Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Next week, the automotive industry will converge on Las Vegas for the four-day SEMA auto show, and Lexus, as always, will be representing in full force. Among this year’s Lexus project cars is Five Axis’s modifications to the new 2013 GS F SPORT. (Lexus will also showcase the new production-model GS F SPORT at the show.)
Naturally, we wanted Lexus fans to meet the man behind the project car modifications, so guest blogger Kevin Watts from The Lexus Enthusiast weblog sat down with Five Axis president Troy Sumitomo to learn more about the changes.
Kevin Watts: So what was it like working with the new 2013 GS?
Sumitomo: The only early exposure I had to the car was really the LF-Gh concept that was unveiled in New York last spring. I didn’t see the production model until we actually got it to work on. It was interesting to see the transition from the concept to the production.
Five Axis has done a series of different Lexus project cars—did you try to bring anything over from previous project cars, specifically your previous Project GS?
We always start by looking at what the base vehicle is all about, what the overall look is, what the market is—every car is unique in its own way. We choose our modifications accordingly.
The new GS is definitely not like the old GS—it’s a completely different vehicle—but we took a similar approach to the previous Project GS in the sense that we didn’t go super-aggressive like with the IS F a couple years back. The IS F was completely about performance, where as the GS is more of a touring luxury sedan.
I noticed that the front bumper is blacked out. Was that a nod to the LF-Gh concept?
The new Lexus styling language is all about the front end. People call it a spindle design, where it’s pinched in the middle. That’s really the graphic statement—it’s definitely the most noticeable in the new GS, but even looking at the CT, you have that styling language. We wanted to keep that accentuation, and the best way to give the impression of that graphic shape is to black the bumper out.
Looks great—I love the look. Tell us about the StopTech Big Brake Kit you installed?
We’re using the larger IS F StopTech brakes; they’re cross-drilled with the front using six pistons and the back using four pistons. Visually they are very aggressive.
What can you tell me about the FIVE:AD S5:F alloy wheels?
The S5:F has become our iconic wheel—it’s classy yet sporty with its aggressive dished face. We feel it was a perfect complement to the design lines of the new GS.
So for the exterior color, you went with “Glacier White”...
Yes, unlike the matte paint on some of our other cars, like the Project IS F and previous Project GS, we wanted to make a real pure statement with this car—the cold white is extremely clean, and with the dark graphics, it gives a very Lexus look to the vehicle.
Having been to some of the European auto shows, I find that it’s always nice when you see nothing but white cars—you’re not really depending so much on the color to tell the story, but instead rely on the pure shape, the design lines of the vehicle.
Did you do anything to customize the interior?
Yes, we added a textural element that has a nice technical yet fashion-forward look—it’s kind of checkered with very small squares—and we used it on the seat inserts and the doors. It gives the interior a little more of that sport flare, without being over-the-top crazy.
The GS already has a rich interior, with that wide display up in the front and strong horizontal lines. We didn’t want to change much but rather complement the already strong design.
What were you inspired by when you were creating the Project GS?
We concentrated on subtle enhancements—a more aggressive look, like a high-performance European sedan—but the main focus on the new GS is the driver’s experience, so we wanted to appeal to that. We wanted people to see it and think, “I want to drive that car!”
Thursday, October 27, 2011
To be unveiled at the Las Vegas show on Tuesday (1st November) the car is described as the first hybrid with four-wheel steering.
The GS F Sport will be in UK showrooms next year, distinguished by a bolder look including a new front bumper, bespoke mesh grille, metallic and chrome detailing, a rear spoiler and wider rear tyres on the 19-inch alloys.
The suspension is retuned, with an electronic Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system and revised dampers to reduce body roll. The electronics boast driver-selected ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport S+’ damper settings.
Overall the driver has four drive modes to select, Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+, allowing the choice between best environmental efficiency or best performance.
The headline addition, however is the Lexus Dynamic Handling system, an integrated four-wheel steering system. All aspects of the car’s steering are combined to produce what the car’s creators describe as agile, sharp and confident driving behaviour.
The car is fitted with larger, 356 x 30mm ventilated front disc brakes. Another claimed first is the hat section of the braking system’s two-piece rotor. This is made of aluminium to cut weight and reduce heat deformation.
The interior is not forgotten, with matching door and seat upholstery offered in a new Garnet (deep red) shade exclusive to the car. Aluminium trim elements, 16-way adjustable front seats, a black headliner and pillar finish, dimple perforated leather steering wheel and gear knob covers and aluminium pedals all feature too.
- CJ always takes good care of me and my car. He stayed late today and I was so happy to see him when my car service was complete. -kwielgus
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
- Mr. Walsh is my service consultant. He is always quick to respond and is also very informative. He is always notifying me every step of the way that my vehicle is in service. He does a great job at taking care that I understand everything that my vehicle is getting done and in making sure all my questions and concerns are addressed. GREAT JOB!
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The Japanese car specialist started with a unique Chameleon paint job that changes color when viewed from different angles. The hardtop convertible from Lexus also gains a Seibon carbon fiber hood, an aero kit comprising of a front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser, boot lid wing, and headlamp trims.
