Print 42 comment(s) - last by Spuke.. on Sep 15 at 7:00 PM

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 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.

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