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    William Maley

    Yes, this is a new model.

    It isn't a good sign when a fair number of automotive writers (myself included) looks at a new vehicle and wonders, what's different? That is the case with the new 2021 Lexus IS which was unveiled last night.
    The exterior for the most part is unchanged from the current IS. The only changes we can spot include,
    a new "three-dimensional" version of the Spindle Grille spilt headlight arrangement has been dropped for a new single headlight setup more prominent shoulder line 18-inch wheels are standard on the IS, while 19-inch BBS wheels are optional for F-Sport versions full-width LED taillight bar that seamlessly integrates with the rear lights grows in length and width by 1.2-inches, and is 0.2-inches lower in ride height Not much has changed with the IS' interior aside from new 8 and 10-inch infotainment systems finally getting touchscreens, along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa intergration.
    The engine lineup is unchanged with the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder (badged as IS 300) with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque serving as the base. Next is a detuned version of 3.5L V6 with 260 hp and 236 lb-ft for the IS 300 AWD. Completing the lineup is the regular 3.5L V6 pumping 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet for the IS 350. RWD models get an eight-speed automatic, while AWD models make do with a six-speed automatic.
    So what has changed for the 2021 IS? It is all under the skin. The suspension has been reworked with lighter a-arms, coil springs, and stabilizer bar. There is also a new Dynamic Handling Package for F-Sport models. This includes adaptive dampers and a Torsen limited-slip differential (only for RWD models).
    No word on pricing, but expect to see the 2021 IS arrive at Lexus dealers sometime in late fall.
    Source: Lexus
    Press Release is on Page 2
    New 2021 IS first Lexus to debut Lexus Driving Signature Tested and developed at new technical center in Shimoyama, Japan Driving performance enhanced through rigidity, chassis and suspension enhancements New Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 offers enhanced standard safety features New multimedia system with available 10.3-inch touchscreen PLANO, Texas (June 15, 2020) – Writing yet another chapter in the book of compact luxury sports sedans, the new 2021 Lexus IS was unveiled today via a unique and engaging online virtual reveal. Since its debut nearly 20 years ago in the U.S., the IS has thrived on creating exhilarating driving performance in the form of a true rear-wheel-drive luxury sports sedan. The IS has served as a whetstone to help sharpen Lexus driving performance across the lineup but, more directly, it has forged indelible bonds between driver and machine that reach into the hundreds of thousands. It’s no wonder the IS has earned worldwide adoration for its extraordinary driving performance.
    There may be no greater fan of IS than Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who notes the vehicle’s special place in his heart during the introduction to the Art of Lexus book, where he credits the IS as “The car that really taught me what performance driving was, and it was the moment when my love affair with Lexus began.”
    The new 2021 IS, which is expected to arrive in dealerships in late fall of this year, looks to expand upon the legacy it has carved out in the compact luxury sports car segment over the previous two decades. Truly a global vehicle, it will be available for sale in approximately 40 countries around the world, including the US, Japan, and other countries in Asia.
    The Lexus Driving Signature Lives at Shimoyama
    From day one, the IS has left a lasting impression in the compact luxury sports sedan segment, where dynamic capability and driving performance are mandatory attributes. The 2021 IS looks to further cement the bond between driver and vehicle by providing an enhanced linear driving characteristic that provides clear and direct feedback to the driver. In order to achieve this objective, Lexus engineers needed the proper tool with which to hone the vehicle’s skills.
    Enter the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama. More than merely a new test facility, this asphalt track signals a change in Lexus’ product development course and speaks to the brand’s commitment to its human-centered nature.
    Since Lexus launched, the tactile feel, behavior, and execution for each model has been driven by the vision and efforts of the Chief Engineer. Moving forward, the efforts of the CE will be focused on elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling as developed by Lexus International President Koji Sato and Chief Branding officer Akio Toyoda. The ultimate goal is to deliver a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before. Linear steering, brake responses, and optimized handling with exceptional ride quality is the result of heightened focus on tuning of the chassis and its interactions with the control surfaces through diligent evaluation at a test facility unlike any other.
    By establishing a uniform Lexus Driving Signature across the entire lineup, the hope is to continue propelling the brand’s evolution and reinforce its identity in the luxury space. This cultural shift within Lexus product development builds on the learnings and improvements seen on the F brand cars, and the latest models of the flagship vehicles (LC, LS, LX) that involve an “Always On” philosophy for continual, running enhancement. Over the past 30 years, Lexus has been defined by the detail-oriented and thoughtful nature of its products. The latest IS represents the first step down a path that has evolved into a uniquely Lexus tarmac testbed that will affect the trajectory of every Lexus product that comes next.
    “What we had foremost in mind in developing the new IS was to make it a car that excelled in communicating with the driver regardless of the road conditions or driving situation,” said Chief Engineer Naoki Kobayashi of Lexus International. “We aimed to make the new IS a Lexus compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control.”
    Opened in 2019, the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture is near Lexus’s global headquarters. Its country road test course is inspired by Lexus’s many years of experience driving on Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife, famous throughout the world for its grueling driving conditions. Much like the IS itself, Nürburgring is near and dear to Akio Toyoda’s heart since it played a key role in his quest to become a master driver. The 3.3-mile test course at Shimoyama is designed to take advantage of the local topography, and it features a nearly 250-foot change in elevation, a wide range of curves and corners, and multiple types of road surfaces. Developing the new IS in such a severe driving environment made it possible to infuse an ever-higher dimension of vehicle performance.
    Maturation of Driving Performance
    With a new tool at its disposal, Chief Engineer Kobayashi’s team worked tirelessly to make the new IS the best to date. The Lexus philosophy of continuously improving meant no stone was left unturned. Countless test hours at the Shimoyama track and other test facilities were conducted on various road surfaces and conditions to identify ways to increase responsiveness and reduce unnecessary movement from unsprung mass. The “relentless pursuit of perfection” has always been a guiding philosophy for the brand, but also at stake is the mission to create a uniform Lexus Driving Signature, and that objective begins with the new IS.
    One of the first things engineers targeted was enhancing body rigidity. This was done in key areas such as reinforcing the radiator side supports, increasing the number of front-side-member weld points, and optimizing reinforcement structures from the C-pillars to the sides of the roof. The increased rigidity not only helps reduce unwanted noise and vibration, but it also helps improve riding comfort and driving performance with enhanced response to steering input.
    For the first time, the new IS will be available with larger 19-inch wheels to improve cornering force and provide a greater contact patch with the road. Engineers revised the suspension layout and front pickup points to help accommodate the larger tire-and-wheel package. Overall two different 19-inch wheels are available on F SPORT models, including a unique BBS wheel specific to the F SPORTs equipped with the Dynamic Handling Package. Standard 18-inch wheels will replace the outgoing 17-inch wheels on all other models.
    Taking a cue from the Lexus LFA supercar, engineers took rigidity enhancements one step further by employing lighter weight hub bolts to secure each wheel to the new IS. The use of hub bolts allows for improved fastening strength and therefore an increase to rigidity to further enhance braking and handling. What’s more, the move to hub bolts sheds approximately 2 pounds of total unsprung weight. The new bolts also feature a black coating so as not to draw any attention away from the attractive new wheel designs.
    Complementing the enhancements to overall rigidity, multiple refinements were made to the suspension setup. For starters, engineers targeted a reduction in unsprung weight. The new IS features coil springs that are 20 percent lighter than the outgoing model. New A-arms are employed as well that feature a forged aluminum material versus the outgoing steel composition, resulting in an 18 percent weight reduction. Engineers also opted for a new material for the suspension stabilizer bar to optimize the diameter and thickness to provide a 17 percent weight reduction.
    With unsprung weight reduced, engineers equipped the IS with new swing-valve shock absorbers equipped with ultralow-velocity valves in their pistons to manage oil flow in response to the most minor of road irregularities. Even when the stroke speed of the shock absorbers is low, the new velocity valves provide excellent responsiveness to apply appropriate damping force on all varieties of road surfaces. The result is consistently even ride quality. New bound stoppers are also employed to help manage the sprung weight more effectively for enhanced ride comfort.
    Fast, Fun, Ferocious – Putting the “F” in F SPORT
    The IS F SPORT lineup is restructured in the 2021 model year, as F SPORTs will only be offered on the IS 350 powered by the 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. F SPORT features a host of visual and performance cues that immediately set it apart, including a unique front bumper with functional aerodynamic enhancements, rear bumper, grille surround, rear lip spoiler, rocker molding and more. Along with F SPORT 19-inch wheels, a unique center cap and larger rear tires for added performance (265/35R19), they are also equipped with a cool air intake with sound generator and an F SPORT exhaust and diffuser. In addition, unique F SPORT badges adorn the sides and rear of the vehicle as well.
    Inside the new IS, stainless-steel scuff plates adorn the door sills. Eyes are immediately drawn to the stylish F SPORT front seats, especially when dressed in the available new Circuit Red option. The front seats also offer standard heated and ventilated functions. A heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with unique center ornament, perforated leather-wrapped shifter and F SPORT combination instrumentation meter await the driver, as do unique F SPORT accelerator pedal, brake pedal and footrest. The distinctive front seats offer available two-way power adjustable lumbar support as well as four-way adjustable headrests. Unique F SPORT door accents are highlighted with black geometric film window switch surrounds. Active Sound Control has been improved to further enhance the exhilarating performance notes of the V6 engine while reducing unpleasant tones.
    F SPORT models can be further augmented with the addition of a Dynamic Handling Package (DHP) that includes Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). For 2021, engineers have optimized the damping force of the AVS system to help enhance performance. In addition, the DHP also includes lighter 19-inch forged alloy BBS wheels finished in matte black. Not only are they impressive looking, the 19-inch BBS wheels are approximately 4 pounds lighter per wheel compared to the standard 19-inch F SPORT wheel.
    The RWD F SPORT models with the DHP are equipped with a Torsen® limited slip differential (LSD) that improves handling and performance thanks to enhanced traction when cornering or exiting turns. The LSD helps maintain straight-line stability as well. F SPORT models equipped with the DHP also feature drive select mode Sport S+, which provides advanced engine and transmission mapping to enhance performance. Sport S+ also adjusts the amount of EPS steering assist and damping force to deliver sportier handling to match the updated powertrain settings. Custom Mode is available on DHP models, offering multiple combinations for powertrain (Normal/Eco/Power), chassis (Normal/Sport) and air conditioner (Normal/Eco).
    F SPORT models equipped with the DHP receive a unique carbon-fiber rear spoiler and side-view mirror caps, center console knee pad with contrast stitching, and a Lexus Card Key.
    Athletically Inclined & Designed
    The bold new exterior styling of the 2021 IS not only aims for a provocative design, but its athletic silhouette is also meant to signify the agile changes that have taken place below the sheet metal. Overall, the new IS evokes lower, wider proportions. It is slightly wider, with muscular fenders that extend to enhance and accommodate the larger available 19-inch wheels and larger diameter tires. The wide and low form nods to the inherently high level of driving performance the IS possesses, but the sleek lines are also complemented with overtly aggressive sharpness carved into the side and shoulder character lines.
    2021 IS Specifications

