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Lexus LFA

Lexus IS-F

Lexus CT 200h
Lexus is looking for a change of direction

With the exception of a few sporting models -- IS-F, LFA -- Lexus is known to most as a purveyor of well-built, boring, tomb-like silent luxury vehicles that do battle with the German luxury trifecta: BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. However, Lexus is now looking to change its stodgy image.

Automotive News reports that Lexus wants to beef up its performance image to better compete with its more sporting rivals. The IS-F was the tiny spark that showcased Lexus' ability to rub elbows with the best performance machines from Germany, while the LFA is the veritable flame thrower that represents the very best that Lexus has to offer both from a powertrain and technological standpoint.

However, the luxury marque wants to spread this performance DNA to the entire lineup according to Lexus product development head Kiyotaka Ise. "Up until now, Lexus has been about calm, stable luxury," Ise noted. "From now on it will be more about agility and response, really feeling the braking and acceleration."

Although it seems unlikely that Lexus will be able to do much to make the Camry-based ES float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, the RWD-based LS and GS seem like prime candidates for a "soul" transplant, while the smaller IS (minus the “F”) is already mostly there when it comes to sporting intentions (how about throwing in a manual for the IS350?).

In other Lexus news, the company is going to expand its lineup of hybrids by introducing a new one with each model revision. For example, when the next generation ES is launched next year, a hybrid variant should come tagging along (the current ES doesn't have a hybrid variant despite the fact that the lesser Camry is available with such a powertrain).

"Compared to Mercedes or BMW, hybrid technology is a key application in the Lexus," Ise aded. "That's the most easily understood difference in the brands."

Currently, Lexus offers the HS 250h, GS 450h, RX 450h, and the LS 600h L. The CT 200h hatchback is coming to the U.S. next spring.

Toyota's official Twitter page also revealed that six new hybrid models will be released before the end of 2012. There is no word on how many of those vehicles will be Lexus-branded models.



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RE: My opinion
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 8:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
He was talking in a certain price range. If money is no object, I'll take a Corvette ZR-1. Or even a used 06+ Z06. Guy at work has one and not only is he making over 500 hp to the wheels with only bolt ons, he gets 27 mpg highway and I'm sure he could get 17-18 city if he kept his foot out of it.

The SHO is nice though. But only 133 mph governor? I top that in 4th gear.


RE: My opinion
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/14/2010 8:52:33 AM , Rating: 2
If money is no object, I'd take a 458 Italia -- even with the engine fires ;)

Hey, I love the ZR1 as much as the next guy and it is no doubt the exotic car bang for the buck, but it's hard to beat a mid-engined Italian for handling and "gawk" factor ;)

Money is no object and you take a Chevy? Who are you, Dale Jr complete with his new beard? ;-) The car is fast as balls, but the interior is still as crappy as it has always been compared to the competition (and slapping some leather on top of the already crappy surfaces doesn't count). And don't get me started on the horrible seats.

I sure hope that GM does much better with the C7 (I'm sure they will as all of GM's interiors have improved greatly since the C6 was first introduced).


RE: My opinion
By Spuke on 9/14/2010 9:31:22 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
If money is no object, I'd take a 458 Italia -- even with the engine fires ;)
I'd probably go with a LP560-4 with a Underground Racing twin turbo "kit". The 458 would be my beater. ;)


RE: My opinion
By Spuke on 9/15/2010 6:17:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'd probably go with a LP560-4 with a Underground Racing twin turbo "kit". The 458 would be my beater. ;)
Easy! Easy! What's with the downrate? Are there some Italians out there? LOL! Ok! Ok! I'll take the 458.


RE: My opinion
By bhieb on 9/14/2010 10:18:45 AM , Rating: 2
You're both wrong the Bugatti Veryon would be the only logical choice if money is no object.


RE: My opinion
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/14/2010 10:24:21 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad it looks like complete ass and weighs two tons.


RE: My opinion
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 12:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
It still goes over 200 mph. But yes it does look like crap.


RE: My opinion
By theapparition on 9/14/2010 10:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
The C5/C6 Corvettes have certainly taken knocks for interior. Personally, I disagree. I think its functional and everything works fine. I've been in many very high end sports cars (from Ferrari to McLauren to Astin Martin, etc), and while nicer, none of them made me say "this is worth $50k-$200k more).

But then again, I'm not that into interiors, nor am I a typical consumer, so that's just my opinion. One of my favorite cars of all time didn't have a radio, carpet or roll down windows. And even used nylon pull rope to unlatch the doors. But the Ferrari F40 was a true track car, and weight reduction was king.

Seats do suck. No doubt about that. Unfortunately, Chevrolet is in a difficult position trying to please all of the people rather than a select few. People buying Ferrari's don't care if the car is hard to get into, it's a Ferrari!

The seats are selected for the target audience and for being extremely lightweight. A C6 seat only weights something like 23lbs. In comparison, FIT's GTO has supurb seats, that also weigh over 110lbs EACH!!! Aussies make some nice stuff but I swear they mix lead with everything. If the new Camaro (which I don't like) was the same weight as the new Mustang, performance would be similar, but as it is, weight is a huge factor and that's what the Corvette is trying to manage. So they get light and unsupportive seats that 55yo people can slide into.


