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Found 16 results

  1. Following the LS 500 at Detroit and the LS 500h at Geneva, New York will be the home for the 2018 LS 500 F-Sport debut. Before we get any further, we need to temper expectations. This isn't a fully fledged F model like the GS F or RC F where they get noticeable power increases. Instead, the F-Sport is more of an aesthetic and handling package. From the outside, the F-Sport adds a mesh grille, larger air vents, side skirts, 20-inch wheels, and special shade of white that is exclusive to the LS F-Sport. The interior comes with new sport seats, an F-Sport steering wheel, brushed aluminum trim, and a revised instrument cluster. A handling package that brings variable-ratio steering, rear-wheel steering, sport-tuned air suspension, and the Lexus' Active Stabilizer anti-roll-bar system is only available on the rear-drive LS 500. All F-Sport models do get larger brakes (6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston at the rear). The LS F-Sport arrives in early 2018. Source: Lexus Press Release is on Page 2 Having debuted its reinvented flagship sedan earlier this year—the all-new 2018 LS 500—Lexus is putting an exclamation point on this signature model with the new F SPORT model. The LS 500 F SPORT, unveiled today and on display this week at the New York International Auto Show, moves the driving emotion needle even farther with handling enhancements and a performance-infused design outside and in. The original luxury disruptor when it debuted to launch the brand, the Lexus LS has for nearly three decades set benchmarks for powertrain smoothness, ride quietness, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and long-term quality. The 2018 LS 500 will offer the most dynamic driving experience in the model’s history; now it has the possibility of being enhanced further with the new F SPORT model. Within the Lexus lineup, the F models, including GS F and RC F, are the track-tuned maximum performance machines. The F SPORT versions, meanwhile, imbue the standard models with a more engaging driving spirit through carefully applied chassis tuning and enhancements, while still emphasizing exceptional comfort. On the new LS, the F SPORT model will be available with gas and hybrid powertrains, and those choosing the RWD V6TT model will have the option of adding the F SPORT Handling Package to bring a level of liveliness never before seen on the flagship sedan. F SPORT Look Lexus designers didn’t hold back when giving the LS 500 its coupe-like silhouette and dramatic rendition of the Lexus signature spindle grille that shows even greater intricacy in the design. Developing the F SPORT grille took computer-aided design (CAD) operators some five months to achieve the desired texture and interaction with light. Even then, they adjusted 7,100 individual surfaces to achieve the desired look and texture (compared to 5,000 for the standard model’s grille). And when combined with the sporty enlarged side grille, it is functional as well, helping to maintain the vehicle’s cooling performance. The special F SPORT front grille, rocker panel, and trunk moldings accentuate the sedan’s rakish profile, while F SPORT badging on fenders and exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior transformation. For those looking to really stand out, Ultra White is offered as an F SPORT-exclusive exterior color. F SPORT Inside As it did with the exterior, Lexus shifted the LS 500 cabin into F SPORT spec by applying trim and features exclusive to this version. A common thread through all LS models remains: Omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Applied to the LS 500, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort and helping to protect them from hazards. The F SPORT adds a performance attitude to the mix. The F SPORT persona shines throughout the cabin, starting with the F SPORT-exclusive front seat, which provides enhanced support for dynamic driving. A perforated-grill pattern on seating surfaces and unique scored aluminum trim elements add additional sporty flair. The driver faces a special F SPORT steering wheel as well as a speedometer and tachometer in a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information—a design adapted from the limited-production Lexus LFA supercar and a further expression of the car’s dynamic intentions. Attention to detail shows in the aluminum accelerator, brake and footrest pedals, as well as the F SPORT perforated shift handle and footrest. Ultrasuede in the seats and headliner is the crowning touch. For those desiring the ultimate sporty look, a new Circuit Red interior is available exclusively on F SPORT models. LS 500 Chassis Details 2018 LS F SPORT models feature the latest generation of the brand’s advanced chassis control technology, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which has been refined since its debut more than a decade ago. In 2004, Lexus introduced the first integrated control system that combined the previously independent ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, and EPS, as well as other functions, into a single system. In 2012, the brand adopted the four-wheel active steering integrated control system—known as Lexus Dynamic Handling, or LDH—from the GS for enhanced safety and driving performance that responds to the driver’s intention. The new VDIM system implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems – braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension – to control basic longitudinal, lateral and vertical motion as well as yaw, roll and pitch. Optimal control of these motions helps to enable exceptional ride comfort, enhanced traction and safety and handling agility, and allows for enriched flat vehicle posture during cornering as well as a more comfortable and stable ride overall. Sporting Genes The LS 500 is based on an extended version of the brand’s premium global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L) platform from the new Lexus LC 500 coupe. The stiffest platform that Lexus has ever developed, GA-L sets the stage for enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. The LS F SPORT capitalizes on the platform’s responsiveness and agility. Equipping the LS 500 F SPORT with standard 20-inch wheels and 245/45RF20+ 275/40RF20 tires, (summer tires for RWD) along with larger front and rear brakes (6-piston calipers on front and 4 pistons on rear), unlocks more of the platform’s intrinsic performance capability. Opting for the available F SPORT Handling Package (RWD gas model) equips the LS 500 F SPORT with Lexus Dynamic Handling (Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Active Rear Steering), Active Stabilizer, and sport-tuned air suspension with rapid height function. The result is a full-size premium luxury sedan that responds more like a sports coupe through curves, helping to underline what F SPORT stands for. 415-Horsepower Heart with a 10-Speed Partner Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine specifically for the new 2018 LS 500, using twin turbochargers developed through the company’s F1 technology. This new twin-turbo V6 offers V8-level performance – 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque – paired with the first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission in luxury sedan. The engine yields a broad torque curve and, perfectly in tune with the F SPORT spirit, the new engine and transmission deliver instant acceleration and a constant buildup of torque toward the vehicle’s redline. The LS 500 is undeniably quick, with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds (gas RWD). An electric wastegate is among the features that contribute to the engine’s rapid responses. The driver can tailor powertrain response and feel by choosing from Normal, Sport S or Sport S+ modes, and just enough of the exhaust note is heard to enhance the sporty feel. F SPORT Performance, Hybrid Efficiency The LS 500h F SPORT infuses high efficiency into the sporting formula. The new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The V6 engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. Combined system output is 354 hp. The new system adapts the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range. In manual mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LS 500h F SPORT an enhanced dynamic feel on the road and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. The Multi Stage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds. What’s more, this system allows the RWD LS 500h to propel from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds – which is on par with the previous-generation V8-powered LS 460 and 3 /10th of a second faster than the AWD LS 600h. View full article
  2. Following the LS 500 at Detroit and the LS 500h at Geneva, New York will be the home for the 2018 LS 500 F-Sport debut. Before we get any further, we need to temper expectations. This isn't a fully fledged F model like the GS F or RC F where they get noticeable power increases. Instead, the F-Sport is more of an aesthetic and handling package. From the outside, the F-Sport adds a mesh grille, larger air vents, side skirts, 20-inch wheels, and special shade of white that is exclusive to the LS F-Sport. The interior comes with new sport seats, an F-Sport steering wheel, brushed aluminum trim, and a revised instrument cluster. A handling package that brings variable-ratio steering, rear-wheel steering, sport-tuned air suspension, and the Lexus' Active Stabilizer anti-roll-bar system is only available on the rear-drive LS 500. All F-Sport models do get larger brakes (6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston at the rear). The LS F-Sport arrives in early 2018. Source: Lexus Press Release is on Page 2 Having debuted its reinvented flagship sedan earlier this year—the all-new 2018 LS 500—Lexus is putting an exclamation point on this signature model with the new F SPORT model. The LS 500 F SPORT, unveiled today and on display this week at the New York International Auto Show, moves the driving emotion needle even farther with handling enhancements and a performance-infused design outside and in. The original luxury disruptor when it debuted to launch the brand, the Lexus LS has for nearly three decades set benchmarks for powertrain smoothness, ride quietness, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and long-term quality. The 2018 LS 500 will offer the most dynamic driving experience in the model’s history; now it has the possibility of being enhanced further with the new F SPORT model. Within the Lexus lineup, the F models, including GS F and RC F, are the track-tuned maximum performance machines. The F SPORT versions, meanwhile, imbue the standard models with a more engaging driving spirit through carefully applied chassis tuning and enhancements, while still emphasizing exceptional comfort. On the new LS, the F SPORT model will be available with gas and hybrid powertrains, and those choosing the RWD V6TT model will have the option of adding the F SPORT Handling Package to bring a level of liveliness never before seen on the flagship sedan. F SPORT Look Lexus designers didn’t hold back when giving the LS 500 its coupe-like silhouette and dramatic rendition of the Lexus signature spindle grille that shows even greater intricacy in the design. Developing the F SPORT grille took computer-aided design (CAD) operators some five months to achieve the desired texture and interaction with light. Even then, they adjusted 7,100 individual surfaces to achieve the desired look and texture (compared to 5,000 for the standard model’s grille). And when combined with the sporty enlarged side grille, it is functional as well, helping to maintain the vehicle’s cooling performance. The special F SPORT front grille, rocker panel, and trunk moldings accentuate the sedan’s rakish profile, while F SPORT badging on fenders and exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior transformation. For those looking to really stand out, Ultra White is offered as an F SPORT-exclusive exterior color. F SPORT Inside As it did with the exterior, Lexus shifted the LS 500 cabin into F SPORT spec by applying trim and features exclusive to this version. A common thread through all LS models remains: Omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Applied to the LS 500, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort and helping to protect them from hazards. The F SPORT adds a performance attitude to the mix. The F SPORT persona shines throughout the cabin, starting with the F SPORT-exclusive front seat, which provides enhanced support for dynamic driving. A perforated-grill pattern on seating surfaces and unique scored aluminum trim elements add additional sporty flair. The driver faces a special F SPORT steering wheel as well as a speedometer and tachometer in a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information—a design adapted from the limited-production Lexus LFA supercar and a further expression of the car’s dynamic intentions. Attention to detail shows in the aluminum accelerator, brake and footrest pedals, as well as the F SPORT perforated shift handle and footrest. Ultrasuede in the seats and headliner is the crowning touch. For those desiring the ultimate sporty look, a new Circuit Red interior is available exclusively on F SPORT models. LS 500 Chassis Details 2018 LS F SPORT models feature the latest generation of the brand’s advanced chassis control technology, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which has been refined since its debut more than a decade ago. In 2004, Lexus introduced the first integrated control system that combined the previously independent ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, and EPS, as well as other functions, into a single system. In 2012, the brand adopted the four-wheel active steering integrated control system—known as Lexus Dynamic Handling, or LDH—from the GS for enhanced safety and driving performance that responds to the driver’s intention. The new VDIM system implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems – braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension – to control basic longitudinal, lateral and vertical motion as well as yaw, roll and pitch. Optimal control of these motions helps to enable exceptional ride comfort, enhanced traction and safety and handling agility, and allows for enriched flat vehicle posture during cornering as well as a more comfortable and stable ride overall. Sporting Genes The LS 500 is based on an extended version of the brand’s premium global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L) platform from the new Lexus LC 500 coupe. The stiffest platform that Lexus has ever developed, GA-L sets the stage for enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. The LS F SPORT capitalizes on the platform’s responsiveness and agility. Equipping the LS 500 F SPORT with standard 20-inch wheels and 245/45RF20+ 275/40RF20 tires, (summer tires for RWD) along with larger front and rear brakes (6-piston calipers on front and 4 pistons on rear), unlocks more of the platform’s intrinsic performance capability. Opting for the available F SPORT Handling Package (RWD gas model) equips the LS 500 F SPORT with Lexus Dynamic Handling (Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Active Rear Steering), Active Stabilizer, and sport-tuned air suspension with rapid height function. The result is a full-size premium luxury sedan that responds more like a sports coupe through curves, helping to underline what F SPORT stands for. 415-Horsepower Heart with a 10-Speed Partner Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine specifically for the new 2018 LS 500, using twin turbochargers developed through the company’s F1 technology. This new twin-turbo V6 offers V8-level performance – 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque – paired with the first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission in luxury sedan. The engine yields a broad torque curve and, perfectly in tune with the F SPORT spirit, the new engine and transmission deliver instant acceleration and a constant buildup of torque toward the vehicle’s redline. The LS 500 is undeniably quick, with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds (gas RWD). An electric wastegate is among the features that contribute to the engine’s rapid responses. The driver can tailor powertrain response and feel by choosing from Normal, Sport S or Sport S+ modes, and just enough of the exhaust note is heard to enhance the sporty feel. F SPORT Performance, Hybrid Efficiency The LS 500h F SPORT infuses high efficiency into the sporting formula. The new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The V6 engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. Combined system output is 354 hp. The new system adapts the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range. In manual mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LS 500h F SPORT an enhanced dynamic feel on the road and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. The Multi Stage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds. What’s more, this system allows the RWD LS 500h to propel from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds – which is on par with the previous-generation V8-powered LS 460 and 3 /10th of a second faster than the AWD LS 600h.
  3. The Lexus IS is one of my favorite luxury sedans on sale today. The styling may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it helps make the IS stand out in a very crowded field of compact luxury sedans. Paired with the excellent 3.5L V6 and F-Sport package, the IS gives the German competition a run for its money in the twisty bits. Since we last drove the IS back in 2014, Lexus has made some changes to IS’ lineup with the base 2.5L V6 being dropped and a new turbocharged four-cylinder taking its place, along with a new variant of 3.5L V6 producing 255 horsepower badged as the IS 300. Recently, I spent some time in the IS 200t F-Sport and it was a bit disappointing. Read on to find out why. The cause for my disappointment? The turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine in question is the same one that is used in the NX 200t, a turbo 2.0L four-cylinder producing 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic comes standard on rear-drive models, while all-wheel drive models retain a six-speed automatic. Compared to the NX 200t, I think this engine has gotten worse in the IS. The major problem is turbo lag. I could count to three after stepping on the accelerator before the turbo would spool up and give the vehicle the needed shove to move along. Even with the vehicle in Sport mode, it takes a moment for the turbo to wake up. Once the turbo is spooled up, it moves the IS with some authority. Power comes on at a steady and smooth rate. The engine also very refined with little noise coming inside. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. Our average landed around 24 mpg, partly due to my foot putting the pedal almost to the floor in an effort to make the turbo was up. The F-Sport package is the ace up the IS 200t’s sleeve. A revised suspension and steering setup, along with a set of summer tires make the IS a joy to pilot around corners. There is no body roll when entering a corner and the steering provides an excellent feel of the road. Unlike the IS 350 F-Sport, the 250 does without the adaptive dampers. This might make some reconsider as the ride can become somewhat rough over bumpy and pothole-ladened roads. Styling is still polarizing with sharp creases, an interesting lighting setup up front, and a grille that looks like it was styled off the Predator. The F-Sport package actually helps balance this design with new front bumper, mesh grille insert, and a set of 18-inch wheels finished in a dark gray. I’m not usually a fan of red on a vehicle, but it actually works quite well for the F-Sport. The IS’ interior hasn’t changed much since we last visited it in 2014. This means the excellent sport seats and well laid out instrument cluster are here. It also means the smallish screen for the infotainment system and the infuriating Lexus Remote Touch controller. The back seat is still quite small for most passengers, though I would say the Cadillac ATS’ back seat is even smaller. The 2016 IS 200t F-Sport begins at $40,870. Our test car came with a few options such as blind spot monitoring (which you need because rear visibility is poor), radar cruise control, navigation, Mark Levinson audio system, and heated front seats. This brought the as-tested price to $45,705. But for only $1,000 to $1,500 more, you can get into a decently equipped IS 350 F-Sport with adaptive dampers and the better engine. The Lexus IS is still an impressive compact luxury sedan and one that deserves more of the spotlight. But the 2.0L turbo spoils an impressive sedan. This is a case of right car, wrong engine. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the IS 200t, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Lexus Model: IS Trim: 200t F-Sport Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-iW Inline-Four Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 241 @ 5,800 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,650 - 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26 Curb Weight: 3,583 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $37,325 As Tested Price: $45,705 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $3,545.00 Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,645.00 Blind Spot Monitoring w/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - $600.00 Dynamic Radar Cruise Control - $500.00 F-Sport Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with Heat - $150.00
