Displaying items by tag: lexus

Tuesday, 13 September 2022 06:33

New Lexus RX 450h+ 2022 review

The new Lexus RX aims to bring the brand’s latest technology to bear on the full-size premium SUV market

Verdict

The new Lexus RX takes known tech from the smaller NX and extrapolates this into a bigger package. There's much to like here. The new infotainment and the efficiency potential from the 450h+ powertrain are huge steps forward, while the Lexus rides and handles fairly well. However, it doesn't fulfil its brief quite as well as its smaller sibling. In this large premium SUV class the Lexus is facing some very luxurious competition, such as the BMW X5 xDrive45e, and we'd like a little more refinement as a result. Pricing will also be key to the success of the package.

For years Lexus has tried and not necessarily always succeeded in taking on established premium players – mostly from Germany – but more recently it's hit a rich vein of form.

Thanks to an all-new platform and, in something of a first from Lexus, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the brand's latest NX mid-size premium SUV boasts a brilliant all-round blend of qualities in this most competitive of classes. And now Lexus is aiming to scale up that formula for its all-new RX.

Whereas the NX rivals cars such as the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, the RX is a BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE competitor. But like its smaller sibling, this fifth-generation RX is also based on the brand new GA-K platform and features Lexus's 450h+ powertrain, making it the first-ever plug-in hybrid RX. In fact, Lexus claims “it's a complete reinvention of the large luxury SUV”.

That's quite a statement - as is the new car's styling, which is the first thing you might notice. Along with the NX and forthcoming RZ all-electric SUV, this RX will define the Japanese brand's next chapter in terms of design.

We've seen the firm's 'spindle grille' front-end before, but the RX evolves that into what Lexus is calling 'spindle body'. The grille is bigger with the overall shape now integrated into the whole front end of the car's body.

There are slim headlights, sharp creases down the sides and a rakish 'floating' roof thanks to blacked-out C-pillars, plus a full-width light bar across the raked tailgate. It's clearly an evolution in design terms, but still recognisably a Lexus.

The same is true inside. The brand is making a much bigger feature of its Japanese heritage these days, and we're all for it. The cabin takes a 'less is more' approach, with the 14-inch central touchscreen dominating the layout.

Lexus's latest infotainment system is a massive improvement on the old track pad-based setup in the previous RX, too. It works snappily, offers plenty of features and now integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wirelessly.

Our top-spec Takumi model also featured adaptive suspension, heated and vented leather seats, three-zone air-conditioning, a panoramic roof, 21-inch alloy wheels, a head-up display, LED headlights and wireless phone charging as standard.

In typical Lexus fashion, the cabin feels beautifully built and material quality is good, but there's not much in the way of flair to the design, which could be an issue at this level of the market. On that point, prices will be announced later this year, but expect the base RX 350h self-charging hybrid to start from around £60,000 when it goes on sale later in 2023.

It's the new 450h+ plug-in hybrid we're focusing on here, however. It uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine working in conjunction with an 18.1kWh battery that feeds an electric motor driving the front wheels and another unit located on the car's rear axle to deliver e-four-wheel drive. The total output stands at 304bhp with the 0-62mph sprint dispatched in 6.5 seconds.

Performance is absolutely fine. It doesn't ever feel rapid, but in electric mode there's enough grunt. Lexus claims a zero-emissions range of more than 40 miles, which seemed accurate and achievable to us on the launch.

When the 18.1kWh battery is depleted (the 6.6kW on-board charger means a full charge takes around two hours and 45 minutes), the RX uses its second battery and becomes a self-charging hybrid, like the 350h powertrain; it's a technological first as far as we're aware and means that even when you've used the bigger battery's energy, there's still strong efficiency potential. Official economy claims stand at up to 256.8mpg with CO2 emissions and a Benefit-in-Kind taxation banding as low as 24g/km and eight per cent respectively.

Once energy is depleted, or the petrol engine kicks in, refinement takes a hit as even with the improvements Lexus has made when it comes to the operation of its e-CVT automatic gearbox, the petrol motor still drones – especially if you ask for hard acceleration.

The trick is to drive to the powertrain's strengths and lean on the electricity. Then the engine isn't as noticeable and the RX delivers a relaxed drive.

Like with the NX, there's more linearity to the way the powertrain responds and the petrol engine revs up. This gives a better connection between car and driver, and while it's still not perfect, in a big SUV like this it prioritises comfort and easy-going dynamics over sportiness.

The new platform means the RX still acquits itself relatively well, however. Our test route in the US didn't provide much in the way of challenging corners or surfaces, but the RX rides relatively nicely, with the damping control and comfort only breaking down over the worst transverse bumps and ridges in the road, where the extra battery mass becomes apparent. Otherwise, the suspension works smoothly to filter out imperfections and control the body.