The IS 350C rides on a lowered suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and a set of 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped around beefy Michelin tires.
However, the most important performance modifications are under the hood where VIP Auto Salon bolted on a supercharger and a sport exhaust system, which along with the updated ECU pushed output to 386-horses at 5,800 rpm and 372 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm.
• TOMS upper shock tower brace
• F SPORT Lowering Spring Set
• F SPORT Bilstein Shock Absorber Set
• F SPORT Sway Bar Kit
• Custom Carbon Fiber Aero Styling Package
• Consists of a Front Lip Spoiler, Side Diffuser, Rear Diffusers, Rear Trunk Spoiler, and Eye lines
• Seibon Carbon Fiber Hood
• Custom head light housing
• Custom Chameleon paint by K&W
• Huper Optik Ceramic film by STM
• Custom Seat inserts by Top Stitch
• F SPORT Carbon Shift Knob
• F SPORT Floor mats
• F SPORT Carbon fiber Engine Cover
• Interior and Exterior Bulb replacements by VLEDS
• Consists of LED interior package, D4S 6k replacement
• HID Fog Light kit, and DRL LED replacement
• Power Enterprise Rotex Supercharger kit by Apexi x Vip Auto Salon
• 386hp @5800 rpm 372lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
• PTS Joe Z Series Header Back Exhaust System
• Apexi Smart Accel Controller
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
- F SPORT Package Features 19-Inch Staggered Width Wheels
- Dynamic Handling with F SPORT Tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS)
- Stopping Power with New Larger Front Brakes with High Friction Pads
The Lexus press conference to reveal the 2013 GS 350 with F SPORT package will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m. PDT at the outdoor Lexus exhibit tent, located between the Central and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Following the press conference, media will have an opportunity to experience track rides in the all-new GS 350 with F SPORT package.
The GS 350 with F SPORT package will be on display at the Lexus tent from Nov. 1 – 4.
“The all-new GS 350 with F SPORT package will offer our customers more agility and a sportier appearance,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The
Acceleration from 30 to 50 mph can take just 3.0 seconds, and improved engine sound characteristics complement the bolder, more energetic personality of the new GS. The six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission has paddle shifters and sport driving functions as standard equipment. The transmission incorporates many features adopted from the Lexus IS F high-performance sedan — including faster shifts, and downshift throttle blips — to support four driving modes that can be operated by toggling the Lexus Drive Mode selector. In addition to the Normal mode, the driver can customize the driving experience using ECO, Sport S and Sport S+ modes. An optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system is designed to enhance traction in a variety of driving conditions. The system can vary front-to-rear torque balance from 50/50 to as much as 30/70, depending on driving conditions, for exceptional control.
The new platform has been designed to be more rigid. Engineers conducted extensive platform testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track, wider by almost two inches, works in combination with a revised suspension design to help ensure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance.
The new suspension system is designed to help guide the 2013 GS through corners with precision. In the front, upper and lower control arms are made from aluminum and employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that helps retain tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.
The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness.
The GS 350 with F SPORT package will offer an optional newly developed Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system with Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) for those seeking more agility. This leading edge platform technology offers Lexus’ first integration of DRS; Electric Power Steering; and Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Monitoring vehicle speed, steering direction and driver inputs, the system calculates the optimum angle for all four wheels. LDH helps to optimize the vehicle slip angle. Using VGRS in the front and DRS in the rear, the system can independently manage both front and rear wheel steering angles to help improve turn-in response, rear grip, vehicle control and overall agility when cornering.
The latest generation of Lexus’ unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system coordinates Lexus Dynamic Handling; the Anti-lock Braking System; Traction Control; Vehicle Stability Control; and Adaptive Variable Suspension. Adaptive Variable Suspension helps front and rear wheel control and provides agile, sharp and confident driving behavior with a more direct response to the driver’s actions. The LDH system monitors vehicle speed and yaw rate, steering angle and speed, and lateral G to calculate the required rear wheel steering input, to a maximum DRS angle of 2.0 degrees. At most speeds below 50 mph the front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions. In certain conditions at speeds over 50 mph the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction.
Further coordinating DRS with VGRS and AVS, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system will automatically customize the adaptive suspension tuning and active safety systems to suit road conditions, vehicle speed and driving style, giving drivers the confidence to fully utilize the exceptional driving performance of the GS with F SPORT package.
The GS 350 RWD with F SPORT package will be exclusively equipped with 19-inch staggered width wheels paired with 235/40/19 front and 265/35/19 rear tires, the widest rear tires ever on a Lexus sedan. The wider width wheels allow for a sportier look, and will also help provide added traction. All-wheel drive (AWD) models will be paired with 235/40/19 all-season tires in the front and rear.
Other available safety systems include a Night Vision System that enhances driver visibility at night; Heads Up Display; a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). GS is the first in its segment to offer LKA with active steering torque to provide a small amount to assist in maintaining course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.