    Starting at the front of the new IS, a newly designed spindle grille features a three-dimensional, polyhedral structure that originates from the foremost tip of the grille to emphasize a sense of presence. On F SPORT models, block forms based on a spindle motif combine with a mesh pattern to achieve a sporty impression. F SPORT models also feature a grille-bottom air intake that allows air to flow through to assist in cooling the brakes, a design inspired by the RC F.  Standard IS models feature a new grille that includes mini spindles within its design. This intricate pattern required six different types of cutting tools in order to create the mold.
    New slender headlamps are fitted on the IS that feature daytime running lights with a sharp L-shape signature that runs across the lateral axis just above the newly developed compact and lightweight lamp units. These new headlamps help contribute to expressing a low center of gravity through low-positioned areas around the grille, and they are matched by lowered side character lines that carry all the way through to the rear of trunk. Available triple-beam LED headlights are also redesigned to complement the low-profile hood.
    New rocker panels accent the side profile of the new IS with a design that kicks up in the rear, featuring a sharper overall contour that carries into the muscular shoulders over the rear wheel wells. Gently sloped rear-quarter pillars, which help form a firm cabin silhouette that wraps around from the sides, contrast with the rear fenders to further enhance the aggressive look.
    Moving toward the back of the IS, lines of the rear fenders blend into the extended, lowered rear deck to create a low stance that enhances the wider hips. The three-dimensional form of the rear deck design is created with a stamping technology called press-in mold construction. No question eyes will be drawn most immediately to the L-shaped blade-style lightbar that spans across the rear of the vehicle.
    There are five new exterior colors available on the 2021 IS, including Iridium, Cloudburst Gray, Matador Red Mica, Infrared*, and Grecian Water. These new colors will be added to other popular exterior options that include Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, Atomic Silver, Caviar and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0*.
    *Colors unique to F SPORT models, includes a premium paint charge of $595
    Bask in Cabin Comfort
    Luxury and performance are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and yet the two live in harmony in the new IS. The interior features standard NuLuxe®-trimmed seating, with 10-way power driver and 8-way power adjustable front passenger seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with touch-sensitive controls, an available power moonroof, and SmartAccess with push button start.
    New trim adorns each door in F SPORT models with a graphic pattern of embossed intersecting lines, representing a new form of Lexus decorative expression and Takumi craftsmanship. Decorative ornamentation is finished for the first time in Black Metallic paint, Black Geometic Film, or the unique Ash ornamentation exclusive to F SPORT models equipped with the Dynamic Handling Package. Piano Black accents also can be found on surface elements for cabin atmosphere that is both dignified and sporty. Standard NuLuxe interior color options include Black, Glazed Caramel and Rioja Red. On F SPORT packages the options include Black, Circuit Red, and two-tone White/Black, while the F SPORT Dynamic Handling Package is available in Black or Circuit Red interior.
    The IS features a standard 8-inch touchscreen nearly 3 inches closer to the driver for easy access to the controls. An expansive new 10.3-inch touchscreen is available on vehicles equipped with navigation or Mark Levinson with navigation. The new multimedia system features Apple CarPlay® compatibility, Android Auto™ compatibility, and Amazon Alexa integration.
    With Apple CarPlay compatibility, customers can access the familiar interface from their iPhone through the vehicle’s multimedia display. Simply connect an iPhone to get directions, make calls, send and receive message via Siri®, all hands free, and get access to favorite apps like Spotify, Audible® and Apple podcasts. With Android Auto, Android users can seamlessly cast their device’s interface onto the vehicle’s multimedia display, play music via apps such as Spotify® and Pandora®, send messages through a range of commonly used apps like WhatsApp®, navigate with Google Maps™, and request information—all with just the sound of your voice—through the Google Assistant™.  With Lexus+Alexa integration, you can bring all the convenience of Amazon Alexa on the road. Just ask Alexa for the same access to information and the thousands of skills available with Alexa at home. Listen to audiobooks, play favorite music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings, and much more. Users can also control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat and security systems. Offering added in-vehicle convenience, Alexa even syncs to the navigation system to provide on-the-go recommendations.
    The available Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System is also enhanced, with the previous system expanding from 15 speakers with 835 watts of power to a 17-speaker system with a new amplifier offering an impressive 1,800 watts. The new Mark Levinson system aimed to reduce interference, improve output (aided by the addition of two speakers), and improve overall sound quality with new EQ tuning. Rear surround speakers have been changed to tweeter/mid-range combination Unity speakers. The audio amplifier has enhanced Quantum Logic Surround for playback of compressed sound sources and to provide a 7.1 surround sound listening experience.
    Drivetrains and Powertrains
    Although, for some, the IS can only be viewed as a rear-wheel-drive compact sports sedan, others reside in climates where all-wheel-drive is a necessity. Fortunately, the 2021 IS will be available in both rear- and all-wheel drive options, and there are three distinct powertrain options available depending upon the grade.
    The rear-wheel drive IS 300 features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter engine is updated for 2021, featuring an adaptive transmission control that helps determines the most appropriate gear for each driving situation based on driver input to achieve linear response. Rated to deliver 241 horsepower, the stout four-cylinder also produces a solid 258 lb-ft of torque across a flat torque range from 1,650 rpm all the way up to 4,400 rpm. It’s not only powerful, it’s efficient, too, thanks to a sophisticated Variable Valve Timing intelligent – Wide (VVTi-W) system which allows the engine to switch between the Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles to maximize efficiency. It comes equipped with an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission. It integrates an advanced G-force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) system that monitors multiple performance parameters to determine the optimum gear selection.
    For added traction in cold-weather climates, the IS 300 is also available with all-wheel drive. The IS 300 AWD is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 260 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The electronically controlled all-wheel drive system is designed to help enhance traction and grip by automatically varying front-to-rear torque distribution. On dry roads it maintains a 30:70 front-to-rear torque split for maximum performance, but it’s capable of sending as much as 50 percent of the power to the front wheels in certain conditions.
    For buyers who crave maximum power, there’s the IS 350 in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The rear-wheel drive model uses the same eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission found in the IS 300 RWD, while the AWD version sends power through a six-speed automatic. If there’s any question about the performance-minded nature of each vehicle, look no further than their 0-60 times, as the IS 350 RWD covers the ground in 5.6 seconds while the IS 350 AWD goes from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. 
    Enhanced Lexus Safety System+
    The standard Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) found on the new IS receives additions for 2021 in the form of the new LSS+ 2.5. A number of key features that are part of the Lexus Safety System+ have been enhanced, along with the addition of a few key features.
    For starters, the Pre-Collision System (PCS), which include Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection and Bicyclist Detection, features an enhancement to the single-lens camera and millimeter-wave radar elements to expand the response range. By enhancing the radar and camera capabilities it is now possible for the system to help detect not only the vehicle ahead but also a preceding bicyclist in daytime and even a preceding pedestrian in daytime and low-light conditions. At intersections, the system has improved recognition of an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and may activate typical PCS functions if needed. Additional PCS functions include Emergency Steering Assist (ESA), which is designed to assist steering within the vehicle’s lane as cued by the driver.
    All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) can be activated above 30 mph and is designed to perform vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls down to 0 mph and can resume from a stop. DRCC also includes a new feature that allows for smooth overtaking of slower vehicles. If traveling behind a vehicle traveling slower than the preset speed, once the driver engages the turn signal the system will provide an initial increase in acceleration in preparation for changing lanes; after changing lanes, the vehicle will continue acceleration until it reaches the original preset driving speed.
    Lane Departure Alert is designed to help notify the driver if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal via steering wheel vibrations or audible alert. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) is designed to provide slight steering force to help steer to the center of the lane to assist the driver with staying in the lane using lane markers or a preceding vehicle. LTA alerts the driver with a visual warning and either an audible alert or steering wheel vibration. In the new IS, the lane recognition performance, which makes LTA possible, has been improved with enhanced recognition of line and road edge, lateral G performance, and enhanced control and stability after lane change.
    Additional LSS+ 2.5 features include Intelligent High Beams, which detects preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switches between high beam and low beam headlights. Road Sign Assist (RSA) is designed to acquire certain road sign information using a camera and navigation maps and displays them on the multi-information display (MID). With DRCC engaged and activated, RSA can also adjust speed up to the posted speed limit if driving slower or down to the posted speed limit if driving faster than posted.
    To help IS drivers change lanes with confidence, the standard Blind Spot Monitor is designed to help detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes. Standard Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) can offer added peace of mind by helping to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out with a visual and audible warning.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...take that BMW and your big grilles...

