that should be about right.