Lexus

Lexus cars

There are few things in this country more American than a NASCAR race. Sure, apple pie and baseball might outrank it, but neither of those can compete with stock cars thundering around a track at 200 mph while continually riding on the brink of catastrophe as they race just inches away from a concrete wall and other drivers gunning to win. So when the opportunity arose to become deeply immersed in the culture during the recent All-Star race, I jumped at the chance.

It all started a few months ago with an email invite from Toyota. It read something along the lines of, “how about joining us at the NASCAR All-Star race and tours of the Joe Gibbs Racing Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame?” My reply went something like, “Heck yeah, I’ll be there!”

I decided to skip the crowded airports for a 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport and a seven-hour drive through the heart of the eastern seaboard. I viewed this almost like a pilgrimage; setting out on a roadtrip for a destination of racing importance located in the rolling hills of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Once on the road, my choice of chariot was immediately affirmed. Unlike my last Lexus experience, the front seat was perfectly molded, padded, and bolstered. The more I drove, the more the car seemed to shrink around me, making tight maneuvering a thing of ease. The stout 3.5-liter V-6 offered plenty of grunt while the tight steering and sport-tuned suspension made each corner a memorable event.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport and about my time spent at Joe Gibbs Racing Center

A successor to the Lexus LF-A has been in the pipeline for quite some time now and while it remains unclear on when the supercar will be launched, Japanese magazine Best Car continues to stress that Lexus will have some help in building the successor to the LF-A. That help, apparently, will come from BMW . This rumor has been brewing for some time now, but if you really think about it, it’s hard to make any sense of it because Lexus and BMW BMW aren’t exactly bosom buddies. Sure, there’s a healthy amount of respect for the other brand, but at their core, the two consider the other as rivals.

Why would BMW help Lexus develop the new LF-A when it could compete directly with the i8 ? It just doesn’t make sense considering the lengths Lexus has taken in the past year to line up car after car to compete against German brands like BMW.

Maybe Best Car knows something that none of us do, which could explain why the magazine appears to be insisting that a BMW-Lexus collaboration is in the works. But call us skeptical on this rumor because we just don’t see the sense behind it.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8 - BMW’s current supercar.

What comes after hump-day? The TopSpeed Podcast , of course!

Happy Thursday everybody, and welcome to EPISODE 010! of the TopSpeed Podcast. This week is special for a few reasons aside from our milestone number. Firstly, Justin is gone on vacation, so we brought in a special guest, Logan Utsman. Logan is an old friend and colleague of Mark and myself, and he is a proper hoon to boot. We hope you enjoy hearing him.

If you hated him, let us know that too. We will be sure to have him drawn and quartered for offending the masses.

Secondly we have a hybrid video podcast that has photos in it too. The first part is great news, the second part is less so. Thanks to some shaky internet, my recording PC dropped the video feed about halfway through. I filled the rest of the podcast with some photos from my personal portfolio to provide some visual entertainment. You can see the video after the break.

As for the show, our Weekly Wheels features a return of the Lexus ES 350 , a look at the Audi A3 TDI , and I discuss my time flogging some new Cooper Tires on a track with the Ford Mustang and BMW 3 Series .

News coverage includes a thorough look at Chrysler’s big five-year plan , what it means for SRT , Dodge and Ferrari , plus the return of the Grand Wagoneer and the official announcement of the Maserati Alfieri . The BMW i3 also makes an appearance in our news segment.

Our Q/A segment features more automotive destruction, a short look at the best lime-green hatchbacks you can buy, the oldest cars we have driven, and we speculate on dream drag races.

As always, we finish with Own, Drive, Burn. This week we have a trio of Ferrari models.

Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns. You can reach us in the comments below, on Twitter @TopSpeedPodcast or by email: Podcast@TopSpeed.com

We are also on iTunes. If you wanted to subscribe, rate or leave us a review we would really appreciate it.

See you next week you crazy kids.

Weekly Wheels: Lexus ES 350, Audi A3 TDI, BMW 328i

Hosts: Christian Moe, Mark McNabb, Logan Utsman

Watch the video version after the break!

For all the accomplishments Lexus has achieved since it broke into the luxury market scene in the mid 1980s, it still has trouble coming up with names for its paint colors. How else can you explain the company’s attempts to ask fans what to name the orange paint on the Lexus RC F Coupe ?

Ok, we’re busting Lexus’ chops here a little because if it really wanted to, it could come up with a name for this orange shade pretty quickly. But to its credit, the company wants to get its fans involved, sort of like giving them a say on company decisions.