    The Lexus GX 460 is one of those vehicles that just keeps on being sold in spite of being rather old. For 2020, the GX 460 gets a face lift, a new safety system, and an available all-new off-road package.
    Starting off with the styling, Lexus added a giant spindle grille to the front, apparently borrowed from the larger LX.  Lexus also added Lexus Safety System+ as a standard feature across the lineup.  This addition means that now all Lexus vehicles have standard active safety equipment.  The Safety System+ on the GX 460 consists of Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Intelligent High Beams, and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
    The new available off-road package offers multi-terrain monitor, panoramic view monitor, transmission cooler, fuel tank protector, crawl control, and multi-terrain select. The suspension is Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that helps level out the vehicle in different load conditions to keep all four wheels on the ground.  On-road smoothness is helped by the Adaptive Variable Suspension that uses electronically controlled shocks that can be selected to Normal, Sport, or Comfort modes depending on the driver's mood. 
    The standard and only engine remains the same, a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301 horsepower 329 lb-ft of torque. 
    The updated 2020 Lexus GX 460 arrives at dealerships this fall. 

    William Maley

    Possibly more Track Edition models and an SUV/Crossover model

    Lexus has some has some big plans in store for the F performance sub-brand. Motor1 is reporting that the luxury brand is planning to keep the Track Edition nameplate for some time.
    “The plan right now is to build 60 [RC F] Track Editions...and it’s going to be 40 of the white and 20 of the matte gray [cars for 2020]. It’s [our] intention to have a version of the Track Edition in subsequent [model] years,” said Cooper Ericksen, vice president for product planning and strategy at Lexus.
    It is unclear what Lexus has planned for the future of Track Edition. Ericksen said everything is up in the air ranging from improving the performance to possibly applying the treatment to other models (LC Track Edition anyone?).
    “We’re having fun with the engineers to figure out what [Track Edition] can look like in the future."
    Another item being talked about for F is building a crossover or SUV. Ericken said that a key topic of discussion is whether or not they should focus on doing an on-road version or buck the trend and do an off-road one.
    “[What] we're currently trying to figure out is [if] the on-road performance aspect [is] more important [for Lexus] to invest in than the off-road performance.” 
    Source: Motor1, 2

    William Maley

    Hasn't been sold in their home market until now

    It may not seem like big news that late last month that Lexus launched the seventh-generation ES in Japan. But it becomes that when you consider that Lexus has never sold the ES outside of the U.S. and China for most of its life. Plus, Lexus has only been on sale in Japan since 2005.
    The introduction of the ES is somewhat surprising, considering sales of full-size cars are falling in the country. But Lexus believes the ES can buck that trend as there is "expanding demand for premium rides", and the vehicle being aimed at executives between their 40s or 50s. The company is also planning to ramp up marketing efforts on the sedan. One example is hour-long test drives of every Lexus model at the Lexus Meets lounge in Tokyo.
    It seems to be paying off as Automotive News reports that model has 2,000 preorders - 70 percent of those are current Lexus customers. Lexus has set a sales of 350 models per month.
    "We are still a young brand. We will offer experiences that surprise new customers through marketing and step up our exposure," said Lexus International President Yoshihiro Sawa.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    The UX will be the first model available

    Lexus will soon be joining the subscription service fray. Roadshow reports that Lexus will introduce Complete Lease for the first quarter of 2019 to coincide with the launch of the UX crossover.
    The service will offer two-year leases with a 20,000-mile limit for one non-negotiable price. This price includes lease payment, insurance, and maintenance coverage. Lexus will launch Complete Lease in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. According to Cynthia Tenhouse, Lexus general manager of product and consumer marketing, these locations were chosen in part to UX is aimed at those living in the city, and the high insurance costs in those cities make a subscription service that includes insurance very appealing.
    There are still a number of details that Lexus is keeping quiet on, such as how much it will cost, who will be providing the insurance, and whether a buyer needs to go into a dealership to order their UX.
    Source: Roadshow

    William Maley

    Performance hybrids you say.

