Auto blogTue, 28 Jan 2014 17:01:00 EST
Before kicking off the Detroit Auto Show, the Society of Automotive Analysts had Toyota CEO Jim Lentz come on stage to say some words about the future of the auto industry, as well as what's coming for Toyota. While this type of information would normally stay off our radar, a video of his speech likely gives us our first look - albeit low-res - at the production version of the Lexus NX compact crossover.
In the video recorded by AmericaJR, Lentz refers to the turbocharged LF-NX Concept that was on display at the Tokyo Motor Show, but comparing this image to our gallery from Tokyo, there are clear differences between the two vehicles. These include the toned-down shape of the spindle grille, lower fascia crease and door mirrors as well as a headlight design that more closely resembles that of the 2014 IS sedan and the newly introduced RC coupe. From what we can see of the rest of this image, the NX should retain some of the LF-NX's angular side body creases. The vehicle you see above basically looks ready for production.
If this is in fact the NX, then reports of a Geneva debut for the luxury crossover seem even more accurate. The entire video is posted below, but the NX comes on screen around the 10:40 mark.
Lexus Racing's booth designers at the Tokyo Auto Salon clearly loved a certain French electronic music duo when they decided to promote the new Lexus RC F racecar from the Super GT series. The Daft Punk-inpsired race team appeared ready for a pit stop in this promo photo, wearing custom double-breasted suits made from race gear as well as top hats, headphones and reflective sunglasses.
Lexus Racing showed the car in the summer when it was known as the LF-CC, but the Tokyo Auto Salon gave the public the first chance to see the renamed RC F in full race trim. It replaces the aging Lexus SC 430 GT500 car with a sharper, more aggressive racing weapon making 500 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The RC F, Nissan GT-R and Honda NSX form a trio of new models in the top-spec GT500 arm of Super GT, as the class goes through one of its biggest changes in its history. The GT500 class and DTM in Germany are unifying their rules for the new season. The cars have the same limits on exterior dimensions and weight. The only major difference between them is that the GT500 cars are using 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and the DTM is using naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8s in its cars.
Take one look at the new Lexus RC F and it'll be fairly obvious that Toyota's luxury division went to considerable lengths to make the new muscle coupe look the part. Still, there will always be those looking for that extra measure of visual aggression. And for them, Lexus is reportedly offering this carbon-fiber package.
The kit apparently includes a new hood (complete with central air vent), roof and active rear spoiler, all made of carbon fiber. The parts in question are particularly evident when installed on the white example of the RC F pictured here, giving it an even racier look than the stock model.
We've yet to receive official details from Lexus on the availability of the Carbon Package, so we don't know how much it will cost - or for that matter, if the components have been recrafted from actual carbon fiber or whether the woven bits simply overlay the existing panels as is often the case with aftermarket parts. But while we wait for official word, you can check out the images that have been circulating the internet in the gallery above.
You'd be forgiven for thinking just because the Lexus LFA has ended its production run (it's been over a year now) that Toyota would have ceased its development. You'd be forgiven, but Gazoo Racing is here to tell you you'd still be wrong.
One of Toyota's many works racing teams, Gazoo is returning to the 24-hour endurance race at the Nürburgring this year with a trio of entries. One is based on the Toyota GT86 (which we know as the Scion FR-S), and one is essentially the same LFA that it's entered in years past. But the third vehicle is dubbed Code X.
It's also based on the LFA, but its 4.8-liter V10 engine has been bored out to 5.3 liters, raising its output to untold levels. It's got a full carbon-fiber chassis and a range of other enhancements that Gazoo isn't telling us about just yet, but they should turn the LFA Code X from a road-going supercar beyond a racecar and into a rolling research lab. Considering that Gazoo has been racing at the 'Ring since 2007 and fielding versions of the LFA there since 2008, it'll be interesting to see how the Code X version fares.
Take a look at that face. We can't be the only ones who see an automotive Predator staring back, right? Certainly, the Lexus RC F Coupe boasts a visually striking design that some are going to love and others are going to hate, but we can at least appreciate that it's aggressive, especially compared to the standard RC Coupe that we saw at the Tokyo Motor Show. And with good reason - there's a 5.0-liter V8 engine sitting under that massively domed hood with "more than 450 horsepower," along with a newly calibrated eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Interestingly, Lexus has tuned the RC F's engine to run on an Atkinson cycle under most circumstances, while it switches to the more typical Otto cycle when more power is required, presumably using some sort of advanced variable valve timing technology. Helping put that power to the ground with all those ponies wreaking havoc underhood is a torque vectoring differential, a first from Lexus.
