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Lexus NX debuts in turbocharged and hybrid guise

Sun, 20 Apr 2014 12:19:00 EST

Lexus showed off its polarizing new NX at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, trotting out both the turbocharged 200t model (Lexus' first production turbo) alongside the hybrid-powered 300h.
We still don't know a great deal about the turbocharged model, aside from the fact that the engine underhood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, although we're hoping to get details sooner rather than later. For reference, the 2.0-liter turbo in the BMW X1 pumps out 240 horsepower while the four-pot turbo in the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 turns out 208 horsepower, which leads us to think we should expect the Lexus to fall somewhere between these two figures.
If Lexus' naming strategy in the past rings true here, though, we can confidently say the 300h will use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, just like the Lexus ES300h and Toyota Avalon Hybrid. That should mean around 200 system horsepower and well over 30 miles per gallon, although it's probably too early to predict economy with any degree of certainty.

J.D. Power customer survey of dealers counts Cadillac, Buick as big winners

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:35:00 EST

Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten percent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.
Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?
You can find details on those and more findings in the press release below.

2015 Lexus NX offers bold design, compact luxury

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 23:00:00 EST

Meet the all-new NX, Lexus' entry into the space occupied by the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Based off the LF-NX Concept and sharing much of the design language seen on the polarizing IS sedan, the NX looks to be a rather sporty Lexus crossover.
The big news here is under the hood: the NX will be the first Lexus to use a turbocharged engine. That's right, a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder can be found in both the NX 200t and NX 200t F Sport. There will also be an NX 300h, and if Lexus' nomenclature remains consistent, we already know all about that one. As of right now, there aren't a lot of details on either powertrain, although with the NX's Beijing debut still over a week away, here's hoping we know more soon.
As for that design... well, we're waiting to see it up close. The initial reaction from the Autoblog team has been mixed so far. Like the IS, there are plenty of sharp angles, while the front is dominated by the brand's spindle grille. Lexus' designers have refined the shape of the headlights, giving them a cleaner overall look than on the pioneering IS. In back, LED taillights come standard. According to Lexus, 17-inch wheels are the base rollers, while 18s are optional.

Production Lexus NX leaks online

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:30:00 EST

The first photos of the new Lexus NX crossover have leaked onto the web over a week before its official debut at the Beijing Motor Show. These pictures are pretty blurry, but there is no mistaking that they show off the Japanese luxury brand's smaller, premium CUV.
While the teaser only gave us a glimpse at its pointed strip of LED running lights and angular grille, the new image proves that the CUV is definitely not afraid of sharp edges. However, compared to the original concept, it looks almost sedate. The production version drops the knife-like side mirrors for more conventional units, and the grille appears narrower. The vertical intakes at the edges of the front are dulled slightly but still present. The NX is indeed a polarizing vehicle - we'll be interested to see it in person. After all, we've grown to like the new IS after our first, shocking reaction. We should give Lexus some credit, too, for not following the premium CUV styling herd.
Seen elsewhere, these's an exterior photo that hints at a powertrain configuration. The bumper reads NX 300h, which likely indicates that there will be a hybrid version of the CUV. This is likely the same combined 220-horsepower system with a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and electric motor found in the IS 300h in Europe. There is no word on whether that model will be sold here. It's rumored to be offered with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as well. More details about the new Lexus are expected in China later this month.

Lexus previews production NX crossover ahead of Beijing debut

Fri, 04 Apr 2014 13:27:00 EST

Every luxury automaker and its sister company is getting into the compact crossover game these days. Mercedes has the GLK and even smaller GLA, Audi has the Q3, BMW the X1... even Porsche is getting in on the action with the new Macan. Lincoln has the new MKC, and it won't be long before Infiniti and Acura launch challengers of their own. But before they do, Lexus will roll out its new NX crossover.
Previewed by the LF-NX concepts first in Frankfurt and then in Tokyo, leaked in a corporate presentation and spied testing out on the open road, Lexus is slated to present the production NX at the Beijing Motor Show later this month. But to keep us on our toes, the Japanese luxury automaker has released this teaser image and brief statement.
From the looks of it, it appears that Lexus has hardly toned down for production the anime-worthy sharp creases that made the LF-NX stand out on the show floor, with the brand's signature spindle grille featuring prominently once again. Though we'd guess the finished product will be toned down somewhat. Toyota's luxury division also says "the NX will set new standards for future models in the line-up," meaning that we can expect the design theme to carry through to more models to follow.