    Lexus' F performance sub-brand has relied on V8 power. But the head of Lexus, Yoshihiro Sawa tells Auto Express that F needs to "embrace different powertrain choices" to stay relevant in the future.
    “F is very important; with F we have to think of our own original way. One solution could be a pure F GT car, which could be a hybrid with an electric motor and a strong engine, giving a different kind of drive feel. We don’t stick to V8, V10, twin-turbocharged; they’re important but we’re looking at the future. We’d like to find a way to connect to the next era,” said Sawa.
    “I think that now, we’re in a transitional period. At this moment people say EVs are trendy but three years later, who knows? People like the sound, the dynamics [of combustion engines]. I think we cannot stick to the one solution when it comes to providing emotion.”
    Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced plans to add electrified powertrains to their future high-performance models.
    Source: Auto Express

    William Maley

    The rise of crossovers is to blame

    Lexus finds itself in a bit of a bind. With demand for crossovers growing, Lexus is doing a serious look at its product lineup and deciding what needs to be added and what needs to taken out.
    "We're more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves," said David Christ, the new general manager for Lexus to Automotive News.
    "Our product plan is what I would call a work in progress."
    The current focus for Lexus is the upcoming launches of the ES and the subcompact UX crossover. The ES is expected to keep current Lexus owners happy, but the new F-Sport package will hopefully bring in younger people - Lexus expects a quarter of ES sales to be the F-sport. The UX though is seen as what will bring the majority of young buyers to the brand.
    But this focus has Lexus doing "a strategic look" at two of their older models, the IS and GS. Both models are late into their lifecycles: IS was launched in 2013, while GS dates back to 2011. The two aren't big sellers either. In 2017, Lexus only moved 7,773 GS models and 26,482 IS models. Rumor has it that the GS could go away if the ES gets all-wheel drive. Christ wouldn't comment on that.
    "We can't do it all at once, but we're certainly evaluating both vehicles," said Christ.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    That's quite different

    Next week at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, Lexus will be debuting the 2019 ES sedan. This is a big deal for Lexus as this will be the first ES model that will be sold worldwide.
    Lexus has dropped both a teaser video and a photo showing off most of the ES' exterior. It shares a lot of design cues with the flagship LS with a wider version of the spindle grille, aggressive bumper, and narrower headlights. The side profile looks similar to the current ES.
    It's expected that the 2019 ES will be underpinned by the TGNA modular platform. 
    We'll have more details next week.
    Source: Lexus

    William Maley

    Plug-In Hybrid, Full EV, and even Hydrogen

    Lexus offers two powertains for the LS; a twin-turbo V6 producing 415 horsepower and a hybrid system featuring a 3.5L V6 that makes 354 horsepower. But Lexus is considering adding more powertains to their flagship sedan.
    Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the LS told Australian outlet GoAuto that all powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid, hydrogen, and electric were “all on the table” for the current model. The most likely reason for this is competitors such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have plug-in hybrid models of their flagship sedans and are working on new electric models. There is also the elephant in the room known as the Tesla Model S.
    Hydrogen isn't that much a surprise. Parent company Toyota has been pushing hydrogen for a number of years. But the lack of an extensive hydrogen infrastructure has limited its appeal and caused Toyota to put more focus on electrics. It should be noted that the LF-FC concept shown in 2015 was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. On the electric front, Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries that promise more range and quicker charging. Plans are to have batteries go into production beginning in 2022.
    Asahi also mentioned that engineers are looking into improving the current hybrid powertrain - possibly adding more power.
    Source: GoAuto

    William Maley

    Wait, they were still selling it?

    The CT 200h, the sole hybrid-only model in Lexus' lineup will be disappearing from the U.S. after 2017. The company told Car and Driver the hatchback will not be returning to the U.S. for 2018 model year. It will still be sold in other markets for the foreseeable future.
    The move isn't that surprising considering how the model hasn't changed significantly since its launch in 2011 and slow sales - 8,903 models sold in 2016. Not helping matters is the sister model, the Toyota Prius has been updated and beats the CT 200h in fuel economy - 52 mpg combined vs. 42 mpg combined.
    A subcompact crossover known as the UX is coming and a hybrid variant could act as the de-facto replacement for the CT.
    Source: Car and Driver
    Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears

    William Maley

    Evolve or wither away!

    It has been the ongoing story for a couple of years; buyers flocking to crossovers and sales of sedans falling down. While some automakers it seems are giving up on sedans, others are trying to figure out ways to make them more appealing.
    Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota Motor Corp.'s global branding chief tells Automotive News the brand will be employing two strategies to help keep their sedans relevant -  improve the driving dynamics and be more daring in terms of design.
    "Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve," said Fukuichi.
    "At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away."
    The LC coupe is the first model that is taking these ideas and running with it. It features a low ride height, the highest torsional stiffness of any Lexus model in history (partly due to the new GA-L platform), and a design that stands out. The all-new LS is following its footsteps as it features more of a fastback look than the standard three-box silhouette.
    Intriguingly, Fukuichi dropped the idea of there being a station wagon in Lexus' lineup. It could take some ideas found on Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo in terms of design. Before you get your hopes, there are no plans for a wagon at this time.
    "Personally, I would like to have a Lexus wagon if we had enough resources. Maybe not as tall as an SUV but not as short as a wagon. There could be some optimized packaging," said Fukuichi.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    What is missing in Lexus' lineup?

    Lexus executives admit there are some holes in their lineup such as not having a subcompact or three-row crossover. Speaking with Automotive News, Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken said the brand is losing as many as 70,000 potential vehicle sales by not competing in certain segments. 
    "We do think there's room to fill some gaps that still exist for Lexus," said Bracken.
    One possibility is introducing a subcompact crossover possibly with a production version of the UX concept.
    "That's a gap we are watching very closely. We're very fixated on trying to move that conversation forward with our parent corporation." 
    Also up for consideration is a three-row crossover and expanding the F-series performance family - might include an LC-F.
    One surprise to come out is Lexus doing an electric vehicle. According to Bracken, the brand started investigating possibilities after the Paris Motor Show where many European luxury automakers pushed this idea.
    "It was amazingly focused. Subsequent to that show, from my standpoint, we began conversations with our product planners," said Bracken.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Lexus Reveals An Updated GS

    It was at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where Lexus introduced us to the fourth-generation GS sedan. Well, Lexus has chosen Pebble Beach once again to introduce us to updated GS.
    The big news for the GS is a new base GS 200t. As the name suggests, this new trim gets Lexus' turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic, Lexus says the GS 200t will get 33 MPG combined. Along with the new turbo-four, Lexus is also giving the GS 350 a slight boost in power. The 350's V6 will now produce 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (up from 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque).
    The other big news deals with the GS' design. The front end gets a bolder take on the spindle grille and bi-LED headlights. New wheel choices, revised taillights, and new trim finish off the exterior changes. The interior gets new choices for trim and leather, along with navigation becoming standard on all models except the 200t.
    Source: Lexus