  4. The Lexus IS is one of my favorite luxury sedans on sale today. The styling may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it helps make the IS stand out in a very crowded field of compact luxury sedans. Paired with the excellent 3.5L V6 and F-Sport package, the IS gives the German competition a run for its money in the twisty bits. Since we last drove the IS back in 2014, Lexus has made some changes to IS’ lineup with the base 2.5L V6 being dropped and a new turbocharged four-cylinder taking its place, along with a new variant of 3.5L V6 producing 255 horsepower badged as the IS 300. Recently, I spent some time in the IS 200t F-Sport and it was a bit disappointing. Read on to find out why. The cause for my disappointment? The turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine in question is the same one that is used in the NX 200t, a turbo 2.0L four-cylinder producing 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic comes standard on rear-drive models, while all-wheel drive models retain a six-speed automatic. Compared to the NX 200t, I think this engine has gotten worse in the IS. The major problem is turbo lag. I could count to three after stepping on the accelerator before the turbo would spool up and give the vehicle the needed shove to move along. Even with the vehicle in Sport mode, it takes a moment for the turbo to wake up. Once the turbo is spooled up, it moves the IS with some authority. Power comes on at a steady and smooth rate. The engine also very refined with little noise coming inside. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. Our average landed around 24 mpg, partly due to my foot putting the pedal almost to the floor in an effort to make the turbo was up. The F-Sport package is the ace up the IS 200t’s sleeve. A revised suspension and steering setup, along with a set of summer tires make the IS a joy to pilot around corners. There is no body roll when entering a corner and the steering provides an excellent feel of the road. Unlike the IS 350 F-Sport, the 250 does without the adaptive dampers. This might make some reconsider as the ride can become somewhat rough over bumpy and pothole-ladened roads. Styling is still polarizing with sharp creases, an interesting lighting setup up front, and a grille that looks like it was styled off the Predator. The F-Sport package actually helps balance this design with new front bumper, mesh grille insert, and a set of 18-inch wheels finished in a dark gray. I’m not usually a fan of red on a vehicle, but it actually works quite well for the F-Sport. The IS’ interior hasn’t changed much since we last visited it in 2014. This means the excellent sport seats and well laid out instrument cluster are here. It also means the smallish screen for the infotainment system and the infuriating Lexus Remote Touch controller. The back seat is still quite small for most passengers, though I would say the Cadillac ATS’ back seat is even smaller. The 2016 IS 200t F-Sport begins at $40,870. Our test car came with a few options such as blind spot monitoring (which you need because rear visibility is poor), radar cruise control, navigation, Mark Levinson audio system, and heated front seats. This brought the as-tested price to $45,705. But for only $1,000 to $1,500 more, you can get into a decently equipped IS 350 F-Sport with adaptive dampers and the better engine. The Lexus IS is still an impressive compact luxury sedan and one that deserves more of the spotlight. But the 2.0L turbo spoils an impressive sedan. This is a case of right car, wrong engine. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the IS 200t, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Lexus Model: IS Trim: 200t F-Sport Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-iW Inline-Four Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 241 @ 5,800 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,650 - 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26 Curb Weight: 3,583 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $37,325 As Tested Price: $45,705 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $3,545.00 Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,645.00 Blind Spot Monitoring w/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - $600.00 Dynamic Radar Cruise Control - $500.00 F-Sport Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with Heat - $150.00 View full article
  5. At the end of my Lexus NX 300h review last year, I said this, “You’re better off sticking with the regular NX 200t and having that extra $5,000 going towards some options.” Recently, I had the chance to put part of that ending line to the test as a 2016 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport came in for week’s evaluation. The NX F-Sport follows the formula of other F-Sport models with a more aggressive look. Up front is a new mesh grille insert and a lower air dam to give it some aggression. Lexus has also fitted a set of 18-inch wheels to fill in the wheel wells. I have complained previously about how the F-Sport package looks ridiculous on the RX. But the on the NX, the exterior changes of the F-Sport package work. Lexus used the new NX to introduce their first turbo engine; a 2.0L turbo-four with 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. Our tester came with all-wheel drive. Despite what numbers say, the turbo 2.0L doesn’t feel that fast. From a stop, the engine doesn’t have the immediate rush of power that the current crop of turbo engines. You have to wait till the engine goes above 2,000 rpm before the rush happens. Not helping matters is the six-speed automatic that prioritizes fuel economy over performance. The transmission is quick to upshift, but seems somewhat hesitant to downshift when it comes to making a pass. This powertrain needed more time in the engineering department to make it a strong point, not a weak link. Aside from the exterior bits, the F-Sport package for the NX also includes a sport-tuned suspension. It does make some difference in the corners as body motions are kept in check and the vehicle changes direction very well. Disappointingly, the steering still feels rubbery. Being an F-Sport, you would think Lexus would make some improvements to steering to make it feel more natural. As for the daily grind, the F-Sport suspension will let in a few more bumps into the cabin. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Considering what I know now, I’m not sure that I would recommend the NX 200t. It is a better value than the hybrid and it still retains a number of items that I liked - distinctive design and well-appointed interior. But the turbo engine sours the experience as it suffers from a bad case of turbo lag. As for the F-Sport package, it sharpens up the exterior and does make the NX slightly more capable around corners. The steering needs a bit more work. If Lexus can reduce the amount of turbo lag and improve the steering, then the NX might have a fighting chance. As it stands, you’re better off looking at the Germans or the Lincoln MKC. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the NX 200t, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Lexus Model: NX Trim: 200t F-Sport Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-iW Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,800 - 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,650 - 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/27/24 Curb Weight: 4,050 lbs Location of Manufacture: Base Price: $38,365 As Tested Price: $46,440 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium F-Sport Package - $2,045.00 Navigation Package - $1,875.00 LED Headlamps without Auto High Beams - $1,160.00 Pre-Collision System w/All-Speed Cruise Control - $900.00 Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Outer Mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Tilt, Heated, Memory - $660.00 Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger - $220.00 Heated Perforated Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters - $150.00 Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Rear View Mirror with and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener - $125.00
  6. At the end of my Lexus NX 300h review last year, I said this, “You’re better off sticking with the regular NX 200t and having that extra $5,000 going towards some options.” Recently, I had the chance to put part of that ending line to the test as a 2016 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport came in for week’s evaluation. The NX F-Sport follows the formula of other F-Sport models with a more aggressive look. Up front is a new mesh grille insert and a lower air dam to give it some aggression. Lexus has also fitted a set of 18-inch wheels to fill in the wheel wells. I have complained previously about how the F-Sport package looks ridiculous on the RX. But the on the NX, the exterior changes of the F-Sport package work. Lexus used the new NX to introduce their first turbo engine; a 2.0L turbo-four with 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. Our tester came with all-wheel drive. Despite what numbers say, the turbo 2.0L doesn’t feel that fast. From a stop, the engine doesn’t have the immediate rush of power that the current crop of turbo engines. You have to wait till the engine goes above 2,000 rpm before the rush happens. Not helping matters is the six-speed automatic that prioritizes fuel economy over performance. The transmission is quick to upshift, but seems somewhat hesitant to downshift when it comes to making a pass. This powertrain needed more time in the engineering department to make it a strong point, not a weak link. Aside from the exterior bits, the F-Sport package for the NX also includes a sport-tuned suspension. It does make some difference in the corners as body motions are kept in check and the vehicle changes direction very well. Disappointingly, the steering still feels rubbery. Being an F-Sport, you would think Lexus would make some improvements to steering to make it feel more natural. As for the daily grind, the F-Sport suspension will let in a few more bumps into the cabin. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Considering what I know now, I’m not sure that I would recommend the NX 200t. It is a better value than the hybrid and it still retains a number of items that I liked - distinctive design and well-appointed interior. But the turbo engine sours the experience as it suffers from a bad case of turbo lag. As for the F-Sport package, it sharpens up the exterior and does make the NX slightly more capable around corners. The steering needs a bit more work. If Lexus can reduce the amount of turbo lag and improve the steering, then the NX might have a fighting chance. As it stands, you’re better off looking at the Germans or the Lincoln MKC. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the NX 200t, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Lexus Model: NX Trim: 200t F-Sport Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-iW Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,800 - 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,650 - 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/27/24 Curb Weight: 4,050 lbs Location of Manufacture: Base Price: $38,365 As Tested Price: $46,440 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge) Options: Premium F-Sport Package - $2,045.00 Navigation Package - $1,875.00 LED Headlamps without Auto High Beams - $1,160.00 Pre-Collision System w/All-Speed Cruise Control - $900.00 Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Outer Mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Tilt, Heated, Memory - $660.00 Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger - $220.00 Heated Perforated Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters - $150.00 Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Rear View Mirror with and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener - $125.00 View full article
