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William Maley

Lexus News: Lexus Experiments With No-Haggle Pricing

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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


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In Quebec a decade ago...Toyota had no haggle policy...I dont remember if Lexus had one too..and I dont know if Toyota still has this no haggle policy...but good luck to them if that is the route they want to take in the States...

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Good idea. This is directly targeted at millenial buyers who view the car-buying process to be as archaic as rubbing sticks to make fire.  

 

Having the single point of contact is also clever. It creates a more personalized approach that's consistent with a luxury image. 

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I like the idea of no-haggle pricing.  Cars are about the only new product you negotiate price on.  You don't negotiate on price of a washer and dryer set, you compare the price of Kenmore, Whirlpool and Maytag and pick one.

 

The car buying process is lousy, and you do often talk to a sales person or two, then the manager, then the fiance person, then the sales person again, it takes forever.   I'd rather buy a car online at a no haggle price and skip all the crap that dealers put customers through.

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Dealer mark up? Maybe up the price to assume a deal...

 

 

Should be interesting since most look at price first.

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Toyota: we aimed to beat GM. Then we slowly morphed into them. See also: Saturn.

 

I think Scion has been no-haggle for years.

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Toyota: we aimed to beat GM. Then we slowly morphed into them. See also: Saturn.

 

I think Scion has been no-haggle for years.

 

 

Yeah, Scion has been doing this since the start. I believe its called Pure Price.

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This is a bunch of hogwash.  The salesperson is not going to be the guy who says what the trade in is worth.  The sales guy is not going to be skilled in extracting as much possibilities from the finance process that the finance person is a professional in.  The general mgr and sales mgrs will want to have the final say on deals.  Unless they pay all the sales people big $$$$$ and make them personally responsible for profit and loss on the deal.  

 

This is PR crap.  I do believe they can be successful on the one price thing, but now you are colluding to ask all your dealers to sell for the same price.  If dealer A sells 200 Lexi a month, why should they not have the ability to discount their price if their volume bonus allows?

 

Since most Lexi probably lease anyways, these complications on one price may not matter but there are so many unique situations with buying a car, and trust me, rich folks are the ones who want the most price accommodations and to haggle when shopping.  

 

All this millenial pandering if that is part of this, I highly doubt its so horribly frustrating to get prices from 2-3 places and get the best one.

 

the trade in and finance process is going to be profoundly different at any dealer NO MATTER WHAT LEXUS THINKS THEY CAN DO on the sales side.

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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      In the coming weeks, Hyundai dealers will be getting their first batch of the 2019 Veloster and Veloster Turbo models. Before then, Hyundai has revealed the pricing for their polarizing three-door coupe.
      The base Veloster will kick off at $19,385 (includes an $885 destination charge) and nets you a 2.0L four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This will come paired with a six-speed manual, with a six-speed automatic adds a $1,000. There is a decent amount of equipment such as automatic emergency braking, heated side mirrors, lane keep assist, and a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Premium package that offers automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, heated seats, and an 8-inch infotainment system with navigation adds $3,250 for the Veloster equipped with the automatic.
      Next up is the Veloster Turbo R-Spec that swaps the 2.0L for the turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, and a six-speed manual. This gets a unique interior, LED headlights, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires. A dual-clutch transmission is available for an additional $2,500 and includes automatic climate control and heated seats.
      Topping the lineup is the Turbo Ultimate beginning at either $27,535 (manual) or $29,035 (DCT). The Ultimate gets adaptive cruise control (DCT only), head-up display, 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, and pedestrian detection.
      Those hoping to learn about pricing for the Veloster N will need to wait a bit longer.
      Source: Hyundai