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Mingling with the Classics: Lexus Introduces 2016 GS During Pebble Beach Concours Celebrations
    New GS 200t RWD Model With 2.0-Liter Turbo Engine More Power and Torque for GS 350 Restyled Front End With Standard Bi-LED Headlamps New Available Lexus Safety System + Upgraded Multimedia Technology and for GS 350/GS 450h Standard Navigation New Available Lexus Enform Service Connect New Interior Colors and Wood Trim Selections

    MONTEREY, Calif. – Aug. 13, 2015 – The Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, the premier concours event in the United States, is an appropriate setting for the 2016 Lexus GS models to be introduced. The GS enters 2016 with a bolder design, a new GS 200t rear-wheel drive model and new luxury finishes that match the refinement of Monterey. The Lexus GS continues to feature impressive agility and sporty handling for turns along California Highway 1, as well as comfortable ride quality for extended highway driving. This is no modest mid-size luxury sedan. The engaging performance and amenities make the GS 200t, the GS 350 or GS 450h an excellent choice for delighting enthusiast drivers as well as luxury connoisseurs.
    The Lexus GS epitomizes the intersection of style and refinement with a strong rendition of the Lexus signature spindle grille for 2016, framed by elegant satin chrome trim and flanked by distinctive new standard Bi-LED headlights. The nighttime glow is unmistakably the look of Lexus.
    A new front bumper and rocker panel design further sharpen the coupe-inspired profile, with the makeover extending to revised taillights, revised rear trim and new 18- and 19-inch machine-finish wheel designs. Bold design deserves bold color, and so the 2016 GS offers new Matador Red Mica, Nightfall Mica and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 among other choices. The mica colors use an extraordinarily complex multi-layered, twice-baked process previously used only for concept vehicles or custom cars.
    Every year Pebble Beach brings together the best in elegance and technology from decades past. The 2016 Lexus GS presents a modern interpretation—exemplified by new interior trim selections including laser cut wood, Matte Walnut, Linear 3D and for the F SPORT, Naguri aluminum. New interior and leather colors include Chateau and Noble Brown, while the F SPORT adds Rioja Red to available choices. The analog clock located in the center of the dash is housed in a single ingot of aluminum and uses LED indicators. It adds new GPS functionality for adjusting the time zone.
    New Power and Efficiency
    A new, third model, the rear-wheel drive GS 200t, joins the line with an exceptionally smooth 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbo engine delivers 241 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, giving the GS 200t outstanding all-around performance and efficiency. The GS 200t has a Lexus fuel economy estimate of 33 mpg highway.
    In the GS 350, a more muscular 3.5-liter V6 produces 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque (vs. 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. in the 2015 model) and is also paired with the eight-speed automatic. The V6’s combination of direct fuel injection and additional port fuel injectors ensures ample power and crisp responsiveness.
    Leading the GS lineup is a car you’d expect from the luxury hybrid leader, the GS 450h – a high-performing hybrid. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive system combines output from an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine and a water-cooled permanent-magnet electric motor for 338 total system horsepower, channeled through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. Few might expect 5.6-second zero-to-60 mph acceleration performance from a car that also has EPA estimated 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined fuel economy ratings.
    More Grip, More GrinsFor added grip, the Lexus GS 350 offers an available all-weather drive system that’s more than a foul-weather friend. An electronically controlled center differential provides a normal 30:70 torque split, with the rear-wheel bias favoring handling agility. The system reacts instantaneously to alter the split to as much as 50:50, depending on driving conditions, to help optimize traction.
    For added grins when driving, the F SPORT package available for all three GS models combines track-tuned chassis enhancements, including staggered tire sizes (RWD only), with exclusive exterior and interior design features. On the GS 350, F SPORT can be combined with all-weather drive. With rear-wheel drive, the F SPORT package opens the door to higher handling performance with the available Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system with Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS).
    New Lexus Safety System +
    The 2016 Lexus GS is a rolling testament to the brand’s commitment to cutting-edge safety technology. Its structure and 10 standard airbags form the foundation for occupant protection, while a wide array of driver-assist technologies helps the driver avoid hazards. New and optional for 2016 is Lexus Safety System + which combines Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
    All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control works at a range of speeds. It tracks the speed of the vehicle traveling ahead and can adjust the speed setting accordingly to help maintain a preset distance. It’s sophisticated enough to smoothly adjust acceleration and deceleration when a vehicle enters or exits the lane or highway ahead.
    Using a combination of millimeter-wave radar and a front-facing camera, PCS can help detect vehicles -- and in some circumstances, pedestrians. The system can warn the driver of a possible collision and can initiate automatic braking with Brake Assist if necessary.
    Using a camera to detect visible lane markings, Lane Departure Alert is designed to convey audio-visual alerts and vibrate the steering wheel if the system determines that the driver unintentionally deviated from the lane. Lane Departure Alert, with Steering Assist enabled, can help the vehicle stay in the center of its lane by smoothly increasing steering torque a small amount to assist in maintaining course.
    Intelligent High Beam combines technology, safety and driving courtesy. It automatically adjusts high- and low-beam illumination by sensing not only oncoming traffic, but also the taillights of the vehicle traveling in front.
    Modern MultimediaLexus gave the GS models new multimedia for 2015, and now for 2016, the available 12.3-inch screen gains full-screen map capability when equipped with navigation. Other multimedia changes include enhanced voice recognition and graphics.The screen can split into two sections to show different functions, such as navigation, audio and climate control information. For GS 350 and GS 450h models, navigation is now standard.
    New side “enter” buttons on the Remote Touch Interface controller and shortcut menu on the side of the screen make it even easier to operate climate control, audio, phone, navigation and more.
    Apple iPhone® users have yet another control option -- Siri® Eyes Free Mode. Make calls, select songs from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation through Apple Maps, and much more, all by asking Siri.
    Lexus Enform
    Catering to its customers’ active lifestyles, Lexus Enform continues to expand its services and technologies. For 2016, new Lexus Enform Service Connect gives the GS a voice, in a sense, to relay its maintenance needs. Use the MyLexusandBeyond mobile app (for iOS devices) or LexusDrivers.com website to set push-reminders and alerts for maintenance and service issues. For example, a required maintenance warning light will alert you and your dealer the specific factory recommended maintenance for a specific maintenance interval.
    With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the GS using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Functions include remote door lock/unlock; remote start/stop for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor and more.
    Navigation is accompanied by the Lexus Enform Destination Services and subscription-free Lexus Enform App Suite. Its voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Destination Search, make restaurant reservations using OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com™, listen to Internet radio, (including Pandora®, iHeartRadio and Slacker), search business reviews on Yelp® and check in on Facebook Places™.
    Lexus Enform Safety Connect is standard on all 2016 Lexus vehicles, with emergency calling capability and access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365.