The steering is light, but this helps manoeuvrability, as does the rear-axle steering, which offers up to four degrees of lock on the back wheels. However, the RX doesn't feel like a big car. It doesn't feel like a particularly dynamic one either, but there's enough agility here by the same stroke.

In short, it delivers a decent balance between comfort and engagement, with the focus placed on the former, meaning the RX is a solid SUV from a driving perspective, given how it will be used most of the time.

The 461-litre boot is some way off the biggest cars in this class, however – and this is despite the lithium-ion battery being mounted under the car's floor to help packaging. While there's enough space for most duties, a family holiday could test the RX's load-lugging capability more than a BMW X5 xDrive45e, for example.

However, space in the rear is better with enough head and legroom (even if rivals still feel roomier), while electrically adjustable heated seats in the back are standard on top-spec Takumi models, which is a nice touch.

Source: autoexpress.com

Published in Lexus
Wednesday, 15 December 2021 07:26

The electric Lexus RZ 450e is coming

Following the UX 300e, Lexus is preparing another electric crossover, called the RZ 450e.

Current announcements say that the new electric Lexus can be expected next year, as well as that it will be a global model.

The base will be the e-TNGA platform developed for a number of Toyota and Subaru models, while the design is inspired by the look of the LF-Z Electrified concept unveiled earlier this year.

With this concept, Lexus announced its new direction and intentions in the future, ie the beginning of the "next generation of Lexus". By 2025, Lexus will introduce 20 new or modified models, including more than 10 all-electric models, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

For now, there are no specific details, but it is expected that the Lexus RZ 450e will have more than 215 hp than the Toyota bZ4X has.

In addition, all-wheel drive, focus on performance and handling are mentioned, as well as a degree of autonomous driving.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 09:21

2023 Lexus RZ

 
Overview

Lexus is getting into the EV game with the RZ SUV, which likely shares a platform with the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. This being a Lexus, we're expecting a much posher cabin to go along with its more upscale exterior styling. The powertrain should also be different in the Lexus, as patent filings have revealed the company's plans to use the RZ450e moniker. We know the luxury brand has been working on a two-motor setup called Direct4, which offers standard all-wheel drive and more power than the bZ4x's 215-hp rating. So far, we've only seen teaser photos of the RZ's exterior, but it looks sharply styled with a floating roof, a ducktail spoiler, and aggressive headlamps.

What's New for 2023?

The RZ will be an all-new entrant in the Lexus lineup for 2023 and the brand's first all-electric offering.

 

We're guessing on price here, but we think Lexus will offer the RZ450e in standard and F Sport trims. When we find out more about the RZ's pricing as well as its standard and optional features, we'll update this story with that information and provide a recommendation.

(https://www.caranddriver.com/lexus/rz)

Published in Lexus
Wednesday, 08 December 2021 05:43

Lexus UX Electric SUV review

All-electric power has been a long time coming for Lexus

 
 

PROS

  • Very comfortable and incredibly refined
  • Good performance from electric motor
  • Top-quality build and long warranty

 CONS

  • Practicality concerns
  • Range isn’t especially long
  • Poor infotainment

Is the Lexus UX 300e any good?

Lexus was a pioneer brand when it came to hybrid cars but it’s really dragged its feet when it comes to full electrification. The UX 300e is its first ever electric car, and it’s not a purpose-built model – it’s the UX SUV converted to electric power.

We’ve reviewed the standard UX in depth and even lived with one for six months, so this review will concentrate on the differences between the regular hybrid car and the 300e electric.

Lexus UX 300e rear tracking
 Lexus sees the UX 300e as a rival to other premium-branded electric cars such as the Tesla Model 3, Volvo XC40 Recharge, or the Audi Q4 e-Tron. The on-paper stats aren’t particularly impressive though, as it costs more to buy than entry-level examples of the Tesla or Audi but offers less performance and a poorer range.

So why would you buy a Lexus UX 300e instead of those cars?

What’s it like inside?

It’s a mixed bag inside the UX 300e as it is with the standard UX. There are some really good things but others feel below par.

We’ll start with the good. Material quality is top-notch and so is build – this is a Lexus hallmark and quite honestly, we’d expect no less. The UX 300e is free of any squeaks or rattles inside, and combined with excellent soundproofing it’s incredibly refined. That’s good, as often the lack of engine noise (an electric car doesn’t have an engine, after all) can sometimes highlight refinement issues in other cars.

Lexus UX 300e interior

Seat comfort is another highlight. The UX has front seats that are supportive and very comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. Rear passengers aren’t so well-catered for – the seats are comfortable, but they sit high with the battery underneath them and there’s no space to slide your feet under the front seat either.

Other aspects of the interior aren’t very practical either. The boot is incredibly shallow, and even a regular bag of shopping is too tall to comfortably sit under the parcel shelf. Curiously, it is actually larger than on the hybrid UX, but not much larger.