      Hyundai Introduces All-New 2019 Veloster and Veloster Turbo
      Veloster retains unique two-plus-one door asymmetrical bodystyle configuration Available 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque Generous cutting-edge infotainment and connectivity features Standard multi-link rear suspension for agile dynamics Starting at $18,500 for 2.0 manual-transmission model AUSTIN, Texas, May 15, 2018 – Hyundai unveiled its all-new Veloster and Veloster Turbo models at the North American International Auto Show in January 2018. The fresh design was a collaborative effort of Hyundai designers from Seoul, South Korea and the U.S. design center in Irvine, California. The new Veloster features a comprehensive exterior and interior redesign, powertrain enhancements, and a bevy of new and improved infotainment and connectivity features. The 2019 Veloster began production in March 2018 in Ulsan, Korea, with U.S. market availability in the second quarter of 2018.
      “Our new 2019 Veloster represents an even more compelling offering for young and young-at-heart automotive enthusiasts with more expressive design, involving dynamics and cutting-edge infotainment features,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Veloster is sure to attract a progressive new group of enthusiast buyers.”
      ALL-NEW DESIGN
      The Veloster merges the design appeal of a sport coupe with the versatility of an additional passenger side rear door in an asymmetrical two-plus-one configuration for easier rear-seat access. From the front, available LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights flank a striking new grille design. Functional air curtains add both a visual design cue and an active aerodynamic function. Hyundai’s signature cascade grille shape has morphed into a strong, three-dimensional design that sets the sport coupe apart.
      Much of the redesign is derived from enhanced proportions and volume; the new shape clearly conveys focused dynamic performance, even standing still. Its stance is more muscular, with higher-volume fenders and wheel arches for a more planted appearance. The cowl point and A-pillar are further rearward and now connect the hood line and belt line into an integrated, powerful gesture. Available 18-inch alloy wheels aggressively fill the wheelhouse openings. Further, the roofline has been lowered for a unique profile and a distinctive coupe-inspired essence. The fender line is also more coupe-like, and the rear now has a more aggressive integrated diffuser design. Available LED taillights help complete the rear view with a high-tech appearance.
      Also available is a full darkened roof treatment for a high-contrast performance appearance. Veloster’s dynamic rear design has a distinctive glass hatch and center-fascia chrome exhaust tips, with a single outlet for the 2.0-liter model and dual-outlets for Turbo and R-Spec models.
      INTERIOR
      The asymmetrical design carries through to the interior, with a driver-focused interior layout and on the Turbo Ultimate, a contrasting color environment that visually separates the driving cockpit. Each trim level has unique colors, materials, and accents, further differentiating each model with varying hues and textures.
      In addition to these new colors and textures, the new Veloster also offers generous rear cargo capacity, with 19.9 cubic feet of interior volume behind the 2nd row seat, more than Mini Cooper, Mini Clubman and VW Beetle.
      2.0-LITER NU ENGINE 
      The Veloster 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine uses the Atkinson-cycle for superior efficiency and lower emissions. The 2.0-liter engine delivers a peak output of 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm (estimated) and maximum torque of 132 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm (estimated). The Nu 2.0-liter also features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, an electronic throttle control, variable induction and innovative anti-friction coatings. The 2.0-liter engine is coupled with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission. Three driver-selectable modes include Normal, Sport, and Smart, according to changing driver preferences.
      GAMMA 1.6-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
      The 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine produces 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (estimated) and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm (estimated). Turbo models generate 201 horsepower on regular fuel, which represents a best-in-class specific output of 125.6 horsepower per liter. Further, there is an over-boost function that raises peak torque output to 202 lb.-ft. under maximum acceleration. Engine tuning maximizes low- and mid-range torque, for optimum acceleration under daily driving conditions.
      Veloster Turbo is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). For R-Spec manual transmission models, a B&M Racing® sport shifter will also be applied (later availability). Both transmissions were developed in-house by Hyundai. The Veloster Turbo seven-speed dual-clutch transmission features steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters and SHIFTRONIC® transmission gear control. In addition, all Veloster Turbo models feature Active Engine Sound, which enhances intake and exhaust powertrain sound character inside the cabin for a more visceral driving experience, especially during spirited driving. All A/T and DCT models also offer three selectable driving modes, including Normal, Sport and Smart, (Normal and Sport on M/T models), according to driver preferences for engine, transmission and steering feel. The Smart mode varies within the range of settings according to how the vehicle is currently being driven (such as in an economical or a more spirited manner). For Turbo models, driver preference for Active Engine Sound is also available.
      TORQUE VECTORING CONTROL
      All Veloster models offer Torque Vectoring Control (TVC). This active cornering feature utilizing capabilities from the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and powertrain control systems, allows Veloster to improve dynamic cornering during more enthusiastic driving. TVC uses wheel-speed sensors coupled with ESC algorithms to apply precise braking force to the inside front wheel during spirited cornering. This active braking redirects power to the outside front wheel in the turn, reducing wheelspin for enhanced cornering grip and corner-exit acceleration. Overall, this provides Veloster drivers with an incremental margin of cornering precision during enthusiastic driving.         
      Further, Veloster Turbo features a quicker-ratio steering rack and a revised steering calibration to match, which gives drivers precise cornering, feedback and control.
      DCT TRANSMISSION
      Hyundai’s EcoShift DCT takes the benefits of a manual transmission, such as low fuel consumption, and blends these with automatic transmission benefits, such as high comfort levels and driving ease. In addition, the DCT enables direct connection for high efficiency and uninterrupted torque transfer during shifts. The DCT also incorporates Hyundai’s Hillstart Assist Control (HAC), designed to minimize rolling backwards on steep ascents.
      Veloster’s compelling combination of performance with efficiency is a formula many industry competitors are seeking to duplicate. Hyundai’s development focus on all the factors of efficient performance, such as small-displacement turbocharged engines, dual-clutch transmissions, comprehensive lightweighting, efficient aerodynamics, and reduction of parasitic engine losses through electric-powered ancillaries, have combined to yield simultaneous benefits in performance and efficiency to the consumer.
