Tuesday, January 31, 2012

With the big game only a few days from now many people's preparations are already underway! Do you have a favorite Super Bowl food?



Photo Courtesy of Yummly

Change cannot be contained, and this is just the beginning!

Q&A: Lexus Looks For A Passing Lane On A Crowded Super Bowl XLVI Highway

The Cross Bronx Expressway in New York and  I-93 in Boston are notorious for their traffic jams. But they have nothing on the pile-up of more than a dozen car-related commercials that aired last year during Super Bowl XLV and the traffic-jam of auto-category ads that will appear during Super Bowl XLVI.

According to research and marketing firm Kantar Media, automakers spent a record $77.5 million on ads during last year’s Super Bowl. The figure is expected to be approached, if not topped this year. Among the automakers that will be part of the NBC broadcast on Feb. 5 – at a cost of as much as $3.5 million for a 30-second spot – are Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Chrysler, General Motors and Kia. Companies in the auto category also on the roster include Bridgestone and Cars.com.

Despite the heavy category congestion, Toyota’s upscale division Lexus has opted in for its first Super Bowl with a commercial scheduled to air during the first half of the game. The company will feature its 2013 GS but will also herald eight other new or updated models hitting the road this year.

As a lead-in to the launch of the full spot, Lexus unveiled a 15-second teaser and several supporting spots at a dedicated YouTube site. The company also launched a social media-based trivia game, TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus on NBCSports.com, which ran during the NFL playoffs. Consumers who registered to play had the chance to win a trip to one of NBC Sports’ “premium sports events” in 2012 (excluding the London 2012 games and 2012 French Open).

Big Lead Sports spoke with Brian Smith, Lexus vp-marketing, about the challenges and rewards of being a rookie advertiser on a Super Bowl stage with an audience that should approach 100 million.

Big Lead Sports: When did the company decide to have a commercial during Super Bowl XLVI?

Brian Smith: I can’t give you the exact date. But I’d say at the point when we knew how important 2012 would be to us. With the release of nine new or updated models, we looked at ways to get that message to people. In those discussions, we were saying, ‘How can we do something different for Lexus?’ To really tell the world that not only are we launching new products, but that the brand is shifting to be more passionate with our products, better driving dynamics . . .  That there is a movement taking place with Lexus. The Super Bowl last year was watched on TV by more than a 100 million people. So the Super Bowl is, obviously, a premier place to tell the story.

BLS: Was this the first time Lexus had considered a Super Bowl ad?

BS: I’ve been with Lexus for about five years, managing Lexus sales in the U.S. for four years and then last August [becoming] vice-president of marketing. This is the first time we discussed being in the Super Bowl.

BLS: What are you looking to have happen with the commercial: Raise brand awareness for Lexus and/or the 2013 models, drive consumers to Lexus dealers, attract consumers who may not have Lexus on their radar, other, a combination of all or some?

BS: I’d go for all of those. There are really three specific things we talked about. First is clearly to send a message. People have never seen Lexus on Super Bowl Sunday. So some people would say that Lexus is making a statement. The fact that there is a change in our brand is going to be clear, and that it comes through. Second is the launch of the 2013 GS. This is the featured vehicle and really the first of an all-new face of Lexus with a single-grill design. That will be very clear in this ad. Third, that there is a lot more to come. GS is just the first in what will be this onslaught of new models.

BLS: Looking at the car category and the Super Bowl, last year’s game on Fox had more than a dozen automakers and car-related companies, and this year will also have a high volume. How will Lexus stand out?

BS: That validates the great exposure you can get with a Super Bowl ad. Super Bowl ads are different from other high-profile ads. Many people will watch the Super Bowl just for the ads. That puts additional pressure on everybody. But in our case, it is probably a little bit easier. We are not usually in the Super Bowl. If you are in the Super Bowl every year, I can imagine this might be another year where you go, ‘Wow. How do we do something different?’ For Lexus, the ad is going to look different from any traditional ads you’ve seen from Lexus over the last 20 years. So I really believe it makes it a little easier for us to stand out.

BLS: The auto industry recently was in a big slump, which was reflected in the low number of Super Bowl ads from car companies. But the auto category was dominant during Super Bowl XLV and will be strong again during Super Bowl XLVI. What does that say about the auto industry and perhaps the U.S. economy in 2012?

BS: You’d be absolutely right if you’re saying that [the number of Super Bowl ads] is a good indicator of the auto industry and the economy coming back strong. We just came back from the Detroit Auto Show, really the first of the big auto shows of the year. And it’s clear that there is a positive outlook not just on the economy but all of the auto makers. They are focused on new products. That is coming through in the Super Bowl.

BLS: The Lexus commercial will run during the first half of the game. Do you have more specific placement details on when it will run? Was that placement a Lexus media planner decision or done in conjunction with NBC to keep car commercials from running back-to-back?

BS: If I knew I would give you something more specific. At this moment, I don’t know. Regarding placement, I can’t speak for NBC, although I can imagine they don’t want to run auto ads from competing companies back-to-back. I do believe that, through our media team, placement was done to be mutually beneficial to spread out the auto ads as much as possible. From our position, we would not like to see our ad follow or being followed by another auto ad.