Up until now, the RC F sports coupe has only worn a striking blue paint, but Lexus is adding this orange color into the mix. The bright shade is still unnamed, so that’s where we all come into the picture.

A quick look at Lexus’ Facebook page reveals a large number of impressive recommendations already posted. We especially liked Tangering Flame, Sunset Rage, and Fireburst, among other entries. But as far as what our suggestion is, how about Orange Symphony?

It’s not the catchiest of names, but it does reflect the fiery balance of an aggressive sports car with an aggressive color to match.

If you want to make your own suggestions, hop on over to Lexus’ Facebook page. Don’t forget to tell us what your suggestion is by leaving a comment below.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus RC F Coupe

The Lexus brand has an interesting history that begins a rather short time ago in the mid 1980s. Built to take on the American luxury market, Toyota chose to construct a car that competed head to head with the Germans and blow the then-current slew of American luxury cars out of the water. Seen in the XCAR video above, the young brand has certainly achieved an unmatched level of success in a very short amount of time.

Launched at the 1989 LA Auto Show, the new brand and its LS400 sedan set out to conquer the States in a sort of David and Goliath story.

Toyota’s new division had a few hurdles to jump before creating a car for the U.S. market. The car had to weight less than 4,145 pounds to avoid the U.S. luxury car tax and achieve at least 25 mpg to avoid the gas guzzler tax. The company was able to achieve this with a sedan the size of a Mercedes S-Class , while being powered by a 4.0-liter V-8. No doubt impressive.

A short 11 years later in 1999, Lexus had risen ranks to become the best selling luxury brand in the U.S. The company also jumped into motorsports and launched the IS family of sedans. The brand continued to improve as sales grew even further. In 2006, Lexus received Toyota’s hybrid drive system, helping boost mpg numbers throughout the Lexus lineup.

Then in 2010, the LFA supercar changed the game again. It challenged longtime rivals BMW and Mercedes – along with new foes Ferrari and Lamborghini. It was totally new ground for Toyota’s luxury division.

Today as the LFA has faded into the history books, the brand still carries the presence of luxurious and sporty speed in nearly ever model it makes. It’s been a long time coming for Lexus, though in reality, it’s all happened in the blink of an eye.

Just like the RX crossover, the LX full-size SUV has helped define the Lexus brand in terms of luxury and capability. And the recipe was pretty much simple, blending the off-road potential and reliability of the Toyota Land Cruiser ’s platform with a sumptuous and comfortable interior and rounding things off with a commanding exterior design.

Sure, the third-generation LX is getting a little old compared to its rivals, but no serious manufacturer really wants to dismiss it just yet. Its more recent facelift came for the 2013 model year , which means we’re stuck with the current layout for another couple of years, but the company’s Kuwaiti dealer decided the LX 570 needs yet another update.

You might be tempted to think we’re talking about a more luxurious version of the SUV , with gold-plated cabin inlays and maybe some Swarovski crystals here there, but that’s not the case. The appearance changes were actually done in good taste, but the most important improvement took place under the hood, where a supercharger was fitted to increase output beyond the 400-horsepower mark.

It sounds exciting yes, but don’t start dreaming just yet. This special edition LX isn’t likely to come to North America. However, that didn’t stop us from having a closer look at the vehicle and highlight all of its brand-new features.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus LX 570 Supercharger.

Source: Qabaq

The Lexus ES 350 is an interesting car. It combines the niceties of a luxury sedan like wood trim, heated and cooled leather seats, and large amounts of posh with the humble underpinnings of a basic, daily commuter. That’s not to say the car is bad, but it certainly creates an interesting combination. I recently spent a week getting to know the ES 350 pretty well and I came away with mixed emotions.

Based on the Toyota Avalon platform, the four-door sedan affords plenty of legroom both front and rear with generous amounts of hip and shoulder room as well. Its ride falls somewhere between luxurious and sporty. It somehow tastefully walks the fine line between the two, never offending the senses nor outright pleasing them.

Come to think of it, non-offensive is a good way to describe the ES 350. It coddles its occupants from its garage within the gated community to the theater or museum with no fuss. It’s torquey 3.5-liter V-6 does a swell job of propelling the car forward without exerting an exceeding number of revs while its six-speed transmission shifts like warmed butter — firm but not hard; soft but not squishy.