      TURBO MODEL SPORT-TUNED DYNAMICS
      Veloster Turbos are fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 24-mm diameter front stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a lightweight independent multi-link design with a 19-mm stabilizer bar to further control body roll. The rear suspension uses gas-pressurized shock absorbers for ride comfort with excellent control. Veloster features electric power steering that adjusts assistance to changing driving conditions while improving fuel economy over a conventional steering system. When equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, available 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin® Pilot Sport 4 summer tires.
      All Veloster models also use aluminum front steering knuckles for a total of 10.6 lbs. of reduced unsprung mass at the front suspension compared with the previous generation. In addition, the rear suspension carrier is aluminum, resulting in an 8.4 lb. reduction of unsprung mass for the rear suspension compared with the previous generation.
      ADVANCED STANDARD SAFETY
      2019 Veloster includes standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses the car’s front-facing camera to detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Three additional systems also utilize the front-view camera to boost safety and convenience: Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA) for the available LED headlights, and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Lane Keep Assist is a standard safety feature for 2019 Veloster.
      By sensing road markings, LKA helps to prevent accidental lane departure by helping to steer the vehicle as required. HBA automatically controls the high beam headlights by dimming and illuminating them automatically as needed with approaching traffic, while the Driver Attention Warning system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to detect driver fatigue or careless driving.
      Veloster radar systems also assist with the available Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) to detect approaching vehicles from the rear that may be obscured from view and alert the driver of their presence during lane changes. The Rear Cross-Traffic Collison Warning (RCCW) detects when another vehicle may have entered the car’s rearward path, such as when backing out of a parking spot, and provides a driver alert. Veloster Turbo also offers available Smart Cruise Control for additional driver convenience.
      All Velosters feature a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines fitted to all models for superior parking visibility. Velosters have an exceptional level of standard safety features for the sporty coupe segment highlighted by a Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, which optimally manages ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS).
      VSM works to control two effects. The first is when a driver accelerates or brakes on a split-mu surface (slippery on one side, dry pavement on the other) and the vehicle wants to pull in one direction. VSM detects this condition and sends a signal to the MDPS to apply steering assist to counter this force. VSM counters the pull and automatically provides counter-steering. VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering.
      All Velosters feature six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags. The Veloster braking package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on vehicle loading conditions.
      ADVANCED INFOTAINMENT AND CONNECTIVITY
      Veloster offers a full suite of sophisticated technologies paired with user-friendly functionality to keep passengers informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including standard Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™. Also available are SiriusXM® Radio, HD Radio and next-generation Blue Link® LTE-powered connectivity. The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes AM/FM/MP3 touchscreen audio, auxiliary inputs, and Rear View Monitor. The available floating-design eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes next-generation Blue Link, traffic flow and incident data via HD radio, and Infinity® premium audio with eight speakers, including a subwoofer and Clari-Fi ™ music-restoration technology.
      A Heads-Up Display system is available, projecting a virtual image onto the transparent panel mounted behind the instrument panel and helping the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. With an 8.0-inch projected-image size and an outstanding 10,000 nits of luminance, the Heads-Up Display ensures both excellent day- and night-time visibility. Information projected includes speed, navigation instructions, cruise control, Lane Departure Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning and audio system information. When in Sport mode, the system projects more driver-focused information including RPM, MPH and transmission gear. Deployed vertically by a simple touch of a button beside the steering wheel, the display disappears into the dashboard when not in use.
      Customers expect to be connected to their electronics at all times, so Veloster comes standard with a multifunction seven-inch touchscreen display. Veloster audio/navigation systems also offer:
      Available Qi wireless-charging capability Available eight-inch display audio or audio/navigation system Available HD Radio® capability “Eyes Free” Apple Siri® integration for iPhone Navigation map and music split-screen display function Navigation map with enhanced junction-view lane guidance Veloster Turbo features standard Infinity Premium audio with eight speakers, including a subwoofer, passive radiator and external amplifier. A SiriusXM® Satellite Radio interface is integrated into the head unit and features channel logos and data services.
      Veloster also offers available smartphone wireless charging. To charge a device, simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless-charging interface located in the center console storage, recharging without the need for cables. The system indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging. The system is fully compliant with WPC’s Qi standard for ease of use.
      NEXT-GENERATION BLUE LINK® CONNECTED CAR SYSTEM
      Veloster offers Blue Link®, including three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon® Alexa Blue Link skill, and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear™ and Apple Watch™ smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
      Widgets for easy access to remote features Ability to send Point-of-Interest data to vehicle navigation system (if so equipped) Access to Blue Link notification settings More details on specific Blue Link-equipped vehicles available at www.hyundaibluelink.com.
      COLOR
      Veloster is available in a variety of energetic exterior colors, including: Ultra Black, Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray, Sunset Orange, Racing Red, and Space Gray. Interior environments include cloth (2.0/Turbo R-Spec), cloth/leather combinations (2.0 Premium/Turbo), and all-leather (Turbo Ultimate) models.
      PRICING
      VELOSTER ENGINE AND TRIM
      MSRP
      2.0 M/T
      $18,500
      2.0 A/T
      $19,500
      2.0 A/T PREMIUM
      $22,750
      TURBO R-SPEC M/T
      $22,900
      TURBO DCT
      $25,400
      TURBO ULTIMATE M/T
      $26,650
      TURBO ULTIMATE DCT
      $28,150
        NOTE: EXCLUDES FREIGHT CHARGE OF $885
       
