So you think you know Lexus, do you? Well…….maybe not. Three letters: L. F. A. LFA. Remember those letters. They are about to change the image of Lexus forever. At a price of abut $375,000, the closest most of us will come to an LFA will be a lovely scale model by Maisto or AutoArt. But even then, we expect many a scale model collector will gladly dust off a parking space in a cabinet for it. LFA, the flagship for the F portfolio of Lexus performance models is the fastest Lexus production car ever built and the company promises that it will deliver world-class design, performance, and cutting-edge technology. The LFA is only available as a two-year lease with the intent to purchase. Only 500 LFA will be built worldwide. “The LFA has more passion and character than any Lexus built and we’re excited that we’re finally able to give U.S. customers official pricing,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. All LFAs will be hand-built to customer specifications and production will begin December 2010. Customers will be able to choose from three-configurations included in the base MSRP: Configuration 1 – Leather or Alcantara®-trimmed seats. Configuration 2 – Leather or Alcantara-trimmed seats, Lexus Navigation System and Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system. Configuration 3 – Leather or Alcantara-trimmed seats, Lexus Navigation System, Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system, and Lexus Enform™ with Safety Connect™. Customers will be able to customize the LFA with 30 exterior colors, six brake caliper colors, and 12 interior colors. Some choices carry an additional cost. The Lexus LFA is exclusively powered by a sophisticated new high-revving 4.8-liter V10 engine that generates 552 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 354 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,800 rpm. The engine is mated to a unique six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox (ASG) with paddle shifters that enables ultra-quick gear shifts (0.2 seconds) with four driving modes – AUTO, SPORT, NORMAL and WET for exceptional versatility. Lexus’ supercar accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds and achieves a maximum speed of 202 mph thanks to an independently controlled throttle body for each cylinder, high-volume 12-hole injectors, dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), low-friction engine components, and equal length exhaust manifolds. Lightweight, powerful and balanced, the LFA features advanced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) construction for its chassis and bodywork to deliver a light, incredibly strong and impact-resistant structure. To help provide superior handling and braking and traction control the LFA features track-tuned lightweight aluminum alloy suspension components; six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers to grip the Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) brake rotors; and a specially calibrated Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. Of course a supercar has to have super styling, and most car writers agree Lexus hit it out of the park on this score. It's sleek, powerfuoly built, and embodies penjt-up power and energy. And there are plenty of unique styling cues that you won't mistake for any of the growing number of supercars that have been introduced recently. A particularly nice touch are the BBS® 20-inch forged-aluminum 10-spoke wheels available in three different finishes. “After years of development, Lexus is able to offer driving enthusiasts an exciting and exclusive combination of performance and luxury in a sleek supercar package. It’s thrilling to know that in about a year, you just might see one driving down the street,” said Mr. Templin. CT200h The new Lexus CT200h premium compact is a whole new kind of car for the luxury brand. It’s a hybrid yes, but a sporty, fun to drive one. And that can’t be all bad for Lexus, which has been spiffing up its pizazz quotient of late with products such as the rarefied LFA super luxury/performance coupe, and before that, the IS-F. “The CT 200h combines luxury features, eye-catching styling, and driving excitement that we know will attract a whole new buyer to the Lexus brand,” one luxury official said. Power will come from Lexus’ tried and true Lexus Hybrid Drive system. The CT 200h features a 1.8-liter gas engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), a high performance battery, power control unit, transmission with an electric motor generator, a power split device to re-allocate power from the engine and electric motor generator according to operational requirements. Four drive modes enhance the capabilities of the CT 200h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive technology and change the rate of throttle opening for a given throttle-pedal angle. EV mode allows for ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone. Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response while Eco mode reduces throttle response relative to the pedal angle and adjusts air conditioning settings to emphasize fuel economy. The Sport mode provides a more responsive throttle and modifies the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) settings to give a faster response to driver inputs. As you might expect, fuel economy and efficiency were paramount in designing this car, Lexus says, so “ particular attention has been paid to the aerodynamic efficiency of every aspect of the CT 200h’s design. The front and rear corners have been pulled in tight to improve the flow of air down the sides of the vehicle and minimize wind turbulence within the wheel arches. The sides of the cabin have been tapered, the rear edge of the roof lowered and even the lower body painstakingly detailed to optimize airflow.” The CT 200h also features 17-inch alloy wheels and blue badging specific to Lexus hybrid vehicles. The interior features lots of metallic finishes and dark, soft touch materials. Lexus says in spite of the compact size, “the CT 200h does not compromise interior roominess. Its long, 102-inch wheelbase offers front and rear seat passenger accommodation that is amongst the most spacious in the segment.”Perhaps most important, all 2011 Lexus gas models will receive a standard new brake override system as an additional measure of consumer confidence. The braking system enhancement will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions. IS 350 Until now, it was the IS series that carried the Lexus brand into younger, livelier territory. This series also has Lexus’ only convertible. The big change for this year for the IS 350 is the addition of a 306-horsepower all-wheel drive (AWD) model. IS enthusiasts will now have the traction and grip of all-wheel drive with the IS 350’s higher performance capability. New HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps are standard on the IS 350 and available for the IS 250. In addition, a new front grille and bumper highlight the IS sedans, while at the rear, it sports a new taillamp cover and revised tailpipe design. The IS models will also feature newly designed 17-inch and optional 18-inch wheels, along with revised exterior choices. A new F Sport Package for the IS 250/350 rear-wheel drive (RWD) models will have special suspension tuning and 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark super-chrome finish. The F Sport package also includes a front lip spoiler and rear deck spoiler, a matching dark chrome front grille insert, F Sport badging, and the addition of Ultrasonic Blue Mica to the exterior colors. For the interior, unique front seats feature a special microfiber insert and leather side bolsters to provide grip for the driver and passenger during cornering and F Sport badging to the steering wheel. LS series In most people’s minds, this is the Lexus that most people think of when you mention the brand. In keeping with the company’s policy of making refinements whenever possible, the LS 460 suspension has been modified for all-wheel drive models, which will now have standard coil suspension for comfortable everyday driving and optional air suspension systems to give drivers the chance to adjust for their current driving situations. ES series The ES has been getting a lot of new competition and pressure from new to the field brands like Buick’s fabulous LaCrosse, and soon, Chrysler’s all new 300 and of course, Hyundai’s Genesis. For that reason it would be unwise to sit on its laurels. And that’s just what Lexus intends not to do. Instead they are adding some changes likely to be welcomed by consumers in these tough times. Owners of the ES 350 will enjoy a few more dollars in their pockets with a change from 91-octane to 87 octane gasoline. The ES 350 will receive an EPA fuel economy estimate of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway. A new exterior color, Deep Sea Mica, replaces Black Sapphire Pearl. GS series It’s a quiet year for the GS series. The year 2010 brought some changes, but the main one for 2011 is the standard a brake override system. The braking system enhancement will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions. The GS gas luxury sport sedan comes in three models - GS 350 rear-wheel drive (RWD), GS 350 all-wheel drive (AWD) and GS 460 RWD. Optimized for low internal friction, the GS 350's 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 303 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 274 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 3,600 rpm. A direct fuel-injection system provides much finer fuel-mixture control to improve both power and fuel efficiency. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) acts on both intake and exhaust valves to further enhance performance through a wide rpm range. A smooth-shifting six-speed transmission allows sequential shifting when desired. The GS 460's V8 produces 342 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 339 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 rpm. The GS 460, like the GS 350, meets the EPA's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) certification. Lexus has been setting standards for powertrain smoothness since its inception, and the GS 460's V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission continue that tradition. The transmission, like the six-speed automatic in the GS 350 models, allows manual shifting for a more engaging driving experience, and helps to maximize performance in certain driving situations. The GS 460 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, the GS 350 in 5.7 (5.8 for AWD). RX350 The 2011RX 350 receives standard a brake override system as an additional measure of consumer confidence. The braking system enhancement will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions. New exterior colors are offered to complement the RX 350’s refinement. Satin Cashmere Mica replaces Golden Almond Metallic. Stargazer Black is added to the palette, while Truffle Mica and Black Sapphire Pearl are discontinued.
Prices and fuel economy figures are not yet known.
So what’s up with the rest of the Lexus lineup this year?
Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/PerformanceThe Lexus RX 350 teams a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a six-speed Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission for an output of 275 horsepower at 6,200 rpm.