RE: My opinion
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 12:29:17 PM , Rating: 3
GTO seats aren't quite that heavy but yes they are about 75-80 pounds. The comfort is worth it. Now the entire back seat weighs about 100 pounds though.

The new Camaro is at least lighter than the GTO. Of course its also shorter.

As far as the Vette, while the seats aren't as good, I did over 1000 miles in a 98 C5 in 3 days without issue and a bad back. Unfortunately the boost hose came loose on day two so we only hit 145 the first night.

And exactly. Nothing in those exotics say "this is worth $50-200k+ more". If you really don't like Corvette seats, you can easily replace them.


RE: My opinion
By theapparition on 9/14/2010 1:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
New Camaro SS weighs more than GTOs.

Only issue with the Vette seats is lateral support, other than that they are fine.


RE: My opinion
By Spuke on 9/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: My opinion
By Chaser on 9/14/2010 6:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
As a former owner of both a C5 Z06 and C6 they are the Chevy performance bargain for the price but in this game you get what you pay for. Each Vette generation is plays catch up in terms of power, interiors and options. This is the main reason why they are such a bargain and overall good value.

But compared to competitors that are 20K more you can tell the difference in 5 minutes of driving both to the edge. And these remake muscle cars? Please. Go back to the drive in. Those cars will depreciate faster than their 0-60 times.


RE: My opinion
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 12:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly does interior have to do with going fast and handling well? I've seen a ZR-1. The interior is everything it needs to be. I don't need expensive leather and crap like that. Honestly, if I was designing the car, I'd offer a model without a lot of the crap that comes in the car. Fact is it kicks the sh*t out of 99% of cars out there, including many that cost far more. Only an uber expensive car like the Veyron can beat it. And it ain't hard to boost the Vette up in horsepower to outrun it.

I have a friend locally with an 02 Z06 that probably will outrun a Veyron. Lets just say that on the dyno, with the wheels spinning on the rollers, it put down 1000 rwhp. And its perfectly drivable too. He can just spin the tires at 80 mph.

I don't like cars for how many panties they'll drop when I pull up due to the price. I like cars for being fast.


RE: My opinion
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/14/2010 1:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, don't give me that ;-) The Corvette offers dual zone climate control, heated power leather seats, heads-up speedo, navigation, XM radio, Homelink transmitter, aux-in, power everything, Bluetooth, etc. So it's not like the Corvette is being billed as some low-rent machine.

The least they could do is offer better interior fit and finish/materials -- I don't think it's too much to ask.


RE: My opinion
By BailoutBenny on 9/14/2010 1:57:36 PM , Rating: 2
American cars might match the performance, but they won't ever match the appeal.


RE: My opinion
By Noya on 9/14/2010 8:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What exactly does interior have to do with going fast and handling well? I've seen a ZR-1. The interior is everything it needs to be. I don't need expensive leather and crap like that. Honestly, if I was designing the car, I'd offer a model without a lot of the crap that comes in the car. Fact is it kicks the sh*t out of 99% of cars out there, including many that cost far more. Only an uber expensive car like the Veyron can beat it. And it ain't hard to boost the Vette up in horsepower to outrun it . I have a friend locally with an 02 Z06 that probably will outrun a Veyron. Lets just say that on the dyno, with the wheels spinning on the rollers, it put down 1000 rwhp. And its perfectly drivable too. He can just spin the tires at 80 mph .


Because the seats in a hyper-performance ZR1 don't hold you in them. And why should a $35k Evo 10 have seats ten times better than the $100k ZR1's? That's just GM and their standard cost cutting and why most people would take a slightly lower performance Porsche GT3 over a ZR1.

Spins the tires at 80mph yet you think a boosted Vette has a chance at beating an AWD Veyron? At what? A 0-200mph contest where the Vette gets to wear drag radials? So getting no traction until third gear is a good thing? There's a lot more to a sports car than doing burn outs in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Namely, steering feedback. While the Zo6/ZR1 can pull 1G on the skidpad, the steering is numb- definitely not a drivers car. See, this is where Ferrari leaps ahead of everyone with their F1 derived traction control systems like their electronic differential. Power is nothing without control.


RE: My opinion
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 11:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because in the end the ZR-1 is bought by old men who want a comfy seat that doesn't hug them close since they're often overweight. The EVO is bought by snot nosed 20-somethings who want to "drift" and autocross.

Again, if you don't like the seats, they aren't hard to replace. The car is built to out run and out handle nearly any car out there. But at the end of the day, it has the seats that a typical driver wants in a daily driver. Because it has the ability to be one. Now I'm not saying they couldn't improve the Corvette's seats. But I'm saying it just isn't a priority. They build them light, for weight savings, and comfortable, for the 50+ people who can mostly afford them.

As far as spinning the tires at 80. He CAN spin the tires at 80, he doesn't have to. When he wants to put the power down, it holds fine.


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