    • By William Maley
      "We had no intention of turning it into a production car. But your positive reaction, as well as the reaction of our customers, changed our minds. We listened, and we made it real.”
      That was Toyota President Akio Toyoda speaking at the Lexus LC 500 debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Four years before, Lexus unveiled the LF-LC concept to the world. It was striking to say in the least with a design that empathized curves and deep cuts. There was no chance that this sleek concept would make it into production. It was too daring for a brand that liked to play it safe. But the LF-LC did make it into production and retained most of the design. But what is the rest of the car like?
      When an automaker takes a car from concept to production, something is usually lost in the translation due to regulations or costs. But Lexus was somehow able to carry over the design of the LF-LC concept to the LC 500. The front end is set very low and features the brand’s spindle grille and aggressive cuts in the bumper for the LED fog lights. Channels along the hood flow gently into either side of the grille. For the side, the door handles are flush with the doors and will pop out to allow entry into the vehicle. The rear fenders are quite wide to make room for larger tires and brake vents. The back stands out with narrow taillights that extend into the fenders and chrome exhaust surrounds. Wearing a dark grey finish, the LC 500 looks very sinister.
      The interior is a treat for the eyes. It’s a minimalist design with few buttons and knobs on the dash and door panels. There are some special design touches such as handles that float on the door panels and a grab handle that extends from the center stack to the console for the front seat passenger. Material quality is very impressive with leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and metal used throughout. My tester came with a set of sport seats with eight-way power seats. The seats feature increased bolstering to hold driver and passenger during a bout of exuberant driving. However, some people will not be able to fully fit into the seats because of the added bolstering. I would like to see Lexus offer some sort of adjustable bolstering down the road. The back seat is best used for storage. There is barely enough head and legroom for a small kid.
      A 10.3-inch screen sitting in the center stack features the latest version of Lexus Enform. The system features an updated interface with revised graphics and new color palate that makes it very easy to read at a glance. Controlling this is Lexus’ Remote Touchpad controller. Compared to other vehicles with the Touchpad, the LC brings a couple of key improvements. There are a set of shortcut buttons to common functions such as the radio and navigation. Lexus has also implemented a pause over each icon to prevent you from selecting another one because your finger slipped. Despite the improvements, Remote Touchpad is still very distracting to use when driving. You need to give your full attention to the system and not the road to make sure you’re turning on the heated seat for example. At least the LC 500 collision mitigation system with automatic braking to give you a bit of a safety net when using this system.
      Pop up the hood to find the heart of the LC 500; a 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde personality. Driven normally, the 5.0L V8 emits a low growl and delivers power in a smooth fashion. Gear changes from the 10-speed are unobtrusive. Drive it with some aggression and the LC becomes an animal. The V8 emits a roar similar to a muscle car and will throw you back into the seat as power comes on rapidly. The 10-speed automatic delivers fast shifts to keep the engine in its sweet spot of power. I found myself having a stupid grin on my face every time I would floor the accelerator just to hear the lovely sounds of the V8. 
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 are 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined. My average for the week landed around 18.6 mpg.
      The LC 500 is quite surprising on a winding road. Despite the large size and weight, the LC seems to glide from bend to bend with little body roll. Some of this can be attributed to the rear-wheel steering system that is part of an optional performance package that makes the coupe feel smaller. This package also adds the variable gear-ratio steering system which adjusts the number of turns to reach steering lock helps the LC feel nimble. The only downside is the steering lacking the feedback some driving enthusiasts want.
      On a cruise, the LC 500 settles down and provides a somewhat relaxing ride. A small number of bumps make their way inside due to the 21-inch forged aluminum wheels. The smaller 20-inch wheels do improve ride quality somewhat. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum levels.
      Possibly the big surprise is how much the LC 500 will set you back. The base is $92,000 and our test vehicle came with an as-tested price of $101,715 with destination. Considering how much performance and luxuries you get for the price, the LC 500 is quite the steal.
      Lexus took quite the gamble with the LC 500 and their efforts paid off. The sharp exterior styling hides a very impressive chassis that somehow balances sporty handling and comfort. Plus, the V8 engine provides one of the most impressive sounds. Lexus Enform and Remote Touch spoil the LC somewhat as it is distracting to use.
      In a way, the LC is a modern incarnation of the SC coupe from the 90s. Both were a departure for Lexus as they offered a sleek design, smooth and powerful engines, and a balance between comfort and support. The two coupes also gave Lexus something it was lacking, a soul.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LC 500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LC
      Trim: 500
      Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 471 @ 7,100
      Torque @ RPM:  398 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/26/19
      Curb Weight: 4,280 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan
      Base Price: $92,000
      As Tested Price: $101,715 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Performance Package with Carbon - $5,960.00
      Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System - $1,220.00
      Color Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential - $390.00
      All-Weather Trim Package - $250.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      "We had no intention of turning it into a production car. But your positive reaction, as well as the reaction of our customers, changed our minds. We listened, and we made it real.”
      That was Toyota President Akio Toyoda speaking at the Lexus LC 500 debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Four years before, Lexus unveiled the LF-LC concept to the world. It was striking to say in the least with a design that empathized curves and deep cuts. There was no chance that this sleek concept would make it into production. It was too daring for a brand that liked to play it safe. But the LF-LC did make it into production and retained most of the design. But what is the rest of the car like?