The amenities list on my tester was long. In fact, the panoramic glass roof and 18-inch wheels seemed to be the only notable features missing. The remaining options made for a comfortable ride with enough gadgets to satisfy my inner geek. I did have one complaint about my ES 350 , and it centering on the most important human-car touch point within the vehicle.

Click past the jump for the full review

Although it hasn’t received many updates for the 2015 model year, the Lexus RX 350 remains a strong competitor in the crossover market mainly due to its luxurious cabin and smooth ride. However, the vehicle lacks the power of its main rivals and, more importantly, it doesn’t come with the third-row seat featured in the Acura MDX for instance.

Lexus is obviously aware of the latter, especially with many customer complaints reaching its headquarters via dealers, and, according to brand chief Jeff Bracken, the company is planning on resolving this issue by rolling out a seven-seat crossover under the TX nameplate.

"Third-row seating is the No. 1 issue we hear from dealers. We feel like we’re missing a 35,000-units-a-year opportunity. We’re working hard to rectify that," Bracken told Automotive News, without going into specifics.

Despite the lack of details, it appears that the vehicle is likely to be a car-based crossover underpinned by either the platform used for the Toyota Highlander /Camry (FWD) or the architecture found under the Lexus IS and GS sedans (RWD). Specifically, the seven-seat crossover will be similar in size to the RX, with a slightly longer body to provide additional third-row space inside the cabin. "We won’t be bothered if it steps on RX. We want it," Bracken was quoted saying.

A little more than a clean sheet of paper at the time of this writing, the vehicle won’t arrive until "2016 or 2017" and there’s no word as to what engines might be offered. The TX name remains unconfirmed for the time being, but the aforementioned source reports that Toyota has already applied for a trademark.

Note: The recently unveiled Lexus RX pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Lexus TX.

Although the Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 got a brand-new design for the 2014 model year, when the third-generation model arrived on U.S. shores, the brawnier IS-F version carried into the new year unchanged, with its much-deserved update to show up in 2015. Naturally, Lexus ’ decision to keep the IS-F the same poured more gas on the already heated up rumor mill, with everyone trying to guess the way the company will bend the new design into an aggressive high-performance sedan .

Spanish website Autonocion is the latest to stir the IS-F waters and did so by posting a photo of an IS wearing a black roof, a fancier rear bumper and a small spoiler placed atop the trunk, while the vehicles badges are covered by... duct tape.

The source doesn’t say anything about the photo’s origin, it does ask whether the Lexus depicted above is the next IS-F or not. What’s more, the picture quickly made it onto Lexus Spain’s Facebook page, becoming viral among brand enthusiasts and fueling the rumor even more.

Well, no need to panic folks, this is NOT the next-generation IS-F, but only a new IS 350 fitted with a fancy TRD body kit that adds all of the rear features mentioned above. Moreover, as a Facebook user pointed out on Lexus Spain’s post, the vehicle was photographed at the Circuit of Jarama, where the owner was probably testing his aerodynamically improved car. Not to mention that the exhaust pipe configuration is far off the expected IS-F setup, which will resemble the staggered setup on the RC-F .

Click past the jump to read more about the future Lexus IS-F.

Thanks to our tipster Luis for the image.

Source: Autonocion

One of the less talked about but no less exciting cars of the Beijing Motor Show is this Lexus of China-built CT BG 200h. Customized with a “more personalized design language,” the concept looks the part of a racer with its carbon-fiber exterior bits and bespoke paint job.

The concept is based on the 2014 Lexus CT 200h F Sport , though this finished product drastically builds off the stock car. The large spindle grille has new mesh, while the front chin splitter is much larger and includes little winglets on corners. The added aero work continues around the side with finned rocker panels and finned rear bumper edges.

Out back, the carbon-fiber rear fascia is much more aggressive in looks and functionality. Topping the car is a carbon-fiber wing mounted atop the rear hatch for additional downforce. The unique black and white paint scheme accented with gold stripes and black thin-spoke wheels, give a whole new look to the otherwise average CT 200h.

The décor inside the concept is of a similar motif, sporting carbon-fiber pieces and continuing the exterior color combination.

Unfortunately, Lexus hasn’t mentioned anything about matching the exterior’s racy theme with more horsepower or a retuned suspension. Looks like the concept — which it will likely stay — must make do with the ho-hum 134 horsepower from the 1.8-liter I-4 and the hybrid drive system. That means 0-60 times will still take 9.8 seconds and its top speed will be limited to 113 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus CT BG Concept.

Source: Car Watch

Back to top