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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 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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