      When an automaker takes a car from concept to production, something is usually lost in the translation due to regulations or costs. But Lexus was somehow able to carry over the design of the LF-LC concept to the LC 500. The front end is set very low and features the brand’s spindle grille and aggressive cuts in the bumper for the LED fog lights. Channels along the hood flow gently into either side of the grille. For the side, the door handles are flush with the doors and will pop out to allow entry into the vehicle. The rear fenders are quite wide to make room for larger tires and brake vents. The back stands out with narrow taillights that extend into the fenders and chrome exhaust surrounds. Wearing a dark grey finish, the LC 500 looks very sinister.
      The interior is a treat for the eyes. It’s a minimalist design with few buttons and knobs on the dash and door panels. There are some special design touches such as handles that float on the door panels and a grab handle that extends from the center stack to the console for the front seat passenger. Material quality is very impressive with leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and metal used throughout. My tester came with a set of sport seats with eight-way power seats. The seats feature increased bolstering to hold driver and passenger during a bout of exuberant driving. However, some people will not be able to fully fit into the seats because of the added bolstering. I would like to see Lexus offer some sort of adjustable bolstering down the road. The back seat is best used for storage. There is barely enough head and legroom for a small kid.
      A 10.3-inch screen sitting in the center stack features the latest version of Lexus Enform. The system features an updated interface with revised graphics and new color palate that makes it very easy to read at a glance. Controlling this is Lexus’ Remote Touchpad controller. Compared to other vehicles with the Touchpad, the LC brings a couple of key improvements. There are a set of shortcut buttons to common functions such as the radio and navigation. Lexus has also implemented a pause over each icon to prevent you from selecting another one because your finger slipped. Despite the improvements, Remote Touchpad is still very distracting to use when driving. You need to give your full attention to the system and not the road to make sure you’re turning on the heated seat for example. At least the LC 500 collision mitigation system with automatic braking to give you a bit of a safety net when using this system.
      Pop up the hood to find the heart of the LC 500; a 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde personality. Driven normally, the 5.0L V8 emits a low growl and delivers power in a smooth fashion. Gear changes from the 10-speed are unobtrusive. Drive it with some aggression and the LC becomes an animal. The V8 emits a roar similar to a muscle car and will throw you back into the seat as power comes on rapidly. The 10-speed automatic delivers fast shifts to keep the engine in its sweet spot of power. I found myself having a stupid grin on my face every time I would floor the accelerator just to hear the lovely sounds of the V8. 
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 are 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined. My average for the week landed around 18.6 mpg.
      The LC 500 is quite surprising on a winding road. Despite the large size and weight, the LC seems to glide from bend to bend with little body roll. Some of this can be attributed to the rear-wheel steering system that is part of an optional performance package that makes the coupe feel smaller. This package also adds the variable gear-ratio steering system which adjusts the number of turns to reach steering lock helps the LC feel nimble. The only downside is the steering lacking the feedback some driving enthusiasts want.
      On a cruise, the LC 500 settles down and provides a somewhat relaxing ride. A small number of bumps make their way inside due to the 21-inch forged aluminum wheels. The smaller 20-inch wheels do improve ride quality somewhat. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum levels.
      Possibly the big surprise is how much the LC 500 will set you back. The base is $92,000 and our test vehicle came with an as-tested price of $101,715 with destination. Considering how much performance and luxuries you get for the price, the LC 500 is quite the steal.
      Lexus took quite the gamble with the LC 500 and their efforts paid off. The sharp exterior styling hides a very impressive chassis that somehow balances sporty handling and comfort. Plus, the V8 engine provides one of the most impressive sounds. Lexus Enform and Remote Touch spoil the LC somewhat as it is distracting to use.
      In a way, the LC is a modern incarnation of the SC coupe from the 90s. Both were a departure for Lexus as they offered a sleek design, smooth and powerful engines, and a balance between comfort and support. The two coupes also gave Lexus something it was lacking, a soul.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LC 500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LC
      Trim: 500
      Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 471 @ 7,100
      Torque @ RPM:  398 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/26/19
      Curb Weight: 4,280 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan
      Base Price: $92,000
      As Tested Price: $101,715 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Performance Package with Carbon - $5,960.00
      Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System - $1,220.00
      Color Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential - $390.00
      All-Weather Trim Package - $250.00
    • By William Maley
      The Lexus ES has always been the safe, conservative choice in the midsize class. There was nothing controversial or exciting about it. But that is changing with the seventh-generation model that made its debut today at Auto China.
      Lexus has already given us a preview of what most of the ES looks like last week, but we weren't sure about what the back end looks like. We now know and it looks very similar to the current GS with a short trunk lid, triangular taillights that extend into the rear fenders, and sculpting on the bumper. This generation of the ES will also get for the first time an F-Sport package with a mesh grille, body kit, and new wheels.
      In terms of dimensions, the 2019 ES sees a 2.6-inch increase in overall length, 2-inch increase in wheelbase, and a 1.8-inch increase in width.
      The interior borrows a fair amount of ideas from the LS and LC with a trapezoidal gauge cluster and control knobs sitting on either side; real wood and aluminum dash accents, and a large infotainment screen measuring out 8- or 12-inches. The ES will be the first Lexus model to get (finally) Apple CarPlay intergration. Those with Android phones are just out of luck.
      Lexus will offer two engines for the U.S. market. The ES 350 packs a 3.5L V6 producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. For those who care about fuel efficiency have the ES 300h which pairs a 2.5L four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce a total output of 215. The V6 gets an eight-speed automatic, while the ES 300h makes do with a CVT. Platform-wise, the ES uses a variant of the GA-K platform found in the new Camry and Avalon. Lexus added extra reinforcement for the ES to improve overall rigidity.
      The 2019 ES arrives at Lexus dealers in September.
      Source: Lexus


