Tag: Lexus

2018 Lexus LC 500h : Green Grand Tourer?

2018 Lexus LC 500h : Green Grand Tourer?

Do you like being watched and looked at? Being in the 2018 Lexus LC 500h is kinda like being inside the cage at the zoo. People look and point at you along the way. It was a similar feeling to what we experienced driving around our HQ in West Palm Beach, FL.

But, honestly, we didn’t mind.

Because damn it, we were behind the wheels of one of the sexiest shapes to come out of the Lexus design shop in quite some  time. Available in a buyer’s choice of the Lexus LC 500, with a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, or, as in the case of our tester, as the LC 500h , which is a gas electric hybrid powered by a 3.5-Liter V6 gasoline engine add to electric motor generators that combined to produce 354 total horsepower. The hybrid has a top speed of 155 mph, clicks off naught to 60 mph in 4.7-seconds, and manages 26 miles per gallon city/ 35 miles per gallon highway with a combined total of 30 miles per gallon overall.

And before you go thinking of a Toyota Prius with its hybrid drive system, fuhgeddaboutit.

2018 Lexus LC 500h
2018 Lexus LC 500h

The Lexus LC 500h incorporates Lexus’s hybrid synergy drive which uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the paddle shifters, coupled to a more traditional four-speed slush box which does it’s best to keep the 3.5-liter V6 running in the middle of its powerband’s sweet spot. We are not quite sure how they’re able to do it, but the gearbox is able to simulate the operation of actually being a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Perhaps the engine is a tiny bit thin when it comes to sheer grunt from the tailpipes, but maybe that’s why Lexus engineer chose to pipe some of that noise back into the cabin through an intake manifold baffle on the top of the engine.

The Lexus LC 500h rides on a multilink suspension that provides control by steering handled through an electrically assisted rack and pinion kit in front. An optional rear-steering system is part of the LC’s Performance package for a more-agile steering system. Lexus officials told us the car was more rigid than the LF-A supercar.

As for cross shopping, buyers will likely conside fellow green cars, the Acura NSX, BMW i8, and Porsche Panamera Hybrid.

Looks matter.

The spindle grille, while looking awkward on other Lexus models appears more comfortable here. Think of it as growing into one’s skin. As people reach a certain age they become more agreeable with their outer appearance. That’s the case here as the LC 500h  nose actually looks to belong.

2018 Lexus LC 500h
2018 Lexus LC 500h

From the side, it’s a hunkered-down look reminiscent of drawings done in school while we were supposed to be paying attention to math and science lessons. Long nose, short tail, and shoulders that could rival any cut-and-buffed athlete, it is a well-executed look at what a grand touring near-supercar should be. As an added bonus, the hood, fender and door panels are aluminum, while much of the rest of the car is composed of composite material.

Lexus LC 500h
Lexus LC 500h

Inside the LC 500h, are a few hits, and a couple of misses, too. Two well-crafted seats are there with a wide variety of adjustments. We loved the wide view of the high-definition TFT screens but wish they found another input device from which to control it. The Lexus touch pad is not amongst our favorites. And those rear seats? Don’t even think about sitting back there unless you have a chiropractor on speed dial. They are better suited to a duffle or camera bag, or even a bambino in a safety seat. But overall? As much as we like the rest of the interior with its tan finish, we can’t help but think that it is not as pretty as that found in the Dodge Viper before it made its exit from the automotive scene. That car’s Italian heritage shone through with a tan interior from a company that supplies Ferrari. The result? Sublime.

Behind the wheel.

Our drivetime in the LC500h was a tale of both the green and high-performance worlds. A tale of two cities, if you will. Driving around town found us making the most of the Multi Stage Hybrid system with two electric motors assisting the Aktinson-cycle six-cylinder engine.

Acceleration was potent with a slight electric whine that actually contributed to the overall effect, and that wasn’t a bad thing. The car uses a two-stage continuously variable transmission (CVT) that combines with an Aisin brand four-speed gearbox that actually allows the LC500h to stretch its legs more with greater (sports car) feel.

Handling on our test loop found a GT car that felt at home going right and left, and accelerating cleanly out of a turn, to boot. Despite its electric gimcrackery under the hood, we loved the sound and feel of the engine power unit as it pushed the envelope of hybrid performance. As gorgeous as it is, it is not a svelte young thing. We never were quite able to achieve the 30-mpg average that the EPA tells us to expect but we could easily live with the 27.5 mpg that we actually saw.

2018 Lexus LC 500h
2018 Lexus LC 500h

About the Lexus touchpad: We find it touchy, finicky and in some cases downright dangerous, what with everything else going on around and within, and dealing with other traffic. Some items were so buried in the menus that we actually needed to pull over to adjust them.