The infotainment is also a real sticking point. It’s not controlled via a touchscreen like all of its rivals – instead, you have to move a mouse pointer around the screen with a touchpad on the centre console. The interface is ugly and dated, and interacting with it in this way is a real pain.

Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto do come standard, though it’s rather mean that the standard car only gets a 7.0-inch display – if you want the larger 10.3-inch display with built-in navigation you need a pricey options pack.

What’s it like to drive?

The UX 300e uses a 204hp electric motor paired to a 54kWh battery that sits beneath the floor and rear seats. It drives the front wheels, and gives the car a 0-62mph sprint of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph.

That’s not very quick when you consider the cheaper Tesla Model 3 will do the same sprint in less than six seconds, but the UX doesn’t feel slow on the road. Put your foot flat to the floor and the front wheels will lose traction, and there’s more than enough grunt to zip through traffic or to easily join a motorway.

Lexus UX 300e cornering
 The steering is accurate, but the controls are all quite remote and lack any real feedback – even in ‘Sport’ mode this doesn’t feel like a car for a keen driver.

What it does do very well is comfort. The UX rides very well for a small electric car, ironing out road imperfections that much larger cars struggle with. It’s also very refined, with zero engine noise and an absolute minimum of wind and road noise.

Range and charging

The UX claims a range of 196 miles. When we climbed into it we were presented with a calculated range figure of 170 miles.

That number’s rather disappointing when you put it against this car’s rivals. The equivalent Tesla Model 3 claims a 305-mile range – that’s up to 316 miles for the Audi Q4 e-Tron 40.

While the UX certainly has a usable range for many people, it’s behind the pace for a premium EV. It relegates the UX 300e to second-car duties in most cases, rather than being an outright replacement for a petrol or diesel car like some of its rivals can be.

Lexus UX 300e charging

The smaller battery does mean charging at home is reasonably fast – a 7kW wallbox should top the battery up from empty to completely full in around eight hours.

However, when you’re out and about your options for fast charging are more limited. Lexus has fitted the UX 300e with a type of socket known as CHAdeMO, which is rather old-fashioned – the standard going forwards is for a Type 2 or CCS charger.

CHAdeMO connectors aren’t always included on the latest charging stations, and limit the UX to a maximum 50kWh charge rate – meaning a 0-80% charge will take around 53 minutes. That’s slow compared to rivals that can charge at close to 100kW. For goodness sake, even the MG 5 EV – one of the cheapest electric cars on sale today – has a max range of 250 miles, and a max charge speed of 78kW. Poor effort from Lexus.

What models and trims are available?

The UX is available as a base model or with two ‘packs’ – these function like trim levels.

All cars come with 17-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, a reversing camera, all-round parking sensors, LED lights and electrically adjustable seats.

Step up to the Premium Plus pack and you’ll enjoy keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats plus a heated steering wheel, and a wireless smartphone charging pad. This is definitely a box worth ticking.

Lexus UX 300e infotainment
 Top-spec cars with the Takumi pack get the larger 10.3-inch infotainment screen with navigation, a head-up display, a sunroof, all-round parking cameras, an upgraded sound system, and some extra safety kit including blind-spot monitors and rear cross traffic alert.
 
Lexus UX 300e rear three quarter
 
Should you buy a Lexus UX 300e?

If you value refinement, comfort and ease of ownership over all else in your electric car, then yes. The UX Electric amplifies many of the best traits of the Lexus brand.

However, it's difficult to recommend because the competition is so much more advanced. The Tesla Model 3 and Audi Q4 e-Tron both offer superior range, performance, space and technology to the UX 300e - for about the same price.

Other niggles include an impractical boot and an infotainment system that'll drive you mad. The UX relies on an old type of charger that's close to being phased out, and even at max power won't charge anywhere near as quickly as its rivals. That makes it less practical for long journeys.

If you're already a Lexus kind of person and you need a second car, we can see how the UX 300e would appeal - but it's not a car we can advocate.

(https://www.parkers.co.uk/lexus/ux-electric/suv/review/)

Published in Lexus
Thursday, 25 November 2021 07:14

Lexus NX SUV review

New Lexus SUV is a huge upgrade over its predecessor
 

 PROS

  • Comfortable and refined to drive
  • Good electric range
  • New infotainment long overdue

 CONS

  • Not exactly exciting to drive
  • Only average practicality
  • Steering wheel controls confusing
 

Is the Lexus NX any good?

This is the new NX – Lexus’ answer to the likes of the BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.

The old car was a big-seller for Lexus and the new model certainly hopes to inspire the same reaction. On paper, all looks promising. It’ll be available as a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid – Lexus’ first – and all models debut the brand’s new interior design, complete with shiny new infotainment.

Lexus says 95% of the car is new compared with its predecessor, but the styling hasn’t changed much in the process. It’s still a striking-looking thing, with a front end dominated by the brand’s signature ‘Spindle’ grille, while the sides and rear feature interesting surfacing. A full-width taillight dominates the tailgate.