BLS: Lexus has released a short teaser for the ad. Have you seen the whole commercial?

BS: Oh, yeah! Love it. I believe we will release the entire ad on Jan. 31.

BLS: What was the response to the Lexus TweetDrive activation?

BS: That has been very exciting. One of the things Super Bowl offers is so many ways to do integrated marketing in other areas. Lexus has long been a leader in building a social community and doing more with our social community than most companies. Lexus TweetDrive was a cool way of saying to people, ‘If you’re watching all the NFL playoff games this is a great way to engage with us.’ We don’t have the full results yet because the activation just ended [on Jan. 22], but it was a great way starting in early January to get people interested in our Super Bowl message.

BLS: What are you looking for after the Super Bowl?

BS: We will be involved with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as we were last year. Lexus will be the official automotive marketing partner of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It is an exciting way to get our message out. And you’ll see Lexus ads and messages throughout the year related to sports as well as elsewhere.

BLS: Have you made a decision about Super Bowl XLVII? If not, what would confirm your decision to do it or not: GS sales, response to the commercial or something else?

BS: Obviously, we want our Super Bowl XLVI ad to be a big success. But the issue of whether we do another Super Bowl or not is really tied to where our brand is and what the message is that we want to get out. This is an unusual year for us with so many major things coming. Next year, if we again have that kind of news, we would consider it. But if is just to be in the Super Bowl every year, I doubt it.

BLS: You are based in Torrance, California. Are you OK with having the first Lexus ad run during a Super Bowl featuring two East Coast teams?

BS: [Laughs.] And also I grew up in the Bay Area and still root for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. So speaking strictly from a personal standpoint, the answer is no! But speaking for Lexus, we expect the game to have a huge audience. So having the New York Giants and New England Patriots from that standpoint is fine.

Courtesy of BigLeadSports

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking for more information on the all-new Lexus GS 350?

On January 31st, the entire YouTube and Facebook community will have its first chance to see the exciting new Super Bowl spot.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

Keep an eye on this page for more details!

TRD Releases New Lexus GS Body Kit

The 2013 Lexus GS went on sale in Japan earlier today, and newly developed TRD parts were revealed as part of the launch — here’s a look at the aero kit, which is made up of a front under-spoiler, side skirts, a trunk spoiler and a rear diffuser, along with a quad-exhaust sports muffler:

Also released were 19″ forged aluminum wheels and a complete sports suspension:

Lexus GS TRD Sports Suspension and Forged Aluminum Wheels

As to be expected, TRD parts are not cheap (set of four wheels: $6,574 USD), but I can’t help but be impressed with how well the parts integrate with the overall look of the GS. At this time, North American availability is unknown.


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Calty Designers Share Favorite Lexus LF-LC Design Elements

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]I talked with Calty design manager Ian Cartabiano at the Detroit auto show, and he told me this is his favorite angle of the concept:


Building on an earlier video featuring the Calty designers talking about the Lexus LF-LC, here’s another video interview with the team, which includes some previously unseen footage of the concept:

Between this photo and the video above, I can understand why — the way the leather curves and wraps around the center console is difficult to capture from any other angle, and it stands out as a real design highlight:

Lexus LF-LC Center Console

With limited passenger-side access, this design may not be entirely functional, but it sure is beautiful.


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Don't miss this great special from Lexus of Orlando!

Click here for more details!

Lexus will debut its first ever Super Bowl ad in just a matter of days. The excitement, cannot be contained.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First Test: 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport

Ron Kiino and I were staring at the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport's ferocious "spindle grille" snout prior to its test session at the track, and after a silence, he said in a James Earl Jones baritone: "Luke" -- followed by a heaving exhalation -- "I am your father." That sizzling sound you hear is the F Sport/Lord Vader association being branded onto my brain. No matter what else I might say about this car -- such that its recalibrated 3.5-liter engine offers better mileage, its suspension has been completely overhauled, and there's available active rear steering, adjustable shocks and 0.91 g's of grip -- it's all overshadowed by that menacing mug. Why didn't its grille remind Ron of elegantly folded origami?
The problem is that when a car starts out with a Darth Vader face, what follows it better be able to swing a pretty good lightsaber. And the density of visual misanthropy that follows in this case rapidly dwindles until, by the car's stern, it's as innocent-looking as a Camry. Dynamically, the F Sport -- a package of primarily handling and appearance enhancements -- is a lot more consistent, however.

While the fright mask suggests it's looking to quarrel with a BMW M5, its appropriate eye-to-eye opponent would be the duller-fanged, 300-hp 535i. The GS's upgraded 303-hp engine and paddle-shift six-speed transmission are carried into the F Sport largely unaltered, providing 0-60-mph dashes in 5.5 seconds and delivering 19 city mpg and 28 highway (the latter number is up from 26 mpg).

2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Rear Three Quarters View
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Front Wheel
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Engine
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Side Badge
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Dash View
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Steering Wheel Buttons

Five-point-five seconds is brisk. But not sizzling. Trust me, though, that this is one of those rev-oriented mills that makes a much better impression on the road than at the dragstrip, despite the absence of a de rigueur seventh gear cog. However, where the GS 350 F Sport really, really clicks is when the asphalt bends. Turn-in is very precise (thank you, rear steer), its stance is firm (particularly in the 'Sport+' suspension setting, though its ride is a bit shaky on the straights), and there's a nice little drift available if you press matters exiting the corner.