  7. Trying to make yourself stand out in a crowd is a difficult task. Trying to do that in a competitive crowd such as compact luxury car market can be labeled as ‘Mission Impossible’. Why? Because sooner or later, you’ll be compared to the demigod that is the BMW 3-Series. The 3-Series has been a perennial favorite by many automotive writers and buyers because of its fun-to-drive characteristics and the value of the BMW badge. Since the F30 generation, many believe that the 3-Series has softened a bit. This has allowed competitors such as Cadillac, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and others to try and slip some of those buyers away. Lexus is one of the competitors hoping to give the 3-Series a run for its money by introducing a radical looking third-generation IS. The looks are one thing, but can this Lexus make a stand? I had an IS 350 F-Sport for a week to find out. The IS makes a good first step in differentiating itself from everyone else. The overall shape looks to be an impressionist’s take on a compact luxury sedan. With sharp lines, the now familiar spindle grille, separation of the headlights and daytime running lights, and other details; the IS makes sure that it's the center of attention. One design element I think needs to be called out is the rear rocker panels coming together at an angle and flowing upward to create the leading edge for the taillights. A nice touch. The F-Sport package only ratchets up the attention of the IS by a factor of ten. Such design touches include new body kit, mesh grille insert, and a set of 18-inch wheels finished in graphite. Lexus also worked on making the IS’ interior standout from the crowd as well. The interior layout is very reminiscent to the LF-A supercar with an angular center stack and a minimal amount of buttons, to the configurable gauge cluster a sliding bezel which can positioned three ways (left, middle, and right) to provide key information for the driver. Material quality is for the most part top notch with brushed metal accents and soft-surfaced plastics. A set of sport seats help keep you and your passenger locked in while driving somewhat enthusiastically. Personally I found the side bolstering to a bit too much, which meant I couldn’t fully get into the seat. For your infotainment needs, the IS 350 F-Sport comes with the latest version of Lexus Enform. This new version features a new interface which brings the system into the modern era. You can also divide the screen into two or three parts to show off key information such as navigation, climate, and audio. Moving around the system is done with Lexus’ Remote Touch system. While I like the idea of using a joystick to control the system, the execution is another story. You have to be precise with your movement of the control, especially when you are pressing down to select a function. One slip and you’ll be in another section. The IS’ powertrains carry over from the last generation model. The base IS 250 features a 2.5L V6, while the IS 350 comes with a 3.5L V6. The larger V6 produces 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic comes standard on the rear-drive IS 350, while the all-wheel variant sticks with a six-speed automatic. The 3.5L V6 is a very stout and smooth performer. Power seemed to be available throughout the rev range and getting the IS 350 moving from a stop was no problem. If you put the IS 350 F-Sport into Sport or Sport+, the V6 becomes Mr. Hyde. The engine provides a deeper growl and provides sharper acceleration. When I put the vehicle into Sport+, I was shocked how the V6 engine changed from a smooth operator to one that had the same characteristics of a turbocharged one. The eight-speed automatic has to be one of the best I have experienced as it provided quick and smooth shifts, no matter whether I was driving normally or like a maniac. Fuel economy for the IS 350 F-Sport is rated at 19 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. My week saw an average of 21.8 MPG. Being an F-Sport model, the IS gets a number of tweaks to the suspension and steering. Such tweaks include an adaptive variable suspension, variable gear ratio steering, system a set of summer performance tires, and new brake pads. When the IS 350 F-Sport is in normal mode, its pretty much like your standard Lexus vehicle. The suspension does a mostly good job of isolating bumps and imperfections. There will be a few bumps that make their way into the vehicle due to the stiffer setup the F-Sport is equipped with. Switch the vehicle into Sport+ and the suspension stiffens up and makes the IS 350 a race car. Toss the IS 350 F-Sport into a curve and the model hunkers down with nary a hint of body roll and the tires keeping the vehicle glued to the road. The steering is nicely weighted and provides excellent feel. Lexus has a very credible competitor in compact luxury class with the IS. If you can spare your eyes from the looks, the IS 350 features a wonderful V6 and a impressive interior layout. The cherry on top is the F-Sport package which makes IS 350 a compelling driver’s car. Sure the IS may not have the brand equity that some of its competitors may have. But Lexus has shown that you don’t have to go the Germans to get a fun sedan. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the IS 350, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Lexus Model: IS Trim: 350 RWD Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve DOHC VVT-i V6 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 306 @ 6,400 Torque @ RPM: 277 @ 4,800 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/22 Curb Weight: 3,593 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $39,465 As Tested Price: $48,977 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $3,620 Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio - $3,225 Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - $600.00 Paint Protection Plan - $429.00 Variable Gear Ratio Steering - $400.00 Trunk Mat, Cargo New, Wheel Locks, and Rear Bumper Applique - $329.00 View full article
  8. Trying to make yourself stand out in a crowd is a difficult task. Trying to do that in a competitive crowd such as compact luxury car market can be labeled as ‘Mission Impossible’. Why? Because sooner or later, you’ll be compared to the demigod that is the BMW 3-Series. The 3-Series has been a perennial favorite by many automotive writers and buyers because of its fun-to-drive characteristics and the value of the BMW badge. Since the F30 generation, many believe that the 3-Series has softened a bit. This has allowed competitors such as Cadillac, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and others to try and slip some of those buyers away. Lexus is one of the competitors hoping to give the 3-Series a run for its money by introducing a radical looking third-generation IS. The looks are one thing, but can this Lexus make a stand? I had an IS 350 F-Sport for a week to find out. The IS makes a good first step in differentiating itself from everyone else. The overall shape looks to be an impressionist’s take on a compact luxury sedan. With sharp lines, the now familiar spindle grille, separation of the headlights and daytime running lights, and other details; the IS makes sure that it's the center of attention. One design element I think needs to be called out is the rear rocker panels coming together at an angle and flowing upward to create the leading edge for the taillights. A nice touch. The F-Sport package only ratchets up the attention of the IS by a factor of ten. Such design touches include new body kit, mesh grille insert, and a set of 18-inch wheels finished in graphite. Lexus also worked on making the IS’ interior standout from the crowd as well. The interior layout is very reminiscent to the LF-A supercar with an angular center stack and a minimal amount of buttons, to the configurable gauge cluster a sliding bezel which can positioned three ways (left, middle, and right) to provide key information for the driver. Material quality is for the most part top notch with brushed metal accents and soft-surfaced plastics. A set of sport seats help keep you and your passenger locked in while driving somewhat enthusiastically. Personally I found the side bolstering to a bit too much, which meant I couldn’t fully get into the seat. For your infotainment needs, the IS 350 F-Sport comes with the latest version of Lexus Enform. This new version features a new interface which brings the system into the modern era. You can also divide the screen into two or three parts to show off key information such as navigation, climate, and audio. Moving around the system is done with Lexus’ Remote Touch system. While I like the idea of using a joystick to control the system, the execution is another story. You have to be precise with your movement of the control, especially when you are pressing down to select a function. One slip and you’ll be in another section. The IS’ powertrains carry over from the last generation model. The base IS 250 features a 2.5L V6, while the IS 350 comes with a 3.5L V6. The larger V6 produces 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic comes standard on the rear-drive IS 350, while the all-wheel variant sticks with a six-speed automatic. The 3.5L V6 is a very stout and smooth performer. Power seemed to be available throughout the rev range and getting the IS 350 moving from a stop was no problem. If you put the IS 350 F-Sport into Sport or Sport+, the V6 becomes Mr. Hyde. The engine provides a deeper growl and provides sharper acceleration. When I put the vehicle into Sport+, I was shocked how the V6 engine changed from a smooth operator to one that had the same characteristics of a turbocharged one. The eight-speed automatic has to be one of the best I have experienced as it provided quick and smooth shifts, no matter whether I was driving normally or like a maniac. Fuel economy for the IS 350 F-Sport is rated at 19 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. My week saw an average of 21.8 MPG. Being an F-Sport model, the IS gets a number of tweaks to the suspension and steering. Such tweaks include an adaptive variable suspension, variable gear ratio steering, system a set of summer performance tires, and new brake pads. When the IS 350 F-Sport is in normal mode, its pretty much like your standard Lexus vehicle. The suspension does a mostly good job of isolating bumps and imperfections. There will be a few bumps that make their way into the vehicle due to the stiffer setup the F-Sport is equipped with. Switch the vehicle into Sport+ and the suspension stiffens up and makes the IS 350 a race car. Toss the IS 350 F-Sport into a curve and the model hunkers down with nary a hint of body roll and the tires keeping the vehicle glued to the road. The steering is nicely weighted and provides excellent feel. Lexus has a very credible competitor in compact luxury class with the IS. If you can spare your eyes from the looks, the IS 350 features a wonderful V6 and a impressive interior layout. The cherry on top is the F-Sport package which makes IS 350 a compelling driver’s car. Sure the IS may not have the brand equity that some of its competitors may have. But Lexus has shown that you don’t have to go the Germans to get a fun sedan. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the IS 350, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Lexus Model: IS Trim: 350 RWD Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve DOHC VVT-i V6 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 306 @ 6,400 Torque @ RPM: 277 @ 4,800 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/22 Curb Weight: 3,593 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $39,465 As Tested Price: $48,977 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $3,620 Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio - $3,225 Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - $600.00 Paint Protection Plan - $429.00 Variable Gear Ratio Steering - $400.00 Trunk Mat, Cargo New, Wheel Locks, and Rear Bumper Applique - $329.00