Lexus NX rear three quarter
 We can absolutely say that this is a big improvement over the car it replaces – it’s better to drive, higher-tech, but retains Lexus hallmarks like comfort and reliability, backed up by up to 10 years of warranty cover. But is it as good as the competition?

What’s it like inside?

Lexus has given the NX a complete interior redesign, and while some aspects are recognisable from existing Lexus models the overall structure and shape is new and exciting.

The cockpit architecture is based around a concept called ‘Tazuna’ – supposedly mimicking how a horserider can control their steed through a single rein. Luckily, the NX retains a steering wheel and pedals, but it does mean the cabin has a strong driver focus, with controls closely grouped around the driver’s seat and the infotainment angled towards it.

Infotainment has been a stumbling block in Lexus models for at least the last decade thanks to the firm’s insistence on operating it via a joystick or later, a touchpad. We’re pleased to report that the all-new Lexus infotainment system, now fully touchscreen, works a treat.

Lexus NX interior
 
It’s controlled via a massive 14-inch screen (lower-spec models will have a 9.8-inch screen, but Lexus doesn’t expect to sell too many of those) which is bright, sharp and clear. The interface, though not as immediately intuitive as the system on a BMW X3, is nonetheless easy to navigate through and reasonably responsive.

It’s a vast improvement on what came before and we can’t wait for more Lexus models to feature the new system.

Less nice to use are the new steering wheel controls, which are unmarked and multifunctional – you need to look in the head-up display to figure out what does what, and it felt quite awkward.

Of course, a family SUV can’t just be nice for the driver. The NX has plenty of room in its rear seats and a 545-litre boot – that’s just a little smaller than the competition but it’s in no way cramped. And material quality is peerless all round. This is a very nice place to sit, though we must admit the sports seats in our F-Sport test model were slightly huggy for those who are wider in the withers.

What’s it like to drive?

We tested the plug-in hybrid NX 450h+ model. This uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine paired up to electric motors and a large battery pack sitting under the floor.

The engine and one electric motor drive the front wheels, while a separate motor drives the rears – giving the NX an electric four-wheel drive system.

Lexus NX front tracking
 

Total system output is 309hp and 227Nm of torque – healthy numbers both, and with the electric motors providing plenty of get-up-and-go from a standstill the NX 450h+ will get from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds.

And being a plug-in hybrid, it’ll run as a pure electric vehicle if the batteries are topped up. Lexus claims a 42-mile electric range on mixed roads, or up to 55 miles of purely urban mileage. That’s just slightly better than the Range Rover Evoque PHEV’s 41-mile mixed figure and it’s significantly more than the 34 miles that the BMW X3 xDrive30e can muster.

Charging up takes just two hours and 45 minutes using a home wallbox, and Lexus will provide these free of charge to customers who place an order in 2021.

Running on electric can often display refinement issues – with no engine to drown out wind and road noise it becomes more prominent. That’s no issue with the NX, which remains impressively silent whether the engine’s off or on. Even switching into Sport mode doesn’t make things too raucous.

Don’t think the Lexus NX is a sporty SUV, though. Its focus – even in models covered in ‘F Sport’ branding – is on comfort and ease of driving. The healthy power output isn’t there to tackle a B-road with aplomb, it’s there to make joining a motorway effortless. The handling reflects this, as it’s tidy and precise but far from engaging.

What models and trims are available?

There will be three model grades and several options ‘packs’ to add. The unnamed base-spec car is still very well-equipped – it comes with the smaller 9.8-inch touchscreen, but still gets all-round LED lights, heated front seats, a powered tailgate and 10-speaker stereo.

Lexus NX infotainment
 
You can add a Premium pack to this with keyless entry, privacy glass, ambient lighting, a wireless phone charger and electric seats, or a Premium Plus pack that gives you larger alloy wheels, digital instruments, seat ventilation and a headlight upgrade, among others.

There’s also a sporty F Sport model which has a styling upgrade with black details and new badging plus adaptive suspension and unique alloys, to which you can add a Takumi pack with a digital rear-view mirror and an upgraded Mark Levinson sound system.

At the top of the range is Takumi spec, which has just about everything already mentioned plus a sunroof, wooden interior inlay, automated parking and another new alloy wheel design.

Safety equipment is a real focus of the NX regardless of model. Every single model comes with adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, road-sign assist and automated high beam. Higher models add front cross traffic alert, lane change assist, blind-spot monitors and automated parking.

There’s also e-latch – electronically actuated door handles which will actually refuse to open if they detect something in their blind spot, aiming to prevent you from opening your door into an unsuspecting cyclist or pedestrian.

Lexus NX e-latch
 

A final nice touch is that the NX is available in a wide array of real colours – not just monochrome shades.

What else should I know?