Active rear-steering is a rare technological bird, and like its sporadically appearing predecessors, this vehicle aims its rear wheels oppositely than its fronts at lower speeds (here, 50 mph) for sharper cornering, while slightly mirroring the front wheels at higher speeds for increased stability. Lexus says the rear's maximum angle is 2 degrees; we say it's a well-implemented solution, offering noticeable agility without the handling fishiness these things can sometimes invoke. Yet, even without the system (it's an F Sport option), the GS' handling game has clearly been elevated. Both the front and rear tracks have been broadened by about 2 inches; the rear suspension is an all-new multilink affair; larger bushings are employed up front; and the entire suspension is aluminum, lowering unsprung weight. The F Sport package takes this goodness even further with fatter anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, variable-ratio steering, bigger brakes clamped by more aggressive pads, and staggered 19-inch tire sizes - 235/40s up front and 265/35s in back. There's also that variable damping (Sport+ being its apex of aggression), which locks down the car's body motions, though the jiggly ride that ensues is enough to reserve the switch for sporadic amusement only. Sport+ also dials up the throttle's response, but that's completely overwhelmed by its teeth-gritting chassis dynamics. (Have I mentioned the ride enough?)
Other GS 350 pleasantries include its thin, vision-enhancing A-pillars, its rich interior surfaces (ours was detailed with brush aluminum), and a giant, high-resolution 12.3-inch display screen. Because of the screen's extraordinary width, there's enough real estate to show multiple things at once. It typically displays a navigation map on a large portion, and either sound system or climate control info on a smaller one. It's awfully nice not having to flip between screens as is necessary with smaller, conventionally sized units, and its resolution is absolutely crystalline. Beautiful, in fact. Mark my words, in-dash car displays are heading the way of America's living room TVs -- they're going BIG SIZE and HI RES. Another gold star goes to the very supportive seats, which provide a mesmerizing 12 means of adjustment (heavens, a Porsche GT3's seatback can't be raked at all).

Is there a dark side, Luke? No. But maybe some shades of grey. While the F Sport's variable-rate steering enables X-Acto-knife handling sharpness, its light-effort weighting seems mismatched with the F Sport's seriousness and scale. Beefy, menacing car; light, delicate steering. It's like Claude Van Damme with Truman Capote's voice.

Climb into the backseat and you'll find plenty of headroom. Nevertheless, your knees wind up high and your butt low, and worse, the GS' tall, rear-wheel-drive center hump effectively renders it a four-seater, unless your fifth passenger is Yoda-sized. And although the trunk space theoretically has been expanded by 25 percent to a promising 14.3 cubic feet, don't image it as some simple, rectangular cavity. It's badly violated by that wonderful rear suspension, and most effectively filled with lots of smaller suitcases.

But let's walk back to the front end of in car. Behind the grille of the GS 350 F Sport -- after you remove the scary Darth Vader mask -- is a reality its wearer would prefer not to reveal. Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father. This F Sport is a large Lexus sedan claiming to burn up backroads like a 5 Series BMW. It does a remarkably good job of it. But it also asks buyers who are naturally in the BMW camp to write a Lexus check. That may not be so easy.

Courtesy of MotorTrend

Check out our great special on a four wheel alignment for your Lexus! Don't miss this amazing deal!

Can You Build a Car With Sugar?

When you set out to engineer some of the world's most innovative vehicles, you can't simply rely on existing materials and processes. Which is why to engineer a Lexus, we first search the world for the materials with the exact specifications we require—those we don't find, we develop. From infinitely recyclable plastic to more sustainable foam made from soybeans, the new materials and processes we innovate are proof that the only way to engineer amazing is to start from scratch.

Courtesy of Lexus

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What can't you do with the new Lexus Enform App Suite?

a) Book a restaurant.
b) Buy movie tickets.
c) Video chat with your mother.
d) Program your own radio station.
c) Video chat with your mother.
d) Program your own radio station
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE a) Book a restaurant.
b) Buy movie tickets.
c) Video chat with your mother.
d) Program your own radio station.

Race Weekend with Joe Bacal and his Lexus LX 570

This weekend in Laughlin, Nevada, Joe Bacal and his all-new JT Grey Lexus LX 570 kicked off the 2012 SCORE Championship season with a pair of podium finishes in the Stock Full class, coming in second on Saturday and first in Sunday’s race.

In an incredible turn of events, I was invited to be part of the team as a co-driver, and was strapped into the passenger seat of the LX as Joe battled through for his first place finish earlier today — even hours later, I’m still riding the aftershocks of my hour-long off-road experience.

It was the debut weekend for Joe’s new LX race truck, and some last minute issues filled the weekend with deep adversity and good fortune — here’s what Joe had to say right after the race:

[The LX] is pretty fast. This thing is pretty fast. We are getting closer and I tweaked the shocks a little bit. I bent my rear trailing link and it looked like a U-shape yesterday and I know I bent this one. I had to go as fast as I could go. It was a very clean race and that’s what you ask for and hope for…It’s this stock class; you never know what is going to happen. [JT Grey] did not have a very good year last year and we’re hoping to redeem ourselves this year.