Following the inspirational design cues of the IS line-up and CT 200h, the F SPORT package separates itself from the GS line-up with distinctive exterior details. To display its aggressive attitude, the GS 350 with F SPORT package will be outfitted with a sport front bumper and rear lower valence, rear lip spoiler, unique F SPORT mesh grille inserts and F SPORT badging. The GS fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. Air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts. This distinctive Lexus design feature combined with the deep-set, high-tech headlamps and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps further express the vehicle’s confident and dynamic character. The headlamps use a projector beam design, adding a strong, chiseled appearance and excellent illumination. Fins incorporated into the side of the tail lamps and the design of the trunk area all help direct air over and past the car. The rear bumper underbody area was designed for reduced wind resistance to help keep the car firmly planted on the ground. From the side, the GS projects the image of a spacious sport sedan with a road-hugging wider stance. The tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang give the vehicle a sense of motion. Width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches add an athletic stance-enhancing the vehicle’s dynamic presence.
The rear bumper features a distinctive exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps, a Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance. Overall, the new GS sheet metal represents a significant extension of the Lexus L-finesse philosophy that is the core of all Lexus product design.
The GS 350 with F SPORT package will feature two new colors: Riviera Red and Liquid Platinum, and also be available in Starfire Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl and Obsidian. Vehicles in Riviera Red will benefit from glass flakes incorporated into the coating that adds a high level of brilliance to the paint. Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for Liquid Platinum exteriors. The GS 350 will be the first Lexus to adopt this new coating technology. Vehicles with the Liquid Platinum exterior will appear more radiant as an additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appears finely polished.
Painstaking attention to detail was applied to the GS cabin as well, to create a balance of luxurious and technological amenities and emotional design. The new layout of the long, sculpted dash gives the driver and front passenger a sense of roominess through its clean center stack and new, large high-resolution center control display placed deep near the front windshield. Most of the comfort and convenience controls, such as audio and climate, were relocated to provide a cleaner and more sophisticated dash layout.
The interior includes a number of embedded premium upgrades as standard equipment. A new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated, a first-in-class technology. A next-generation Remote Touch with one-push confirmation is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive operations control.
The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with the controller, eliminating the need to reach out. Remote Touch also reduces eye movement and helps users operate functions with reduced effort and distraction. A standard rear back-up camera helps add convenience. The finely crafted cabin detail is complemented further by ambient lighting that unobtrusively welcomes and guides the user into the vehicle, providing a carefully designed experience. New white LED lights are sequentially lit to illuminate the areas around the doors, center console and footwells. A new analog clock with LED indicators, carved from an ingot, adds a unique touch, at once both modern and traditional. “The GS 350 with F SPORT Package will be a distinctive offering of luxury and excitement,” said Templin. “With its dynamic handling, stopping power and true sporty feel this
306 hp @ 6,400rpm
277 lb-ft @ 4,800rpm
Six-speed sequential-shift with paddle shifters
Electronic Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i)
Overall Length (in.)
Rear or All-Wheel Drive
Curb weight (lbs.)
Ventilated front and rear disc with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM)
19” x 8” (Front), 19” x 9” (Rear)
19” x 8”
235/40/19 (Front and Rear)
0 – 60 mph
Estimated 5.7 seconds
Top Track Speed
Estimated 142 mph (electronically limited)
20/27/23 (RWD) 18/25/20 (AWD)
(5) Star Review on DealerRater
- I received terrific service from Dominic yesterday. I was in a rush because I had to take my kids to Aquatica and Dominic not only did a terrific job servicing my car, but he also had me out of there fast enough for me to enjoy the day with the family. I would definitely recommend Dominic for a commendation/promotion for his excellent customer service skills. Thanks again, -Andrew Chen
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Monday, October 24, 2011
BY DOUG KNOX
Question: Does the 2013 Lexus GS, with its LFA-inspired design cues, drive like it looks?
Recently, I traveled to the Shibetsu Proving Ground in Japan with Lexus Drive Meister Yoshiaki Ito to find out, as well as do a little personal, unofficial comparison between the new GS 350 and its hybrid counterpart, the new GS 450h.
This Lexus testing track is going to give me a feel for the models’ new performance modes, SPORT S (enhanced powertrain) and optional SPORT S+ (enhanced powertrain plus enhanced adaptive variable suspension, steering system, and vehicle stability control), as well as the cars’ behavior in long, foot-to-floor straights, fast double-lane changes, and high-speed S-turns.
TAKE-OFF/ACCELERATION: Blasting off first in the GS 350, in SPORT S+ mode, the response from the GS 350’s engine is instant and smooth, accompanied by a deep roar and a throaty burble that, frankly, I’ve not heard in the previous model.
Ito explains: “The new GS 350’s exhaust note is a natural, dynamic response, but it’s also optimized. For the first time, we’ve enhanced engine and exhaust notes via the air intake and exhaust systems.”
The GS 450h take-off, though, with its V6 engine, is a revelation. The previous GS Hybrid had a pretty seamless pick-up from a standstill, but this is altogether more raw, more primal, as if the car had a much bigger engine under the hood.