Japanese dealer petitioning Lexus for luxury van [w/poll]

Thu, 13 Mar 2014 07:58:00 EST

Used to be that if you wanted a luxury automobile - especially one to be chauffeured around in - your choices were basically limited to a sedan. It could be bigger or smaller, more or less expensive, depending on your needs and budget, but it was always going to have four doors and a trunk. But these days the rich and famous are looking elsewhere for their commodious forms of pampering transportation. There are, of course, the crossovers and SUVs, which only seem to be getting bigger and more expensive thanks to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Range Rover L and upcoming Bentley sport-ute. But luxury vans are becoming the new big thing.
That's the point that one dealer in Japan is trying to make to Toyota. The dealership owner himself reasons that if he's going out on the town, he's likely to take his chauffeured Lexus LS. But if he's taking a few friends along, even the biggest sedan isn't going to cut it. So he takes a Toyota Alphard (pictured above, also known as the Vellfire), a JDM van that's even bigger than a Voxy/Noah or Sienna but hardly a high-end affair. That's why he's asking Lexus to make a luxury van.
The idea may seem a little far-fetched, but isn't without precedent. It didn't take much for Lexus to transform the Land Cruiser into the LX and thus create its first luxury SUV. And as Mercedes has shown with pimped-out versions of the Sprinter and now with the debut of the new V-Class in Geneva, there's clearly a market for it... in some countries, anyway. The only question in our minds is how long it's going to take other luxury automakers to catch on, because let's face it: the Chrysler Town & Country ain't gonna cut it for those used to be driven around in a Maybach.

Vice chronicles Okinawa's illegal street racing scene

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST

We all know that street racing is dangerous, and that motorsports are best left on the track or drag strip. However, that doesn't mean that there still isn't some outlaw allure among enthusiasts of racing on public roads. In this video, Vice Japan profiles Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan's island of Okinawa. He is a used car dealer by day and an illegal racer by night.
Nagayoshi has a deep love for his highly customized Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS) that he claims produces over 1,000 horsepower and has hit 205 miles per hour. He races his car both on drag strips and in drifting competitions, but says that he often has to ship the car to mainland Japan to compete. In the absence of those opportunities, he sometimes gathers friends and takes the racing to the public roads. While we're not down with street racing, this Vice video is an intriguing personality piece, as well as a look into Japan's fabled underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the "CC" button clicked, because several portions are subtitled.

Lexus to reveal production NX crossover at Beijing in April

Thu, 06 Mar 2014 08:33:00 EST

At the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, Lexus rolled out a concept crossover called the LF-NX. It then brought it back, with a new paint job and a turbocharged engine, at the Tokyo Motor Show a few months later. We got another glimpse a couple of months after that during a presentation from Jim Lentz. But now Toyota has confirmed that the finalized production version is just around the corner.
While all the attention is affixed on the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota released a statement (which you can read below) announcing that the NX (as it will officially be known) will debut next month at the Beijing Motor Show. Set to be positioned below the RX, the new NX will tackle what Lexus terms as "the growing segment of premium compact crossovers," taking on the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport snarls in Switzerland with darkened demeanor

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 18:20:00 EST

Lexus is finally ready to return to the coupe market with the new RC, and while we already saw it in Detroit, it brought the new RC 350 F Sport version for the Geneva Motor Show.
The car packs 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet from its 3.5-liter V6 and is meant to sit between the standard RC 350 Sport Coupe and the full bore RC F.
Most obvious when you glimpse the coupe is the more aggressive spindle grille with a new mesh treatment and dark, 19-inch F Sport wheels. The interior also receives a host of upgrades with Rioja Red leather and Silver Performance trim, plus perforated leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob. There is a bit of LFA inspiration as well with the F Sport getting its moving center ring instrument display. It is not all about better style though because the coupe also gets adaptive dampers and an optional four-wheel steering system.

Lexus RC F GT3 Racing Concept is green-flag ready

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:01:00 EST

Lexus is hardly the first brand that comes to mind when comes to motorsports. In fact, it's not even the first Japanese brand. But Toyota's premium marque is showing new signs of understanding that it will need to at least pay racing further lip service if it wants to be viewed as a more emotionally connected brand with the wherewithal to challenge the Germans on every level.
Lexus has already made it clear it wants to race its RC F coupe, and at least philosophically, the new model certainly strikes us as a more appropriate racecar conversion than the SC 430 that preceded it. This just-unveiled RC F GT3 Racing Concept looks properly menacing sitting on the carpet at the Geneva Motor Show, and it while it's officially labeled as a concept, it's a model Lexus promises will be made available to racing teams in 2015.
Designed run in Group GT3 events, this 2,756-pound coupe has a front-mounted V8 derived from the production RC F tuned to deliver over 540 horsepower. Lexus' plan is to commit to a season's worth of testing this year before building them to order, and we expect to see them in the Japan's Super GT and Super Taikyu Endurance series, along with endurance events like the 24 hours of Nürburgring.