Once I have time to collect my thoughts, I’ll have the full story for you from start to finish, including plenty of photos and even some video from inside the LX


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Scott Pruett Talks about the New Lexus GS

In response to a recent Facebook fan poll, Lexus has put together a video featuring race car driver Scott Pruett talking about the new GS 350′s driving performance:

Scott was one of the drivers offering GS F Sport hotlaps at SEMA, and was clearly impressed with the way the sedan performed —


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lexus IS Lease Specials

Click here to check it out!

Feature Focus: Digital Access

So what’s so special about the optional, next-generation Lexus Enform, which debuts this year with the 2013 GS? Three words: apps, apps, and apps.

Lexus Enform, as veteran Lexus owners know, is Lexus’ telematics technology—a collection of services that allow the vehicle to communicate with a 24/7 response center (Safety Connect), get directions from a live representative (Destination Assist), and plan itineraries and organize points of interest in conjunction with a desktop computer (eDestination).

This new version, however, offers a suite of mobile apps—each appropriate to automotive travel—that essentially equips 2013 GS owners with online access via their cars.

“We now have a separate channel for incoming and outbound data between the vehicle and the Internet, via the driver’s smartphone,” says Paul Williamsen, National Manager of the Lexus College. “When we launch the GS, we anticipate seven apps for online connectivity, with a potential in the future of up to 18.”

So which seven apps can drivers with the next-generation Lexus Enform system use in their vehicles?

Bing: Use Microsoft’s web-search engine to look up points of interest such as restaurants, landmarks, and businesses. Bing can be voice-activated.

iHeartRadio: Access more than 750 AM and FM radio stations around the U.S., including commercial-free stations and artist-hosted stations. iHeartRadio can also be voice-activated.

MovieTickets.com: Find movie times for local theaters, as well as ratings, reviews, and plot summaries, and purchase tickets online for 150 theater chains, including AMC Theaters. The MovieTickets.com app can be voice-activated.

Yelp: Access Yelp, the portal to crowd-sourced reviews of businesses like restaurants, hotels, stores, and more.

PANDORA®: The popular web-based streaming music service “learns” what you like, and creates playlists tailored to your tastes from its library of more than 700,000 songs. PANDORA can be voice-activated.

Facebook Places: If you already use Facebook Places, then you know how it allows you to check in from an address/locale, which alerts your Facebook friends to your whereabouts.

OpenTable: Search for restaurants by time, date, cuisine, and price range, and make real-time reservations at more than 200,000 restaurants nationwide. Also, rewards points are offered that can be redeemed at member restaurants. OpenTable can be voice-activated.

These in-car apps—although controlled on the available navigation screen or, where applicable, via voice activation—essentially run off your own smartphone (carrier charges and restrictions may apply). To use them in the car, drivers must download the latest Lexus Enform app to a compatible smartphone (iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry models work) and register. They’ll also need to sync their phones with their 2013 GS via Bluetooth.

Related: Tips for connecting your phone to Bluetooth

Note that a complimentary, one-year Lexus Enform trial is included with the purchase of the 2013 GS; after one year, access-charges apply (with the exception of PANDORA, which remains complimentary, although carrier charges may apply depending on your usage and phone plan). Also note that vehicles equipped with the first-generation Lexus Enform system cannot be updated to the newest version.

The next-generation Lexus Enform will also be available with the 2013 Lexus LX, although not with a 12.3-inch display screen.


Courtesy of LexusMagazine

Taking Action: Driven to Win.

I’m working at this huge automotive tradeshow back in November of 2006. It’s four days long and requires lots of walking. Normally I’m a pretty energetic guy, but for some reason I was having a really hard time getting around. I was only 37. Healthy and fit. I run competitively and go mountain biking, but all of a sudden it was like I had zero energy.

That’s when I knew something wasn’t right. This wasn’t like your typical flu. It just felt different. Your body tells you these things.

Two weeks and several doctor appointments later, I went in to get my test results. I had a golf-ball-sized tumor in my throat and another one in my chest that was pushing against my lungs. It was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. If I didn’t get treatment soon, the doctor said, I wouldn’t make it to my next birthday.

Bottom line: If I was to have any chance of living, I needed to get chemotherapy and radiation. Fortunately, I came across Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a talented organization that specializes in cancer. So that’s where I decided to go.

I took time off from my job working as a factory test driver for Toyota and Lexus and started treatment on New Year’s Day. For the next four months I had chemotherapy every other week, and then a whole month of radiation.

I wasn’t doing so hot. Crazy things go through your mind. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and say to myself, Am I really going to make it to see next year?

But I’m very driven and focused. As a professional driver, you obviously have to be that way. You’ve got to get to the finish. You have no choice. My wife was a fantastic caregiver, and my son too. You really can’t do it alone. Eventually I started to have about three good days every two weeks.

By November, the doctors cleared me. They did all the scans. All the tests. But it didn’t really hit me until later that month when I was driving 70 mph through the desert in the middle of the night, racing on a team in Mexico’s Baja 1000. I thought, if I’m racing in one of the toughest off-road races in the world, I must be okay. It was like a slap in the face. I really did it. I beat cancer.

