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2013 Lexus LX570 Review

Tuesday April 2nd, 2013 at 8:44 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Land Cruiser Bone Structure, Off Road Diaper Kit
Gripes: Could Use More Ponies, Front Seat Backs Too Flat

If you use your X-Ray eyes to see through the voluptuous body cladding and semi-aniline leather of this Lexus LX570, you will recognize the eternally fine bone structure of Toyota’s iconic Land Cruiser. Nothing brought this point home to me more clearly than when I parked the Lexus next to a nicely restored mid-70s Land Cruiser for an eyeball comparison. I figured there would be substantial size differences between the 2013 Lexus and its 40 year old ancestor. Wrong. In every dimension, from height to width to length, the brand new Lexus is almost identically proportioned to the 70’s Land Cruiser. Even the ride height looks the same, despite the fact that the vintage Toyota rides on 15 inch rims versus the new 20 inch wheels of the LX570.

But one look inside the old Land Cruiser forever disabused me of the notion that the Toyota is too intimately related to the Lexus. In the 70s, off-roaders like the Land Cruiser were designed to be working vehicles, equipped with shiny vinyl bench seats that look like they came from the garden department at Thrifty. That kind of bare bones trim would be unthinkable in the $88,670 Lexus. Inside, you enjoy eye-popping opulence that starts with a swath of leather and real wood covering nearly every visible surface on all 8 passenger seats.

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2013 Lexus RX 350 Review

Monday January 14th, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: All Weather Security, Lovely Interior Finish
Gripes: Premature Intervention of Traction Control

There’s nothing like a week of Pacific storms to make you appreciate the virtues of an SUV like the Lexus RX 350. The RX is surely the prescription to counter inclement weather because it’s full time, active torque control all-wheel-drive never loses traction, no matter how tough the going. Part of the credit for this indefatigable adhesion belongs to the water-clearing tread design Dunlop engineers have perfected on the Grandtrek Touring A/S tires (235/55R19) that grace every corner of the Lexus. The Dunlops are mounted on F Sport 7.5” x 19” dark-graphite finished aluminum alloys that contribute not only to the stability of the RX, but complement its looks as well. F Sport tuned suspension lowers the RX’ ride height, and contributes to its flat cornering stance. This is one SUV that handles more like a sports truck than a semi.

Aside from a slight tendency to pogo over successive bumps, the ride of the RX is impressively comfortable. Wind noise is negligible, rear and side vision is excellent, and the generously sized exterior rear view mirrors do an admirable job of keeping you traffic-informed without resorting to the $500 optional Blind Spot Monitor. In keeping with the high standards of the Lexus marque, the interior of the RX is as welcoming and comforting as a room at the Ritz. If you’re big or tall, you’ll appreciate the fact that the driver’s seat and steering wheel retract to offer additional entry room. If you have no need of this concierge feature, you can easily de-select it from the Customization Menu that covers dozens of similar personal likes and dislikes. A handy mouse on the transmission tunnel suffices for menu navigation. Everything from the auto door lock feature to the duration of courtesy light illumination can be tailored to fit your needs. If you have questions about how to proceed, simply consult the 1,036 (!) page brick of an Owners Manual that occupies more than half of the glovebox.

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2012 Lexus LX570 Review

Tuesday January 1st, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

 

By David Colman

For: All-Terrain Dominance, Lexus Finish, Chilled Center Console Cubby
Against: Paucity of Cockpit Storage, XXXL Proportions

Greenies avert your eyes. Not only will this review not interest you, but it may actually antagonize you. Because the LX570 is like the 300 pound guy who plops down right next to you in the middle seat of a packed Airbus. Just like him, the LX takes up all of its own space, and a good bit of everyone else’s. When you park it in one of those “Compact Only” slots at the mall (aren’t they all marked that way?), you’ll find your running boards obscure the painted pavement stripes on both sides. Though the LX may just fit, getting in and out without dinging your neighbor’s door is a contortionist’s challenge. The ungainly slop-over continues at the gas station, which the LX visits more frequently than an alky hits Happy Hour. The bottom line here is 12 MPG City, 17 MPG Highway, with a combined average of 14 MPG. That equates to a cruising range of just over 320 miles to a tank. On a long trip, your 24.5 gallon gas supply will give out before your bladder will.