As with the gas model, I’m in Sport S+, the instrument panel glows red, and as the hybrid builds speed, I can feel the G-forces pushing me deep into the driver’s seat. Ito points out that Lexus purposely spent much time working with the hybrid’s two-motor system “to create a far richer feel.”
RAPID DECELERATION, FAST CORNERING: The hybrid offers fine times with its manual-style paddle shifters and heightened responsiveness in SPORT S mode. But I confess to enjoying the gas version slightly—only slightly—more in this section.
On this part of the track, I begin by engaging the car in SPORT S+ mode along a 90-plus mph straight before dropping to 50 and then 40 in the apex of a corner. The vehicle holds firm right through the bend, no auto upshift or downshift to spoil the fun.
It gets better. In a second time through, I select the manual paddle-shift control, like a race driver. As I power into the corner, I give the right paddle a gentle pull, the car downshifts with a throaty growl, aka “blip,” and the car decelerates under engine-braking into the corner. It’s a thrill. Likewise with the super-quick upshifts.
“This is technology that shows what we’re trying to achieve with the new GS,” Ito tells me. “It’s a new kind of dynamism, heightened responsiveness, more enjoyment.”
HIGH-SPEED S-TURNS: In this section of the track, I keep both vehicles in SPORT S+ mode and approach the track’s S-turns at around 85 mph. In both cars, and in equal measure, my line holds true as I sweep through the bends. Crucially, I can “feel” the road through each car’s steering wheel. I’m connected, but it’s quiet. Very Lexus.
“The Electronic Power Steering helps to ensure this sense of directness and security,” Ito explains. “Greater body strength also plays a part. The new GS is 14 percent more rigid, and we used human senses, via test-driving, to determine the ideal rigidity for the best driver experience. We’ve also maximized the effectiveness of the Adaptive Variable Suspension while also making progress with the articulation index [the ability to hear speech in the car], thanks to a new A-pillar design and revised door seals.”
DOUBLE-LANE CHANGE: Here, the hybrid is the most memorable for me. Driving the GS 450h down the track, I switch to normal mode, drop my speed to 45 mph and then power up to 90. Acceleration is again impressive. Then it’s into a series of fast but well-controlled double-lane changes. The turn in is sharp but smooth, with well-poised body control. Another lap, this time in SPORT S+ mode, and the sense of precision is even better.
Again, Ito provides the back story: “‘Passing acceleration’ in the GS Hybrid wipes away any idea that eco means compromised performance. In the U.S., passing acceleration is measured between 30 to 50 mph, which the GS Hybrid dispatches in 3 seconds.”
HIGH-SPEED STRAIGHT: My take on this section of the course was pretty simple: Accelerating through the track’s long straightaway, both the GS 350 and GS 450h show exceptional control as I power up to 110 mph to test out what Ito calls Lexus’ concept of “aerodynamic handling.”
“We’ve worked ‘with’ the wind,” Ito explains. “You can see it in the sculpted lines of both cars’ exteriors but also sense it through their road-hugging drives and quiet cabins at high speeds, thanks to their aerodynamic underbodies and special stabilizing fins.”
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Medical dictionaries define a drug as "any article intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of humans."The 2012 Lexus LFA is not a supercar, it is a narcotic. Twist the carbon-fiber key of the Lexus flagship and listen to its race-bred V10 wail. Within seconds of the sound reaching the eardrum, the adrenal glands initialize epinephrine production and endorphins are released from the pituitary. The result of the natural injection is a more rapid heartbeat, an increase in blood pressure, involuntary muscle relaxation/contraction and an overall feeling of well-being - the human body becomes more alert, physically stronger and has greater energy. In layman's terms... the LFA makes its driver feel positively euphoric. Regrettably, as is the case with most "feel good" medicines, the LFA is also extremely habit-forming and highly addictive. But Lexus has addressed this issue by ensuring safeguards are in place to prevent abuse. First, a person has to be of legal driving age to get behind the wheel. Second, the automaker has limited production to just 500 units worldwide (there are only 46 in North America today). Lastly, and this will certainly keep the toxins from falling into the wrong hands, is that the base sticker price of the carbon-fiber, aluminum and titanium hallucinogenic is a nicely-rounded $375,000. Yes, it is unlikely that your friends, neighbors or co-workers will overdose on LFA anytime soon.
Lexus recently allowed me to sample its intoxicating supercar for a few days. No complaints, as it was a lot longer than Senior Editor Damon Lavrinc's taste at Homestead-Miami Speedway two years ago while attending the vehicle's launch. It didn't seem right to review the LFA without a plan, so a scheme was concocted that would allow the car to be driven on coastal highways, curvy mountain roads and wide open desert straightaways during an extended one-day banzai road-trip. Thankfully, Southern California delivered the proper geography and weather to pull it off. The plan, plotted rather meticulously a few nights prior to the LFA's arrival, was to take the vehicle on what amounted to a giant geographical loop. To maximize the driving experience, the route deliberately encompassed the aforementioned coastal, mountain and desert driving with elevations ranging from sea level to nearly 9,000 feet. Temperatures would mirror those extremes, with a low of about 60 F. at the ocean and a sweltering 100 F. in the desert. In total, the drive would start around noon and cover about 350 miles during day and night - including a desert photo shoot during sunset. Clear skies greeted me on the morning of the drive, as did a rather dusty LFA in the driveway (black really isn't the vehicle's best color as it shows lots of dust while simultaneously hiding nearly all of its unique styling cues). In person, the supercar looks bigger and more muscular than it appears in pictures, despite the fact it is nearly identical in length to a Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette, but lower and wider than both.