Still, this is a Grand Tourer that will accommodate a wide variety of driving styles. Available in extremely limited numbers, there is almost a guarantee that you will be the only one in your neighborhood, heck, in your region, who owns one. 

2018 Lexus LC500h

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

Base MSRP:  $96,510. As tested: $102,039.

Includes: Convenience Package, $1000; Heads Up display, $900; Premium Paint, $595; Touring Package, $1,790; Cargo Net, $249; Destination Fee: $995. 

Key Specs                                            LC 500h

Cylinders:                                            6 + two electric motors

Displacement:                                     3.5-liter

Power:                                                 354 hp (combined)

Torque:                                                256.7 @4,900 rpm

Fuel System:                                       Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                    Premium

Acceleration:                                       0-60mph in 4.7 seconds

Drive Type                                           RWD

Gearbox:                                             Multi-stage Hybrid

Tire Size:                                             245/45RF20, Rr: 275/40RF20

Unladen Weight:                                4,521-pounds

Length:                                                187.4-inches

Width:                                                 75.6-inches

Height:                                                53.0-inches

Wheelbase:                                         113.0-inches

Cargo Volume:                                   5.4-cubic feet

Cd:                                                       0.33

City:                                                     26

Highway:                                             35

Combined:                                           30

 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”111″ gal_title=”2018 Lexus LC 500h”]

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2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

Even though the 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate is a totally new vehicle- and Genesis is now a stand-alone brand, parent company Hyundai has had a few years to get it right. As far as luxury goes, the South Korean company introduced the Equus, in 1999. We didn’t see it until its second-generation sibling appeared in North America, which was an okay first effort for these shores. Still, it suffered from some cost-cutting measures that rendered that horse a little lame from the start.

What a difference a name change and a total re-imaging of Hyundai’s prestige brand can accomplish. We are just thankful they have re-imagined their current ad campaign (“Respect is the ultimate Luxury.” Huh?) Hop in as we test the new 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate.

Choices: You get two.

Available in two trim levels, the 3.3T Premium, and as our tester, the 5.0 V8 Ultimate, the G90 is the large flagship of the Genesis premium line. A five-passenger unibody design, it is adaptable for family or executive transportation duties nearly anywhere in the world.

2017 Genesis G90 5.0-liter V8

Our tester received motivation from a 5.0-liter V8 direct-injection engine making 420-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual shift mode using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers.

This sled rides on a Nürburgring-developed multilink front and rear suspension with Genesis Adaptive Damper Control, allowing the driver to adjust ride characteristics according to road conditions and driver’s mood. They can be set for Eco, Smart, Sport and Individual drive modes that set specific calibrations for throttle and road conditions.

Both 3.3T and 5.0 versions are available with optional all-wheel-drive.

Looks.

While not exactly following the design ethos of its Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series or Lexus LS competition to the “T,” the G90 is still as large and imposing. Accented with just the right amount of chrome brightwork, the exterior of the new G90 also features the trademarked Genesis grille as seen through most of the lineup. Expressive LEDs illuminate the G’s path and include self-leveling and steerable lighting to brighten up the darkest corners of the night.

The swept-back roofline finishes with a short rear overhang that is elegant and functional at the same time. The rear fascia includes a pair of chromed finishing pipes that exit just under the rear bumper.

Interior fitment.

The part where driver and passengers interact shows that Hyundai / Genesis have been paying close attention to the cabins of their competition. Well-made, the G90 interior breaks no new ground but, with a few exceptions, does offer all the features you would expect from highline rides costing thousands more.

2017 Genesis G90’s 14-way adjustable front seats.

Workmanship in the car is beautiful, and a huge improvement in quality over the Equus. Gone is the polished leather feel found in that dearly departed, replaced with a higher-quality, more heavily-gauged Nappa hide that actually feels like it belongs here. The buttons are all over the place–lots of them. But their arrangement is much better sorted than the outgoing model. Still there is room for improvement.

Seating in the G90 is found at the intersection of elegant and comfortable. A 14-way driver’s seat offers a multitude of adjustments including bolsters that widen or narrow as needed. Heating and ventilation occur in the outboard seats, which also include reclining front and rear seatbacks. We were only wishing they included a massage function.

On the dashboard sits an analog clock that is a nice touch, but we think it is definitely in need of a specialty watchmaker brand, to boost the caché of this car. IWC, Bulova, and other brands could be leveraged in this spot.

While a factory rear seat DVD system does not currently exist, we were thoroughly entertained by the Lexicon 900-watt audio system with Clari-fi technology, which helped to restore sound quality lost in digital audio tracks. It goes a long way to enhance the musical quality coming from the 17-speaker 7.1 Surround-Sound system.