So what, then are the virtues of this $88,670 Lexus sports utility? Quite simply, it installs almost all the ultra luxe furnishings of the LS460 sedan into the classic architecture of the go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser. If you plan to trek through Nepal in a wheeled royal palace, the LX570 is just the ticket. It’s also about the plushest ride to Squaw Valley you can buy at any price.

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2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport Review

Monday December 31st, 2012 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Even Match for Best German Hot Rods
Gripes: F SPORT Should Have Even More HP Than LS; Why Limit Top Speed to 130 MPH?

When Toyota introduced the LS model line in September, 1989, the large sedan was a hit with buyers who were overjoyed to own a Mercedes Benz S Class clone for half the cost of the Benz. Although the styling of that first LS was clearly Benz derivative, the Lexus packed a 4 liter, 250hp V8 wallop under the hood that Mercedes could not ignore. On top of that, Toyota tailored the Lexus division to afford its new clients concierge level treatment, from the buying experience to the service appointment. That level of customer concern has insured that Lexus has remained at or near the top of the JDPower owner survey rankings for the past 23 years. Our recent test drive of the LS 460 F SPORT, latest addition to the LS model line, not only validates the company’s long standing commitment to engineering excellence, but also affords a whole new aspect of LS enjoyment: sport driving.

Over the past 4 generations of LS sedan, the company’s focus has been on developing creature comforts to 5 star levels, while enhancing straight line performance with a 380hp V8 propelling the 2012 LS. But never before has this conservative company paid serious attention to the joys of sport LS operation. Yes, they did offer a 2012 “Sport Authentic Special” version of the 4th generation LS, but the addition of paddle shifts, Brembo brakes and 19 inch wheels were overly cautious moves in a marketplace full of ultra-sporty BMW 7s, AMG Benzes, and Audi S8s. Now that Lexus has finally gotten the memo from the market, its LS F Sport is ready to play bumper tag with the big boys from Germany.

The new F Sport is available in 2 versions, with the rear-wheel-drive model carrying a base price of $81,990 and the all-wheel-drive F SPORT base-priced at $84,885. While we didn’t get a chance to sample the AWD model, we spent several hours behind the wheel of the rear drive version in an 80 mile test loop through the canyon country East of San Diego. What distinguishes this model from the basic LS 460? From the outside, the F stands apart thanks to exclusive front and rear bumpers, LED fog lamps, and 19 inch forged alloys finished in dark gray. The redesigned front bumper incorporates a larger opening for better cooling, while the rear lower valance includes a diffuser for improved underside air flow. Inside the cockpit, the F’s front seats feature added side and thigh bolstering, an exclusive steering wheel covered with dimpled leather, and aluminum trim on the dash and pedals. F SPORT logos adorn the sides of the fenders, as well as the steering wheel and front headrests.

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2013 Lexus ES 300H Hybrid Review

Wednesday November 14th, 2012 at 7:1111 PM
Posted by: Francois

YouTube Preview Image

Specifications:

  • Engine: 2.5L in-line 4 DOHC VVT-i with variable valve timing
  • Electric fuel
  • Fuel economy: Gasoline:, 40 MPG city, 39 MPG highway, 40 MPG combined and 688 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 200 hp @ 5,700 rpm;
  • Secondary power: 156 hp @ 5,700 rpm; 156 lb ft @ 4,500 rpm

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE: $38,000

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2013 Lexus GS450h Review

Friday July 27th, 2012 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Torque Monster, Stylish Cabin, Quality Finish
Against: Poor XM Satellite Reception, Feeble A/C

It’s not often that you’d pay extra money for a hybrid, just to gain a performance advantage over the conventional gas version of the same car. The usual reasons for going the hybrid route are better mileage and less pollution, and the GS improves on the gas-fueled model in both those areas, with a combined EPA mileage rating of 31 MPG, and a “Super Ultra Low Vehicle” rating of Tier 2 Bin 4 from the Feds who grade it “8” on a scale of “10” in terms of “Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating.” But here’s a nasty little secret about the GS450h that the Feds don’t rate or rave about: it’s much faster in terms of straight line acceleration than any other GS. The reason is that the hybrid supplements the GS’ basic 3.5 liter V6 (306hp, 277 lb.-ft. of torque) with an electric motor good for 147 kW of output, and more importantly, an added 202 lb.-ft. of torque.