I loved my job, but life is short and I decided it was time to do my own thing. So I opened a consulting company, JT Grey Performance Driving, and I started building my own racing team.

I talked with Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Lexus, and they both jumped on board as team sponsors. We set out to build a phenomenal, race-ready Lexus LX 570, and in June 2009 we raced in the Baja 500, also one of the most dangerous off-road races in the world. It was the first time Lexus had ever been involved in off-road racing. And we won!

At first, some people thought a luxury SUV doesn’t belong in off-road racing. But we’ve changed their minds. We’re still winning races and have a good shot at the off-road championship.

Along the way, I’ve realized there are so many similarities between off-road racing and beating cancer. Off-road racing is extreme. There’s stuff being thrown at you constantly. You can’t make it without the help of your pit crew, and you’ve got to take the wheel and take control even while everything around you is falling apart.

Beating cancer actually made me a better driver. I’m more driven and focused now than ever before. And I’m out to prove that I have the endurance to win.


Courtesy of LexusDriversMagazine

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lexus/Toyota regains top spot in Kelley Blue Book's brand loyalty study

Kelley Blue Book reported today that Toyota redeemed its No. 1 spot for brand loyalty on kbb.com for fourth quarter 2011. Toyota last appeared in the top position in the third quarter of 2010. For the fourth quarter of 2011, Toyota's brand shopping loyalty was at 50.6 percent, a 2.7 percentage point jump from the third quarter, with Hyundai close behind at 50.2 percent.

Ford, which moved to the third position from No. 5, is at 47.1 percent brand loyalty. In addition, Kia continues to hold the fourth spot from the previous quarter at 46.5 percent, while Honda takes the fifth position at 46.4 percent.

"Hyundai was No. 1 in loyalty for the past two quarters thanks to its strong redesigns, attractive value and the struggles of the Japanese brands with safety perception and supply issues," said Akshay Anand, market intelligence Web analyst for kbb.com. "However, Toyota has done a laudable job overcoming these issues, introducing programs such as 'Toyota Care,' while getting its supply back online. The redesign of its flagship, the 2012 Toyota Camry, also helped drive interest to the brand and retain owners."

After a brief dip, Honda jumped back into the top five with Subaru falling to No. 6 from No. 3 in the previous quarter. Honda's reappearance among the top five can be attributed to the pushed-up Civic refresh, the new CR-V redesign and resolved supply problems.

Piggybacking on Toyota's success, Lexus is represented as the top luxury brand on the brand loyalty list at position eight, with Audi at No. 9, followed by Mercedes-Benz in the eleventh position.

"All in all, there are positive trends for automakers," said Anand. "Traditional leaders like Toyota are leaving the problems in the past and looking toward bright futures, while new players such as Hyundai, Kia and Audi remain forces to be reckoned with in the American automotive industry."

Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence examines brand loyalty while consumers are still in the shopping phase. For this analysis, loyalty is defined as owners of the brand who are currently shopping the same brand for their next vehicle. This includes data from consumers who view a trade-in page or private party page in addition to a new-car page on Kelley Blue Book


Courtesy of MotorwayAmerica

Is the all-new 2013 GS F SPORT more exhilarating than the competition? See what the reviewers at CNET have to say about this unexpected new Lexus.

After years of hearing that its cars are smooth and tech-rich while lacking the passion and fun that appeal to devoted drivers, Lexus might be getting it.

To prove it's headed in a new direction branded by "emotion" and "passion," Lexus gathered journalists at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel along the Pacific coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego to test-drive the 2013 Lexus GS on a route across the SoCal freeways, along the coast, and over mountain roads. The six-cylinder midrange luxury sedan will greet showrooms in three primary setups--the standard 350, the 450h hybrid version, and a tuned F Sport for the biggest performance fans.

Lexus has never been interested in the fins, vents, and flashy exhaust pipes of some performance cars, so much of the 2013 GS body design remains simple and easily identified as a conservative Lexus. But, taking a page from its ridiculous king of the line, the Lexus LFA, the GS greets you with a dual, up/down grille--with its underneath layer sporting three angled scoops.


The interior features include that familiar Lexus mix of leather and wood trim. The hybrid model throws in that little extra piece of "green" flair by accenting its doors panels and dash with bamboo. But it's technology that really dominates the experience of sitting in a GS. Lexus introduced a center console mouse/joystick device in its 2011 models, allowing drivers or passengers to guide a cursor through onscreen menus while the car is in motion--though some attention-rich functions are suspended when the wheels are in motion.

Previous models set the joystick where the shifter stick would be "on the floor" of most car designs, with a click button on both the right and left side of its pedestal. The 2013 GS removes those buttons and allows a simple downward push of the joystick to click onscreen selections.

Another big debut is the center dashboard's 12.3-inch-wide screen, the industry's largest such display. The extra visual space allows Lexus to combine elements that other screens can't handle, such as a guidance map and complete menus or a directions list and audio options. To take advantage of the size increase, Lexus also improved and enriched its map software, providing finer route guidance details, more destination names, and clearer dimension highlighting to help guide your eye en route.