      A New Level of Performance and Sophistication—The Next Generation Lexus ES
      Emotional Design Reflects New Dynamic Capabilities Introduction of the First F SPORT Model in the ES Lineup Hybrid Model Delivers Exceptional Mileage and Improved Performance BEIJING, April 25, 2018 — After six generations of unprecedented success in the entry-luxury sedan category, the next-generation Lexus ES is forging a new, more ambitious path. Long known for its unparalleled comfort, refinement and luxury appointments, the seventh-generation ES builds on its strengths with an all-new chassis that allows for a more dynamic exterior design and the introduction of the first ES F SPORT.
       
      Representing the third vehicle in the Future Chapter of Lexus that started with the LC coupe and LS sedan, the new ES expands that vision of the brand’s future to a broader audience. Traditional buyers will find the new ES more spacious, quieter and safer than ever before while a new generation of customers will be introduced to a sedan with sharpened performance, class-leading active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment.  
       
      The New Dimension of ES Design
      Built on the all-new Global Architecture – K (GA-K) platform, the new ES pushes the limits of design in the luxury sedan class. This ES is longer (+2.6 in), lower (-.2 in) and wider (+1.8 in.) than before with wheels that have been pushed closer to the corners thanks to a two-inch longer wheelbase and wider tracks front (+.4 in) and rear (+1.5 in). Its stance and proportions reflect its newfound performance capabilities and give the ES the kind of eye-catching appearance that will make owners take a second look as they walk away.
       
      Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino, describes the look of the ES as “provocative elegance”.
       
      “The ES has always been an elegant luxury sedan. For this generation, we have added daring design elements that challenge the traditional expectations of buyers.”
       
      To create a dynamic yet fluid shape, Kaijino’s team used the low hood enabled by the new ES platform to produce a distinctive silhouette emphasized by an aggressive downward slant. Up front, the ES offers two dramatically different grille designs. The standard ES 350 and the ES 300h use elegant vertical bars that radiate out from the center while the ES 350 F SPORT model adopts a blacked out pattern consisting of “L”-shaped clusters with corresponding cut outs at each corner of the fascia.
       
      In a break with ES models of the past, the seventh-generation design uses a fast roofline that emphasizes its lower stance and slippery aerodynamics. The rear end is clean and sharply chiseled, with LED taillamps that wrap around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle. F SPORT models add a rear spoiler, additional rear badging and a dark lower valance to further refine the look. There are three different wheel designs (standard 17-inch, two 18-inch) for the ES 350 and ES 300h while the ES 350 F SPORT gets standard 19-inch wheels with a design similar to that found on the LC coupe. 
       
      A dozen colors make up the exterior paint palette including two new shades, one green and one beige, that are anything but typical. Moonbeam Beige Metallic was designed to mimic light reflecting off fresh snow, while Sunlit Green replicates the color of ocean water brightened by the sun. F SPORT models get an exclusive Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0 color that complements its high-energy design.
       
      The Future of Lexus Interiors
      When designing the look and feel of the ES’s interior, Kajino’s team started with the Lexus Future Interior concept which blends a driver-centric cockpit with a spacious and comfortable area for the front passenger. In the ES, the driver’s focus is kept on the road ahead by placing the center display screen, instrument panel and available heads up display in a tight cluster in the driver’s field of view. Front passengers, on the other hand, get a more open and spacious environment that promotes relaxation. 
       
      Rear seat passenger comfort has long been a hallmark of the ES and the seventh-generation model still prioritizes rear package capability despite the sleeker exterior roofline. A lower hip point and a carefully configured headliner preserve headroom while the longer wheelbase delivers generous legroom.
       
      To create an entirely different appearance for the inside of new F SPORT model, an all-new kind of metallic cabin trim was developed that is unlike anything else Lexus has done before. Inspired by the making of a traditional Japanese sword, Hadori aluminum trim features fluctuating wave patterns that give it a three-dimensional appearance that varies depending on the viewing angle. The effect is subtle yet indicative of the level of detail and craftsmanship that Kajino’s team put into giving the F SPORT a unique place in the lineup. The standard ES 350 and ES 300h will continue to offer traditional materials like Matte Bamboo, Linear Dark Mocha and Linear Espresso wood which give the ES a hand-crafted appearance that luxury buyers expect in this category.
       
      A New Era of Performance
      The engineering team led by Yasuhiro Sakakibara had one clear goal when it came to the ES: transform the image of the ES. That meant turning a sedan known primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering class-leading handling and power that you can feel and hear.
       
      According to Sakakibara, this ES was built to deliver a fundamentally higher level of performance than any of its predecessors. “We knew that this ES had to feel responsive and easy to drive, no matter what kind of road it was on and that can only be achieved with a solid foundation.”
       
      The starting point was the newly developed GA-K chassis. It’s an exceptionally rigid front-wheel drive chassis, rivalling the GA-L rear-wheel drive platform used for the LC coupe and LS sedan in terms of torsional stiffness. Various grades of high-tensile steel reduce weight versus previous platforms while additional enhancements like an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace mounted behind the rear seat gave the engineers the flexibility to tune the ES with a newfound level of precision.
       
      All of the upgrades to the chassis were designed to deliver a sense of comforting predictability coupled with a feeling of quick response to every movement. Yoshiaki Ito, chief test driver for Lexus, describes the ES’s heightened level and refined definition of comfort by saying: “We want every kind of driver to feel a sense of complete control when they are behind the wheel of the ES. It’s a level of comfort that goes beyond merely delivering a smooth ride.”
       
