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Reports are coming in that Japanese auto manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs on vehicles being exported to the United States in order to squeeze profits due to the record high yen against the dollar. A prime example is the new GS 350 from Lexus, that has been highly anticipated and praised by the American media.
Though many of the cost-cutting measure will be unnoticeable to the average day consumer, knowing that certain things were done to a luxury sedan is disheartening. For example, Lexus used asphalt spray instead of laminate sheeting for noise suppression on the underbody and recycled plastic instead of virgin for the protective cover beneath the engine, in order to cut costs. That’s not all, as some technical decisions seem to have been impacted due to the surging yen, as we’ll be seeing Lexus’s old six-speed transmission rather than a new seven- or eight-speed that competitors are offering in their new luxury sedans.
Slightly reassuring though is that Yoshihiko Kanamori, chief engineer for the GS 350, did state that ”There were no items omitted that I would like to have, but with this exchange rate we will have to raise the price.” A compromise that Lexus found is offering all the bells and whistles in their F Sport variant which will undoubtedly be drastically different in price from the base GS 350.
[Source: Automotive News]
Lexus has dropped a few serious hints that it is planning a coupe version of its all-new GS350. While attending the launch of the luxury sedan (we’ll have driving impressions once the embargo lifts November 23rd) we spoke to Lexus Corporate Manager of Product Planning Ben Mitchell, pushing him for details on a possible GS-F to sit as a rival to the BMW M5.
To our dismay Mitchell responded that there was “nothing to announce”, but then surprised us with a shred of info, disguised as a question. Speaking to a group of assembled journalists he asked our impression of the Audi A5/S5.
Response to the car was unanimously positive. The two-door Audi models are roundly considered to be some of the most beautiful vehicles on sale today, and we enjoyed our time with the S5 immensely.
As though Mitchell’s question didn’t reveal enough about Lexus’ intentions, he also commented that with the demise of the SC430, there is now a space in the automaker’s lineup that needs filling.
Of course, this isn’t an official confirmation, but considering the legendary silence that greets most questions regarding future products, this is a very strong hint that there will be another two-door Lexus joining the lineup beyond the current IS250C and IS350C models. And judging by our time spent behind the wheel of the new GS, this is one to wait for.
We’re sure there are legions of fans excited to hear that the 2013 Lexus GS450h will bow at September’s Frankfurt Auto Show – maybe not.
Either way, the GS450h should be an important product for Lexus, as both the originator of the luxury hybrid segment, and a critical new introduction in a market that is fast becoming saturated with hybrids.
No technical details have been announced, but we can expect a 3.5L V6 with an electric motor system, similar to the current GS450h. Stay tuned to AutoGuide for live coverage of the Frankfurt Auto Show starting September 13th.
Unveiled at Pebble Beach, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda calls the new GS “the first generation of a new Lexus.” Most obvious is an all-new design, while Lexus has also upped its game in terms of interior quality, while promising a more engaging driving experience.
GALLERY: 2013 Lexus GS350
Watch the video after the jump and get all the details on the new GS350 here:
And now, drumroll, please…at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Lexus has unveiled the all-new GS350,with sharper styling and sportier handling.
The new GS is wider than the outgoing four-eyed model, as befitting an entirely new platform that is even more rigid but stays within the same size. Lexus engineers focused on making the car more aerodynamic, with carefully-designed trunklids and bumpers to make sure air gets tamed as it passes above and below. Lexus says the Gs features a class-leading coefficient of drag, but declined giving any numbers.
From the outside, it certainly looks new: gone are the wide-eyed, mismatched headlights and baleen grille, exorcised for more aggressive knife edges and angles. It’s an evolution of Lexus’s L-Finesse styling that blatantly takes its cues from the supercar LF-A. Lexus now calls the new chrome-speared grille a “spindle grille,” whatever that means. But from the side, the GS sharply mimics its LS older brother, and manages to look more purposeful at the same time: 17-inch wheels are standard as well, with the option of going up to 19 inches.
