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Autospeed Aero Tests the 1991 LS 400

Lexus LS 400 Aerotesting

One of the major design considerations when the first LS 400 was being prototyped was reducing its drag co-efficent (Cd), or the amount of wind turbulence the car experienced when in motion. A low drag helps with fuel efficiency and reduces the amount of energy needed to keep the car moving, and when the car was introduced, the LS 400 proposed to have lowest Cd of any standard passenger car.

So when Autospeed decided to publish a series of articles examining the aerodynamics of various vehicles, including a 1991 Lexus LS 400 seemed elementary. They also took to an interesting method of investigation: tufts of wool were taped over the entire car, which was then driven down an empty highway at 80mph, all while these tufts were examined for turbulence. Quite a bit cheaper than renting a windtunnel!

This was by no means an exact experiment, but the results are interesting nonetheless. They discovered a bit of air turbulence around the bottom of the rear window, though minimized by the design of the C pillars, and some additional unsteady air flow around the front wheel wells.

At the very least, this was quite an entertaining visualization technique of a key component in vehicle design.


Kelvin Tohar’s VIP Style Lexus GS 300

Even though I’m a fan of stock rides (with the exception of some nice rims & tints), it’s impossible for me to avoid drooling over Kelvin Tohar’s VIP’d (AutoLuxury) 2000 GS 300:

2000 Lexus GS 300 in VIP style

I’m practically in love with the Junction Produce body kit, but I’m just not feeling the insanely tilted rims, which is due to squeezing 19-inch Scara rims and Falken tires under a severely dropped suspension. It’s part of the look though, and it’s not something that comes cheap:

The VIP style is quite tempting, but Kelvin warns that it isn’t cheap. Even though you can pick up a used GS 300 for around $15,000, the right parts will cost you nearly double that.

You can check out the full article and more photos @ Superstreet Magazine.


Comparison: 2008 Lexus RX 350 vs. 2007 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

Comparison: 2008 Lexus RX 350 vs. 2007 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

It should be common knowledge that the Lexus RX 350 and the Hyundai Veracruz Limited are in different classes, bought by different people for different reasons, but that didn’t stop Motortrend from comparing the two vehicles in their latest issue.

Let me save you the farce, the Veracruz is declared the winner of the two, simply by placing inordinate weight on a questionable concept of value.

Compared, the Hyundai rings in at $10,000 less than the Lexus, yet it lacks a navigation system, a backup camera, adaptive HID headlights, to speak nothing of the lower interior quality. These are not small differences: the Navigation feature alone would add $1500-2000 to the price of the Vercruz — that is, if it was even available as an option.

Perhaps the strangest part of the comparison was the criticism of the RX 350’s safety features:

Is the Hyundai chassis that much superior? No. It’s the RX’s insistence in keeping you overly safe that electronically inhibited its performance. It sensed that our max-handling performance testing was impending accident doom and lit up the stability controls at anything more than the slightest provocation. Beepers beeped, brakes braked, and the throttle was dialed out until the RX 350 knew we weren’t going to crash. This also was the case on our mountain road loop, even during moderate cornering. The Lexus computer wizards need to dial the electronannies back a notch or two.

Makes absolutely no sense to me, this vehicle isn’t a sports car, it’s a people mover. Wouldn’t the additional safeguards be considered a plus rather than a minus?

Really, dragging the RX 350 into a comparison with what is essentially a cheaper knockoff, then basing the final verdict strictly on “value”, seems inappropriate for a major car magazine. How would the Veracruz compare to the BMW X3, I wonder?


Spy Video of the Prototype Lexus LF-A

Edmunds has managed to scare up a video of the Lexus LF-A prototype during last week’s run around Nürburgring:

Lexus LF-A Video

Seeing the supercar in motion is much more impressive than the spy photos, the speed is positively overpowering.

In their analysis of the footage, Edmunds makes some rather astute observations:

  • Judging from the roar, the LF-A will be running a V-10 engine.
  • The intake ducts integrated into the C-pillar and rocker panels could cool a rear-mounted battery pack, which would allow for a hybrid powertrain.
  • The supercar is using an automated sequential manual gearbox, which presently sounds a little rough around the edges.

No word yet whether this car will be unveiled at Frankfurt Auto Show in September or the Tokyo Auto Show in October.


Flickr Find: IS 350 & Civil Disobedience

Flickr user J.Garrido used his IS 350 not only to break the law, but he took a photo of it:

Civil Disobedience in an IS 350

Really, all humor aside, this is a beautiful photo, the detail and processing are impeccable and it’s certainly one of the best “new car owner” photos I’ve come across. Wonderful job.