Toyota was obsessed with weight savings, so the engineers specified aluminum alloy construction over traditional steel from the outset. However, when calculations proved they still wouldn't meet their objectives, featherweight - yet immensely strong - carbon fiber became the build material of choice. Expensive and difficult to work with, the automaker relied on its 150-year-old textile manufacturing experience to develop new looms to weave the fiber, and advanced molding techniques to cast the durable carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components. What isn't composite is titanium, aluminum or some other alloy. The rumors are true; there is no steel in the Lexus LFA. With a photo shoot scheduled at the culmination of the day, cleaning the LFA was the first priority. The hand-wash gave me a good opportunity to run my hands over the expansive carbon-fiber bodywork and explore the countless scoops, ports and air intakes (they are numerous enough to make a cheese grater feel inferior). The various air intakes are all functional; slots in the nose feed fresh air to the engine's lungs and cool the front brakes, while the vents on the hood bleed excess engine heat and feed cool air to the titanium exhaust manifolds. Additional side inlets deliver air to the rear brakes, large rear radiators and enclosed titanium mufflers. Under the carbon fiber hood, with its own trick carbon fiber prop rod, is a naturally-aspirated 4.8-liter V10. Thanks to lightweight internals, including titanium valves and connecting rods, the engine redlines at 9,000 rpm with an ultimate fuel cut-off at a dizzying 9,500 rpm. The powerplant, which Toyota says is smaller than a traditional V8 and lighter than a conventional V6, features individual throttle bodies for each cylinder. With dry sump lubrication for sustained high-speed cornering, it is rated at 552 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm. The awe factor doesn't stop there, as Toyota also fitted its LFA with equal-length titanium exhaust manifolds and a beautifully-tuned titanium silencer. The sound coming out of the center-mounted triple-cluster exhaust is pure Formula One, a high-pitched wail that is unheard of outside a race circuit. Gear changes are electronically managed, with instruction sent to a rear transaxle gearbox containing a single-clutch automated sequential transmission. A dual-clutch design wasn't possible with the LFA, says Toyota, as its freewheeling V10 engine can spin from idle to redline in just six tenths of a second. This necessitated a low-mass single-clutch system that was able to handle the speeds and a digital tachometer in the cockpit because an analog system could not keep up with the engine's insane transitions. A race-bred suspension keeps the LFA's wheels in contact with the pavement. It isn't exceedingly sophisticated - lacking electronic damping or any other wizardry - but it offers aluminum remote-reservoir monotube dampers, hollow anti-roll bars, forged aluminum knuckles and forged suspension arms. The brakes are massive cross-drilled carbon-ceramic units with six-piston alloy calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear. Sticky Bridgestone tires (265/35ZR20 front and 305/30ZR20 rear) complete the package. The near-disturbing obsession with weight savings, combined with a mid-front engine mounting, delivers a near-ideal 48:52 weight distribution and a curb weight of just 3,263 pounds (that's 566 pounds lighter than the slightly nose-heavy Nissan GT-R). Lexus claims its LFA will rocket to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds towards a top speed of 202 mph. I dropped my six-foot two-inch frame into the LFA's cockpit to find it as visionary as the exterior, but not exactly ergonomic. While there is an impressively overwhelming mix of carbon fiber, aluminum, leather and soft Alcantara covering nearly every square inch, there are a few oddities. These include a lack of cup holders, a lack of storage nooks and a lack of cruise control. It seemed as if the LFA was already hinting at its single-minded objective even before I started its engine. Unenlightened folk will have a difficult time driving the LFA, as a bit of pre-flight instruction is required. The starting procedure requires the key to be turned (to initialize power) while a foot is on the brake pedal and the gearbox is in Neutral - pull back both shift paddles simultaneously to bring it out of gear. At that point a small light will illuminate on the face of the steering wheel directly below the carbon fiber "Engine Start" button. Press and hold the button down until the engine fires a few seconds later. First gear is engaged by pulling back on the right shift paddle. To engage Reverse, put the LFA back into Neutral with the shift paddles and then slide a