Thursday, December 7, 2006

Lexus LS 460

Lexus LS 460

The new Lexus LS 460 and LS 460 L represent the latest expressions of the brand’s “L-finesse” design direction. Lexus says its designers’ goal was to give its flagship model more expressive styling, no doubt in an effort to counter the common and, in our opinion, wholly undeserved criticism that previous LS generations looked a bit too stodgy. And they’ve largely succeeded, creating a sleeker profile with a long hood, short rear deck, and subtly altered one-third glass to two-thirds sheetmetal proportions similar to those on the latest generation of the carmaker’s midsize GS sedan.

The new LS achieves a segment-leading combination of acceleration performance and excellent fuel consumption with an all-new 4.6-liter V8 engine mated to the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine, Lexus' first all-new V8 since the brand's launch, produces an impressive 380 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. It features Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and the world's first Electronically controlled intake cam (VVT-iE).

The dual VVT-iE combination of electrically controlled intake and hydraulically controlled exhaust achieves superior engine-startup operation and high-output performance. The LS 460 will travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in approximately 5.4 seconds while achieving an estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, 18 city/27 highway for the LS 460 L, by the EPA testing method. The LS sedans also achieve an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEV II) rating.

In an effort to create a more intelligent vehicle, Lexus has combined advanced active and passive safety technology into a consolidated system. Among the new active features on the LS is the next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability system, which integrates and manages a new Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle. The driver can also choose to completely disable the VSC system via a console-mounted button.

In addition to the active safety features, the new LS has eight standard airbags, including a twin-chamber front passenger airbag with both driver and passenger knee airbags, and a potential of ten airbags with option packages.

Both LS models include a number of standard luxury features including SmartAccess keyless entry with push-button start/stop, an electronic parking brake, a 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system, 18-inch nine-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, and seven new exterior colors. The paint is applied by a new proprietary paint process that includes double hand sanding.
Optional comfort and convenience attributes on the LS include a pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control, Lexus Link(R), and Intuitive Park Assist.

The long-wheelbase LS 460 L brings with it 4.8 inches of additional space and a long list of outstanding standard conveniences, including fifth-generation Lexus Navigation with factory-installed XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, a new heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, a new one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, headlamp washers, and laminated side glass, which is exclusive to the long wheelbase.

The new navigation system includes a hard disk drive (HDD) for faster calculations. The HDD can also store as many as 2,000 digital songs when partnered with the optional Mark Levinson(R) Reference Surround Sound system. The specially developed 19-speaker, 450-watt discrete 5.1 Mark Levinson(R) audio system creates a new benchmark for automotive sound with its theater-level entertainment experience.

The Executive Class Seating Package offered on the LS 460 L includes a rear-seat entertainment system featuring the world's first ceiling-mounted 3.0 VGA high-quality display with a nine-inch screen that operates with an electronic-motor open/close function. It also incorporates a right rear-seat recliner with multifunction massage and an ottoman leg rest, a four-zone independent front and rear air conditioning system with air purification and the world's first ceiling climate diffusers, rear-door power sunshades, and a fixed rear console with foldout table.

The all-new LS sedans offer the Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) as an option to assist with parallel and back-in parking. With this optional technology, once the driver has correctly positioned the car and identified the desired parking spot via the nav screen, APGS utilizes the back-up camera, parking sonar sensors and electric power steering system to automatically guide the car into the spot, while the driver controls speed via braking.

The all-new LS 460 and LS 460 L both come with a standard 48-month/50,000- mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles and a special 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty unique to both Lexus and the luxury segment.
The 2007 Lexus LS 460 and LS 460 L, which go on sale on October 20, will represent a strong value in their segments with dynamic styling, advanced technologies, increased size, and improved performance and craftsmanship.

