Will the new Lexus dedicated hybrid be a Prius?


Toyota Prius Concept

Not to post it up only to shoot it down, but there’s a small blurb on Motor Trend today claiming that the dedicated hybrid Lexus plans to launch at next year’s Detroit Auto Show will be a rebadged Prius:

Toyota will present two dedicated hybrid models at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit; one a Toyota and the other a Lexus.

It’s no surprise the Toyota will be the Mark III Prius. It’s the Lexus that will be the shocker: a lifestyle wagonlike vehicle based on the Prius platform and drivetrain.

That’s the extent of their insight, no sources, no justification, just a plain statement. This isn’t to say it’s untrue, but I certainly wouldn’t put much stock in it, especially when Lexus UK Chief Steve Settle had this to say last year:

The car would be aimed at well-to-do individuals who are after a roomy sedan but not prepared to step up to a car the size of the GS. Mid-sized D-segment models are ideal for families and when combined with Lexus’ luxury and quality standards, could be a real winner for fans of hybrids and non-hybrids alike.

“We’ll add a specific hybrid model and leave the IS as a sports petrol and diesel. There will be more focus on interior space than on sports styling and it will have more boot space,” Settle revealed.

The D-segment is the European designation for the large family car, meaning something the size of an ES, which is much more in line with what I would expect from the dedicated hybrid. And really, it’s a little early to be making definitive statements.

(The image above is of the Toyota Prius, not a Lexus).

The Toronto Auto Show & Some Site News


The Toronto Auto Show

It’s a bit last minute, but I’ll be heading to the Canadian International Auto Show tomorrow in Toronto, where I’m finally going to get chance to see the Lexus IS-F (among other assorted vehicles).

It’s my first auto show in years, and I’m really looking forward to it. As expected, I’ll be taking a ton of photos of all things Lexus.

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Just another note, the TPP redesign is coming along very well — in fact, it’s turning out better than expected. There’s been some delays, but I think it should be ready by late next week.

Lexus ≠ Porn Pt.3


Lea Lexus

Another month, another porn star cease-and-desist notice sent out by Lexus. This time around, European model Lea Lexus was served papers (NSW link) to change her name, which she did almost immediately.

This is the third legal action sent to a porn star in less than a year. It started with Detroit-based Lexus Cash, then it was a Swiss gay porn actor who tried to justify his name by saying Lexus was the name of a Greek god. Both of these cases are still ongoing.

This is all well-and-good when it’s an assumed stage name, but what happens when all the Lexus babies grow up? According to Baby Names World, 5,671 girls were named Lexus in the USA since 1997, and the yearly rate has only been increasing. It still holds that Lexus is a Federal Trademark, but it seems like a bit of a grey area.

(Thanks to AlieN for both the news tip and the image used above!)

It’s Alive: A Lexus GS Commercial from Down Under


Here’s an absolutely brilliant commercial from Lexus Australia introducing the 2006 GS redesign:

I wasn’t all that sure what was going on in the first ten seconds, but once the car started bleeding and sweating, it all came together. The thing that impressed me the most, though, was that although it’s a fantastic concept, the implementation is even better. Just perfect.

LA Times reviews the Lexus IS-F


Lexus IS-F Review in the LA Times

Dan Neil’s review of the Lexus IS-F for the Los Angeles Times is entertaining from start to finish, particularly this passage about making the IS-F sing:

The engine’s most vulgar feature, however, is the dual-inlet intake manifold, found somewhere inside the maze of engine plumbing. If you mash the gas in this car hard enough, this second inlet channel opens and the engine note transforms from a mellow Japanese wooffle to a soul-tingling, lycanthropic howl. Stay off da moorrrs, laddie!

The car also sings. The IS-F is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission, in which the gear ratio intervals are very evenly spaced. Eight speeds happen to correlate to eight notes of the diatonic scale — do, re, mi, etc. If you hold the throttle and speed steady, and you shift up and down with the shifter paddles, you can actually coax simple melodies out of the stacked-pipe quad exhaust, for instance, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” And, yes, I get paid for this.

It’s very clear that Reid enjoyed the IS-F a great deal, voicing only one complaint about the low-revving engine, which issues a warning should the RPMs go over 6,300 and cuts the fuel at 6,800. Of course, this isn’t such a big deal when you have eight gears to cycle through.