little button on the side of the instrument hood. The parking brake is electrically operated via a switch just below the driver's right knee. The primary controls sound confusing, but acclimation comes quickly. The first order of business was to program my route in the rather unspectacular navigation system (it is just a stock Lexus unit). With that complete, the second order of business was to fill the empty passenger seat. I thought about it briefly. Then I did what any responsible father would do - I drove the LFA directly to my son's middle school, marched into the front office and pulled him out of class for the rest of the day. While only in seventh grade, and just 12 years old, he's a Forza Motorsport expert who knows more about the LFA than most salesmen in a Lexus showroom. (Plus, my heart told me this type of father/son bonding was more developmental than anything he would have learned in history, social studies or pre-algebra that day.) Father, son and LFA left the school parking lot and headed north towards Ojai on U.S. Route 101. Getting the LFA up to highway speed took about as much effort as dropping a rock on your foot, but that is where the exciting part ended. I don't mean to shatter dreams, but driving any supercar in moderate traffic on a 65-mph highway is as frustrating as having your date's mother chaperone your post-prom party. Making matters worse, the LFA's suspension bickered with every pothole, wide expansion joint and stretch of grooved concrete it encountered - the Lexus shook the two of us like a bull attempting to throw its riders. As we passed the coastal city of Ventura and turned inland, we laughed when a sharp impact sent us high enough to leave a pocket of air between our jeans and the Alcantara seat cushions. It was funny at first, but it got old rather quickly. Holding a fixed interstate velocity, the constant wail of the engine also hit a nerve as it spins over 3,000 rpm at highway speeds. Its soundtrack drowns out everything within three lanes, including the patience of the occupants. The two of us needed to find an open road quickly. The transmission has four modes (Automatic, Normal, Sport and Snow). I'd been using mind-numbing and slow-shifting Automatic on the highway, but as we approached Ojai on California State Route 33 (CA-33) I dropped the gearbox into its Sport mode and began to shift manually with the column-mounted paddles. Entering the artsy town, where most residents drive something along the lines of an eco-friendly Prius, I kept the engine spinning at about 4,000 rpm just to gauge effect. The trio of exhaust outlets bellowed loudly, with the unique soundtrack not only encapsulating the Lexus, but broadcasting one hundred yards in each direction. The pipes announced the arrival of the exotic like a horn blower in a medieval king's procession. It was fun to watch the peasants on the sidewalks as they turned and stared. Done terrorizing Ojai, we filled the tank with high octane unleaded and again pointed the nose north to follow CA-33 into the Santa Ynez Mountains. Within 15 minutes we were the only car on the twisty two-lane mountain road. Have you ever seen how a dog reacts at the park the moment its owner releases the leash? Think about the precise second when man's best friend notes its freedom and sprints madly away, as if it has never seen an open patch of earth. The Lexus must contain a molecule of canine DNA because it seemed to sense the open road in front of it. I didn't realize it then, but I had just swallowed the LFA pill. Overcome by the passion of driving a spectacular machine on an equally breathtaking road, I seized the opportunity to put the LFA through its paces. With the gearbox in Sport (where it would remain for the duration of the day), I gently tapped alternate paddles to keep the V10 in its sweet spot as the vehicle danced like a well-disciplined ballerina. Implausibly well balanced, the LFA was incredibly fast and extraordinary in its ability to hold the line. It rewarded smooth driving and precision inputs through the thick flat-bottom steering wheel with loyal obedience. While it was easy to rotate mid-corner, by lifting or applying throttle, it came back just as effortlessly with a twitch of opposite lock. There was no sloppiness to its mannerisms and it stayed completely within its lane as if guided by Teflon wheels on a seamless steel rail. The feedback through the aluminum pedals, the driver's lone interaction with the throttle and brakes, was equally as remarkable. I would swear the engine's response could not have been quicker had I been opening the ten little throttle bodies by hand. The massive fade-free brakes needed only a gentle, linear push to instantly engage tons of stopping force. Confidence is an understatement. Driving the LFA was hypnotic.