Lexus RX 400h

Lexus RX 400h

The new 2006 RX 400h is based off of the RX 330. The RX 400h is powered by Lexus' advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines a 3.3L V6 engine with a front and rear electric drive motor for all-wheel drive capabilities. The combined systems output is rated at approximately 268 horsepower and an impressive 3,500 lb-ft of axle torque at launch. The RX 400h accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour faster then the RX 330 by 0.5 seconds.

The EPA fuel economy rating is listed as 31 mpg city, 27 mpg highway with a combined 29 mpg. Lexus has made the RX 400h it's premium model in the RX series by adding features that are offered as options on the RX 330. The only options available are heated seats, a Mark Levinson audio system, and a DVD entertainment system.

The RX 400h gas-electric hybrid joins the RX 330 as the top trim level of the Lexus RX lineup of midsize luxury SUVs. The RX 330 is the second generation of the RX 300 that debuted at the 1998 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and became the best-selling Lexus model. In January 2003, the second-generation RX was unveiled at the NAIAS, renamed the RX 330 to reflect its larger-displacement engine. RX 330 production began in Japan and in September 2003 Lexus began production of the RX 330 at an assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, the first Lexus model to be built outside of Japan.

The RX 400h is powered by a new version of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system that pairs the 3.3-liter V6 that normally powers the RX 330 with an electric motor. Lexus describes the RX 400h hybrid system as a breakthrough in hybrid technology that not only improves the fuel efficiency, but also improves the performance. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the RX 400h produces the equivalent of approximately 270 horsepower at peak power, compared to 230 horsepower for the current RX 330.

The additional power will improve low- and mid-range acceleration. The RX 400h uses regenerative braking to improve efficiency with the electric motor, functioning as a generator when the vehicle is coasting or braking and converting the energy that is normally lost during braking to electricity. The RX 400h interior incorporates brushed aluminum trim for a more high-tech look to reflect the high-tech nature of the vehicle. A computer monitor for the hybrid system is located in the center of the instrument panel.

Lexus GX 470 2007

Lexus GX 470 2007

The GX 470 is Lexus’ third luxury SUV that joined the lineup for 2003. The GX 470 fits between the car-based RX 330 and the premium-luxury LX 470 in terms of size, price, and capability. The GX 470 is a full-capability SUV and offers available seating for up to eight passengers.

After minor interior updates for 2006, the 2007 Lexus GX 470 adds new enhancements including an upgraded optional Lexus Navigation System that features voice activation and enhanced display, standard input jack for iPOD and other digital music players and a larger nine-inch wide-format screen on the rear-seat entertainment system.

The GX is based on the Toyota 4Runner and combines comfort, luxury, and off-road capability. It is a bit smaller than the LX but also offers a third seat. The ride is comfortable and quiet, but it becomes unsettled. Cornering isn't very agile, but is ultimately secure.

The GX470 luxury SUV shares its body-on-frame platform with the Toyota 4Runner. It has three rows of seats, but the third row is tiny. Power comes from the same drivetrain found in the Lexus LX470, as do many of its luxury appointments. The refined 4.7-liter V8 provides smooth, responsive performance. The ride is comfortable and quiet but gets unsettled on uneven pavement. Cornering is less than agile, though ultimately secure. An optional active suspension dramatically reduces lean in corners. Interior fit and finish is impressive. Typical options push the price to the low-$50,000 range. The GX is very competent in off-road conditions.

City, highway or off-road, the 2007 GX 470 showcases its refined manners in any environment. Driven by a powerful 263 hp VVT-i V8 engine, the GX delivers smooth, quiet acceleration, exceptional towing capacity, and remarkable performance.

Elegant interiors noted for comfort and convenience, coupled with adaptive suspension, ensure a luxurious ride and responsive handling making the 2007 GX a standalone among premium SUVs.