Where the standard GS is a mild-mannered sedan, the hybrid version gives you such a sharp whack up the backside that the 450h is in a different performance league all together. If you accessorize it with the optional $5,205 “Luxury Package, you’ll receive a host of benefits including adaptive front lighting (i.e., swiveling LED headlights), and glove leather soft, semi-aniline interior trim. From a driving standpoint, the Luxury package contributes 18 inch alloy wheels shod with Dunlop 235/45R18 SP Sport 5100 tires, a distinct handling upgrade from the standard issue 17 inch alloys with 225/50R17 rubber.

The interior of the new GS is palatial. The heated and air conditioned front seats, thanks to the Luxury Package upgrade, are 18 way adjustable, with a range from bolt upright to full slouch, and memory settings to retain preferred positions. The heated steering wheel is a particularly impressive work of art, with perforated leather grips at the 9 and 12 o’clock positions, interspersed with segments of matte finished light ash wood that matches similar inserts on the door panels, transmission tunnel and dashboard. The rear window can be covered with an electric sliding sunscreen and both rear doors feature manual privacy shades.

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2012 Lexus LS460 Review

Thursday July 19th, 2012 at 11:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Ultra Luxe and Comfy Dreamboat
Against: Ridiculous VDIM limits

For 2012, Lexus has introduced a special Sports Package for its flagship sedan, the LS460. The $6,185 Sport Package contains such worthy performance items as Brembo brakes, 19 inch forged alloy rims with 245/45R19 Dunlop Sport Maxx 101 tires, and Sports-Tuned Suspension. In addition, sports oriented front seats feature more lateral support than those of any prior LS. The upgrades in this option group extend to the tasteful matte burl ash wood trim which adorns the center console, stick shift and door panels. Special grill and exterior trim, plus a sport steering wheel fitted with paddle shifts, complete the package. While these features do not instantly convert the LS 460 into an AMG Benz or M spec BMW, they do go a long way to making this Lexus much more fun to drive. But to extract the performance this car is capable of providing, you must first learn the secret handshake that will let you open Pandora’s box.

The Owner’s Manual for this car is 836 pages long. About half way through it (page 306), you’ll find out that Lexus prefers that you operate your LS with the full assistance of VDIM, or Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management which “provides integrated control of the ABS, brake assist, TRAC (Traction Control), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), hill-start assist control, and EPS (Electric Power Steering),” because VDIM “Maintains vehicle stability when swerving on slippery road surfaces by controlling the brakes and engine output, and steering assist.” In fact, what it does is inhibit your control of the LS460 on any road surface, not just slippery ones, by intervening consistently to slow the vehicle from what it judges to be dangerous speeds. On a curvy road, you’ll find yourself in a constant battle with VDIM for control of the LS, with warning beeps supplied to alert you to its intervention. VDIM-induced loss of engine power and unexpected braking are incompatible with brisk back road motoring.

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2013 Lexus GS350 Review

Tuesday July 17th, 2012 at 11:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Great visual redesign, Sophisticated handling, Ultra luxurious
Against: Non-Hybrid has middling MPG, No manual transmission

Aside from the ground-breaking $370,000 LFA sports car, Lexus design has been stagnating. The entire line of luxury sedans look more ponderous than svelte, with baroque styling cues that seem Germanic rather than Japanese. Visual boredom has been the hallmark of the mid-level luxury sedan designated GS, a high-hipped Lexus remarkably devoid of personality. Until now, that is. Its replacement, the all new 2013 GS, will debut in February, 2012 as a 2013 model. The company has reconceived this product from the ground up. The end result is a startling transformation of the GS that will delight art aesthetes and performance addicts alike.

To redefine the Grand Touring Sedan, Lexus sent one team of designers around the globe, from Russia to South America, China to the Middle East. The result of that research is the new GS, a startlingly fresh design that marks a decided departure from any sedan the company has built before. Unlike previous timid redesign efforts, the GS adopts a new stylistic vocabulary. Says Brian Smith, Lexus VP of Marketing, “With this car, going forward, there is no going back. This is the new face of Lexus.” And a handsome face it is. Instead of a benign grin, the front of the GS seems to snarl rather than smile. Aerodynamic fluting is the key word here. Fluted radiator ducts divert enough air to cool the 3.5 liter V6 and cool the front brake rotors. The rest of the frontal airflow skims beneath the body where Lexus has installed 8 fins in the underside panels to expedite air flow. Even the tail lights are fluted toward this goal.

