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Lexus RC F GT3: The Road to 24 Hours of Daytona

Lexus RC F GT3

The all-new Lexus RC F GT3 race car will have its North American debut next week when 3GT Racing enters two vehicles in the 24 Hours of Daytona.

This is the first Lexus to race in an ongoing series since 2009, when Scott Pruett won two Rolex 24s and 22 total victories with Grand-Am Road Racing, and it’s been a long road in preparation — Lexus has released two videos showing the journey from idea to track:

As a bonus, the RC F GT3 had a new photoshoot to commemorate its debut in the USA and Japan’s Super GT series — this car looks mean:

2018 Lexus LS 500 First Impressions

Lexus LS 2018 First Impressions

Lexus Enthusiast editor Kevin Watts attended the 2017 North American International Auto Show, spending two full days inspecting the new fifth-generational LS 500 sedan. Here are his personal impressions.

The year is 2007. I have owned a first generation LS 400 for six months now, and my obsession with Lexus has hit a very serious, life-altering speed. The newest LS has just debuted at the Detroit Auto Show — it is sleek and bold and powered by a massive 4.6L V8 engine putting out 380 horsepower. It instantly becomes my favorite car, my single point of aspiration.

Without exaggeration, the LS is the reason this website exists in the first place. Flash forward to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and I’ve been waiting ten years to attend the launch of a new LS. My expectations are sky high.

And. Just. Wow.


Lexus Europe Sets All-Time Sales Record in 2016

Lexus 2015 Europe Sales

Lexus continues to make significant strides in Europe, boasting a 16% increase in sales year-over-year in 2016 with 74,316 total sales. This was an all-time sales record for the region — here’s a model-by-model breakdown for all Western, Central and Eastern European countries, including Turkey and Russia:

2016 Sales Hybrid Percentage
CT 8,412 100%
IS 6,599 88.7%
ES 2,299 N/A
GS 2,259 84.3%
LS 156 52.6%
RX 18,074 50.4%
NX 26,105 69.2%
RC 1,931 78.7%
Other Models 8,481 N/A
Total Sales 74,316 60.5%

For the second year in a row, the main driver of sales is the NX — with 26,105 units sold, the compact crossover now makes up 35.1% of the brand’s total volume (down from last year, when the NX made up 44.6% of total sales).

Following up the NX is the RX (18,074 units sold) and CT (8,412 units sold) models — the CT in particular had a very strong presence in Europe despite a relatively quiet year in North America. Hybrid powertrains continue to dominate in Western Europe with 98% of all vehicles sales, with the inverse happening in Eastern Europe with only 7% of sales.

Karl Schlicht, executive vice-president of sales & marketing for Lexus Europe, had this to say:

With a record 74.300 sales, 2016 is the third consecutive year of Lexus Europe growth. During this period, we have increased sales volume by more than +70%. Our renewed and expanded line-up has attracted many new consumers. In addition, Lexus retailers continue to provide exceptional customer care and maintain leading levels of loyalty. This combination puts Lexus well on track towards 100.000 units by 2020.

[Source: Lexus Europe]

Lexus Executive: Lineup Needs Subcompact Crossover & Three-Row Crossover

Lexus UX Concept

Lexus USA general manager Jeff Bracken believes the brand is missing out on 70,000 sales a year by not having a subcompact or three-row crossover in the lineup — from Automotive News:

One gap is the subcompact crossover tier. Lexus might tap booming demand in that segment with a vehicle based on the UX Concept shown at last year’s Paris auto show.

Lexus is giving up 25,000 to 35,000 annual sales by not offering a subcompact crossover, he said.

Lexus is also weighing a three-row unibody crossover that would drive more like a car than the hulking body-on-frame GX and LX SUVs. Another 35,000 annual sales are up for grabs if the brand were to introduce such a three-row, Lexus estimates.

It’s only a matter of time before a production UX subcompact crossover arrives in dealerships, but the three-row crossover comment is a curious one — Bracken confirmed last year that an extra row would be added to the RX in the near future, but could he be referring to a new model altogether?

Next-Generation Lexus LS Hybrid Uncovered in Press Photo

Lexus LS Hybrid Spotted

Drive Australia (and eagle-eyed Lexus enthusiasts) discovered a secret message in one of last week’s LS 500 press photos — buried in one of the many interior shots is an EV Mode button:

Drive Australia takes it one step too far, suggesting this “gives rise to rumours that hydrogen would power an electric motor in the new LS” — the leap of logic from a EV mode button to a fuel cell powertrain is pure crazy. Instead, this image should indicate the arrival of the inevitable LS hybrid, most likely powered by the same V6 hybrid/virtual 10-speed transmission from the LC 500h.

(In fact, the LC coupe rolled out in a similar way in 2016– a Detroit debut of the gasoline LC 500, followed by a Geneva Motorshow reveal of the hybrid LC 500h in March.)