Luxury Appointments:
● Rear Seat Audio allows rear passengers to select their own music
● Roll Sensing Curtain Airbags for added safety (RSCA)
● No-flex, no-twist chassis
● 4.7 litre, 263 horsepower, DOHC, VVT-i V8 engine
● 4 suspension settings (AVS) from comfort to sport
● Full leather with authentic bird's-eye maple trim
●Active height control suspension
●Seats 8

Lexus hailed as Britain’s best

Lexus hailed as Britain’s best

Winner of the 2006 Motor Trader Car Franchise of the Year Award

Lexus’s pre-eminent position among prestige brands in the UK has been reinforced with the 2006 Motor Trader Car Franchise of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored by Mondial, is presented to the car maker or importer which has excelled in terms of producing new models, successfully marketing them and building close relationships with its dealer network. These factors make the brand a must-have franchise for dealers.

In bestowing the award on Lexus, the judges took into account the marque’s impressive market performance, with increased sales volume every year since 2002, and a five per cent increase in year-on-year sales achieved in 2005.

This growth momentum has continued in 2006 with half-year figures showing an increase of more than 44 per cent on the previous year. This success has been driven by a series of new product launches that have transformed the Lexus model range, introducing a sophisticated and distinctive new style philosophy and pioneering alternative fuel systems in the premium segment with the hybrid power RX 400h and GS 450h.

The judges commented: "Lexus is consistently a top performer in the RMIF’s National Franchised Dealer Surveys, where it is regularly acknowledged as a desirable and profitable brand among dealers. It has topped the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction surveys for six consecutive years – not bad for a brand that has only been in the UK since 1990."

Steve Settle, Director of Lexus, collected the award at a ceremony hosted in London last week (18 July). He said: "We are delighted to have won this important industry award, it is a further acknowledgement of the continuing advances we are making in delivering top quality products and service through a network of sales centres that truly has no equal in the UK."

Lexus. History.

Lexus. History.

In 1987 a select group of Toyota engineers were assembled to work on a completely new project: to create the best luxury cars ever. The much-acclaimed LS 400, the result of their efforts, was the start of what Lexus calls its 'pursuit of perfection.' It is this never-ending journey that makes Lexus so special.

Lexus combines the finest engine, transmission, suspension, chassis, brake and aerodynamic technology tocreate an inimitable driving experience.
Lexus is a class leader in safety. Safety explains the comprehensive active and passive safety systems protecting you and your passengers.

The first Lexus models went on sale in 1989. Most Lexus products share engines and platforms with Toyota models, but have unique equipment and styling. Since its introduction, Lexus has been at the top of most customer-service and initial-quality surveys.

So, Toyota launched its Lexus luxury division in 1989 with the introduction of the LS 400 and ES 250. The Japan-based automaker's new division sold more than 60,000 vehicles in its first year, and by 1991 became the number-one luxury import line. In 1993 Lexus introduced the first certified pre-owned vehicle program in the industry, and in 1999 the division sold its one-millionth vehicle in the U.S.—the year of its tenth anniversary in America. With record-breaking 2003 sales, Lexus kept its crown as the nation's No. 1 selling luxury brand for the fourth consecutive year.

First generation (1989-1991)
In order to avoid introducing the nameplate with only one model, the LS 400, Lexus debuted the ES alongside their flagship sedan. The first ES (codename VZV21) was introduced in 1989 as the ES 250, powered by the Camry's 2.5 L, 156 hp V6. The ES 250 was based on the Toyota Vista—a model never sold in the United States—which in turn shared the body and chassis of the Toyota Camry. Due to its similarities to the Camry, the ES 250 was viewed as a product of badge engineering and did not sell as well as its more expensive counterpart. The ES 250 was built from August 30, 1989 until J uly 5, 1991.

Second generation (1992-1996)
Assembly of the ES 300 commenced on September 9, 1991. Completely redesigned for the 1992 model year and now based on the VCV10-series Toyota Windom, the model was renamed the ES 300 to reflect the half-liter bump in engine displacement. This second generation was significantly larger and more curvaceous than its predecessor and sported a 185 hp engine. In Japan, a 172 hp, 2.5 L version of the Windom (VCV-11) was made available in october 1993. The 1993 ES 300 was the last Lexus sedan to offer a 5-speed manual transmission until the introduction of the IS 300.