After nearly 40 minutes of pure driving bliss, I pulled over. It was time to catch my breath, unfasten the thick airbag-equipped three-point seatbelt and take a freshening walk around the composite flagship. I've driven a lot of sports cars in my time, but few had my heart racing like the Lexus LFA. I was grinning ear-to-ear, very likely drooling, and craving so much more.Further up the road, the pavement straightened out and dry mountains gave way to irrigated farmland. The mile-long straight-aways allowed me to spin the engine flat out and it wailed like a F1 car all the way to its 9,000 rpm redline. I held the engine right there and laughed out loud when I noticed black crows foraging in the plowed fields take flight as the sinister black coupe angrily sliced through the air on its approach. After a short jaunt northeast across CA-166, we turned right onto Cerro Noroeste Rd, or Forest Highway 95, which eventually bumps into heavily traveled Interstate 5. The road is one of the best driver's roads in the region, with banked curves and excellent visibility ahead. In the winter, storms dump snow and often close the pass - but under warm sunny skies it was nearly flawless. The V10 shrilled as it sucked up the thin mountain air above 6,000 feet elevation. Despite its aggressive workout, the digital water and temperature gauge didn't move a single pixel (credit the LFA's track-oriented dry sump system that allows the coupe to withstand sustained cornering forces in excess of two Gs and massive rear-mounted radiators with electric fans to cool vital fluids). A quick detour to the driving summit of 8,847-foot Mt. Pinos gave my son and me one last look at the pine trees before the first snowfall. It also presented an opportunity to test the LFA's reflexes. The coupe's ground clearance is just 4.5 inches, which is lower than a Corvette ZR1. That means large pine cones, rocks and even semi-flattened squirrels are potential obstacles. No worries, as a quick electric steering ratio and just 2.3 turns lock-to-lock allow the lightweight LFA to make easy work of the nuisance impediments. At the bottom of the mountain, we pulled into a Flying J Travel Plaza to grab a snack before heading across the street to the Shell station for yet another load of fuel. California State Route 138 took us from Gorman to just north of Lancaster, located in the high Mojave Desert, during a 90-minute sprint. With an impressive 22-mile straightaway that disappears over the horizon, and unbelievably light traffic, the road is fast. The LFA seemed to enjoy the quickened pace. Despite outside temperatures climbing to nearly triple digits, the climate control blew ice cold. Still in Sport mode and enjoying manually shifting (it became natural quite quickly), passing occasional agricultural traffic was accomplished brutally fast thanks to the rev-happy V10. As expected from its naturally aspirated architecture, the engine prefers a bit of spooling before it delivers. Head-slamming passing acceleration is best accomplished after two quick pulls on the left paddle, thereby dropping the engine into fourth gear. When accomplished correctly, the slower vehicle disappears in a wake of blowing dust within seconds. High speed stability, in a vehicle that boasts a top speed just north of 200 mph, was expectedly laudable. We arrived at In-N-Out Burger in Lancaster to meet Drew Phillips, Autoblog's esteemed photographer, a bit early. The appearance of the boisterous black LFA cleared a few customers out of the hamburger joint, and they gathered around to ask questions. The front fascia, coated with dead bugs smashed onto nearly every surface at high speed, is an entomologist's nightmare. It needed some serious cleaning before the photo shoot - I applaud Drew for bringing his detailing kit. After shooting the car for a couple hours on a desolate desert road, the brilliant orange sky was soon replaced by darkness. We drove back to Palmdale for yet another tank of premium unleaded (we were burning fuel at the prodigious rate of about 10 miles per gallon during the drive). It was then time to strap ourselves back into the cockpit for the grinding 100-plus-mile freeway drive that would take us across six major Los Angeles arteries. We arrived home late and my son went to bed exhausted. I went back into the garage to sit in the warm LFA and mediate upon its existence. There are many ways to rationalize the Lexus LFA. It is undeniably a wondrous halo car, but far too rare and pricey to occupy any significant number of dealer showrooms for live traffic. It is also a compelling proof of concept, demonstrating Toyota Motor Corporation's engineering competency with composite manufacturing, lightweight platforms and engine technology. Lastly, it is an impressive supercar under the right conditions, but one whose performance slightly pales when pitted head-to-head against many of today's rivals. After putting nearly 500 miles on this exotic, I'm endorsing all three of the aforementioned, but adding a fourth. Unlike most other halo models, proof of concept vehicles and supercars, the Lexus LFA does not make any compromises. It is a pure single-mission driving machine seemingly very content in its very own niche. With the exception of the ho-hum navigation unit, every ounce of carbon-fiber, every square inch of Alcantara and every drop of titanium alloy is contributing to that narrowly focused objective. It is a single-purpose stimulant, formulated specifically to induce euphoria in the driver. Masterfully executed, it is not a supercar - it is a narcotic.
- It was a pleasure to work with CJ Kinch. He was very helpful with all my questions and honest with his reply. You don't always get honesty when you are dealing with car servicing. He was friendly and went beyond the normal service representative's duties. The entire service process went extremely smooth. I know when I return in the future, I will ask for CJ. Thanks again! -Linda Merrill
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The Elite of Lexus Are Leaders
This is a special award given to Dealers who excel at sales, service and overall Owner support. We are proud to be recipients of this year's "Elite of Lexus" award.
Elite of Lexus dealers are chosen based on:
- Customer feedback from surveys rating owner satisfaction, sales and service as extremely exceptional.
- Dealership exceeding rigorous Lexus operational and certification standards.
We received this honor because so many of our current and past customers have acknowledged their satisfaction with our service and attention to detail. We invite you to stop by our Dealership and experience this exceptional service firsthand.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Nearly $1.1 Million in Funding from Audubon and Toyota’s Conservation Initiative to Support Local, Solutions-Based Environmental Projects Nationwide
|Brenda Tim (Audobon) |
firstname.lastname@example.org Zoe Zeigler (Toyota)
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.>
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
- Since 1989, Lexus of Orlando is proud and honored to be a strong community partner in the Central Florida area. We have committed and will continue to commit resources to local charity events and worthy community causes that reflect our integral belief that this is the right thing to do.