      For an enhanced level of dynamic performance, F SPORT models offer an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) similar to that found on the LC coupe. AVS adds adjustable dampers at each corner that feature 650 levels of damping force for the ultimate in control over any surface.  Another F SPORT exclusive is a Sport+ mode for the Drive Mode Select system that selects the most aggressive engine, transmission and suspension settings for maximum performance. A new Engine Sound Enhancement feature is also activated in Sport+ mode that adds an additional layer of engine noise that enhances the natural rhythms of the spirited driving.
       
      Standard V6 Power and a New 8-Speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission
      All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that is designed to deliver commanding acceleration along with an invigorating sound. With an update to D4-S fuel injection, the impressively smooth engine now develops 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Both of those numbers are up significantly (+34 hp, +19 lb-ft) compared to the previous generation V6.
       
      In addition to the boost in power, the ES 350 also benefits from a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. It uses an ultra-thin torque converter and a multi-plate lock up clutch to more efficiently transfer power to the front wheels, and has been tuned to deliver crisp, precisely timed shifts with quick responses. With a wider spread of ratios, the new eight speed is able to utilize high torque gears on the low end for quick starts and tall gearing on the high end for optimum efficiency.
       
      Fourth Generation Hybrid Drive System 
      Not to be outdone by its gasoline siblings, the ES 300h is capable of delivering exceptional fuel efficiency, responsive performance and minimal emissions for an entry-level luxury sedan. A new, fourth-generation Hybrid Drive System couples an ultra-efficient, Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with a lighter, more compact, more power dense electric motor and self-charging hybrid system. Together they deliver a combined 215 total system horsepower and a preliminary estimate of 44 mpg in combined driving.
       
      An all-new engine, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder incorporates fast-burn combustion technology that makes it one of the most thermally efficient engines ever offered in a Lexus. The result is more power without increasing emissions or fuel consumption. Various methods were used to achieve such impressive results including straight intake ports, increased valve angles and laser-clad valve seats. A variable capacity oil pump, multihole injectors, VVTi-E on the intake valves and a variable cooling system also contribute to the engine’s impressive heat and combustion management.   
       
      Overall drivability of the ES 300h has been improved thanks to a more sophisticated hybrid system control computer that is better able to mimic the feel and power delivery of a standard gas engine. An all-new nickel metal hydride battery is smaller than before which allows it to be mounted underneath the back seat so it doesn’t infringe on trunk space.
       
      Unparalleled Safety Comes Standard
      One element of the ES that hasn’t been radically transformed is its dedication to safety. All versions of the seventh-generation ES feature the new Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. Already one of the most sophisticated systems of its kind, LSS+ 2.0 adds new features that further expand its capabilities.
       
      One such feature is daytime bicyclist detection which is part of the comprehensive Pre-Collision System (PCS). Already designed to detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian, the PCS system’s ability to potentially detect a bicyclist addresses a common accident scenario. PCS has also been enhanced to help better detect a pedestrian at night by increasing the radar’s sensitivity and dynamic range.
       
      Technology That Connects and Simplifies
      Staying connected has never been so important to ES owners, so there are now multiple ways to engage with technology in a safe and convenient manner. For example, the seventh-generation ES is the first Lexus product to offer Apple CarPlay™ phone functionality, enabling drivers to control their iPhones® through the dashboard display screen or with Siri Eyes Free® voice control.
       
      The ES is also Amazon Alexa®-enabled, so drivers can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions. That functionality includes car-to-home and home-to-car commands, so owners who have Alexa enabled devices in their home can interact with their ES before they ever get behind the wheel.
       
      On board Wi-fi powered by Verizon is also available on the ES as part of an optional navigation system that includes an easy-to-read 12.3-inch wide dashboard display. Along with its on-board data set, the navigation system is also capable of receiving over-the-air updates for improved routing and the latest Points of Interest (POIs).  Models without navigation will use an 8-inch display and all interactions will be controlled through the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) trackpad.
       
      The Next Chapter of ES 
      When it goes on sale in September, the 2019 Lexus ES will usher in a new era for one of the brand’s most popular models. Much like the flagship LS, the new ES sedan addresses the need to engage a broader range of customers. It delivers everything that traditional Lexus buyers expect along with elements that will draw in those who haven’t considered the brand before. Bolder styling, more dynamic performance, unique cabin materials and the latest technology add a chapter to the ES story that hasn’t been told, but that all changes in 2018.

      View full article
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