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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.
The 2014 Lexus IS sedan has been turning heads and dividing public opinion since we first drove it. Then, as now, we knew that a revamped IS F would be in the offing at some point, but until today we had know idea what form the Lexus would take.
Our first ever batch of 2015 Lexus IS F spy shots has just come across the transom, and the camouflaged coupe - that's right, there are just two doors this time out - is awfully intriguing at first glance. A much more aggressive front end is prominent, as is the slinky roofline that finishes in a pert rear end. The signature IS grille is still in effect here, at least in terms of the shape, and while the headlamps are covered up, we'd expect some variation of the slash-like units on the 2014 IS.
Hinting at the car's performance intentions are large slotted brake rotors with significantly sized calipers, all tucked in behind dark-finish wheels. Quad exhaust tips and a retractable spoiler can be seen at the back of the car.
Lexus has officially built the very last LFA. The 500th Lexus supercar rolled from the company's Motomachi facility on December 14th wearing all of the goodies of the Nürburgring package and white paint. Toyota's Lexus division started production on the car exactly two years ago on December 15, 2010 and built just one unit per working day. A total of 170 workers were hand-picked to handle parts manufacturing, assembly and painting for the LFA project. While Lexus has made it clear it will produce no more LFA models, lessons gleaned from the vehicle's construction may translate into other future products.
Specifically, Toyota says it may employ its carbon fiber reinforced plastic experience moving forward. As you may recall, the LFA made extensive use of CFRP and carbon fiber, and Lexus even created a special rotary loom to stitch together the supercar's A-pillars. Take a look at the brief press release on the last LFA below.