Once the GS was set free along the various Lexus-approved driving routes, its 2013 improvements came to the foreground.


(Credit: John Scott Lewinski)

By focusing on a mix of lighter refined materials, engineers increased body rigidity by a reported 14 percent without adding an ounce to the vehicle's overall weight of 3,800 pounds. Add that tightened stiffness to a new multilink rear suspension creating four-wheel-steering, improved traction control, and optional all-wheel drive, and you have a standard-issue V6 GS that confidently goes where you point its nose. The 350 power plant is a 3.5-liter, 306-hp engine harnessed by a six-speed automatic, serving up fuel economy of 19/28 mpg.

The hybrid GS 450h combines the V6 with an electric motor to produce 338 hp with a maxed-out mpg of 29/34. That electric motor is mounted above the back axle for weight distribution, so the GS 450h models are available in rear-drive exclusively.

However, for an eager driver, the F Sport setup is the most attractive. Stylized with the now-familiar F badge and including 19-inch wheels, it also has huge 14-inch front brake rotors, tightened-up suspension, and a variable gear ratio steering system. The F Sport is the only model in the line to include the Lexus Dynamic Handling System, which turns the rear wheels slightly to improve bite and reduce understeer.

As Lexus executives there stayed on message by stressing themes of newly found "passion," the F Sport proved the most worthy recipient of that expressive noun. On its multiple laps around a test track set up at the former El Torro Marine Base (current home of the U.S. variant of "Top Gear") the F Sport provided more raw excitement than either the 2011 Mercedes Benz C350 or the 2011 BMW 535i on hand for direction comparison. It's not often a Lexus will let you drive hot enough to leave a smell of simmering rubber as you de-car, but the GS F Sport had all sniffing happily as they hopped out of the driver's seat.

The final take on the 2013 GS reports a much improved driving experience and easily the third best performing car in the Lexus line--behind the IS F and the celestial LFA. If designers wanted to introduce more "emotion" and enjoyment into this car, mission accomplished. But, a little more outward flair and cosmetic design spicing might further distinguish the model for drivers reconsidering the performance capabilities of Lexus.


Courtesy of CNET


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thank you Bob and Elaine for sharing these reflections on your experience with us! Great work Manny!

Lexus of Orlando - (5) Star Review on DealerRater

  • This was our second service department visit. Both times we were very impressed with Manny. He is a super asset to your organization. He knows his business, product, and most importantly how to deal with people! Thanks again, Manny.
    -Bob & Elaine F.

Click here for more great reviews!

Lexus to Debut Its First Super Bowl Commercial

With a host of new vehicles coming to market in 2012, Lexus is poised to be one of the fastest-growing luxury brands this year. To kick off the product onslaught, the company will debut its first-ever Super Bowl commercial for Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 5 on NBC.

“This is a big year for Lexus as we introduce nine new or updated models, and the Super Bowl provides us with an equally big opportunity to reach a highly engaged audience of 50 million people,” said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. “The star of our commercial is the all-new 2013 GS which launches in February and kicks off a pivotal era for the Lexus brand. The spot also will convey that even more products are waiting in the wings and are anxious to hit the road.”

The :30 second commercial is scheduled to run during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI. A :15 second sneak-peek of the commercial can be seen today on Lexus social media channels, including Facebook.com/Lexus and YouTube.com/Lexus. The ads were created by Attik, a Lexus roster agency, while the overall GS launch advertising is headed by Lexus’ agency of record, Team One.

Leading up to its Super Bowl commercial, Lexus is embarking on a unique social media activation called TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus. It is a socially-fueled game engaging football fans during the professional football playoffs. TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus airs live on NBCSports.com and offers fans the opportunity to earn yardage, move their “team” down the field and score a touchdown during the actual playoff games and throughout the week.

“TweetDrive Engineered by Lexus offers a unique way to challenge sports fans to put their knowledge about football and social media to the test,” said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. “There is a lot of excitement about football this time of year and Lexus is pleased to join in the action through this program. It’s also a great way to build on the anticipation created by our upcoming Super Bowl ad, a first for Lexus.”

The object of the game is to gain enough yards to score a touchdown. Yardage is accumulated by tweeting the correct answers to a mix of trivia and predictive gaming questions using the #LexusTweetDrive hash tag. For each playoff game a fan plays TweetDrive, they are entered to win the grand prize -- a trip for two to an NBC Sports Premium Event.* To participate, fans just need to register at NBCSports.com and watch for tweets from @Lexus using #LexusTweetDrive during playoff games (predictive gaming questions) and throughout the week (trivia questions) through January 22, 2012.

The game will be promoted via NBC Sports, and Lexus social media outlets and NBCSports.com throughout the playoffs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can't wait for the Super Bowl this year? The newest range of Lexus vehicles can't either. Check out this exciting video!

Lexus looks to expand lineup

Brand expects to get back in U.S. luxury sales race

Lexus is gearing up for a big year with nine new or updated products that it hopes will deliver a 21 percent sales surge and put the brand back in the hunt for the U.S. luxury sales crown.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s top-shelf brand is also eyeing an expanded lineup that could include a car-based, seven-seat people mover and fresh variants of its CT entry-level hatchback, as well as a sporty coupe drawing from the Lexus LF-LC hybrid concept unveiled at the Detroit auto show.