Safety

The Genesis G90 is loaded with all the safety features typically found in this class of vehicle including a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, driver drowsiness sensing, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic sensing, full front, rear and side air curtain airbags, and of course, lane departure warning and prevention.

Behind the wheel

Intensely quiet, the Genesis G90 sits alongside such segment luminaries as the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi’s A8, Lexus’s LS460, and even the Cadillac CT6. Except for the engine raising its voice under pressure, it manages to proceed with little more than a purr from the pavement. Credit to the ContiProContact tires and the gobs of underbody insulation to keep the road noise at bay.

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 is immense. While not absolutely necessary for most people, it will still be the choice for those who equate luxury with power. Steering from the motor-assisted power steering system offered a competent feel that is perfectly at home in a luxo-barge like this Genesis. If the standard Smart setting is not to your liking, a quick flick of the switch will place you in either Eco, Sport or customizable Individual settings, that while not appreciably firming up the suspension to any major degree, still offer a slight throttle and suspension remap. Either way, it results in a satisfying ride quality.

The wrap-up.

Despite the fact the Genesis G90 will feel to some as the next-generation Equus, it is all new from the ground up. While the G90 may not attract the conquest buyer the brand is hoping for, it is priced right. Going for the fences, this Genesis hits solidly. While it may not be a grand slam, this one is out of the park.

2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

Story and photos by Mark Elias

MSRP: $69,700. Price as tested: $70,650.

Includes: $950 Destination fee.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                            V8

Displacement:                                    5.0-liter

Power:                                                420 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque:                                              383 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

Fuel System:                                     Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                   Gasoline

Acceleration:                                    0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                                        4WD

Gearbox:                                           8-speed automatic with Shiftronic

Tire Size:                                          245/45R19F front — 275/40/R19 rear

Unladen Weight:                            4,905-pounds

Length:                                             204.9-inches

Width:                                              75.4-inches

Height:                                             58.9-inches

Wheelbase:                                      124.4

Cargo Volume:                                15.7 cubic feet

Cd:                                                      0.27

City:                                                    15

Highway:                                           23

Combined:                                        18

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”24″ gal_title=”2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Lexus LC 500 First Drive

2018 Lexus LC 500 First Drive

Getting behind the wheel of a sporty Lexus has been a spotty affair since the brand was founded back in 1989. While the brand has had a great success with their sedans, there have been a few sporty hits, but mostly misses, on the path to establish the company as a full-line Japanese luxury brand. That was until recent years where Akio Toyoda decided enough was enough. That was until the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h.

Fat, drunk and stupid Stodgy, boring and not very fun to drive is no way to go through life. (With apologies to Dean Wormer in Animal House https://youtu.be/rs_PkNkB-wQ ) So it was very apparent by Toyoda-san’s joyful display at the 2016 NAIAS in Detroit, that the brand had finally found its footing.

With the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h, do we have just another pretty face or does this newest grand tourer finally have what it takes to compete in the world of high-zoot personal luxury cars?

A sheep in wolf’s clothing or more?

The 2018 Lexus LC 500
2018 Lexus LC 500 5.0-liter engine

The 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a front-engined, rear drive, 2+2 placed sports machine. Offered from the start with a choice of two powerplants, the lead engine will be the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated, direct injection V8 engine that produces 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. It will be mated to a first-for-the-segment 10-speed automatic transmission that Lexus tells us is as fast as some dual-clutch gearboxes found in sports cars costing thousands more.

As an alternative to that engine, and capitalizing on the Lexus parent company’s expertise in hybrid technology, the brand managed to stuff a Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system into the engine bay of the Lexus LC 500h. Based on an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 with two electric motors for a net 354 total horsepower. Instead of the ten-cog gearbox, the LC 500h uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that combines with a more traditional four-speed transmission, which works to keep the hybrid’s 3.5-liter V6 running in what engineers have determined to be the powertrain’s sweet spot. The system allows the electric portion of the drivetrain to giddyup to 87 mph before it starts drawing from the gasoline-powered V6.

2018 Lexus LC 500h Hybrid

The gas and the hybrid models of this 4,290-pounder top out at an electronically limited 168 and 155 mph respectively. While the gas V8 manages 16 city, 26 highway, with a 19 mpg average, the hybrid achieves 26 city, 35 highway and 30 combined. Zero to 60 from the gas 5.0-liter ticks off in 4.4-seconds, while the hybrid manages the same feat in 4.7.

The LC 500’s suspension manages to bypass the latest in high tech offerings including variable air suspension systems in favor of a more traditional front and rear multilink suspension with electrically assisted power rack and pinion steering kit. An optional rear-steering system is part of the LC’s Performance package and provides the means to shrink the LC’s turning circle or assist in lane change maneuvers. In total, the entire suspension system helps the LC sportscar perform more rigidly than the LF-A supercar

They said it couldn’t be done.

