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Lexus GS F points its gaping grille at the BMW M5

Thu, 02 Oct 2014 04:29:00 EST

A mere trio of weeks after the latest report in the slow-moving Lexus GS F rumor cycle, we have a brand new batch of spy photos of the BMW M5-fighting sedan. Looking more and more production ready - notice the more finished exhausts compared to our last round of photos - the GS F can be seen poking around what we imagine is Germany.
If the RC and RC F Coupes are any indication, it looks like Lexus will start fitting its high-performance models with a new, single-frame version of the spindle grille while a dual-frame grille will be reserved for lesser trims. Backing up that suspicion is the new single-frame grille found on this prototype, marking the first time the suspected F line styling piece has been seen on a GS F prototype.
The aforementioned staggered quad exhausts look good on the GS' rear end, while a none-too-subtle rear spoiler ups the rear's visual flair. The low-profile rubber and the multi-spoke, black wheels are nice touches that work well with the front fascia features, in addition to the new, camo'd grille and substantial brake cooling ducts.

Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST

People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final 'e' in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the 'u' in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the 'ua' diphthong as more of a 'w' sound, as usually happens in the US.
This short video doesn't answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short 'i' sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it's actually said in the language. Even if this doesn't change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.

Will.I.Am stars in new Lexus NX commercial, designs a version for Paris

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 19:01:00 EST

Whether you love or hate its chiseled, angular lines and spindle grille, the Lexus NX is a big step for the brand as it jumps into the sea of luxury compact crossovers. We've already checked out the new CUV, and to promote its European launch, along with a different nose, Lexus has teamed up with producer and musician Will.I.Am for a commercial titled Striking Angles.
As the name suggests, the ad imagines a futuristic world where practically everything shares the NX's sharp-angled design aesthetic, including the wildlife. Over a thumping remix of his Dreamin' About the Future, the luxury CUV rolls through the misty city streets for Will.I.Am to check out.
That's not the end of Lexus' promotional efforts for its newest addition, though. The brand is also displaying a one-off NX styled by Will.I.Am during Paris Fashion Week. Read the automaker's entire release about its marketing plan for the CUV, below.

Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST

Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150, the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles.
These won't be full, aluminum-intensive treatments like the F-150, however. Automotive News reports that an aluminum hood and liftgate will be coming to the 2016 Lexus RX, and following that, the Camry will get a bonnet built from Element 13 for model year 2018.
As AN points out, Toyota is no stranger to aluminum, using it in Japanese-built models like the Prius and Scion FR-S. The RX and Camry, though, will mark the first time the company's North American factories will use the material, and they'll do so on a significantly larger scale, owing to the higher volumes that the Camry and RX represent.

Toyota recalling 20k 2014 and 2015 cars and CUVs with 3.5L engines

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:16:00 EST

Toyota has announced a recall of roughly 20,000 vehicles covering the 2014 Avalon, Camry, Highlander (pictured) and Sienna, as well as the 2015 Lexus RX luxury crossover. The affected vehicles are all powered the 2GR-FE engine, which in layman's terms, is Toyota's well-regarded 3.5-liter V6.
According to Toyota's statement, a parts supplier might not have welded "the end cap on the right-hand fuel delivery pipe in the engine compartment" correctly, meaning fuel could leak. Leaking fuel, of course, increases the chance of an engine fire. That said, no fires, crashes or injuries have been reported due to the issue.
Owners will be notified to report to dealers, where techs will check the fuel delivery pipe and fit a replacement part as necessary.

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:30:00 EST

You have to love someone who gets incredibly committed to a very weird idea. What you see for sale here is a right-hand drive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D in South Africa, but this old Mercedes is now converted into a pickup, complete with bed cover, and there's big secret under the hood, too.
The pickup conversion appears well done based on seller Sedgefield Classic Cars' photos. Even the tonneau cover fits well. You could almost believe that this Mercedes lived its life as a Chevrolet El Camino-like pickup from the very beginning.
However, the rear-quarters conversion might not be the weirdest thing about this Mercedes. The original diesel is gone from the engine bay in favor of a Lexus V8. It seems really odd to pop the hood and find a Japanese mill in this German car, but the photos make it look like a fairly well performed swap. So, bravo to the crazy thinking. According to the seller speaking to Autoblog by email, "as far as we can establish, this was done a few years ago, with all Lexus components."

Autoblog Podcast #396

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:10:00 EST

Episode #396 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Chris Paukert talk about the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 2016 Jaguar XE, and the 2015 Lexus RC. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #396:
Topics:

2015 Lexus RC 350

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST

Luxury coupes like this new, 2015 Lexus RC 350 have got, to my mind, a more challenging mission than their all-out-performance variants; in this case, the recently reviewed RC F.
That's not to say that I think actual owners and shoppers of cars like the RC F, BMW M4 and Cadillac CTS-V Coupe only care about output figures and lap times. In fact I'd say that those are outliers in terms of how they get used most often. But the story that we reviewers tell - and that shoppers in the ego-boosted segment tell themselves before they pull the trigger - have a lot to do with what the car is capable of on the edge of its envelope.
Mainstream coupes can't rely on that kind of irrational pull, however, at least outside of the emotional world of styling persuasion. For a buyer to drop more than $40,000 on the RC 350, he or she will want tons of features, comfort, good looks, and, yes, a dash of sportiness to spice of the pot. Reason and desire seem a lot more balanced here. That's great news for Lexus, with its history of creating sensible luxury cars and a pretty composed luxury coupe in this new RC.

Lexus GS F coming in 2016 with 500 hp

Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EST

The Lexus GS F has been one of those cars that's been rumored and whispered about for years, but has never come to fruition. The last time we spoke of the Lexus-badged BMW M5-killer was in a crop of spy photos, posted one year ago yesterday. So what's behind this latest rekindled round of rumors?
Well, according to Autocar, sources have claimed that the GS F will hit markets in 2016, and that it will make use of a more potent version of the Lexus RC F's 5.0-liter V8 that will sing to the tune of 500 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF will be included, as will a Torsen limited-slip diff. Taken as a whole, the executive sedan should get to 60 in the mid-four-second range and accelerate to a top speed of 170 miles per hour.
Prices in the UK will start at 80,000 pounds ($130,000 at today's rates, but as we know, translating British prices to American prices is an inexact science), and right away, we run into a big issue.

2015 Lexus GS 450h also getting F Sport treatment

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:29:00 EST

Lexus is making the 2015 model year version of the GS 450h a bit more appealing with the addition of 18-inch, split five-spoke wheels as standard equipment, and the optional F Sport package to really turn things up. The infotainment system is also getting a few, minor tweaks. Lexus has not officially released photos of the GS 450h F Sport, or a car with the updated wheels.
Previously exclusive to the GS 350, the F Sport package sharpens up the GS 450h behind the wheel to make it a bit more engaging. Ticking that box sharpens the adaptive suspension, especially in Sport S+ mode, and it adds 19-inch wheels with larger front brakes and high-friction pads, as well. If buyers want to go even further, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system is also available to add active rear steering, Lexus spokesperson Bill Kwong told Autoblog. The powertrain is left alone, though, and its hybrid-assisted 3.5-liter V6 producing 338 total system horsepower still returns 29 miles per gallon city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.
The F Sport package also adds a mesh grille and new front bumper and, at the back end, buyers get a rear lip spoiler and revised lower valence panel. Inside, there's a sport driver's seat with 16-way power adjustability, a black headliner and added aluminum trim.