    William Maley

    Coming Soon, A New LS

    The current Lexus LS has been with us since 2006 and it is getting a bit long in the tooth, despite the model undergoing a couple of refreshes. But a report from Autocar says Lexus could unveil a new LS at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year.
    The new sedan will coincide with 25th anniversary of Lexus selling vehicles. The new sedan is expected to get a V8 producing 465 horsepower, along with B8 hybrid powertrain with 535 horsepower.
    Alain Uyttenhoven, Lexus' European boss has said the next LS will become "more emotional".
    "The LS will remain the pinnacle of the range and have the highest price point," said Uyttenhoven.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    Another flagship vehicle could joining the Lexus LS

    Lexus is readying another flagship vehicle to sit along the LS sedan. Speaking with Reuters, Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken said the Japanese automaker is considering a new flagship.
    "We need a flagship. It doesn't have to be a sedan," said Bracken.
    "In addition to the LS (a large sedan), there could be another flagship in our lineup. We'll define what it is in January."
    There are two vehicles that are possibly in contention. The first is the long-rumored LF-LC coupe concept, wearing the SC nameplate. The other is another SUV.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Lexus Could Be Following In the Footsteps of Saturn with No-Haggling Pricing

    Twelve Lexus dealers in the U.S. are part of a pilot program of offering haggle-free pricing as a way to improve customer satisfaction.
    “While negotiation-free pricing is not revolutionary, we strongly believe the concept will further elevate transaction transparency and customer care,” said Jeff Bracken, general manager of Lexus at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.
    Wards Auto says the program works by dealers setting prices that will be relative to their local market.
    “They’ll drive it based on what they think is a reasonable sale price and they really do stick to that price,” said Bracken.
    From there, a buyer comes into the dealership and pays the price the dealer has selected for the desired vehicle. The buyer will be working with same dealership employee throughout the entire transaction. This is important as many buyers don't like being shuffled around to different people during the buying process according to research.
    Now if the experiment proves to be a success, Lexus will expand this program nationwide and allow dealers to opt into the program.
    Source: Wards Auto

    William Maley

    2016 Sees Lexus Introduce Two New Engines for the IS

    Last month, we reported that Lexus was dropping 2.5L V6 for the turbocharged 2.0L four in the IS sedan for Europe. We heard the engine would be coming to the states, but no timeframe was given. Today, Lexus announced details on the 2016 IS for North America. The big news is the turbo 2.0L is part of the changes, along with another engine.
    First up is the IS 200t, which takes the place of the IS 250. This packs a 2.0L turbo-four with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
    Now if you want all-wheel drive, you oddly can't get it with the turbo-four. You'll have to opt the IS 300 AWD which packs a 3.5L V6 with 255 horsepower and 235 pound-feet. A six-speed automatic sends the power to all four-wheels.
    The IS 350 remains unchanged with 305 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, along with the choice of rear and all-wheel drive.
    Source: Lexus
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Lexus IS Sport Sedan Gets Revved Up In 2016 With Three Available Engines
    2.0L Twin-Scroll Turbocharged Gas Engine for New IS 200t New 3.5L V6 Engine Provides More Options for All-Weather Drive with IS 300 AWD Agile Handling Throughout IS Lineup Available F SPORT Package Heightens Driving Experience

    The Lexus IS luxury sport sedan models will continue to delight drivers with their balance of luxury, agility and sportiness as they enter 2016 model year with a three model strategy with IS 200t, IS 300 AWD, and IS 350. The former IS 250 and IS 250 AWD are discontinued.
    The IS adds to its stable of engines and receives a turbocharged gas engine, bringing the number of engine alternatives to three. Drivers will have a hard time deciding which IS to take home with rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-weather drive (AWD) and F SPORT variants.
    The new IS 200t, available as RWD only, features a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with intercooler paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine cranks out 241 hp and has 258 lb.-ft. torque at 1,650-4,400 rpm. Lexus developed the turbocharged engine in house, first integrated it into the NX luxury utility hybrid for 2015 model year, and modified it for IS 200t.
    The IS 200t features a combination of water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and twin scroll turbocharger for fast throttle response, performance and high torque at low engine revs. Variable Valve Timing intelligent – Wide (VVTi-W) allows the engine to switch between the Otto and Atkinson cycles.
    The D-4ST direct injection system combines a high pressure fuel system for injection directly in to the cylinders with a low pressure system for injection into the ports. Injection is split between the direct and port injectors according to the engine load to help fuel economy.
    With the popularity of the all-weather drive (AWD) system in inclement weather, Lexus offers the IS 300 AWD with 255 hp and 236 lb.-ft. torque at 2,000-4,800 rpm. The IS 300 AWD features a modified 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
    Lexus continues to offer the IS 350, in both RWD and AWD models.
    The IS sedans convey an aggressive yet elegant presence with the brand’s unmistakable spindle grille, L-theme LED daytime running lights and dynamic bodylines. The lineup combines silken power delivery with multi-link rear suspension and finely tuned electronic power steering derived from the Lexus GS sedan to deliver a rousing driving experience.
    At the same time, the brand’s hallmark luxury and sumptuous appointments remains intact. In addition to more engine choices, the Lexus IS features a few other changes for 2016. The new optional Premium Plus Package includes a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers. A heated steering wheel is also now available as a standalone option. The IS 350 adds standard 18-inch five-spoke wheels with all-season tires.
    Drivers can also now opt in for additional peace of mind with Lexus Enform Service Connect. Lexus Enform Service Connect (one-year complimentary subscription) allows customers to remotely view information about certain aspects of their Lexus vehicle via the MyLexusandBeyond mobile application for iOS smartphone users or LexusDrivers.com. Information includes maintenance alerts, warning light notifications and a vehicle health report that includes email and push notifications for diagnostic information, required maintenance reminders, current vehicle alerts, service campaigns, and more.
    The IS 350 delivers scintillating performance from a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Its eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission integrates advanced G-force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) system to choose gears intuitively. Or, shift yourself with the paddle shifters.
    The electronically controlled all-weather drive system standard on IS 300 AWD and available on IS 350 models is designed to help enhance traction and grip under all driving conditions by automatically varying front-to-rear torque balance from 30:70 to as much as 50:50.
    A Drive Mode Select system features up to four driving modes to tailor the car’s combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics. All IS sedans feature ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT modes. Equipping the IS 350 with the F SPORT package also nets Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), controlled with SPORT S and SPORT S+ modes. In addition, AWD models also feature a SNOW mode.
    Available for all IS sedan models, the F SPORT package sharpens handling acuity with unique 18-inch wheels and special suspension tuning, while sharpening the design with unique interior and exterior trim. The finishing touch on the F SPORT experience for IS 300 AWD and IS 350 is an intake sound that creates a more sporting engine note.
    A Display Audio system equips the IS models with a seven-inch screen, HD Radio™, Bluetooth® audio, automatic phone book transfer, a vehicle information display and complimentary traffic and weather data provided via HD Radio. The multimedia system also incorporates cache radio which has the ability to pause live radio. It automatically records the previous 15 minutes for convenient replay.
    Keeping drivers connected, all IS models have Siri® Eyes Free mode, with technology licensed from Apple®. Compatible with the iPhone® 4S and iPhone 5 models forward, Siri responds to verbal requests to play music from iTunes®, get turn-by-turn navigation, and much more. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while Siri reads notifications and calendar information and lets you, when safe to do so, add reminders, appointments and notes.
    Luxuries abound in the 2016 Lexus IS models. A high-efficiency dual-zone climate control system uses touch-sensitive electrostatic temperature switches. The IS offers two multimedia systems: a standard high-resolution Lexus Display Audio (LDA) with controller or the optional Lexus navigation system.
    The navigation system puts a world of capability at the driver’s fingertips via the second-generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device. The RTI also allows control of the climate, audio, phone controls and more. Lend your ears to the available Mark Levinson® Premium Surround System and enjoy strikingly life-like sound reproduction, with 835 watts powering 15 speakers.
    The IS models exemplify the brand’s advanced passive and active safety technology. Ten Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags are standard, and the IS models employ the innovative Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, which integrates: Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) active safety systems with the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) or, where fitted (for IS 350 RWD F SPORT), Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).
    The 2016 IS models can also be equipped with the available pre-emptive Pre-Collision System (PCS), which incorporates Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The model range offers several safety features, including a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system and a standard Auto Location Tire Pressure Warning System (AL-TPWS).