The NX is available with Lexus’ ‘Relax’ warranty. That means, as long as you service it at Lexus dealers, you can have up to 10 years and 100,000 miles of cover, and that’s transferable to the next owner. At the moment, that’s the best warranty in the business – and it shows Lexus has total confidence in its cars. Something that’s well deserved, as they often top the charts in reliability surveys.

Running costs with a PHEV depend mostly on your charging behaviour, so the combined WLTP figure of up to 313.9mpg for the 450h+ is a little meaningless. But CO2 emissions as low as 21g/km mean Benefit-in-Kind tax is extremely low, even among similar plug-in hybrids.

(https://www.parkers.co.uk/lexus/nx/suv/review/)

Published in Lexus
Saturday, 30 October 2021 06:54

Lexus LS review

Flagship Lexus does grand luxury in a different way
 

 PROS

  • Amazing interior with some incredible details
  • Smooth, quiet and refined
  • World-beating reliability and warranty

 CONS

  • Expensive running costs
  • Unimpressive performance
  • Hard to justify against an S-Class
 

Is the Lexus LS any good?

In reality, it doesn't matter how good it is, as the company sells fewer than 100 examples in the UK every year – and if you're after a Lexus LS, you're probably not likely to be comparing it with the obvious rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. That's probably no bad thing, because the opposition here is particularly strong, not least because they use these cars to showcase their latest technology.

Despite that, the German threesome of the A8, 7 Series and S-Class were late to the hybrid party – something you'd never accuse Lexus of. They also look predictable, while the LS stands out from the crowd. Left-field premium car makers do best with polarising designs which 90% of buyers will reject, but which the other 10% will love sufficiently to forgive a few failings and choose in favour of the omni-capable offerings of the German Big Three. This one falls into that category.

The LS embodies all of these virtues and more, and which can be truly love-it-or-hate-it because Lexus UK knows few buyers need to love it enough to take the plunge. Here's what you need to know about the Japanese industry's flagship car.

Lexus LS review (2021) interior
 

What's it like inside?

If you're familiar with Lexus models, there's nothing out of the ordinary inside for the driver. The controls are laid out as they are in any other of the firm's cars, with the same transmission selector and steering wheel functions. The infotainment set-up is driven by a touchpad in the centre console between the seats, which is fiddly to use and takes some familiarisation.

It’s rare to get into a car and find materials or techniques you’ve never seen in a cabin before. The doors are trimmed with cloth hand-pleated using origami techniques, and the door pulls were great lumps of carved Kiriko glass. They are distinctively Japanese and unnecessarily beautiful, but they’re also a £7,600 option.

The Takumi-spec model includes an ‘ottoman’ function which motors the front passenger seat away and extends the rear seat behind to allow the occupant to stretch out with a calf support. But without this option the LS doesn’t offer flagship levels of rear legroom: two six-footers can sit in line in comfort, but not with space to spare.

Lexus LS review (2021) interior
 

What's it like to drive?

Chassis refinement is good, if not class-leading. The ride is fine, if not quite as cloud-like as the best rivals. The wheels have been designed with resonance chambers in the hollow spokes to cut tyre noise, and the 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system listens for and actively cancels road noise.

But, sadly, it can’t entirely cancel the sound of the engine. It’s a 3.5-litre V6 with the new Lexus Multi-Stage hybrid system and a CVT transmission, first seen in the LC coupe and retuned slightly for the saloon. Its system total of 360hp is worked hard by the 2,340kg kerb weight. Assertive driving easily sends the needle to 3,000rpm or beyond to deliver the required urge, and an unpleasant moo-whine-thrash into the cabin.

Acceleration on paper looks good at 5.5 seconds for the 0-62mph dash, and claimed fuel consumption is an impressive 39.8mpg. If you want to drive fast – which hardly seems the point in this car – it has adequate shove, and the stiff platform and optional air suspension provide reasonable body control and accurate if inert steering.

More lower down pulling power would probably solve both the refinement and the engagement issues, and make the LS a much better car.

What models and trims are available?

The Lexus LS is available with one drivetrain only – the LS 500h – and three ttrim levels. The entry-level model is the LS, the mid-range version is the F Sport, with the range topper being the lavishly-equipped Takumi.

All models are lavishly equipped, coming with 20-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, Lexus's Connected Services, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get a sunroof and a generously-proportioned 24-inch head-up display. Safety kit includes 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor with Pedestrian Alert (PVM), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert Brake (RCTAB).

Lexus LS review (2021) rear view
 

Anything else I should know?

The design of the LS stands apart from rival top-end limousines. The LS is based on the same steel and aluminium platform as the LC coupe, but it's lengthened in the middle, so this large saloon gains not only a coupe profile but also a much lower, coupe-like stance.