  9. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 16, 2013 Last year, I had the great fortune of going to the Midwest Automotive Media Association's Spring Rally. The rally brings automotive media and manufacturers together for a couple days of driving new vehicles. During my time there, I had the chance to slip behind the wheel of the recently launched Lexus GS 350. But this wasn't any ordinary GS 350. It happened to be the new GS 350 F-Sport model. When I wrote my wrap-up of the event, I said this about the GS: "Has Lexus created a vehicle that can give everyone in the midsize luxury sedan class something to worry about? Oh very much so." Bit of a bold proclamation. I wanted to find out if that would hold true after an extended stay on the roads I drive on and Lexus obliged by handing over a 2013 GS 350 F-Sport for a week's stay. Polarizing. That's the word I would use to describe the GS 350 F-Sport's exterior design. To start, there is Lexus' spindle grille in the front. This is either a love it or hate it relationship. Personally, I love the spindle grille on the GS, especially when it has the mesh-grille insert. There is also a set of LED daytime running lights running along the inner edge and a more aggressive front bumper with vents to feed air to the massive brakes. Along the sides are a high belt line, side skirts, and a set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels in a graphite finish. Towards the back, a rear lip spoiler and valance finish off the sporty touches. It's shock and awe in one complete package. Heading inside, the GS 350 F-Sport looks and feels like a sporty sedan. You have loads of black leather and soft-touch materials that contrast very well with the grey trim pieces used in the dash. The front seats are well-bolstered and provide a wide range of adjustments such as adjustable side bolsters and power thigh support for the driver. Heat and ventilation are included for both seats. The ventilation was much appreciated during the week as it was pretty warm. The back seat isn't as big as you might think. A large transmission tunnel means it's only really comfortable for two passengers. Also headroom comes at a premium due to a sloping roofline. Techwise, the GS 350 comes with a large 12.3-inch screen that houses Lexus' Enform infotainment system. The screen is divided up into two parts. The majority of the screen is dedicated to navigation, media selection, climate and information. The remainder of the screen is used for telling you what's playing and a overview of the climate system. I like this layout since I can have the navigation and what's playing on my iPod at the same time. Well done, Lexus! To move around the system, there is Lexus Remote Touch. The system uses a joystick to navigate around the menus and select functions. I'm not a fan of Remote Touch since the system is a bit touchy and you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you are going into the selection you want. Enough about the design and seating arrangements, lets dive into how it drives. Powering the GS 350 F-Sport is a 3.5L V6 with 306 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole choice. The 3.5L is very Lexus-like at the low end, quiet and smooth. Surprisingly, it also packs a bit of punch as well. Keep the revs climbing the 3.5L emits a very lovely engine note. The six-speed automatic never put a gear cog wrong. It somehow knew what gear the vehicle needed to be in. The GS also comes with Lexus Drive Mode Selector which offers four different configurations for the powertrain and suspension. The modes are as followed: Normal: Standard throttle mapping and suspension tuning, gearshifts tuned for comfort. Eco: Slower throttle mapping, reduced operation of the climate control Sport: Quicker throttle mapping, stiffer suspension tuning Sport+: Much quicker throttle mapping, even stiffer suspension tuning, heavier steering, number of powertrain enhancements During the week, I found myself cycling though all of the modes and using them for their respective needs. Normal worked very well in the city and in the suburbs. Eco did great on the freeway and the long rural roads of Northern Michigan. Sport and Sport+ were left to the curvy roads as the engine could be worked. The GS 350 F-Sport comes with Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS). The suspension can be adjusted by a driver via the Drive Mode Selector to either be stiff or soft. The same is true for the steering as it can be adjusted to provide a heavier feel. Do they work? In short, yes. Flicking the Drive Mode Selector into Sport and Sport+ transforms the GS into something of a road demon. Moving along on one of the test roads I use, the GS felt much more agile than I was expecting. Body lean was kept to a minimum. Steering was excellent with good feel and weight when it was being pushed. Switching back into Normal and Eco mode, the GS 350 F-Sport becomes a very sensible luxury sedan. The suspension softens up and provides a very smooth ride. Sound deadening is excellent with wind and road noise kept to a minimum. Fuel Economy for the GS 350 F-Sport is rated at 19 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. During the week, I got an average of 26 MPG. Going back to beginning of this review, I was wondering if I could stand behind the verdict I gave to GS 350 F-Sport when I briefly drove it last year. The answer is a resounding yes. I don't how Lexus was able to pull this off, but somehow it has created a midsize luxury sedan that is very much fun to drive and provides many luxuries for its occupants. The GS 350 F-Sport should make everyone in midsize luxury sedan class a bit nervous and worried. Especially if Lexus engineers take what they learned from the GS F-Sport and applies it onto a GS-F. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided The GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas. Year: 2013 Make: Lexus Model: GS 350 Trim: F-Sport Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6 Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 306 @ 6,200 Torque @ RPM: 274 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/23 Curb Weight: 3,795 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $46,900.00 As Tested Price: $55,869.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $5,690.00 Navigation Package - $1,735.00 Blind Spot Monitor System - $500.00 Trunk Mat - $105.00 Cargo Net - $64.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  10. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 16, 2013 Last year, I had the great fortune of going to the Midwest Automotive Media Association's Spring Rally. The rally brings automotive media and manufacturers together for a couple days of driving new vehicles. During my time there, I had the chance to slip behind the wheel of the recently launched Lexus GS 350. But this wasn't any ordinary GS 350. It happened to be the new GS 350 F-Sport model. When I wrote my wrap-up of the event, I said this about the GS: "Has Lexus created a vehicle that can give everyone in the midsize luxury sedan class something to worry about? Oh very much so." Bit of a bold proclamation. I wanted to find out if that would hold true after an extended stay on the roads I drive on and Lexus obliged by handing over a 2013 GS 350 F-Sport for a week's stay. Polarizing. That's the word I would use to describe the GS 350 F-Sport's exterior design. To start, there is Lexus' spindle grille in the front. This is either a love it or hate it relationship. Personally, I love the spindle grille on the GS, especially when it has the mesh-grille insert. There is also a set of LED daytime running lights running along the inner edge and a more aggressive front bumper with vents to feed air to the massive brakes. Along the sides are a high belt line, side skirts, and a set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels in a graphite finish. Towards the back, a rear lip spoiler and valance finish off the sporty touches. It's shock and awe in one complete package. Heading inside, the GS 350 F-Sport looks and feels like a sporty sedan. You have loads of black leather and soft-touch materials that contrast very well with the grey trim pieces used in the dash. The front seats are well-bolstered and provide a wide range of adjustments such as adjustable side bolsters and power thigh support for the driver. Heat and ventilation are included for both seats. The ventilation was much appreciated during the week as it was pretty warm. The back seat isn't as big as you might think. A large transmission tunnel means it's only really comfortable for two passengers. Also headroom comes at a premium due to a sloping roofline. Techwise, the GS 350 comes with a large 12.3-inch screen that houses Lexus' Enform infotainment system. The screen is divided up into two parts. The majority of the screen is dedicated to navigation, media selection, climate and information. The remainder of the screen is used for telling you what's playing and a overview of the climate system. I like this layout since I can have the navigation and what's playing on my iPod at the same time. Well done, Lexus! To move around the system, there is Lexus Remote Touch. The system uses a joystick to navigate around the menus and select functions. I'm not a fan of Remote Touch since the system is a bit touchy and you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you are going into the selection you want. Enough about the design and seating arrangements, lets dive into how it drives. Powering the GS 350 F-Sport is a 3.5L V6 with 306 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole choice. The 3.5L is very Lexus-like at the low end, quiet and smooth. Surprisingly, it also packs a bit of punch as well. Keep the revs climbing the 3.5L emits a very lovely engine note. The six-speed automatic never put a gear cog wrong. It somehow knew what gear the vehicle needed to be in. The GS also comes with Lexus Drive Mode Selector which offers four different configurations for the powertrain and suspension. The modes are as followed: Normal: Standard throttle mapping and suspension tuning, gearshifts tuned for comfort. Eco: Slower throttle mapping, reduced operation of the climate control Sport: Quicker throttle mapping, stiffer suspension tuning Sport+: Much quicker throttle mapping, even stiffer suspension tuning, heavier steering, number of powertrain enhancements During the week, I found myself cycling though all of the modes and using them for their respective needs. Normal worked very well in the city and in the suburbs. Eco did great on the freeway and the long rural roads of Northern Michigan. Sport and Sport+ were left to the curvy roads as the engine could be worked. The GS 350 F-Sport comes with Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS). The suspension can be adjusted by a driver via the Drive Mode Selector to either be stiff or soft. The same is true for the steering as it can be adjusted to provide a heavier feel. Do they work? In short, yes. Flicking the Drive Mode Selector into Sport and Sport+ transforms the GS into something of a road demon. Moving along on one of the test roads I use, the GS felt much more agile than I was expecting. Body lean was kept to a minimum. Steering was excellent with good feel and weight when it was being pushed. Switching back into Normal and Eco mode, the GS 350 F-Sport becomes a very sensible luxury sedan. The suspension softens up and provides a very smooth ride. Sound deadening is excellent with wind and road noise kept to a minimum. Fuel Economy for the GS 350 F-Sport is rated at 19 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. During the week, I got an average of 26 MPG. Going back to beginning of this review, I was wondering if I could stand behind the verdict I gave to GS 350 F-Sport when I briefly drove it last year. The answer is a resounding yes. I don't how Lexus was able to pull this off, but somehow it has created a midsize luxury sedan that is very much fun to drive and provides many luxuries for its occupants. The GS 350 F-Sport should make everyone in midsize luxury sedan class a bit nervous and worried. Especially if Lexus engineers take what they learned from the GS F-Sport and applies it onto a GS-F. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided The GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas. Year: 2013 Make: Lexus Model: GS 350 Trim: F-Sport Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6 Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 306 @ 6,200 Torque @ RPM: 274 @ 3,600 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/23 Curb Weight: 3,795 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $46,900.00 As Tested Price: $55,869.00* (Includes $875.00 destination charge) Options: F-Sport Package - $5,690.00 Navigation Package - $1,735.00 Blind Spot Monitor System - $500.00 Trunk Mat - $105.00 Cargo Net - $64.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 2, 2013 In 1999, Lexus introduced the first luxury car-based crossover named the RX. It became a huge success for the company and defined the compact luxury crossover class we know of today. But since that time, the competition has been improving. Vehicles such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz, and even the Cadillac SRX have been making inroads and slowly cutting away the RX’s sales lead. Lexus has been on the attack to stop the advance of competitors by introducing a refreshed 2013 RX, which includes a new F-Sport model that promises a more capable and sporty RX. Does the new F-Sport model help or hurt the RX? Aggressive is the key word in describing the RX350 F-Sport exterior looks. Lexus did a excellent job of making the F-Sport really stand out. The front features Lexus’ spindle grille with a mesh insert, more aggressive front bumper, and a set of new headlights with LED daytime running lights running along the inner edge. Other F-Sport appointments include nineteen-inch alloy wheels with a graphite finish that help set off the very unique and optional Claret Mica (deep red) paint. The interior of RX350 F-Sport is much like the standard RX with some touches to it give some sport. There are set of alloy pedals, leather seats with F-Sport logo embroidered into them, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and metal trim pieces. I feel like Lexus is trying a bit too hard to convince everyone that is their sporty model with all of these touches. Just tone it down somewhat. Comfort is a big plus in the RX. Front seat passengers get power adjustments, heat, and ventilated seats. In the back, passengers will find a good amount of head and legroom. Plus, passengers can recline and adjust their seats to make themselves more comfortable. Cargo space is very impressive, with RX having the best in class of 40 cubic feet. That grows to 80 cubic feet with the rear seats down. The main point of contention in the RX’s interior is the center stack. Controls seem somewhat cramped thanks to the odd placement of the transmission selector. Also, the screen for the infotainment seems a bit too far in the center stack. I will give Lexus kudos though for putting the screen at just the right height. The 2013 RX comes equipped with Lexus’ Remote Touch which is this joystick/mouse controller you use to move around the infotainment system. Previously, I have complained about the Remote Touch system being a bit slow to perform a function where I could have done it a bit faster with a touchscreen. Since spending a week with the remote touch system, I got the hang of it and found it to be just as quick if I was using a touchscreen thanks to the layout of the infotainment system. That said, Remote Touch can be sometimes a bit touchy. If you’re trying to make a selection and your hand moves ever so slightly on the remote touch joystick/mouse thing, the selection is cancelled and you’re left yelling at the system. Its not bad, but it isn’t good either. Powering the RX 350 F-Sport is the same engine you’ll find under the standard RX; a 3.5L V6 making 270 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. F-Sport models get an eight-speed transmission with all-wheel drive, while base RX 350s stick with a six-speed automatic and the choice between front or all-wheel drive. The 3.5L’s performance can be classified as adequate. It's not the most powerful engine in the class, but it's also not sluggish. The 3.5L can get you moving at a decent rate, but be prepared to push the pedal a bit more if you need to get moving quicker. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and responsive. You won’t notice the transmission working its way through the gears unless one of your eyes is glued to the tachometer. The paddles do make the F-Sport a bit more engaging to drive and can be activated when the transmission is in either drive or the manual mode. However, I wished the paddles were on the steering column and not the the steering wheel. In the fuel economy department, the RX 350 F-Sport sees a minor increase when compared to the normal RX 350 mostly thanks to the eight-speed transmission. EPA rates the RX 350 F-Sport at 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined, compared to the RX 350’s 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. During my week, I saw an average of 21 MPG. F-Sport models get firmer suspension and steering tuning, and new a lateral damping system that Lexus claims brings the a more engaging driving experience to the RX. The improvements are there... somewhat. The RX 350 F-Sport does roll less when in turns, but that’s really about it. The changes seem to bring more problems than improvements. An example is the steering. I found it to be heavy and wanting to fight me every time I turned the wheel. Lumbering was the word I would use to describe it. Oddly when I was driving around in the RX F-Sport, I kept thinking how much more I liked driving the Cadillac SRX I had a few weeks before. The ride does suffer a bit as well as the firmer suspension does let more road imperfections into the cabin. It's not to the point of where your kidneys are getting repeatedly punched, but it's very un-Lexus like. The good news is the quietness that Lexus is known for remains very well and true in the F-Sport model. Sadly there is one more problem with the RX 350 F-Sport, the value for money argument. For the $51,729 as-tested price, you get such items as navigation, twelve-speaker sound system, blind-spot monitoring, and parking assist. But, the Cadillac SRX I had couple weeks before comes with most of these items and a more powerful V6 for about $4,000 less. If you decide to equip an SRX for the same asking price as the F-Sport and you can get such features as a panoramic sunroof, lane departure warning, and number of other features. The RX 350 F-Sport might look better and have a much better transmission than the standard RX 350, but I feel the normal RX is the much better vehicle all around. The F-Sport just adds more problems and hurts the RX more. If it was just an appearance package, I would be more ok with it. The F in the RX 350 F-Sport must be short for frustrated because that how I’ll felt at the end of my time with it. Disclaimer: Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Lexus Model – RX 350 Trim – F-Sport Engine – 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with Dual VVT-i V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 270 @ 6,200 RPM Torque @ RPM – 248 @ 4,700 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21 Curb Weight – 4,510 lbs Location of Manufacture – Cambridge, Ontario; Canada Base Price - $47,000.00 As Tested Price - $51,729.00* (Includes $895.00 destination charge) Options: Navigation with Voice Command, Lexus Enform - $2,775.00 Blind Spot Monitor - $500.00 Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00 Cargo Net - $59.00 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. View full article
  12. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 2, 2013 In 1999, Lexus introduced the first luxury car-based crossover named the RX. It became a huge success for the company and defined the compact luxury crossover class we know of today. But since that time, the competition has been improving. Vehicles such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz, and even the Cadillac SRX have been making inroads and slowly cutting away the RX’s sales lead. Lexus has been on the attack to stop the advance of competitors by introducing a refreshed 2013 RX, which includes a new F-Sport model that promises a more capable and sporty RX. Does the new F-Sport model help or hurt the RX? Aggressive is the key word in describing the RX350 F-Sport exterior looks. Lexus did a excellent job of making the F-Sport really stand out. The front features Lexus’ spindle grille with a mesh insert, more aggressive front bumper, and a set of new headlights with LED daytime running lights running along the inner edge. Other F-Sport appointments include nineteen-inch alloy wheels with a graphite finish that help set off the very unique and optional Claret Mica (deep red) paint. The interior of RX350 F-Sport is much like the standard RX with some touches to it give some sport. There are set of alloy pedals, leather seats with F-Sport logo embroidered into them, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and metal trim pieces. I feel like Lexus is trying a bit too hard to convince everyone that is their sporty model with all of these touches. Just tone it down somewhat. Comfort is a big plus in the RX. Front seat passengers get power adjustments, heat, and ventilated seats. In the back, passengers will find a good amount of head and legroom. Plus, passengers can recline and adjust their seats to make themselves more comfortable. Cargo space is very impressive, with RX having the best in class of 40 cubic feet. That grows to 80 cubic feet with the rear seats down. The main point of contention in the RX’s interior is the center stack. Controls seem somewhat cramped thanks to the odd placement of the transmission selector. Also, the screen for the infotainment seems a bit too far in the center stack. I will give Lexus kudos though for putting the screen at just the right height. The 2013 RX comes equipped with Lexus’ Remote Touch which is this joystick/mouse controller you use to move around the infotainment system. Previously, I have complained about the Remote Touch system being a bit slow to perform a function where I could have done it a bit faster with a touchscreen. Since spending a week with the remote touch system, I got the hang of it and found it to be just as quick if I was using a touchscreen thanks to the layout of the infotainment system. That said, Remote Touch can be sometimes a bit touchy. If you’re trying to make a selection and your hand moves ever so slightly on the remote touch joystick/mouse thing, the selection is cancelled and you’re left yelling at the system. Its not bad, but it isn’t good either. Powering the RX 350 F-Sport is the same engine you’ll find under the standard RX; a 3.5L V6 making 270 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. F-Sport models get an eight-speed transmission with all-wheel drive, while base RX 350s stick with a six-speed automatic and the choice between front or all-wheel drive. The 3.5L’s performance can be classified as adequate. It's not the most powerful engine in the class, but it's also not sluggish. The 3.5L can get you moving at a decent rate, but be prepared to push the pedal a bit more if you need to get moving quicker. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and responsive. You won’t notice the transmission working its way through the gears unless one of your eyes is glued to the tachometer. The paddles do make the F-Sport a bit more engaging to drive and can be activated when the transmission is in either drive or the manual mode. However, I wished the paddles were on the steering column and not the the steering wheel. In the fuel economy department, the RX 350 F-Sport sees a minor increase when compared to the normal RX 350 mostly thanks to the eight-speed transmission. EPA rates the RX 350 F-Sport at 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined, compared to the RX 350’s 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. During my week, I saw an average of 21 MPG. F-Sport models get firmer suspension and steering tuning, and new a lateral damping system that Lexus claims brings the a more engaging driving experience to the RX. The improvements are there... somewhat. The RX 350 F-Sport does roll less when in turns, but that’s really about it. The changes seem to bring more problems than improvements. An example is the steering. I found it to be heavy and wanting to fight me every time I turned the wheel. Lumbering was the word I would use to describe it. Oddly when I was driving around in the RX F-Sport, I kept thinking how much more I liked driving the Cadillac SRX I had a few weeks before. The ride does suffer a bit as well as the firmer suspension does let more road imperfections into the cabin. It's not to the point of where your kidneys are getting repeatedly punched, but it's very un-Lexus like. The good news is the quietness that Lexus is known for remains very well and true in the F-Sport model. Sadly there is one more problem with the RX 350 F-Sport, the value for money argument. For the $51,729 as-tested price, you get such items as navigation, twelve-speaker sound system, blind-spot monitoring, and parking assist. But, the Cadillac SRX I had couple weeks before comes with most of these items and a more powerful V6 for about $4,000 less. If you decide to equip an SRX for the same asking price as the F-Sport and you can get such features as a panoramic sunroof, lane departure warning, and number of other features. The RX 350 F-Sport might look better and have a much better transmission than the standard RX 350, but I feel the normal RX is the much better vehicle all around. The F-Sport just adds more problems and hurts the RX more. If it was just an appearance package, I would be more ok with it. The F in the RX 350 F-Sport must be short for frustrated because that how I’ll felt at the end of my time with it. Disclaimer: Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline. Year - 2013 Make – Lexus Model – RX 350 Trim – F-Sport Engine – 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with Dual VVT-i V6 Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic Horsepower @ RPM – 270 @ 6,200 RPM Torque @ RPM – 248 @ 4,700 RPM Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21 Curb Weight – 4,510 lbs Location of Manufacture – Cambridge, Ontario; Canada Base Price - $47,000.00 As Tested Price - $51,729.00* (Includes $895.00 destination charge) Options: Navigation with Voice Command, Lexus Enform - $2,775.00 Blind Spot Monitor - $500.00 Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00 Cargo Net - $59.00 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.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 10, 2012 1989 was a pivotal year in the automotive world. That would be the year when Toyota would introduce the Lexus brand and its first vehicle, the LS400. The LS shattered expectations of what a luxury car and quality should be. This startled the old luxury guard and caused many buyers to take a look at this newcomer. Twenty-three years later, the LS still carries the flag of what a luxury sedan should be to many. But Lexus hasn’t been one to rest on its laurels. The competition has learned and implemented many ideas from the LS, and Lexus tries its best to stay one step ahead. The LS has grown from single model to a range of short and long-wheelbase models packing either a gas or hybrid powertrain and a load of new technologies. The new 2013 LS hopes to continue that trend. Lexus invited me to down to The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan to drive the LS 460 F-Sport and 600h L. This happens to be a big deal because an automaker outside of the big three has invited Cheers & Gears; a site was started as a place for GM fans to gather in 2001. Since that time, we’ve expanded the focus and coverage of the site to all automotive brands. Having an automaker that’s not based in the Detroit area, reach out and invite you to a drive event is a big deal. Previously known for its conservative outward appearance, Lexus chose a more audacious look on the 2013 LS. Up front, the new LS drops the Plain Jane front end styling of the last-generation model. The new model falls in line with other redesigned Lexus models by sporting the new spindle grille with chrome running along the length of it and a set of HID or optional LED headlights. The hood features a slight bulge running along the middle. In the back, Lexus designers took the current LS rear end and tapered it to match the aggressive look of the front. The interior has also been given a dramatic change, featuring a design similar to new GS and ES. Materials used throughout the interior include leather seats and dash, five different choices of trim including a new Shimamoku ("striped") wood trim, and soft touch materials. There’s a new instrument cluster with a 5.8-inch full-color TFT multi-function display sitting in the middle. The centerstack has a new 12.3-inch multimedia display sitting on top. The screen is controlled by Lexus’ Remote Touch, a Joystick controller. Using the remote touch system for the short time left me frustrated since it would take me longer to perform a function than using a touchscreen. Some people who have used the system a bit longer say it’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it. Safety-wise, the new LS comes with a new version of the Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. The system uses cameras and radar mounted on the front end to monitor the road. If the system detects an obstruction on road, whether it is another vehicle or a person, the system will intervene, provide an audible alert to driver, and begin to slow the vehicle down. If the vehicle is traveling under 24 MPH, the system will actually bring the car to a stop. I didn’t get the chance to try the system out for the fear of it not working and having to explain to Lexus why one of their priceless prototypes is sitting on a flatbed tow truck. Next: Shall we take a drive? Lexus will offer the LS in the following seven configurations: LS 460 LS 460 AWD LS 460 L LS 460 L AWD LS 460 F-Sport LS 460 F-Sport AWD LS 600h L (AWD) First up was the new for this generation LS 460 F-Sport. The LS 460 F-Sport is much like the GS 350 F-Sport that I drove back in May at the MAMA Spring Rally; appearance and suspension changes. The F-Sport gains a mesh grille, nineteen-inch alloy wheels, Torsen limited-slip differential on RWD models (AWD models have a Torsen center differential), sport tuned air suspension with drive mode select, Brembo brakes, bucket seats, aluminum trim, and paddle shifters. Under the hood lies a 4.6L V8 that carries over from the last-generation LS. Power is up from 380 to 386 HP (@ 6400 RPM) while torque remains unchanged at 367 lb-ft (@ 4100 RPM). For the AWD models, the power and torque numbers are 360 HP (@ 6400 RPM) and 347 lb-ft (@ 4100 RPM), respectively, an uptick of 3 HP and 3 lb-ft from previous generation. A smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission seamlessly channels the power to the drive wheels. Driving in the LS F-Sport was a bit of surprise because of how sporty it felt. Turn the drive mode select to the Sport+ function and the personality of the car changes. The air-suspension firms up and keeps the car planted while the steering is weighted and provides a good response for each input. Even the engine has a bit of growl, thanks to an intake sound generator. When you decide to stop having fun, just turn the knob back to comfort and it’s almost like driving a normal Lexus. The ride is mostly comfortable, with a few bumps making their way into the cabin. I would put the nineteen-inch wheels and the vehicle being a pre-production model as to why those bumps made it in. Wind and Road noise were kept to a minimum. After returning the F-Sport, it was time to jump into the LS 600h L. The 600h L has been the flagship of the LS lineup since it was first introduced back in 2006. The 600h uses a hybrid system comprised of 5.0L V8 producing 389 HP (@ 6400 RPM) and 385 lb-ft (@ 4000 RPM), a 165 kW electric motor, and a nickel-hydride battery pack. Total output is 438 HP that goes through a CVT down to all four wheels. First climbing into the back seat of the LS 600h L, I was amazed at how much head and legroom there was. Compared to the short-wheelbase LS, the LS600h L’s wheelbase are about five inches longer. This allows Lexus to fill the back seat with many luxuries, including optional rear seats that recline and give you a massage. This is where you want to be sitting if you get the chance to ride in a LS 600h L. Leaving the back seat to sit in the front, I found the 600h L to be a big, soft luxury car. Lexus’ hybrid system provided enough power and was surprisingly quiet. Transition from electric power to hybrid was very seemless as was the CVT. Steering was what you expected from a big luxury car; light and not that much feel. The 600h L’s ride was very comfortable and quiet. Pricing for the 2013 LS lineup hasn’t been announced, but most likely the LS lineup would be structured as the base LS models being on the bottom, the F-Sport models in the middle, and the LS 600h L taking the top spot. The new LS will be arriving at dealers beginning sometime in November. Has Lexus raise the bar of what a luxury car should be with the new LS? Yes, but it is not the game changer as the original LS. Despite this, I predict this new LS will keep the other high end luxury sedan makers on their toes. Author's Note: Special thanks to Lexus and Toyota’s Midwest PR office for inviting Cheers & Gears out to breakfast and lunch at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan for this event. -WM 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.