    William Maley

    More Details On the Production Version Lexus LF-LC

    We know that Lexus is planning to produce a production version of the LF-LC coupe concept shown a few years ago, but details about it have been somewhat scarce. However, Automobile has some tantalizing details about it.
    First up, the coupe will wear the SC nameplate. This name was last seen on a hardtop convertible in 2010. The SC will use the underpinnings of the next-generation LS and feature 3 engine choices: a high-output version of the 5.0L V8, a hybrid powertrain, and a twin-turbocharged V8 with close to 600 horsepower.
    We could be seeing the SC next year as a 2017 model.
    Source: Automobile

    William Maley

    The IS Gets A New Base Engine... For Europe

    The Lexus IS is quite good vehicle - aside from the looks - but it has one big problem. The base 2.5L V6 is a bit of a dog. There isn't enough power to move the IS around. Luckily, Lexus has a solution for this problem in Europe for the time being.
    Meet the Lexus IS 200t which has the same turbocharged 2.0L four found in the NX crossover. This produces 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine will come paired with an eight-speed automatic. Lexus claims an 7 second run to 60 MPH and combined fuel economy of 33 MPG on the European cycle.
    The IS 200t will go on sale in September in Europe. The U.S. will be getting the IS 200t, but no date as to when we'll see it.
    Source: Lexus
    Press Release is on Page 2

    New turbo engine offers superior smoothness and responsiveness, with no turbo-lag and high fuel efficiency Engine mated to 8-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission IS 200t on sale in Europe as from September 2015

    Brussels, Belgium - Lexus is expanding the range of vehicle equipped with its new 2.0-litre turbo engine. Following the launch of NX 200t in early 2015 and the announced arrival of RX 200t by the end of the year, IS is the third Lexus model to be fitted with this new engine.

    Powered by a new 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine – with innovative D-4ST fuel injection technology for both fuel economy and instantaneous torque – the Lexus IS 200t sports sedan delivers 245 DIN hp (180kW) with a maximum torque of 350 Nm. Capable of rapid acceleration up to a top speed of 230 km/h, its 8-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission was developed for the high-performance RC F.
    Featuring a breakthrough combination of water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and twin scroll turbocharger, this all-new Lexus 2.0-litre turbo engine delivers fast throttle response, performance and high torque at low engine revs. For enhanced fuel economy, innovative valve timing (VVT-iW: Variable Valve Timing intelligent - Wide) allows the engine to switch between the Otto and Atkinson cycles.
    The IS 200t returns a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 7.0 seconds and an average fuel consumption of 7.0l/100 km.
    Cylinder Head with Integral 4-into-2 Exhaust Manifold and Twin-Scroll TurboThis innovative, combination of engine technologies has been designed to provide a high level of responsiveness with minimal turbo lag and enhanced low speed torque, and yet return an improved fuel economy.
    The four-into-two exhaust manifold system pairs cylinders according to their expansion or compression stroke. Acting in conjunction with the highly-efficient, twin-scroll turbocharger, this innovative manifold structure prevents interference between the exhaust gasses from each cylinder, generating high torque across the widest possible rev range.
    The engine further employs an air to liquid intercooler mounted directly to the engine to significantly reduce the intake volume downstream of the turbocharger, minimising turbo lag for a highly responsive performance.
    The twin-scroll turbocharger itself features variable waste gate valve control. This minimises pumping losses by reducing back pressure during low engine loads when the turbo is not required realising good fuel economy.
    In addition, the integration of the exhaust manifold within the cylinder head enhances exhaust gas cooling without sacrificing catalyst warm-up performance. This not only helps to suppress catalyst deterioration, but also expands driving range at the optimum, stoichiometric air-fuel ratio.
    D-4ST Fuel Injection System
    D-4ST (Direct injection 4 stroke gasoline engine Superior version with Turbo) combines a high pressure fuel system for injection directly into the cylinders with a low pressure system for injection into the ports. Injection is split between the direct and port injectors according to the engine load, optimising fuel combustion in all driving situations to enhance both low speed torque and fuel economy.
    This advanced fuel injection system works in combination with turbocharging technology to create a high level of compatibility between the 'high tumble ratio' achieved by optimising the shape of the cylinder head intake ports and the piston tops, and turbo 'boost control'.
    Innovative Dual VVT-iW TechnologyOptimising torque throughout the engine rev range and allowing the engine to start in the Otto cycle and yet run in the more fuel efficient Atkinson cycle, the new Lexus turbo features innovative dual variable valve timing technology which adopts VVT-i to the exhaust valves and VVT-iW to the intake valves, but also delivers wide open throttle performance.
    The late intake valve closing of the Atkinson cycle reduces pumping losses and boosts fuel economy. VVT-iW incorporates a mid-position lock which not only enables the Atkinson cycle to be maintained without sacrificing starting performance in cold weather.
    Further Advanced Features
    The new 2.0 litre turbo engine is remarkably light and compact. Cast with low nickel content heat resistant steel, and featuring a resin cylinder head cover, intake manifold and intake pipes, it weighs just 160 kg. The unit was bench-tested for more than 10,000 hours before extensive on-road testing began, during which it then covering more than one million kilometres.
    Several measures have been adopted to reduce friction losses within various parts of the engine, enhancing fuel economy. The adoption of an offset crankshaft lowers the piston thrust load to reduce friction losses. Cylinder bore machining has been improved and a piston surface treatment applied to the piston skirts, reducing sliding resistance. Low tension piston rings have been used, and the weight of reciprocating parts reduced.
    A lightweight roller rocker valve train and a low friction timing chain have been adopted, and the sliding parts of the chain fabricated in a low friction material. Low friction materials have also been used for the crankshaft oil seals, and the flow of lubricating oil optimised, with oil pump flow reduced through the adoption of a variable discharge mechanism.
    Careful heat management within the engine further improves fuel efficiency. To that end, a cylinder block rapid warm-up system suppresses the flow of coolant into the block when the engine is cold, and a piston cooling oil jet control system cuts the supply of oil to the pistons to improve warm-up speeds.
    Smoothness, Quietness and a Better Turbo SoundWith the rigidity of the main structural components already optimised to suppress vibration, the new engine is further equipped with a balance shaft featuring resin gears for even greater smoothness.
    Newly developed lubricating calcium free oil removes the chance of engine knock at low engine revolutions, and the piston cooling oil jet system further improves anti-knock performance.
    The water-cooled intercooler provides strong advantages in starting off acceleration and a 0.3-second reduction in 0–100km/h acceleration time over an air-to-air type alternative. The acceleration curve prioritises torque delivery at low speeds.
    Turbo engines tend to be noisy when the throttle is closed (referred to as the ‘turbo sigh’). An electric air bypass valve and resonator have been adopted to greatly reduce characteristic turbocharger noise. As a turbocharged engine requires smooth intake flow for performance, Lexus engineers focused on creating special duct shapes which deliver power without noise.
    Eight-speed transmission with paddle shiftsThe IS 200t also received the 8-Speed Sport Direct Shift transmission with paddle shifts, originally developed for the RC F high-performance coupe. The rear wheel drive IS 200t is the first Lexus sedan to vary gear shifting in accordance to G-forces.
    The transmission automatically downshifts during hard braking before a corner then holds a lower gear through the corner for best control and then selects the most suitable gear on corner exit to give the driver greater throttle response.
    The IS 200t will be available as from September 2015.