The wheelbase is 35mm longer than the old long-wheelbase LS (it comes in one size only) and lends this long car’s lines a sleekness as they flow backwards. And this being a Lexus, the detailing is crazily complex but perfectly resolved: it has the 5,000-surface spindle grille, of course, but the headlamps and air intakes around it are complex and interesting to look at.

 Lexus LS review (2021) front view

Should you buy one?

The LS500h definitely polarises buyers. At least 90% reject it in favour of a Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz: job done. But it's difficult to see beyond the refinement issues, or the lack of the rear seat options in a car of this price and positioning. The bottom line is that the A8, 7 Series and S-Class all offer more flexibility and options, and that matters to the vast majority luxury car buyers.

With great visual design and an original and beautifully made cabin this is a proper Lexus, but a hybrid drivetrain no longer counts for much when the main rivals offer plug-ins which will get you from your office in W1 to Heathrow on electric power (though not back again). In this case, different may not be enough, and that's probably why the Lexus LS sells in such tiny numbers.

(https://www.parkers.co.uk/lexus/ls/review/)

Published in Lexus
Tagged under
Thursday, 14 October 2021 08:00

The new Lexus LX

After introducing the new NX in June, Lexus has now promoted a new generation of the larger LX model as well.

The new Lexus LX is based on the latest Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series (built on the new GA-F platform, so it weighs up to 200 kg less, has a lower center of gravity and about 10 percent lower CO2 emissions).

The vehicle is 4985 mm long, the wheelbase is 2850 mm, and the wheels are from 18 to 22 inches.
With a new exterior design, as well as a more modern interior (12.3 and 7.0-inch screens), the new LX will also offer a long list of safety and driver assistance systems (including adaptive cruise control, automatic braking system, pedestrian and cyclist detection ...).

Under the hood of the LX 600 is a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo petrol engine with 305 kW / 415hp and 650 Nm of torque, along with a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Among other things, the LX 600 Ultra Luxury variant with two individual rear seats will be offered, as well as the F Sport version with modified suspension, Torsen LSD differential, 22-inch wheels and a honeycomb front grille with a dark chrome frame.

The new Lexus LX will officially hit the US market from the first quarter of next year.

 

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Thursday, 02 September 2021 10:34

TRD Lexus ES

TRD (Toyota Racing Development) has prepared a complete tuning program for the new generation of Lexus ES sedans, which is currently only available to Japanese customers.


So now the Lexus ES is available, among other things, with a new front spoiler and sills, as well as a rear diffuser and boot spoiler.


It should be mentioned that there are also new mirror housings on offer, a set of new 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels (in several colors), as well as a modified suspension as an option.

Finally, TRD for the new ES also offers interior elements, such as new door panels.

Published in World car Blog
Tagged under

Lexus uses an altogether more comprehensive approach than Tesla does to achieving SAE Level 2 autonomy.

Tesla was first into the breach in the U.S. with a driver assist system capable of SAE Level 2 autonomy, which is the second-from-the-bottom tier of self-driving capability as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. (Full or close to full self-driving gets Level 4 and 5 designations.) Autopilot handles acceleration, braking, steering, and even lane changes on its own, but only on contained roads such as freeways, and the driver must monitor things. That Tesla allowed its Autopilot-equipped vehicles even that much autonomous leeway with the meager sensor package onboard raised eyebrows—all the more so when you consider what Lexus is bringing to the table with its SAE Level 2 setup dubbed Teammate.

It's The Sensor Package, Stupid
Is Lexus late? Sure. Mercedes-Benz has offered similar capability to Autopilot for a few years now, including automated lane changes. But like Mercedes (which also trailed Autopilot), Lexus is coming in much better prepared.

Consider what Tesla works with: Its Autopilot-equipped vehicles (at least, before its recent abandonment of a forward radar sensor in the Model 3 and Model Y) include front, rear, and side-facing cameras, plus 12 near-range ultrasonic sensors (i.e., parking sensors). The larger Model S sedan and Model X SUV still include a forward-facing radar sensor, but Tesla has been pretty clear about the fact its onboard computers favor inputs from the cameras when scanning the road ahead.

Now consider what Lexus' first go with Teammate brings to the table: Front-facing Lidar, front-facing long-range radar, short-range radar facing the front and blind-spot areas (three directions in total), 360-degree parking cameras and ultrasonic sensors, a forward camera, and a front-facing telescope. Both Teammate and Tesla's Autopilot deliver a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings, but one is like having Terminator vision, and the other is the relative equivalent of waving a stick around yourself while blindfolded.

 

Although Tesla claims its cameras can deliver "powerful visual processing at up to 250 meters of range," that performance is limited to certain conditions. Camera performance deteriorates in bad weather, whereas radar—so long as the sensor isn't physically blocked by, say, ice or packed snow—can detect fast-moving objects in rain or sleet. Every sensor has its limits, of course, but there's something reassuring about the multiple redundancy built into Lexus' setup, wherein overlap exists in the viewpoints of the Lidar, radar sensors, and cameras.

