Lexus HS 250h Official Photos

Lexus HS 250h

Lexus didn’t hold back with the HS 250h photos, there’s images from every conceivable angle:

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Early reaction focuses on the HS’ resemblance to the Toyota Corolla, though I see a lot of the IS & ES in the design. Really though, with the vehicle’s focus on gas mileage, much of the design is predetermined. The Prius is a perfect example of function over form, and when the two hybrids are compared the HS is easily more attractive.

Another thing, and it could be the most important point: I think this car is aimed directly at Europe.

On the downside, Lexus needs to reconsider the colors used to promote their new vehicles. No matter how you slice it, silver is generic, and it makes the HS look dull. This in turn leads to all sorts of criticism, when the design is actually very appealing. Take a look at these detail shots:

Lexus HS 250h

Lexus HS 250h

Lexus HS 250h Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show

Lexus HS 250h

The wait is over, Lexus unveiled the much anticipated HS 250h today at the Detroit Auto Show. There’s plenty to go over, but let’s start by breaking down the most noteworthy points about this new hybrid:

  • The HS 250h sports Lexus’ first four-cylinder gas engine, a 2.4L Atkinson-cycle powerplant that generates 187HP.
  • No exact fuel milage figures were released, but Lexus is claiming 30% better efficiency than the IS 250, which puts it over 30 MPG. Even better, the engine uses 87 octane gas.
  • The new hybrid technology first seen on the new 2010 RX 450h will also be included on the HS, including the exhaust heat recovery system to reduce engine warmup time, an infrared reducing windshield that decreases the need for air conditioning, and the standard Lexus hybrid LED lights.
  • Much of the HS’ exterior design is necessitated by the need for an extremely low drag co-efficient. Along with the highly optimized under-floor coverings and air passages, the roof panel, front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear under-spoiler and diffuser fins all contribute to the 0.27 Cd.
  • The HS chassis features a MacPherson strut front suspension and a double-wishbone rear suspension, which gives excellent maneuverability, control and comfort.
  • The HS’ interior utilizes eco-friendly bio-plastic, which emits less carbon dioxide over its lifetime.
  • Like the 2010 RX, the HS will include the Remote Touch controller navigation interface, the Lexus Enform telematics service, Electronic Power Steering, the Heads-up Display, and a lane-keep assist system.

Here are the preliminary specs:

Total Hybrid System Horsepower  187 hp
Engine  2.4-liter 4-cylinder
Transmission  Transmission Electronically
Controlled Continuously
Variable Transmission
Seating Capacity  5
Width (inches)  70.3
Height (inches)  59.3
Overall Length (inches)  184.8
Wheelbase (inches)  106.3
Driven Wheels  FWD
Wheels 17×7.0
w/ P215/55R17
w/ P225/45R18
Emissions Rating  SULEV

Next up, the full official photo gallery.

Lexus Wallpaper of the Week: IS Concept Drawings

This week’s featured wallpaper is one of the official concept drawings of the current second generation Lexus IS:

Lexus IS Concept Drawing Wallpaper

There’s a lot of the IS in this, in fact, I can even see hints of the IS-F in the wheel arches and side skirting.

(Imagine taking this drawing, removing the back doors, dropping in a hybrid engine, and resizing it to BMW 1-series dimensions. Would you buy it?)

2010 Lexus RX 350/450h Gas Mileage Figures

2010 Lexus RX 350 in Silver

We’ve known since the LA Auto Show that the 2010 Lexus RX would be returning better gas mileage, but a press release issued yesterday gave us the exact EPA figures, which I’ve compared with last year’s numbers (broken down as city/highway/combined):

Model 2010 2009 Change
RX 350 FWD 18/25/21 18/23/20 +0/2/1
RX 350 AWD 18/24/20 17/22/19 +1/2/1
RX 450h FWD 28/27/28 27/24/25 +1/3/3
RX 450h AWD 28/26/27 26/24/25 +2/2/2

It looks like most of the gains were in the AWD models, but numbers are up across the board. This is especially impressive considering the additional weight the 2010 models are carrying.

Lexus Voice Command & Lexus Insider Service

Lexus Enform

There were two new features included in yesterday’s Lexus Enform press release that I thought needed special attention. The first feature is Lexus’ new voice control system:

This new casual-speech voice recognition system, called voice command, features VoiceBox Technology’s award-winning, patented Conversational Voice Search, and allows drivers to speak more flexible, conversational commands for easier access and control.

Without voice command, users must speak commands in a specific order, e.g., “Phone > Dial by Name > Dial Bob.” Now this same task can be completed simply by saying, “Call Bob at home.” The voice command system also works to control many functions of the audio system, heating and air conditioning, and the navigation system. Commands such as, “Make it cooler,” “Let’s find XM channel 46,” “I want a Japanese restaurant,” and “Where’s the nearest gas station along my route?”

As with any voice recognition software, there has to be some skepticism, but I know from recent experience that these systems have been greatly improved and are immensely useful. It also raises an interesting point.

It could be said that the touchscreen is the easiest way to navigate in-car, and that Lexus’ adoption of the Remote Touch controller was the wrong direction. However, combine the controller with strong voice recognition and you might have the best possible interface.

The other thing I noticed in the press release was the Lexus Insider service:

One thing we know about Lexus drivers is that they appreciate up-to-the-minute information about the world around them. With Lexus Insider, a complimentary service on all Lexus Enform navigation-equipped vehicles, customers will be able to listen to audio broadcasts in their vehicles with the push of a button.

Because broadcast data transmission to automobiles is necessarily complicated by the unpredictable nature of when, and for how long, vehicles will be powered on, Lexus Insider makes use of innovative technology to optimize delivery.

Basically, this is a roundabout way of saying Lexus Enform will have a podcasting feature. On a technical level, this seemed like a very forward thinking move, and obviously the marketing/partnership opportunities are significant. Great move.

[Source: Lexus]