Under the hood, the Ss350 gets for a base engine a 3.5-liter V6, good for 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. In order to stay competitive with the Infiniti M, however, expect larger V8 engines to make it into the fold. A six-speed sequential automatic puts this power to the ground, through the rear wheels as well as an available all-wheel drive system. All of this is good for a 0-60 sprint of 5.7 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 142 mph.
Inside, one can expect all of the leather and wood accoutrements as expected of Lexus, with some trick energy-saving technologies: an automatic climate control system Lexus calls S-Flow, which detects the number and position of its occupants, and directs airflow only to them. Despite keeping the same dimensions, cabin space has increased with more head- and legroom both in front and back. And good news for those home-improvement types: trunk space has increased by 25%, and doors now open even wider than before.
Technology? The Gs gets a central touchscreen that controls DVD audio and video capability, MP3, Bluetooth, Gracenote, HD and satellite radio, 5.1 Surround Sound, a text-to-speech feature for those distracted types, and Lexus Enform, which hooks owners up with Facebook, Pandora, Yelp, stock quotes, movie tickets and dinner reservations, and Bing Internet search. An optional 10-channel, 835-watt Mark Levinson system with 7.1 Surround Sound and 17 speakers is available.
The new Gs should keep Lexus competitive with its main target, the Infiniti M. And Lexus is banking on the likes of enthusiast drivers to take a look at the Gs: whether this is a successful move on their part, we’ll only know from a first drive. Stay tuned to Autoguide for that soon.
GALLERY: 2013 Lexus GS350
Watch video from the Pebble Beach unveiling after the jump:
This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but photos of the newly restyled Lexus GS model have leaked ahead of its public debut at Pebble Beach’s Concours d’Elegance that happens this weekend. The photos come from China and if this does indeed turn out to be the new GS we get here, many will be disappointed, especially when we were treated to the LF-Gh Concept that really did a fine job blending futuristic styling with class and elegance. Instead the production model looks to be a lot more tame.
The leaked model looks to be a GS350 all-wheel-drive, which still leaves room for improvement with higher-grade trim levels. Look for official photos from Pebble Beach on Thursday.
GALLERY: 2012 Lexus GS Leak
Anyone who was not comatose in 2009 remembers the Toyota unintended acceleration scandal, which saw millions of Toyota and Lexus products recalled due to what was eventually deemed to be a mismatch between floormats and the accelerator that could cause the pedal to stick.
Now, Toyota is recalling a further 2.17 million cars and trucks to remedy the issue – at least this time they’ve been vindicated by none other than NASA.
The recalled vehicles, along with the number of units, are listed after the jump, as is Toyota’s official release.
Lexus is looking to build up their F-Sport lineup in a similar manner to how AMG and the M Division add a performance boost to Mercedes and BMW. To get the ball rolling, Lexus is offering special pricing for a limited time on their F-Sport packages for the IS and GS350.
The base F Sport suspension kit will be available for $1,450, a savings of $549. For your coin, you get a set of lowering springs that drop the ride height by one inch, additional chassis bracing as well as uprated sway bars (with different specs for rear or all-wheel drive cars) that should help deliver a modest performance boost without sacrificing Lexus’ legendary comfort and ride quality.
For $4,495 (a savings of $1499), you can get a set of forged 19-inch wheels along with your suspension package, shod in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s for the rear-drive cars or Yokohama Advan S4 all-seasons for the IS250 AWD. For those who feel the need to go one level up, all the suspension and wheel upgrades can be added to the F Sport High Performance Brake Upgrade, which retails for only $8,995, a savings of $1749. The brake kit gives you six piston calipers and 14-inch rotors up front with 4-piston calipers and 13.6-inch rotors in the back – serious brakes normally seen only on high end sports cars.
The F-Sport options have a distinct advantage over aftermarket parts, given that they don’t void the warranty and likely are made to a higher standard than most tuner pieces. When you’re dealing with things like brake parts, quality control is very important, so the peace of mind might be worth the extra money.
[Source: Lexus Newsroom]