Italdesign Quaranta Hybrid Concept

The Italdesign Quaranta

It may not be a Lexus supercar prototype, but the Italdesign Quaranta concept is powered by a Lexus engine, namely the….RX 400h?

Massage the right button, and the rear decklid opens to reveal a powertrain cribbed from what we know as the Lexus RX 400h. Italdesign and Toyota have an ongoing relationship; their first project, the Toyota Volta concept of 2004, laid the groundwork for this far more outrageous interpretation of the green exotic. Although the Toyota sport/utility provides its 3.3-liter DOHC V-6 engine, electric-motor assist hardware, continuously variable transmission, all-wheel-drive system, and a bucketload of electronics (including the IP-mounted display that shows when the power is flowing to and from the motors and battery pack), the rest of the Quaranta was designed, engineered, and built by hand from the ground up at Italdesign’s Moncalieri, Italy, facilities.

That’s a quote from a great Motor Trend article about driving this eco-supercar from Italdesign, which they debuted at this year’s Geneva Auto Show. It’s a great read, and strangely enough, it’s the RXh engine that makes the difference. It usually isn’t possible to drive a concept down public roads, nevermind taking it up to 200kph on a racetrack.

I particularly liked the solar panel hood and trunk pattern, and just take a look at this from a bird’s eye view:

The Italdesign Quaranta

(Thanks Shukul!)

Custom Lexus IS-F by 0-60 Magazine Coming to SEMA 2008

We’ve seen the finished version of the the Fox/Artisan Lexus IS-F that will be displayed at this year’s SEMA, and now another has surfaced — this time it’s a work-in-progess by 0-60 Magazine:

Lexus IS-F by 0-60 Magazine

So far, the plan looks to be replacing the hood, front fenders, side skirts and the trunk lid with carbon fiber versions, and some custom exhaust work from Greddy, but what I really want to do is highlight just how crazy the IS-F is without its engine cover:

Lexus IS-F Engine

No matter how many times I see the unmasked engine, it still manages to astonish me.

Flickr Find: Lexus IS Danger

Bader Bouarki’s photo of the Lexus IS is fantastic, and the description is even better:

Lexus IS-F in Black & White

I Told my friend to drive, i went to the second car and sit in the trunk, it was 120KM/H,

i added the cloud as a part of a beauty…

Sitting on the trunk of a car going 120kph (75mph) certainly puts a different spin on The Passionate Pursuit of Perfection.

Lexus Prius Sketch from Motor Trend

There isn’t much in the way of new information in Motor Trend’s article about the upcoming Lexus hybrid, but it did include this beauty of a mockup sketch:

Lexus Prius Drawing

There were a few new points covered, though they seem entirely speculative:

The difference between the Lexus variant and the Prius itself — as is generally the case for Lexus models with Toyota underpinnings — is not expected to be much more than skin deep. The as-yet-unnamed Lexus will have its own body panels and may get a convertible variant, but both vehicles will be fitted with roof-mounted solar panels and nickel-metal hydride batteries upon launch.

I have to say, if the new Lexus hybrid looks anything like this sketch, it’s going to be hugely successful. There’s certainly a hint of Prius in the shape, but the more aggressive front-end and huge wheels remind me of the new VW Scirocco, only bigger and with two more doors. And that’s no bad thing.

Comparison : 2009 Hyundai Genesis V8 vs. 2008 Lexus GS 350

Lexus GS 350 vs. Hyundai Genesis

Edmunds has went ahead and pitted the Lexus GS 350 against the brand new Hyundai Genesis, resulting in a mismatch that places far too much emphasis on the pricetag:

So the Genesis is a large, rear-drive luxury sedan that’s priced like a smaller front-drive one — at 195.6 inches long it’s just 2.4 inches shorter overall than Lexus’ flagship LS 460, but the $33,000 base price for the V6-powered Genesis is more than a grand cheaper than the base price of the entry-level ES 350. There isn’t really anything directly comparable to the Genesis at Lexus or, for that matter, at any other manufacturer.

As tested, the GS 350 came fully equipped at $49,670. The Genesis showed up with a $4,000 Technology package and a $42,000 sticker. That’s a thick $7,670 price difference, in case you haven’t already made the calculation yourself. Yet the Genesis essentially matched the Lexus luxury for luxury, gizmo for gizmo.

Basing a vehicle’s value entirely on the MSRP is faulty for so many reasons — consider the residual value, which will favor the Lexus heavily. If the Lexus maintains 50% of its value over three years, and the Hyundai only 40%, the initial price difference will be reduced by more than half.

Now factor in Lexus’ superior customer service, Hyundai’s unfamiliarity with luxury customers, and the better fuel efficiency of the GS 350’s V6 (5.3 mpg better). What’s left?