The second-generation ES 300 featured California Walnut trim on the center console, leather seats, an eight-speaker premium sound system, and keyless entry. In 1996, Lexus offered an ES 300 Coach Edition, featuring select Co ach leather trim in the interior and a set of Coach luggage. The second-generation ES 300 was a sales success, becoming Lexus' best-selling vehicle overall.

Third generation (1997-2001)
The third generation (designated MCV20) appeared in 1997 with a 200 hp 3.0 L V6 and a 197 hp, 2.5 L V6 in the Windom. The new cars featured a design that was an evolution of the VCV10, and possessed a more rakish profile, sharper body lines, reflector instead of projector headlights, and a more upscale-feeling interior . The new ES was also slightly longer but weighed less than the previous generation. The power rating would grow to 210 hp in 1999, and the model would receive a mild facelift in 2000 as minor details such as the coloring of the taillights were changed from amber to clear.

The third-generation ES 300 featured a new electroluminescent Optitron instrument panel, Walnut trim, and leather seats. A power moonroof and Nakamichi premium sound system with rear-mounted CD-changer were options. In 1999, a limited Coach Edition was offered. Rivals to the third generation ES 300 included the Acura TL , Cadillac Catera, Infiniti I30, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Fourth generation (2002-2006)
A year after the Lexus IS became Lexus's entry-level car, a larger, fourth generation ES (designated MCV30) debuted in 2002. The presence of the IS in the Lexus lineup enabled the company to give the ES a more upscale image and luxury feel by e xcising the sporting pretentions of the previous ES models. Compared to its predecessor, the new ES possessed an interior with a greater emphasis on comfort, superior NVH isolation, larger, softer seats, and improved interior materials. Despite the additional features and added weight neither the acceleration nor the handling of the ES suffered. Other new features included a drive-by-wire electronic throttle, a five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist as well as stability and traction control. In Japan, the MCV30 Windom received a 2-star LEV r ating. The fourth generation Lexus ES was built in Kyushu and Tsutsumi, Japan.

For the 2003 model year, the US and European markets received a new 3.3 L engine producing 225 hp (later revised to 218 hp, because of changes in SAE horsepower testing procedures), and the car was renamed ES 330 . In the Middle Eastern and Asian markets, however, the 3.0 L engine was still available. In 2005, the ES received a facelift with new front and rear fascias, clear taillights, projector headlights, and a redesigned grille. Inside, several new-for-the-ES features included power adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats and rearview mirrors that would automatically tilt downward in reverse gear. Additionally, new Bird's Eye Maple trim brightened the interior and integrated satellite radio was offered as an option.
In 2005, Lexus offered an exclusive ES 330 Black Diamond Edition featuring black wood trim, iridescent Black Diamond paint, and a set of Tumi luggage.

Fifth generation (2007-present)
The fifth generation ES debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 2006. It arrived at dealerships in late April, 2006 as a 2007 model.
The new ES, now called the ES 350, features the first use of a six-speed automatic transmission in a front wheel drive Toyota vehicle along with its sister car, the Toyota Camry V6. The engine is the 272 hp (203 kW) aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine with variable valve timing.

Toyota estimates that this combination will accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km) in the city and 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) on the highway.

The ES 350 cabin features Walnut wood accents, leather seats, dual zone climate control with air filter, MP3 player miniplug, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and nine standard airbags. Available new features include a three-panel panoramic glass moonroof, a 300-watt, 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, power seat cushion extender, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear sunshade, DVD navigation system, and Lexus Park Assist, a sonar-based warning system with backup camera. A keyless entry and ignition system, Lexus SmartAccess, which does not require the electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket, is now standard.

Production of the latest Lexus ES occurs at assembly plants in Kyushu, Japan.
A hybrid version should arrive in the 2009 model year as the ES 400h using the same engine mechanics as the RX 400h. Expect minor styling differences symbolizing the hybrid model.