Also involved in keeping the RC F planted is an aero package that includes wings and ducts galore. The headline bit is an active rear wing that deploys at 50 miles per hour and retracts back into the deck when the car drops back to 25 mph. A clear-coated carbon fiber roof can optionally join that carbon rear wing. There are apparently going to be three 19-inch wheel options, including the ones you see in our live image gallery above.
The ES is Lexus' top-selling sedan, but the Japanese luxury marque has never manufactured it outside of Japan. In fact, Lexus has never made any cars in the United States, one of its largest markets worldwide. But that's about to change.
Yesterday, construction began in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the first Lexus assembly line in America, the first concrete (or steel) step in a $360-million expansion of Toyota's plant in the Bluegrass state that will create 750 new jobs. The expansion was announced last April by chief executive Akio Toyoda at the New York Auto Show.
Once the new assembly line gets online in the fall of next year, Toyota plans on building some 50,000 units of the ES each year. Lexus sold a record 72,581 examples of the ES in the United States last year - 30 percent more than the previous year - so Lexus will either have to import some more from overseas or leave some buyers disappointed.
With less than a week to go until the 2015 Lexus RC F makes its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, Lexus has given us a sneak peek at its upcoming performance coupe. Earlier this week, Autoblog was granted were the opportunity for an intimate studio photo shoot with the RC F outside of the bright lights and big crowds sure to surround the coupe at Cobo Hall next week.
Compared to the hybrid version of the all-new RC we saw at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, the RC F has noticeably more aggressive styling. The cartoonishly oversized Lexus spindle grille gets a mesh insert pattern and is flanked by massive intakes in the lower fascia. To make room for what is expected to be a bigger V8 engine, the hood sits higher and is vented, but like many details about the RC F, Lexus is keeping the engine's size and output under wraps (although we have a sneaking suspicion it'll have 460 horsepower).
A trio of 19-inch wheel options will be available (including a set that is hand-polished), and the side sills and rear fascia have been modified for F duty. The biggest styling change on the RC F, however, is the LFA-inspired active rear wing that rises at speeds above 50 miles per hour for improved traction and stability. Carrying over cues from the current IS F, the RC F features air outlets behind the front wheel openings and angle-stacked exhaust outlets at the rear of the car.
With less than two weeks before the start of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, we're starting to get a better idea of what some of the hot debuts are for this year's installment of America's premiere auto show.
The latest leaked image to hit the internet is what purports to be the Lexus RC F, the Japanese premium brand's long-awaited return to the coupe market and the latest challenger for the upcoming BMW M4, a model that will also be arriving in Detroit. This image was reportedly originally leaked by a Chinese magazine, and was then picked up by our friends at AutoExpress.
The image fits with the teasers and spy shots we've seen of the car so far, meaning that this could very well be the real deal. As we've previously reported, Lexus is expected to offer the RC F with a 460-horsepower V8, while a lower-power RC 350 with two fewer cylinders will also be available. We'll have the full set of details on the RC F when it hits the stage in Detroit.
Yesterday, we brought you the image above, sent out by Lexus, teasing its Detroit Auto Show reveal. At the time, all we knew about the car was that it's a coupe, and falls into the automaker's F performance line. But now, some more details have leaked.
An anonymous tipster passed us a link to this website, which Lexus is using to invite folks to an event at the Detroit show where the new RC F coupe will be revealed. But that same tipster also sent us a scan of the mailed-out invitation, shown at right (click the image to enlarge), which clearly states that the RC F will be powered by a 460-horsepower V8. The invite also says Lexus will show its 2015 RC 350 coupe in Detroit, following its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.
We cannot totally verify the authenticity of the scanned invitation, but with a corresponding website live on the web, it all looks pretty legit to us. Stay tuned for more details closer to the RC F's debut in January.
The Toyota 4Runner has always held a special place in my heart for its boxy styling and off-road prowess, but until now, I never had the chance to drive its more luxurious cousin, the Lexus GX 460. Granted, the GX actually has more in common with the foreign-market Land Cruiser Prado, but all three SUVs ride on the same body-on-frame platform.
Originally an answer to the luxury SUV craze from the early 2000s, the GX hasn't changed all that much since its introduction more than a decade ago. It's a big SUV with plenty of space and crammed with just about all the luxuriousness Lexus could fit into a 12-year-old vehicle, but, more importantly, it still has the chops to go places many vehicles in its segment wouldn't dare venture. And just for good measure, Lexus tacked on its new signature spindle grille in what has to be its most pronounced appearance yet.
I've had a chance to drive most of the latest Lexus products (including the IS, ES and GS) to see just how competitive Toyota's luxury arm has gotten in recent years, but after spending a week with the 2014 GX 460, it's refreshing that, for now, Lexus has resisted the urge to follow some of its rivals in replacing rugged, body-on-frame SUVs with softer, car-based crossovers.