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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Three New Cars That Achieve 40 MPG

Tuesday April 26th, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Posted by: AKramer

Lexus CT 200h - Chevy Cruze Eco - Ford Focus SFE

By Alex Kramer

Here we go again. Gas prices are climbing ever higher, but unlike a few years ago, they will probably stay sky high this time around. Luckily, the American car buyer now has an impressive array of choices when it comes to maximizing every gallon. From pint-sized sub-compacts to high-tech hybrids, there are plenty of ways to achieve 40 mpg, and some of them are even quite fun to drive.

We recently had the opportunity to test three of the newest entries into the gas saving game at the WAJ Media Days event held last month: the new Ford Focus SFE, Chevy Cruze Eco, and Lexus CT 200h. After an afternoon of test driving, we can honestly report that these three are the real deal, providing both excellent fuel efficiency and a surprising amount of driving excitement.

Click the image or navigation link below to read more details about each car.

2011-lexus-ct-200h-driving-modes-thumb

2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO

Ford Focus EcoMode

LEXUS CT 200h CHEVROLET CRUZE ECO FORD FOCUS SFE

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Exclusive Lexus Culinary Team to Debut at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Thursday March 31st, 2011 at 1:33 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011_Lexus_Culinary_MasterSix World-Renowned Chefs to Partner with Luxury Automaker

TORRANCE, Calif. (March 30, 2011)—In a first of its kind, Lexus is teaming up with six of the world’s most distinguished chefs as it unveils its Lexus Culinary Masters team. The team will partner with Lexus on multiple initiatives, including Lexus customer appreciation programs, charitable outreach, and multimedia productions. Details on future programs will be announced later this year.

The Lexus Culinary Masters debut lineup includes:

  • Chef Daniel Boulud – Chef/Owner of several restaurants, including DANIEL
  • Chef Michael Chiarello – Chef/Owner, Bottega
  • Chef Dean Fearing – Chef/Partner, Fearing’s Restaurant
  • Chef Christopher Kostow – Executive Chef, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Meadowood Resort Napa Valley
  • Chef Masaharu Morimoto – Chef/Owner of Morimoto restaurants
  • Chef Michael Symon – Chef/Owner of several restaurants, including Lola Bistro

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Hot Lapping the Lexus LFA at Infineon Raceway

Thursday March 3rd, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By contributing editor David Colman

Hits

  • Acoustically tuned F1 exhaust note more inspiring than the London Philharmonic
  • Telepathically enhanced electric power steering
  • Carbon ceramic discs stronger than a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin headlock

Misses

  • Exclusive price tag
  • Personal high performance driving instructor not included with purchase
  • Lacks storied racing tradition

The Lexus LFA is, without doubt, the hottest ultra supercar to fly down the Autobahn since Audi introduced the R8 several years ago. The 552 hp, composite monocoque two seater is a complete aberration for Lexus, the buttoned-down purveyor of conventional luxury cars renowned for quality, silence and longevity. Why the sea change in Lexus strategy? The company is going after the lucrative sports sedan market currently owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Lexus sedans have always been perceived as somewhat stodgy alternatives to the German Big 3. Consequently, the Japanese company has decided to launch an all-out assault on the sporting opposition by building the LFA as a halo car for their revamped F-line cars and parts.

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2011 Lexus LFA Photo Gallery

Saturday February 26th, 2011 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: Derek

Lexus LFAThe first Lexus LFA supercars arrived in the U.S. in January 2011 and CarReview was invited to a Lexus driver development program with the opportunity to drive the 552 horsepower LFA in its element at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.

To sum it up, the rear-wheel drive LFA is a dynamically styled supercar powered by a sophisticated new high-revving 4.8-liter V10 engine that generates 552 hp (412kW/560DIN hp) and 354 lb-ft (480Nm) of torque for adrenaline-fuelled 202 mph (325km/h) performance. This specially-developed powerplant is hooked up to a unique six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox (ASG) with paddle shifters for ultimate driver control. Linked by a rigid torque tube for excellent drivetrain integrity, the ASG is located in a transaxle layout over the rear axle for an optimal 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution.

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2011 Lexus IS F First Impressions Review

Thursday February 24th, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By contributing editor David Colman

Hits

  • Stealth rocket
  • Vastly improved computer traction control
  • Revised suspension settings ideal for aggressive driving

Misses

  • Could do with a good tarting up in the looks department
  • Restricted legroom for back seat occupants
  • F resale has not been strong to this point

The “F” in the nomenclature of this Lexus stands for Fuji, Toyota’s home race track. More specifically, the shape of the letter F replicates the first turn at Fuji, because turns at speed are what the IS-F is all about. For 2011, this Lexus hot rod has undergone a truly remarkable transformation from tentative chrysalis stage to full adult incarnation.

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2011 Lexus HS 250h Hybrid First Impressions Review

Friday February 18th, 2011 at 3:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By contributing editor David Colman

Hits

  • Highly evolved hybrid system operates almost seamlessly
  • Customary Lexus craftsmanship and detail attention
  • Stealth looks avoid typical hybrid cynosure

Misses

  • 225/45R18 Toyo Proxes A20 tires squeal at the merest hint of a turn
  • Middling acceleration can disappoint in the clutch
  • Dash-pad mounted mouse is disconcertingly large, shift lever too small

Lexus introduced this hybrid in January, 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show, some 6 years after the first hybrid Lexus, the RX 330h went into production. The HS is the smallest and least expensive hybrid in the company’s present lineup, with a base price of $34,200. That’s a $10,000 slug more than the parent company’s similar $22,000 Toyota Prius, but as you might expect, the HS, being a Lexus, is a far more luxurious vehicle.

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