Doing a quick walk around the car, it is clear that there really is no bad angle from which to look at it. Design yields to innovations, including a nearly flat bottom for improved aero, and scoops in the lower front fascia that channel air over the outsides of the wheels, both front and rear similar to the Air Curtain feature found in select BMW models.

Mr. Toyoda asked, “Can it be done? Would it be possible to go all out and make a truly luxurious grand touring sport coupe worthy of the L-logo and the signature spindle grille?” About that spindle grille, we think this is the first time in a Lexus model where the cinched-waist opening really fits the design, rather than fighting it. The hood, fenders and door panels are aluminum. The rest of the exterior uses composites throughout, and even has an available carbon fiber roof.

Built on Lexus’s new GA-L platform that it shares with the new Lexus LS sedan, it is built to compete against the likes of the BMW 650i, Jaguar’s F-Type and the Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe. It manages to fit right in while remaining completely different from the others. Pricing is different, too, starting at $92,000 for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 with its naturally aspirated V8, to the LC 500h Hybrid, which checks in at $96,510. In the grand scheme of things, that’s almost in bargain territory.

 

The 2018 Lexus LC 500

Being a two+two grand tourer seems to be a bit of a reach. But the whole concept seems to be, doesn’t it? It does manage to source interior inspiration directly from Maranello, Italy, home of Ferrari. We loved nearly every aspect of the interior including the finely stitched leather that covered the high-performance driver and passenger seats. But all was not totally perfect. We thought it came up a bit short with the touchpad, which should be taken back for a bit of refinement. And then there was the LC’s fly-by-wire gearshift control. Despite its leather-wrapping, it still seemed as though it was pilfered from Toyota’s Prius parts bin. It just doesn’t seem a proper fit in a luxury sports coupe.

Either way, the cars appear the same except for the blue-background hybrid badging.

Behind the wheel.

The Lexus LC 500 features the same engine found in the GS-F and the RC-F. Sonorous, almost F1-like in nature, it punctuated the exhaust notes with an audible pop at the change of a gear. The closely spaced gearbox climbed rather quickly through the cogs, getting to the optimal ring in short order. But could this be a case of overkill? We experienced a bit of hunting while cruising around, which may just be the indicator that, in this case, maybe eight truly is enough.

Acceleration is sharp enough in both versions of the LC 500, with the shifting of the gears holding just long enough to make it interesting. When it reached the optimal point, a slight backfire is heard offering the emotional appeal that got you interested in cars in the first place, right?

This grand tourer is almost a one-size-fits-all proposition that could work for a wide variety of drivers. Think of it as an Aston Martin with reliability. It’s just the thing if you would like a little cash back from your $100-large. Still, with only 400 samples being built each month, and with dealers trying to eek every last cent out of a transaction, finding one at that price might be like finding one of those unicorn things.

Another cool thing: Lexus plans to go racing with the LC 500 in the IMSA WeatherTech and other European and Asian racing series. Do they have what it takes? Time will tell, but as a betting man, we’d say yes. According to Lexus officials, the brand is here to leave a mark.

Base MSRP: LC 500- $92,000.   LC 500h- $96,510.

Destination Fee: $995.

Key Specs                                 LC 500                                                       LC 500h

Cylinders:                                      8                                                                      6 + two electric motors

Displacement:                              5.0-liter                                                          3.5-liter

Power:                                           471 @ 7,100 rpm                                          354 hp (combined)

Torque:                                         398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm                               256.7 @4,900 rpm

Fuel System:                                Direct Injection                                            Direct Injection

Fuel:                                             Premium                                                        Premium

Acceleration:                              0-60mph in 4.4 seconds                             0-60mph in 4.7 seconds

Drive Type                                  RWD                                                               RWD

Gearbox:                                     10-speed automatic                                    Multi-stage Hybrid

Tire Size:                                     245/45RF20, Rr: 275/40RF20               245/45RF20, Rr: 275/40RF20

Unladen Weight:                       4,280-pounds                                             4,435-pounds

Length:                                        187.4-inches                                                187.4-inches

Width:                                         75.6-inches                                                  75.6-inches

Height:                                        53.0-inches                                                  53.0-inches

Wheelbase:                                 113.0-inches                                                113.0-inches

Cargo Volume:                           5.4-cubic feet                                              5.4-cubic feet

Cd:                                                0.33                                                              0.33

City:                                              16                                                                  26

Highway:                                     26                                                                 35

Combined:                                  19                                                                  30

 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”18″ gal_title=”2018 Lexus LC 500″]