A phaseout of the low-end, slow-selling HS dedicated hybrid also could be down the road. And the brand gradually will shift from body-on-frame trucks to unibodies.

But one thing Lexus won't do is dip down-market into smaller segments.

Top executives who outlined the strategy to Automotive News say the goal is to enliven the brand, make it sportier and infuse it with emotion. Lexus surrendered its 11-year reign as the best-selling luxury brand in the United States last year. Japan's March 11 earthquake hurt sales by constraining production. But executives concede their traditionally staid lineup needs more allure.

Lexus is targeting a 21 percent sales increase in 2012, said Mark Templin, Lexus general manager. That would push U.S. sales to around 240,000 units, from 198,552 in 2011.

"We will grow more than any other luxury brand this year," Templin said on the sidelines of the show. "Our base plan is 240,000. But we think we can exceed that by a pretty good margin."

Karl Schlicht, the Japan-based global head of product planning and marketing, said this year's aggressive product rollout will put Lexus "back in the hunt" for the U.S. luxury sales title. Last year BMW took the title and Mercedes edged Lexus for second place.

Lexus will launch nine new or updated models this year, plus three F-Sport variations, Templin said. The rollout includes the redesign of four of Lexus' core sedan lines, starting with the GS 350 and GS 450h sport sedans arriving in February, followed by reworked versions of the ES 350, IS 250 and 350 and LS 460 and 600h. The LX SUV will also be refreshed this year.

Meanwhile, Lexus wants new segments to drive future growth.

Schlicht said the CT 200h, which arrived last summer, is ripe for new variants and that the brand also needs a sporty coupe. Meanwhile, his team is still weighing the launch of a seven-seat, car-based crossover, after years of study and several concepts.

Lexus previewed its future coupes with the LF-LC hybrid concept shown at the Detroit show. Schlicht put the price range of a possible production version between $100,000 and $130,000.

But there is ample room for other coupes below that, executives say.

Templin wants a coupe for the sector evacuated by the SC 430, which was priced around $70,000 before the car was killed in 2010.

Lexus' future will be shaped just as much by the segments in which it dials down.

First on the chopping block may be the HS. Sales of the hybrid, which was introduced in 2009, plunged 73 percent to 2,864 units last year.

"It's a car that doesn't necessarily fit the long-term needs of the brand in the U.S.," said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Also watch for a shift toward unibody crossovers, from frame-based SUVs such as the LX and GX. Today's car-based trucks have sufficient towing power and don't need the heavy frames, Lentz said.

"By 2025, I think one can assume that most of the frame-based vehicles will be gone," he said.

Lexus also has no plans to dip below the CT 200h into smaller segments being explored by rivals such as Mercedes with the B class and BMW with the 1 series. Lexus doesn't need to go small because it can meet the government's corporate average fuel economy standards by averaging in mpg from the Toyota brand.

Lentz said: "I don't think we need to go below CT in terms of luxury content or in terms of price point."

Courtesy of AutomotiveNews

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lexus LFA Roadster Spotted in Tokyo


From out of nowhere, a Lexus LFA roadster has appeared during a D1GP Drift demonstration at the Tokyo Auto Salon — here’s a couple more photos:

Lexus LFA Roadster Side

Lexus LFA Roadster Rear

Here’s a close-up of the interior, which clearly shows that the roll-bar is made out of carbon fiber:

Lexus LFA Roadster Interior

At this point, there’s no details at all, but judging from the factory-level finish and integration, the carbon fiber roll-bar, and the pure cost of any LFA project car, I doubt the full story will stay a secret for long.


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Thank you to the authors of these great reviews for sharing their feedback with us!

Lexus of Orlando - Two (5) Star Reviews on DealerRater

  • I have been to many car repair shops and dealers throughout my life. Some bad, most ok, and some good or excellent. I would rate Orlando Lexus the best i have ever had. not only personal attention but the work was accurate and not inflated. The prices were approximately 20% cheaper then the dealer in my area (Northern Va) which is probably due to cost of living. One major difference was to change out spark plugs in my area was 50% cheaper and 80% cheaper then a well known quality independent shop in our area. I had our car in for service in our are at the local Lexus dealer and there checkout stated i needed to replace the PCV valve because it was so dirty it was clogged. I replace the PCV valve myself every year and that one was just replaced 3 weeks before, it was brand new. i called them on it and go no apologies. i obviously could not trust anything else they recommended and did not get the service done. since i was having the exact same service done at Orlando Lexus i was curious if they would also recommend PCV replacement. they did not, they only suggested thing that were valid. i had them do everything that was above my ability and will do the rest myself when i get home. You can trust this organization and Wayne Kerr. -rkurtz
  • Mr. Jose Huertas is a very efficient and dedicated service adviser who performs his job in an exemplary manner. I have been a client at Lexus or Orlando since 2005, every time I brought my car for service it has been a great experience. Mr. Huertas has always been very accommodating and he is very honest and straight forward. Lexus of Orlando needs more Jose Huertas's in their business to make it more successful. I highly recommend Lexus of Orlando to all my family, friends and co-workers, because I know that In Lexus of Orlando, you are not in good hands, "YOU ARE IN THE BEST HANDS" This is what the consumers need to know that you are in a company that cares about you and your vehicle. A company that is not there just for your money, but to service you and make you feel like a Kind or a Queen. I feel that 5 it is not high enough to rate this company, but if 5 it is good enough for the company I want to give Mr. Jose Huertas a 10. Mr. Jose Huertas is the best of the best!

