Salvador Dali Exhibit at Newport Lexus

Salvador Dali

If you’re anywhere near Newport Lexus in Orange County, California, you might want to check out their Salvador Dali exhibit, which opened yesterday and runs until June 30th:

Salvador Dali at Newport Lexus, Newport Beach, California

Friday, June 20 8:30a to 9:00p

Largest exhibit of Salvador Dali works ever shown in Newport Beach. More than 75 pieces, including original paintings, drawings, editions & sculptures by surrealist master.

The full details are available on the OC Register.

Toyota: Two Hybrids in Detroit Auto Show, not three

Lexus Hybrid Engine

Toyota’s Open Road blog has posted a clarification concerning last week’s report that three hybrids would be introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show:

A report in Monday’s news indicating that Toyota might be showing a new third hybrid car at the Detroit show was the result of an apparent misunderstanding.

We’d like to clarify this: We will show one Toyota hybrid and one new Lexus hybrid.

The apparent misunderstanding was some quotes from Masatami Takimoto, the executive vice president in charge of R&D, who said that the new Toyota would be “a totally new car” and larger than the Prius.

I wonder then, could Takimoto have been talking about the new Lexus?

Ad Age explores the Alicia Keys/Lexus sponsorship

Alicia Keys

The Lexus-sponsored Alicia Keys tour wrapped up last night in New York, and Advertising Age has an article describing the company’s presence at the concerts:

In exchange for the paid sponsorship, Lexus installed lounges at each concert, exclusive VIP areas heavy with appetizers and a bar, and randomly selected a section of the auditorium to get Lexus-branded chair pads and “concierge service,” including free popcorn and soda. Lexus also gave free parking and VIP passes to any attendee arriving in one of its cars.

Concert-goers who spent time in the Lexus lounge could register for a seat upgrade by providing some personal information. Organizers chose a handful of the folks with the worst seats in the house and gave them spots in the front row.

Webisodes with concert footage will become available June 30 on, a website highlighting the marketer’s alliance with the singer.

It’s an interesting angle, this preferential treatment, and Lexus has used it in a number of different applications, from the owner lounges at car shows to parking at baseball games. On one hand, it’s a good way to connect with their current customers, but I wonder how non-Lexus owners would feel about the exclusivity?

Automobile Magazine reviews the Lexus LS 600hL

2008 Lexus LS 600hL

When the Lexus LS 600hL was released, the automotive press was quick to point out its “flaws”, especially when it came to gas mileage. Being a hybrid, the flagship sedan was expected to have exceptional fuel economy, and at first glance, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.

It’s taken a few months for some journalists to look at the LS 600hL in a different light. We saw it first with the great review by Jonny Lieberman, and now Automobile Magazine has weighed in with a very positive take:

Unlike most hybrids, the LS isn’t about outright fuel economy – this car’s mission is quite clearly to give the V-8 the relaxed demeanor of a V-12 by eliminating the need to rev it quickly in normal driving. It does that…Twenty-seven mpg on the highway is nothing to be ashamed of – in fact, it’s quite impressive – but the almost-as-quick LS460L is also much less expensive.

If you keep reminding yourself that Lexus doesn’t want the LS to be a Japanese 7-series, you’ll agree that it does a fantastic job at making its driver think he’s driving on a cloud – with a million horsepower under his right foot. And there’s no better reminder of that than feeling big surges of smooth, quiet torque while the tach needle rises lazily to 1300 rpm. Very V-12-like indeed.

Most mainstream reviews ignored the fact that the LSh was meant to go up against V-12 competition, no matter how well it actually performed. Quick fact: the LS 600hL, with its 5.2 second 0-60mph, is actually faster than the V12 Audi A8 ( & BMW 750iL (5.4). What’s more, it’s only 0.1 seconds slower than a twin-turbo Mercedes S600. Very V-12-like indeed.

Motorweek: 1993 Luxury Car Comparison

The latest in Youtube user bajabusta‘s trip down the Motorweek memory lane is this comparison test between the Lexus LS 400, BMW 740i, Mercedes 400E, Infiniti Q45 & Cadillac STS, divided into two parts:

The Mercedes 400E seemed out of place in the comparison until some research showed that a 1993 S-Class started at $69,900, $13,500 over the most expensive car here (which, ironically, is the Mercedes 400E).

Considering that fifteen years have passed since these cars were brand new, it still amazes me just how timeless that first LS design really is. The rest of these cars have a very dated look.


Bonus: One other Motorweek segment of note is this footage from the 1992 Tokyo Motor Show, which shows a brief look at the newly introduced Toyota Aristo (otherwise known as the first-gen Lexus GS 300):