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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
10. 2013 Lexus ES
Over the past few years Lexus has been referred to as a Japanese Buick, with the number one reason being the ES front-drive luxury sedan – a car that drew direct comparisons with the not-quite-Cadillac GM premium brand. To erase those comparos the new 2013 ES gets a more stylish exterior with a GS-themed front nose and a profile more like the flagship LS.
Swapping its Camry underpinnings for an Avalon platform it has, however, grown even more in size – a notable Buick trait. Plus, to challenge the eAssist mild-hybrid LaCrosse, there’s finally now an ES300h hybrid system getting 39 mpg average.
It’s not science fiction any more. A company called Terrafugia was on hand at this week’s New York Auto Show, showing off a flying car – with video proof that it both flies and drives.
Actually more of a driving airplane, the Terrafugia team has been working on this car for years, completely revamping a prototype model they built back in 2009.
To find out more about the aptly-named Transition, how it works and what it costs, watch AutoGuide’s first look video below.
GALLERY: Terrafugia Transition
The Terrafugia Transition has been a work in progress since 2006, but will finally show off its unique design at the 2012 New York Auto Show.
The Transition is being called the first practical street-legal airplane by the company, and will no doubt garner some attention when it hits the show floor. The car has folding wings and a full propeller drive system that allows it to take flight as well as drive on the street.
Terrafugia will need to impress the right people, as the Transition is estimated to cost $279,000.
For that price, the eccentric consumer gets a small airplane that fits in a single-car garage. The Transition also runs off super unleaded gas instead of airplane fuel and is able to drive safely on the road, according to the company.
The same 100-hp engine capable of spinning the rear-mounted propeller or powering the wheels on the ground, both via a continuously variable transmission.
Terrafugia’s video explains most aspects of the car in detail. You can watch it below.
That’s right—the only flying car you can buy today has just been approved for terrestrial driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The organization had to grant a special exemption for the Terrafugia Transition, under the provision of “roadable aircraft.”
Unlike most light aircraft, the Transition needs automotive technology such as crumple zones and dual airbags to remain roadworthy. And like a car—or an expensive one, anyway—the Transition features a carbon fiber safety cage and takes unleaded gasoline, albeit high-octane. Hey, airplanes aren’t cheap.
The Transition could allow pilots to land early and drive to their destination if they encounter bad weather, as the car has a 500-mile range. Its 26-foot wings can fold in less than a minute, and can reach 115mph in the air and 65mph on the roads. And so far, how many rich people have sprung for this proof-of-concept? At $250,000, the first 100 orders have all been accounted for.
Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.