    Best Regards,-mariamarte

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Can't get enough of the new face of Lexus? Don't miss the exhilarating video of the LF-LC's unveiling!

Fluid Precision: A chat with the designers behind the next Lexus concept car

We’re right in the middle of a great time—auto show season. And this week, at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Lexus just revealed another concept vehicle—the LF-LC coupe.

This intriguing project, which began, design-wise, in August 2010, was entrusted to Lexus’ Calty design studio, the same group that brought you the CT Hybrid’s concept and many others. There’s a talented team behind this vehicle, and two of its key designers, Edward Lee, senior creative designer for the exterior, and Ben Chang, senior designer for the interior, were more than happy to share some concept-creation insights with Lexus fans:

Lexus: We know that Calty is pretty familiar with the Lexus concept work, but Edward, weren’t you also one of the LF-Ch designers?

Edward: That’s correct, I was the interior designer for the LF-Ch, which became the CT. This time I designed the exterior of the LF-LC coupe.

Tell us about the project’s objectives—what’s been the overall design mission?

Edward: Basically, the goal was to design a luxury sport coupe that shows Lexus’ future L-finesse design language. We also aimed to spark strong interest in a new emotional and expressive Lexus design.

This being a new concept vehicle, did you take any design cues from current Lexus production models?

Edward: As far as cues go, we integrated a new interpretation of the spindle grill—we wanted to be consistent there but refine the evolving design identity. But as far as the rest of the car, we were challenged to be as original as possible, so although we implemented the spindle grille, everything else is brand new, and we wanted to execute something absolutely fresh.

Ben: The same goes for the interior. The contrast in the design language is completely new, sort of a new design philosophy.

With the early CT prototype, being a hybrid, the design team took some inspiration from natural forms. What would you say are your inspirations for this new vehicle?

Edward: We also drew from natural forms for this car, but what’s completely new is that we took a totally different approach with the proportions, and even the structure and the architecture of the car, which really shows that natural-form language we’re going for. Before we even started the car’s design, we took thin pieces of acrylic and bent them over different shapes to create these really interesting surfaces from one big surface.

We then took the same approach when designing the car’s exterior—it really feels like it’s designed from one piece of material, but you also have these sharp, precise lines that control the surface direction, tension, and dynamics. The surfaces flow freely within the lines—we call this “fluid precision.”

Lexus fans will now get a good look at the exterior, mostly via photos, but what are some intriguing details that we may not notice at first but should look for?

Ben: For the interior, there’s this unique feature with the center display. We have two 12.3-inch screens that are bonded together and face the driver and the front passenger. It’s executed so you feel like you’re seeing a really huge screen instead of two, and it’s like a beautiful sculpture.

Edward: As for the exterior, I’d like to draw focus first to the bold proportion of the car, then the flowing surfaces. It’s a completely new surface execution that is both expressive and precise. Finally, one area that highlights our intent is the front corner.

If you look at the headlamp areas, there are these Lexus brand identity “L” shapes, which are the daytime running lights. They draw your eyes into the three main lamps, then get washed out slowly as you descend into the fog lamps. This is “motion with technology”—an expressiveness intended to really provoke emotion when people look at this area of the car.

If a Lexus owner—somebody who knows Lexus vehicles well—were to sit down in the concept car driver’s seat for the first time, which interior design elements do you think he or she would be most struck by?

Ben: Well, with the interior, we wanted to do everything with a modern approach, but in an even more artistic way. So when a Lexus driver sits down in the car, they’re going to notice how artful the cabin feels. It’s got a hand-made look, like a master craftsman put it together—but it’s all, of course, supported by the latest technology.

There’s lots of beautiful materials, too—the leather, the suede, the brushed metal trim. We used those materials not in a traditional arrangement; instead we created something futuristic, fresh, and modern.

Can you tell us how the design has evolved—how and where did the car’s look change the most during the process?

Edward: As far as the exterior goes, we started with what you might consider a more elegant approach to the vehicle, but as we advanced forward, we applied a concept called “avant-garde beauty”—a bolder direction with bigger-stroked shapes. We still maintained the beauty aspect of the vehicle, but we really tried to make breakthroughs in the futuristic, technological, and modern sense. The car comes across as both artistic and technologically advanced.

Are there any aspects of this car that you’re personally most proud of?

Ben: This may sound kind of strange, but I’m actually very proud of the exterior, even though I was the interior designer. It turned out amazing. This car’s exterior made me feel very connected to the whole vehicle as I designed the interior.

Edward: Not to just give the ball back to Ben, but a lot inspirational energy was drawn from the interior design. And I have to say, I’m really proud of the team—all the clay modelers, the CAD support, everybody. How we feel really matters with these concept projects. It’s a passion we have, and I really believe that this passion will be evident when this car is revealed.


Courtesy of LexusMagazine