TAS 2009: The Lexus IS 350C in Silver


Lexus IS-C 350 in Silver

Now a few days removed from the Toronto Auto Show, I’ve been going through the virtual stack of photos that I took, and have compiled my first gallery — here’s the IS 350C in silver:

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As I mentioned previously, convertibles just don’t do it for me (likely due to dealing with bitterly cold weather six months of every year). That said, I like the look of the IS-C’s hardtop roof, and was a touch disappointed not to see it in action.

Really, this vehicle is a puzzle, introduced very late in the IS design cycle. The thinking, and I’m going out on a limb here, is that the SC redesign is still a ways off, and there needs to be a semi-fresh convertible in the lineup or risk losing segment sales. The real deal will be happening when the IS gets its next redesign — which I would expect will come in 3-series assortments: coupe, convertible, sedan, super-sedan.

Pros:
  • IS front fascia remains modern and well suited to the convertible
  • Super wheel design suits the vehicle perfectly
  • Necessary addition to the IS lineup
Cons:
  • Bulky rear
  • Trunk looks like a table
  • Sales may suffer due to IS design age

More 2010 Lexus RX Commercials


Lexus is preparing a barrage of commercials signaling the release of the new RX — first we had a set of more “traditional” commercials, and now there’s these six testimonial style videos to watch:

Rear Seat Entertainment

Cargo Space

Airbag

Voice Command

Power Rear Door

Intelligent Highbeams

I like these significantly more when compared to the first set, though there’s a great balance in approach when viewed all together. This type of Apple-style commercial really works for Lexus, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it used extensively over the next few marketing campaigns.

2010 Lexus RX Commercials


Lexus USA has just posted up their new commercials for the 2010 Lexus RX 350 launch, which will start running nationally next week:

Smart move by Lexus to reinforce the familiarity of the previous RX — it’s their best tactic and definitely something that can’t be overstated. These commercials are both surprisingly technical, though that’s to be expected considering the addition of strong emphasis on the new features like Remote Touch and the Heads-up display.

(Looks like Lexus is also trying something different with their narrator, as these commercials have a voiceover that isn’t James Sloyan. )

Update: The voiceover actor is James Remar.

Update 2: Added a third commercial. (Thanks Roberto!)

Trying the Lexus Remote Touch System @ The Toronto Auto Show


After reporting stories and videos about the new Lexus Remote Touch system, I had the chance yesterday to try the technology for myself — and managed to record it despite my (noticeable) excitement:

Being an interface technology, there’s really no way to describe the haptic feedback feeling, save to say that it’s intuitive and incredibly responsive. Jumping from menu-item to menu-item brought to mind pushing a computer mouse up against a stretched rubber-band. Combined with the screen placed higher up in the dash, the Remote Touch system allows the driver to interact with the system through peripheral vision, almost through feel only.

As you can tell from the video, I was almost too impressed — and all the more once I started playing with equivalent BMW, Mercedes and Audi systems. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Remote Touch system will be duplicated in force over the next few years. It’s that good. If you were at all concerned about its usability compared to the touchscreen, you need not worry at all.

Toronto Auto Show Interview with John-Paul Farag


Lexus @ The Toronto Auto Show

As I mentioned, I had an opportunity to talk with John-Paul Farag, Lexus Canada’s Advanced Technology & Powertrain Consultant, who answered some questions that have come up over the last few months.

TPP: Where is the battery located on the HS, is it underneath the vehicle?

John-Paul Farag of Lexus CanadaJohn-Paul: It’s similar to the Camry, where it’s partially in the trunk and behind the seat, similar to that. With a sedan you’re limited to that area.

TPP: I know that with the GS, from 2008 to 2009, there was a great reduction in the size of the battery. How was that accomplished?

John-Paul: Aside from the actual chemistry of the battery, which we haven’t changed much recently — nickel-metal has proven to be very robust and very good in our experience — a lot of the packaging around it, the casing and the cooling has a lot to do with it. Where you place the cooling fans, or if there’s a number of different ones, can actually affect a lot of the size. The reduction was in the cooling, the packaging and the casing.

And it’s not only the battery, the power control unit, same idea. The cooling can improve, we can make it smaller, more efficient, more powerful. Same with the motor. Continue reading this article…