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Monday, October 17, 2011
- I recently purchased a 2011 CT200h from Lexus of Orlando. I also previously purchased a 2010 RX350 from this same dealer. I would like to thank you for the assistance you gave me in purchasing the product. I can say that I am great satisfied with the car I brought from your dealership. More importantly, your staff are exceptional, they are friendly, professional, and enthusiastic.I would also like to speak well of your product specialist, Mr. Chanlin Sok, for his great effort in helping me purchase the car I wanted. He assisted me very well and even treated my wife and I to lunch at a very nice restaurant. My wife and I greatly appreciate his friendliness.Again, I wanted to let you know that I greatly appreciate the effort of your company especially Mr. Chanlin. Your great customer service is highly appreciated.Sincerely,Michael & Tuyen Phan
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Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF students can celebrate the official start of the college basketball season Friday at UNKNIGHT Madness at the UCF Arena, and also have the chance to win $8,000 toward tuition. The free event is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
• Prior to the event, students can sign up outside the arena to enter to be selected to take a halfcourt shot on the UCF Arena floor
• Two students will be selected, and if either makes the shot, they will win $8,000 toward tuition
• The first 1,000 fans to enter the arena will receive a free t-shirt
• Several UCF students will be selected to participate in on-court contests during the event
• The evening includes a slam dunk contest, a skills competition featuring both teams and an autograph session following the event
• DJ D-Strong from 102 Jamz will be broadcasting live from the arena, and Obie and Ricky Padilla from POWER 95.3 will also be taking part in the festivities
• Complimentary parking is available in Garage D and Garage F on campus
• Doors to the arena open at 6:30 p.m. for a season ticket select-a-seat event
Toyota and Lexus Honor the Entertainment Industry's Environmental Excellence at the 21st Annual Environmental Media Awards
TORRANCE, Calif., October 13, 2011 – Toyota and Lexus are once again celebrating the entertainment industry’s environmental efforts as the presenting sponsors of the Environmental Media Awards on Saturday, Oct. 15. In its 21st year, the annual event honors film and television productions that communicate environmental messages in the most creative and influential ways. This year’s honorees are actor and musician Justin Timberlake, communications executive Marc Nathanson, Southern California Edison, and the Producer’s Guild of America’s environmental initiative – PGA Green. The nominees include films such as Yogi Bear, Disneynature African Cats and The Other Guys, and TV programs such as The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Biggest Loser and Futurama. This year marks Lexus and Toyota’s 11th year as the presenting sponsors. “More than a decade ago, Toyota and Lexus joined forces with the Environmental Media Association to help communicate the benefits of hybrid technology. It’s inspiring to see how EMA links the power of celebrity and the influence of entertainment to environmental awareness,” said Dian Ogilvie, senior vice president and secretary of Toyota Motor North America. “We congratulate the nominees and special honorees, and we thank you for continuing to convey environmental messages and actions in creative and influential ways.” The Toyota and Lexus line-up of hybrid vehicles will be featured at the ceremony at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Attendees will get a preview of several Toyota vehicles before they go on sale, including the all-new Prius v, 2012 Camry Hybrid, 2012 Prius Plug-in and the second-generation RAV4 EV prototype. On October 15, interested customers can begin signing up for updates on the RAV4 EV production vehicle coming in 2012 by visiting http://www.toyota.com/rav4ev. In addition, the Lexus CT 200h, the world’s first premium luxury compact hybrid, the RX 450h and LS 600h L, as well as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will be on display. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. is a member of the Environmental Media Association’s Corporate Board. For more information on Toyota and Lexus environmental initiatives, please visit www.toyota.com/about/environment.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
- We found the vehicle we wanted at autotrader.com and contacted this dealership where the vehicle was located. We immediately scheduled an appointment to view and test drive the vehicle the following day. After checking it out, we decided to purchase the vehicle. The financing went very smoothly, with a fair price and and a good interest rate. Within 24 hours of locating the vehicle it was parked in our driveway. A great purchasing experience. - email@example.com
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Friday, October 7, 2011
On October 8, 2011 (just one week prior to race day), UCF will hold the first UKNIGHT in PINK Football game - bringing awareness to breast cancer, the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. We will honor Survivors and Co-Survivors with a special halftime show and feature the PINK PATCH! "THE PATCH" (a UCF logo patch on a lanyard) will gives fans special discounts and benefits at local merchants and entry into the PINK PATCH tailgate party before the game and other Susan G. Komen related events.
UKNIGHT with the KNIGHTSUKNIGHT in PINK Race Packages*
• UKNIGHT in PINK football game ticket – UCF vs Marshall, Saturday, October 8th @ 7PM
• Commemorative PINK PATCH
• Access to UCF and Komen’s PINK PATCH Tailgate Party
• Receive discounts to local Restaurants and Retailers with “THE PATCH”
• Race for The Cure Entry, Sunday, October 16, 2011
• Race T-shirt
• Race Bib
• Race Finisher Pin (upon completion of the race)
• Entry into Survivor Ceremony
Packages are CLOSED. Please go to www.ucfathletics.com to purchase game day tickets.
UKNIGHT in PINK Packages will be available for pick up on Game Day, October 8th from noon to 6pm at the ZETA TAU ALPHA House on campus (4202 Greek Park Drive, Orlando, FL 32816)
$3 from each package purchased will go directly to the Central Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.