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2013 Lexus GS350 Review

Monday February 13th, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: aquadog

By David Colman

Pros: Great visual redesign, Sophisticated handling, Ultra luxurious
Cons: Non-Hybrid has middling MPG, No manual transmission

Aside from the ground-breaking $370,000 LFA sports car, Lexus design has been stagnating. The entire line of luxury sedans look more ponderous than svelte, with baroque styling cues that seem Germanic rather than Japanese. Visual boredom has been the hallmark of the mid-level luxury sedan designated GS, a high-hipped Lexus remarkably devoid of personality. Until now, that is. Its replacement, the all new 2013 GS, will debut in February, 2012 as a 2013 model. The company has reconceived this product from the ground up. The end result is a startling transformation of the GS that will delight art aesthetes and performance addicts alike.

To redefine the Grand Touring Sedan, Lexus sent one team of designers around the globe, from Russia to South America, China to the Middle East. The result of that research is the new GS, a startlingly fresh design that marks a decided departure from any sedan the company has built before. Unlike previous timid redesign efforts, the GS adopts a new stylistic vocabulary. Says Brian Smith, Lexus VP of Marketing, “With this car, going forward, there is no going back. This is the new face of Lexus.” And a handsome face it is. Instead of a benign grin, the front of the GS seems to snarl rather than smile. Aerodynamic fluting is the key word here. Fluted radiator ducts divert enough air to cool the 3.5 liter V6 and cool the front brake rotors. The rest of the frontal airflow skims beneath the body where Lexus has installed 8 fins in the underside panels to expedite air flow. Even the tail lights are fluted toward this goal.

With its truncated frontal and rear overhangs, and muscular fender flares, the GS looks imposing. The bold appearance is justified by the mechanical underpinnings. The GS in all its forms (Base Model, AWD, Hybrid and F Sport) is a prime GT car, with enough horsepower, suspension sophistication, and interior comfort to handle any travel situation on any paved road with supreme aplomb. The new 2GR-FSE 3.5 liter V6 boasts direct port fuel injection which helps produce 306hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. Lexus, which has heretofore believed engine silence to be golden, has changed aural direction on the GS. Fitted with an “Intake Sound Creator,” this V6 snarls like a trumpet when the throttle is cracked wide open. Paddle shifters can be used to operate the 6-speed automatic transmission manually. When in manual mode, upshifts occur .3 of a second faster than in automatic mode, downshifts 0.2 of a second quicker. An all-wheel-drive version (Base Price: $49,450) is available, with torque split ranging from 50/50 to 30/70 front to rear, depending on traction available. A Hybrid GS 450h, marked by distinctive LED headlights, will also offer more horsepower than the standard V6. The Hybrid’s 2GR-FXE engine produces 338hp and yields a combined fuel economy rating of 30 MPG. A Navigation System with a huge 12.3 inch display panel is available on all models.

My favorite version of the new GS is the F-Sport model, which rivals the best European sedans for crisp handling and sheer grunt. The F-Sport rides on special 8 and 9 inch wide, 19” diameter rims bearing the largest tires yet seen on a Lexus: 265/35/19 Bridgestone RE 050A. Higher spring rates, more athletic shock absorbers, and bigger anti sway bars make the F-Sport GS a car you could take to track events and run with confidence. A console mounted control knob allows you to adjust ride, steering, traction control and throttle sensitivity for Normal, Sport or Sport+ (i.e. track) work. The seats in the F-Sport are superb, 16-way adjustable, with compressible side bolsters to resist lateral movement. During a day long test on the road course at Las Vegas Speedway, the F-Sport GS took everything we could dish out without breaking a sweat. On the Sport+ setting, the flashy sedan lived up to its prepossessing looks, cornering flat, stopping short, and screaming from apex to apex like nothing Lexus has ever built before.

2013 Lexus GS 350

  • Engine: 3.5 liter DOHC V6
  • Horsepower: 306hp @ 6,400rpm
  • Torque: 277 lb.-ft. @ 4,800rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 23 MPG Combined City/Highway
  • Price as Tested: $47,775

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Pebble Beach Concours – New 2013 Lexus GS 350 Revealed

Thursday August 18th, 2011 at 4:88 PM
Posted by: Derek

2013_Lexus_GS_350

The prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Carmel, CA was the setting for the reveal event of the redesigned 2013 Lexus GS.

The new GS brings a more engaging driving experience, bolder design and a more spacious, contemporary interior, heralding a new chapter in the history of Lexus.

The main objective of the new GS was to provide a more engaging driving experience. To achieve the Lexus development team created a new aerodynamic body, a wider stance and stiffer structure, a transmission with quicker changes and distinctive engine sound and exhaust note.

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