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 10, 2012 1989 was a pivotal year in the automotive world. That would be the year when Toyota would introduce the Lexus brand and its first vehicle, the LS400. The LS shattered expectations of what a luxury car and quality should be. This startled the old luxury guard and caused many buyers to take a look at this newcomer. Twenty-three years later, the LS still carries the flag of what a luxury sedan should be to many. But Lexus hasn’t been one to rest on its laurels. The competition has learned and implemented many ideas from the LS, and Lexus tries its best to stay one step ahead. The LS has grown from single model to a range of short and long-wheelbase models packing either a gas or hybrid powertrain and a load of new technologies. The new 2013 LS hopes to continue that trend. Lexus invited me to down to The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan to drive the LS 460 F-Sport and 600h L. This happens to be a big deal because an automaker outside of the big three has invited Cheers & Gears; a site was started as a place for GM fans to gather in 2001. Since that time, we’ve expanded the focus and coverage of the site to all automotive brands. Having an automaker that’s not based in the Detroit area, reach out and invite you to a drive event is a big deal. Previously known for its conservative outward appearance, Lexus chose a more audacious look on the 2013 LS. Up front, the new LS drops the Plain Jane front end styling of the last-generation model. The new model falls in line with other redesigned Lexus models by sporting the new spindle grille with chrome running along the length of it and a set of HID or optional LED headlights. The hood features a slight bulge running along the middle. In the back, Lexus designers took the current LS rear end and tapered it to match the aggressive look of the front. The interior has also been given a dramatic change, featuring a design similar to new GS and ES. Materials used throughout the interior include leather seats and dash, five different choices of trim including a new Shimamoku ("striped") wood trim, and soft touch materials. There’s a new instrument cluster with a 5.8-inch full-color TFT multi-function display sitting in the middle. The centerstack has a new 12.3-inch multimedia display sitting on top. The screen is controlled by Lexus’ Remote Touch, a Joystick controller. Using the remote touch system for the short time left me frustrated since it would take me longer to perform a function than using a touchscreen. Some people who have used the system a bit longer say it’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it. Safety-wise, the new LS comes with a new version of the Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. The system uses cameras and radar mounted on the front end to monitor the road. If the system detects an obstruction on road, whether it is another vehicle or a person, the system will intervene, provide an audible alert to driver, and begin to slow the vehicle down. If the vehicle is traveling under 24 MPH, the system will actually bring the car to a stop. I didn’t get the chance to try the system out for the fear of it not working and having to explain to Lexus why one of their priceless prototypes is sitting on a flatbed tow truck. Next: Shall we take a drive? Lexus will offer the LS in the following seven configurations: LS 460 LS 460 AWD LS 460 L LS 460 L AWD LS 460 F-Sport LS 460 F-Sport AWD LS 600h L (AWD) First up was the new for this generation LS 460 F-Sport. The LS 460 F-Sport is much like the GS 350 F-Sport that I drove back in May at the MAMA Spring Rally; appearance and suspension changes. The F-Sport gains a mesh grille, nineteen-inch alloy wheels, Torsen limited-slip differential on RWD models (AWD models have a Torsen center differential), sport tuned air suspension with drive mode select, Brembo brakes, bucket seats, aluminum trim, and paddle shifters. Under the hood lies a 4.6L V8 that carries over from the last-generation LS. Power is up from 380 to 386 HP (@ 6400 RPM) while torque remains unchanged at 367 lb-ft (@ 4100 RPM). For the AWD models, the power and torque numbers are 360 HP (@ 6400 RPM) and 347 lb-ft (@ 4100 RPM), respectively, an uptick of 3 HP and 3 lb-ft from previous generation. A smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission seamlessly channels the power to the drive wheels. Driving in the LS F-Sport was a bit of surprise because of how sporty it felt. Turn the drive mode select to the Sport+ function and the personality of the car changes. The air-suspension firms up and keeps the car planted while the steering is weighted and provides a good response for each input. Even the engine has a bit of growl, thanks to an intake sound generator. When you decide to stop having fun, just turn the knob back to comfort and it’s almost like driving a normal Lexus. The ride is mostly comfortable, with a few bumps making their way into the cabin. I would put the nineteen-inch wheels and the vehicle being a pre-production model as to why those bumps made it in. Wind and Road noise were kept to a minimum. After returning the F-Sport, it was time to jump into the LS 600h L. The 600h L has been the flagship of the LS lineup since it was first introduced back in 2006. The 600h uses a hybrid system comprised of 5.0L V8 producing 389 HP (@ 6400 RPM) and 385 lb-ft (@ 4000 RPM), a 165 kW electric motor, and a nickel-hydride battery pack. Total output is 438 HP that goes through a CVT down to all four wheels. First climbing into the back seat of the LS 600h L, I was amazed at how much head and legroom there was. Compared to the short-wheelbase LS, the LS600h L’s wheelbase are about five inches longer. This allows Lexus to fill the back seat with many luxuries, including optional rear seats that recline and give you a massage. This is where you want to be sitting if you get the chance to ride in a LS 600h L. Leaving the back seat to sit in the front, I found the 600h L to be a big, soft luxury car. Lexus’ hybrid system provided enough power and was surprisingly quiet. Transition from electric power to hybrid was very seemless as was the CVT. Steering was what you expected from a big luxury car; light and not that much feel. The 600h L’s ride was very comfortable and quiet. Pricing for the 2013 LS lineup hasn’t been announced, but most likely the LS lineup would be structured as the base LS models being on the bottom, the F-Sport models in the middle, and the LS 600h L taking the top spot. The new LS will be arriving at dealers beginning sometime in November. Has Lexus raise the bar of what a luxury car should be with the new LS? Yes, but it is not the game changer as the original LS. Despite this, I predict this new LS will keep the other high end luxury sedan makers on their toes. Author's Note: Special thanks to Lexus and Toyota’s Midwest PR office for inviting Cheers & Gears out to breakfast and lunch at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan for this event. -WM 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. View full article
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 28, 2012 Yesterday, Lexus revealed a single picture of the new LS on their Facebook page. The picture posted on their Facebook page appears to be the new LS F-Sport. Lexus hasn't released any details about new LS, waiting till Monday to release all of the information. But the picture does give us a peek of what to expect. The LS looks to be a mix of the GS and the current LS. The spindle grille makes its way on the new LS. This being the F-Sport model, the LS gets more aggressive styling and suspension bits. There could also be a power increase in store for it. We'll learn more about the LS when Lexus reveals all on Monday. Source: Facebook 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. View full article
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 28, 2012 Yesterday, Lexus revealed a single picture of the new LS on their Facebook page. The picture posted on their Facebook page appears to be the new LS F-Sport. Lexus hasn't released any details about new LS, waiting till Monday to release all of the information. But the picture does give us a peek of what to expect. The LS looks to be a mix of the GS and the current LS. The spindle grille makes its way on the new LS. This being the F-Sport model, the LS gets more aggressive styling and suspension bits. There could also be a power increase in store for it. We'll learn more about the LS when Lexus reveals all on Monday. Source: Facebook 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.

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