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Carwow Video Review: The Lexus LS 500h in Oman

Lexus LS 500h by Carwow

This extensive Lexus LS 500h review from Mat Watson at Carwow shows off the little details that make up the new flagship sedan:

(Always so impressed with journalists that can pull together a killer video in only a few hours with the car. Takes serious skill.)

Lexus Tech: Inside the Multi-Stage Hybrid System

Lexus Multi-Stage Hybrid

Welcome to the start of a new series diving into the technical side of Lexus vehicles, presented in collaboration with Lexus International.

All-new for the flagship LC 500h coupe and LS 500h sedan, the Multi-stage Hybrid system is the sixth generation of hybrid vehicle (HV) technology from Lexus. The entire system is all-new, from the front of the engine through the gearbox, and all the way back to the rear drive axle.

The Multi-stage Hybrid system was developed for the LC 500h and LS 500h to expand the range of conditions under which the internal combustion engine (ICE) can operate, both into lower RPM and to higher RPM. The system includes the following new advances:

  • An all-new direct-injected 3.5 L V6 (type 8GR-FXS) with dual variable valve timing, 13.0:1 compression ratio and Atkinson-cycle operation produces 220 kW (295 HP or 299 PS);
  • Lithium-Ion battery pack with 84 cells totaling 310 V and producing 44 kW (equivalent to 59 HP or 60 PS). This first use of lithium-ion batteries in a Lexus hybrid delivers more power to the drive wheels, reducing battery weight by over 30% and battery volume by 20% compared to the previous nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery chemistry.
  • Coupling the 295 HP internal combustion engine with the power available from the battery pack through the two motor/generators, the Multi-stage Hybrid system of the LC 500h and LS 500h deliver total power of 264 kW (354 HP or 359 PS)1.
  • An all-new transmission couples the electronically-controlled planetary power-split device that has been at the core of every Lexus hybrid2 with a new 4-speed planetary automatic final drive; special control logic of both elements simulates a 10-speed automatic transmission.


Rendered: The Next-Generation Lexus ES Sedan

Lexus ES Next-Gen Rear

Mag-X in Japan did a bang-up job of rendering the next-generation Lexus ES sedan in their latest issue.

This looks to be a continuation of the LS design, with a coupe-like roof line and bold body lines. The thick trunk and sculpted sheet metal show an ES much different that the current model — not surprising, given the ES looks to be getting its first F SPORT package.

While on that topic, here’s a Mag-X rendering of an ES F SPORT:

Lexus ES Next-Gen Front

The high spindle grille and fender flares are interesting, but the proportions seem off — a design like this would be impressive, but it looks the same size as the IS sedan.

The next-generation ES is a very significant model for Lexus, as rumors swirl that the car will become the default global midsize sedan in the lineup.

No Smoke, All Mirrors in New Lexus NX Commercial

Lexus NX Reflect Canada

This Lexus Canada commercial for the updated 2018 NX is cleverly done:

(I was hoping Lexus Canada would film a sequel to their robot apocalypse IS commercial.)

Review: The Updated 2018 Lexus NX 300 & NX 300h

Lexus NX Hero Image

Two weeks ago, Lexus Canada invited me to British Columbia, where I was able to test drive the updated 2018 NX compact crossover.

The updated 2018 Lexus NX has had a quiet launch so far — the mid-cycle refresh debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show in April to little fanfare and a far-off launch date. Looking at the updates, it’s easy to see why. The exterior changes are subtle, retaining the same basic design with some minor sharpening. Inside, the interior is near identical outside of a couple adjustments.

This is not a dramatic reimagining of the NX, but then, it doesn’t have to be. After all, the NX trails only the RX as the top-selling Lexus vehicle in North America.

The update focuses mostly on the front-end with the removal of any soft edges — the 2018 NX F SPORT is all angles:

Lexus NX F SPORT Grille

In the back, the diffuser has been sharpened up and the tail lights have been darkened:

Lexus NX F SPORT Rear

The standard NX front end was also updated, but not in the same way as the NX that was shown at the Shanghai debut — here’s the North American nose:

Lexus NX Standard Front

Contrast this with the NX available in other markets:

Lexus NX Front Europe

(The reason for this difference, remember, is due to CAFE standards in the USA — Lexus has adjusted the design to classify the NX as a light truck.)

My day was made up of two cars, one NX 300h and a NX 300 F SPORT. These are models at opposite ends of the driving experience, and it shows.

Lexus NX Standard Front

The NX 300h accelerates well, but handles the road with grace rather than speed. The hybrid is a buttoned-up affair, great for slow-and-go traffic and cruising on the highway. It excels at comfort, with little noise or vibration save for some CVT transmission murmuring at full throttle. Barely noticeable, to be honest.

On the flip side, the NX 300 F SPORT is lively and energetic — easily my favorite of the two models. You could feel the stiffer tuning in the suspension, but it’s the engine that adds the entertainment. The 2.0L turbo engine is accessible fun, within limits. I like the mid-band power delivery, it’s an engaging engine once you get up to speed.

I wasn’t sure if it was the roads or changes to the suspension, but the NX does feel smoother overall — there are definite refinements over the previous model.

The NX cabin is largely unchanged, with most of the updates happening to the center console. It starts with a bigger 10.3-inch information display and a reworked button layout on the center console:

Lexus NX Interior

Other changes are less pronounced — the analog clock has been redesigned for readability, the Remote Touch controller made slightly bigger. All switches and controls now have a metallic satin finish.

For the Canadian market, there is one major upgrade in the 2018 NX — the crossover will be the second vehicle in the lineup after the LC coupe to have access to Lexus Enform.

This service is relatively new in Canada, and brings an enhanced experience to the infotainment system — especially Destination Assist, a service where you can talk to a live person and get directions beamed into your car.

The 2018 NX does its job right, an incremental update to a vehicle that can only be described as a global sales success. This is the top-selling Lexus in Europe, the second best selling vehicle in the USA and Canada.

It’s no wonder Lexus exhibited a light touch on changing the NX too much, there’s simply no need to mess up a good thing.