No matter how comprehensive the sensor package, eventually the driver will need to retake control for some reason or another. These are, after all, SAE Level 2 systems that demand the driver's attention at all times. Teammate is, predictably, more upfront about policing the driver's attention during use. An infrared camera above the steering wheel monitors the driver's head movements and eyes to make sure they're paying attention at all times, even while the system is working.

Like Tesla, Lexus relies on sensors in the steering wheel that detect the driver's grasp; with Teammate, you can go extended periods hands-free, but as soon as the system deems the driver is needed again, those hands better get to the wheel, quick, or else the car will begin to slow down and pull over.

Tesla, on the other hand, only recently began actually using the included in-car camera to track the driver's involvement in the Model 3 and Y; the Model S and X hadn't even included the cameras until their recent refresh. This lack of monitoring has made possible those moronic YouTube videos you may have seen showing Tesla drivers able to climb into the back seat, or even go to sleep, with Autopilot active, and with disastrous results.

So, How Does Lexus Teammate Work?
The short answer? It works well. The longer answer is, it feels like a future-looking driver assist designed by Toyota. In other words, the system truly acts as a driver's partner and less like a carefree system a driver activates and simply tunes out from for a while. There is an abundance of communication from the car about where on the spectrum of involvement the driver is or needs to be in a given situation, too.

On a brief drive in Dallas near Toyota's Plano, Texas, headquarters, we experienced Teammate's two primary operating modes: Advanced Drive navigated, and not navigated. One can plug a destination into the nav screen, and, should the route take you onto an eligible freeway, you'll be given a heads-up that Advanced Drive will soon be available as you approach an on-ramp. A distance countdown in the head-up display shows you exactly how far remains until hands-free driving is possible. Once on the freeway, a message flashes in the gauge cluster alerting you the system is initializing.

After a few seconds, if everything's gravy, a graphic in the gauge cluster turns blue and an audible alert invites you to activate Teammate's Advanced Drive function. Simply press the corresponding button on the steering wheel, and the system leaps into action, taking control of steering, braking, and acceleration at the speed you were traveling when you pressed the button. Drivers can use the cruise-control adjustment to increase or decrease their set speed.

Again, with a navigation destination set, the system alerts the driver when their exit is approaching; it determines and displays decisions 6 miles ahead of time, with exit urgency growing within 2 miles of an off-ramp. It prompts you to monitor lane changes toward that exit (if the car isn't already in the right lane). Intriguingly, the car won't simply accept a lane-change instruction (you can tap the signal stalk in the direction you'd like to go) or change lanes without you: Either way, it beckons you to check the mirrors and "blind spot." Fail to get this head-turning choreography right (remember, the in-car camera is watching!), and Teammate won't follow through. It's not that Teammate can't handle lane changes on its own: With rear-facing radar on each side, it can make sure a car isn't fast approaching in your blind spot and size up gaps in traffic. That's something Autopilot relies on parking sensors and a camera for. But Teammate will only do its robot thing with your participation.

Approaching exit ramps or forks in the freeway, Teammate will slow the vehicle and steer into the appropriate lane. The same distance countdown that shows your proximity to Advanced Drive-eligible freeways counts down the distance in feet remaining before the driver must take control. Teammate will guide the car fully down an off-ramp until this handoff. Fail to take the wheel, and the car cinches the seatbelt a few times to get your attention and sounds audible warnings before slowing rapidly. Tap the gas or brake (or press the Advanced Drive button on the wheel), and it hands you control. Using Teammate without navigation is much the same, minus the steering toward exits or through forks and without countdowns into and out of system eligibility.

Clever And Reassuring
As with Tesla's Autopilot, Lexus Teammate uses the digital gauge cluster display to depict the Lexus positioned within lane markers (those are the lines that turn blue when the system is active), as well as animations of surrounding vehicles and objects. The similarities end there. In Teslas, the animated onscreen version of events surrounding the car are jerky, and nearby vehicles fade in and out of the Tesla's field of vision. In the Lexus LS500h with Teammate we drove, objects nearby were rendered smoothly and accurately on screen, inspiring more confidence that Teammate knew what was going on.

The system's driving smoothness, too, inspired even more confidence. Our Lexus remained precisely in the center of its lane unless—and this was impressive—a vehicle next to it got too close or wandered over the lane marker, spurring a gentle readjustment to maintain distance. At one point while Teammating in the right-hand lane, a Ford Explorer barreled down an on-ramp and looked like it was about to cross into our lane early, before the solid painted line separating the lanes gave way to a dotted one. As the Explorer was more or less even with the Lexus, we figured the car would crank the brakes and let the SUV cut in (likely taking the car following us by surprise) or, maybe, not see the situation developing and we'd be sideswiped. Instead, the LS500h deftly faded to the left and accelerated (we were traveling at less than our set speed at the time) past the wayward Explorer. It's what a smart human would have done had one been driving.