    William Maley

    Toyota's North America CEO Has Only One Regret with Lexus

    Automotive News had a chance to speak with Toyota's North America CEO Jim Lentz. During the chat, the topic of Lexus came and Lentz had something interesting items to say about.
    First, Lentz said that it would have been wiser to build a three-row crossover first, and not the image coupe RC.
    "In hindsight, if I was making this decision 10 years ago, seeing what I see today, the three-row [crossover] probably would have been the better play to come out first," said Lentz.
    The three-row crossover would allow the brand to hold on to the Gen Y crowd as they begin to have families and begin looking for a larger vehicle.
    Now Lentz doesn't say the RC is a mistake. The coupe has been doing quite with sales of 4,258 for the year so far - putting it ahead of the LS flagship.
    Lentz also makes it clear that Lexus will not be heading downward to compete with the likes of the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, both which start under $30,000.
    "In the luxury business, chasing volume is not a good strategy. Luxury cars cost a certain dollar amount for a reason. I don't want to cheapen my cars just to offer a lease that's $20 a month less," said Lentz.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    A New Lexus Costing Under $30,000? Don't Count On It

    Many luxury manufacturers are going downmarket to bring in more younger buyers and increase sales. But Lexus isn't one of them. Jeff Bracken, general manager for Lexus told the Automotive Press Association on Monday that the luxury automaker will not venture below the $30,000 mark.
    "You won't see Lexus go down below $30,000. We are fortunate to have Toyota to help us with CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) regulations so you won't see us going downstream. For Lexus to be truly luxury, the division needs to keep ourselves above $30,000," said Bracken.
    What Lexus will be doing instead is focusing on performance and high-end vehicles to bring in younger buyers and grow the brand.
    "We believe young customers have a different definition of luxury," Bracken said, and it includes driving dynamics.
    Lexus has been offering F-Sport versions of many of its vehicles, along with full blown F models such as the previous-generation IS-F and new RC-F. Bracken told the group that Lexus will be unveiling a new performance vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in January, but wouldn't go any further than that ( Production LF-LC or GS-F?).
    Source: Detroit Free Press

    William Maley

    Two New F Models Are On The Way From Lexus

    Lexus is giving its performance brand a couple new additions in the near future. A source tells Auto Guide that at the recent Lexus USA National Dealer Meeting in Los Angeles, the luxury automaker announced the convertible version of the RC F would be coming in the near future. There was no mention of whether or not the standard RC would be getting a convertible as well, but we wouldn't be surprised if there are plans for it.
    Lexus also confirmed that the long rumored GS-F would be heading into production in the near future. The model will share some of the styling cues from the RC-F and pack the 5.0L V8 producing close to 500 horsepower.
    Source: Auto Guide
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley

    The Lexus GS F Rumor Comes Back

    It has been almost three years since our last report on the Lexus GS F. At that time, we reported that the model would use a detuned version of the LF-A's V10 engine with 500+ horsepower. Nothing came of that rumor, but a new one has come across our rumorpile desk.
    Autocar has learned from sources that GS F is still incoming and will use a tuned version of the 5.0L V8 found the upcoming RC F Coupe producing somewhere in the range of 500 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This will be paired up to a eight-speed automatic and Torsen differential. The run to 60 MPH is expected to be in the mid four second range and reach a top speed of 170 MPH. The report goes on to say that orders could begin as early as the forth quarter of next year.
    Like before, we'll believe it when we see it.
    Source: Autocar
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley

    A Three-Row Crossover Is Still In The Cards For Lexus

    There has been one request that Lexus dealers have been asking for the past few years.
    "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," said Lexus Division chief Jeff Bracken to Automotive News. "We could bring it to market in 2016 or 2017. If we can get it, that's the priority. We won't be bothered if it steps on RX. We want it."
    So how does Lexus plan on pulling this off? There appears to be two options on table. The first is making RX bigger. The current Toyota Highlander currently follows this idea with extending the body three inches to fit a third row. However, the third seat is very cramped and might not be what customers are looking for. The other is to build a new model by using either the Camry/Avalon/Highlander platform or the IS/GS platform.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley

    Lexus Introduces Their Contender In The Compact Crossover Market

    The hot thing in the automotive marketplace, especially in the luxury car segment is compact crossovers. At the moment, we have the BMW X1 and Buick Encore. Before too long, the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will be making an appearance. Now another luxury automaker is joining the fun. Yesterday at the Beijing Motor Show, Lexus unveiled the production NX crossover.
    Compared to the concept NX that was making the rounds last year, the production model loses some of the sharpness. It hasn't loss any of the dramatics though. The design still features the spindle grille, narrow headlights with L-Shaped LED strand sitting underneath, and sculpting along the bottom of the doors. Inside, the NX takes some ideas from the IS with a center stack that features a screen on top and controls right underneath. There is also the latest version of Lexus' Remote Touch system which now features a touchpad taking the place of the joystick.
    For the U.S., the NX will be offered with two powertrains:
    NX 200t: 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, Six-Speed Automatic
    NX 300h: 194 horsepower and N/A pound-feet of torque, CVT

    Both models come with front-wheel drive as standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.
    Lexus says the NX lineup will be available sometime later this year.
    Source: Lexus
    Press Release is on Page 2
    All-New Lexus NX Compact Crossover Launches With Marque’s First Turbo Powertrain
    Available With Three Powertrains: Gasoline Turbo NX 200t, Naturally Aspirated NX 200, and Full Hybrid NX 300h
    Lexus Enters Luxury Compact Crossover Segment
    NX Reveal at Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 20

    April 10, 2014
    BEIJING – April 11, 2014 – There’s a first for everything! The all-new Lexus NX comes to market as the brand’s first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment and with the first turbo in the lineup. The NX will also be offered in naturally aspirated and hybrid powertrains. Powertrains will vary by region. The U.S. market will offer the NX 200t turbo and NX 300h hybrid. The NX 200t F SPORT will also be available with unique exterior and interior features.
    Lexus will maintain its role as the luxury hybrid leader with six hybrid models including the NX 300h. The NX will be the fourth vehicle in Lexus’ luxury utility vehicle lineup and positioned below the popular RX.
    The Lexus LF-NX concepts, originally introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows, influenced the striking and emotional design of the NX. The sharply styled crossover will be revealed at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 20.
    Chief engineer Takeaki Kato and his team developed NX as a luxury vehicle that provides versatility and details unexpected in its class to young, urban drivers.
    Exterior Design
    The NX was developed to have more agility than a SUV plus a bold, eye-catching exterior with its low profile and unique roofline.
    As with all Lexus vehicles, the aggressive exterior starts with the spindle grille. Innovative LED headlamps and daytime running lamps firmly express Lexus’ bold styling.
    The front and rear wheel arches add to the NX’s wide and low, muscular stance with bold flares. The arches house standard 17-inch or available 18-inch wheels.
    The profile is accentuated by a roofline peak set towards the back of the vehicle to create a tight silhouette and provide ample head-room for rear seat occupants.
    Subtle, luxury details are included in the innovative Lexus-first door handle with a hidden key barrel and integrated lighting.
    The rear is punctuated by Lexus’ signature ‘L’ shape combination lamps, each with seamless LED lighting, while the bodywork echoes the spindle grille design.
    Interior Design
    The NX’s cabin combines the structural beauty of a high-performance machine with luxury materials that maximizes functionality. The combination of hard metallic surfaces and contrasting soft materials help create a unique interior.
    A strong, center silver frame surrounds and defines the center instrument panel. Knee pads located at the base of the center stack help support the driver and passenger. The Human Machine Interface (HMI) technology continues the impression of an advanced vehicle and is also located at the bottom of the center stack.
    Seating played a significant role in the cabin design. The NX possesses a low hip point adding to the connection of the driver to the vehicle and increasing overall head room. The NX also has a long cargo area length and a wide front to rear couple distance.
    The NX introduces an innovative all-new 2.0-liter gasoline turbo in NX 200t and a naturally aspirated engine in NX 200 with the choice of front and all-weather drive. Lexus also offers a highly efficient hybrid in NX 300h.
    The NX has an array of innovative on-board technology, including an available Lexus-first Wireless Charging Tray to enable a mobile phone to be charged. Other available technology includes the first application of a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad; and a comprehensive Multi-information Display, including a Lexus-first G sensor and boost meter, Heads-Up Display, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

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