Interestingly, Advanced Drive will beckon you to participate now and again, mostly when it isn't entirely sure of its surroundings. It won't necessarily ask you to retake full control, however. There exists an in-between state where the car will continue steering, braking, and accelerating, but it asks for your hands on the wheel. (The animated lane markers in the gauge cluster turn gray in these instances.) Should stuff really hit the fan—or you reach the end of an exit ramp after leaving the highway—a series of visual and audio warnings urge you to retake full control. In all, the setup's feedback loop bolstered its apparent capability, leaving us far more comfortable than in other similar combinations of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.

Teammate Going Forward
Lexus Teammate and Advanced Drive makes its debut on the 2022 LS500h hybrid sedan this fall. It also includes an Advanced Park function that fully handles parking, including steering, throttle, and braking (we didn't have the chance to try it). We suppose, over time, the feature will spread beyond the LS flagship sedan to other Lexus models, but Lexus has not yet specified its next steps. Curious how you'll spot a Teammate-equipped Lexus? Look for the little radar sensor units on each front fender (they look like vents but face rearward). Oh, and the driver may not be holding the wheel.

(motortrend.com)

Published in Lexus
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 07:12

2022 Lexus IS500 Brings Back the V-8

The newest F Sport Performance version of the IS takes us back to the golden era of compact sports sedans with naturally aspirated V-8 engines.

About a decade ago, compact sports sedans offered naturally aspirated V-8s that absolutely ripped. Before everyone went turbo, the E90 BMW M3, the B7 Audi RS4, and the W204 Mercedes C63 AMG crammed in sweet-sounding V-8s to create experiences that we still remember fondly today. Now that we're feeling sufficiently nostalgic for those four-door screamers, we'll get to the point that Lexus apparently shares our passion for those cars, because the new 2022 IS500 is essentially a return of Lexus's V-8 compact sedan, the IS F.

There are no turbos under the IS500's hood. What is under there is closely related to the IS F's 5.0-liter V-8 from a decade ago. The engine—shared with the RC F—now produces 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, or 56 more horsepower and 24 more pound-feet than its spiritual predecessor. In a turbocharged world, the V-8's horsepower and especially its torque numbers aren't at the level of the M or AMG models', so Lexus is setting expectations by positioning the IS500 as an F Sport Performance model rather than a full-blown IS F.

What does that mean for the IS500's driving experience? We can't quite say yet, but we did recently get the chance to ride in the passenger's seat of the IS500 prototype at an event at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Texas, near Toyota's headquarters in Plano. Professional race-car driver Townsend Bell was behind the wheel.

Keep in mind that the IS500 prototype we rode in wasn't exactly the same car that you'll be able to buy at Lexus dealerships later this year. Wrapped in an obnoxious neon-yellow and black livery, this car was specially prepped for the IS500's debut at Sebring International Raceway earlier this year. It wore an aftermarket exhaust, 20-inch wheels, and grippier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires compared to the stock car, which will have 19-inch wheels and the same Bridgestone Potenza S001L summer tires as the IS350 F Sport with the handling package.

This means that our impression of the IS500's handling isn't exactly representative, but we weren't behind the wheel anyway. We can tell you that the 5.0-liter V-8 engine is a lovely addition to the latest IS and brings back a lot of those tingly V-8 memories. We're familiar with the glorious sound of this Lexus V-8 by now, and it makes itself known in the IS500. Although the prototype's aftermarket exhaust surely enhanced the auditory experience, we'd still rather listen to this characterful engine run up to its 7300-rpm redline than a BMW M3's twin-turbo inline-six.

Unlike the V-6-powered IS350 F Sport we drove that day on the test track, the V-8 has the grunt to shove you into the back of your seat, and the eight-speed automatic transmission upshifts and downshifts quickly. Lexus claims that the IS500 is 143 pounds heavier than a rear-wheel-drive IS350, and we assume that most of that weight is in the nose. Like the IS F that came before it, a noticeable hood bulge is the clearest sign that this is packing something special under there.

Thanks to the ability to completely deactivate stability control, the IS500 will play as much as you like—as Bell demonstrated by easily swinging the tail out wide for a satisfying drift. It also features the same torque-vectoring rear differential that's optional on the IS350 F Sport. But this car is not meant to be a track monster, and we felt plenty of compliance in the suspension tuning, with more body roll than you'd find in an M3 Competition or a C63, for instance.

We're enticed by the overall package that the IS500 promises to deliver, and we hope that the price is attractive enough to further increase its enthusiast appeal. Lexus has strongly hinted that it will be positioned closer to the M340i and AMG C43s of the world, meaning it could bring back a V-8 to the low-$60,000 range. If so, this could become the hidden gem of the sports-sedan world. Now all that's left is for Lexus to let us in the driver's seat.

(caranddriver.com)

Published in Lexus
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