Luxury brand Lexus has gained a momentum of its own in the premium car market since re-launching in South Africa in 2006. The 2011 Johannesburg International Motor Show is the most exciting since then, with a true showcase of technical innovation and news for Lexus’ future in SA.
Lexus announced the introduction of the IS 350 to South Africa in November. SA will be one of the few international markets to enjoy the performance sedan. With class-leading power, the IS 350 will challenge the status quo and throw another gauntlet down for the German triumvirate.
The IS 350 is powered by Lexus’ 3,5-litre V6 engine developing 233kW at 6 400 rpm, allowing 0-100km/h acceleration of 5,6 seconds. Driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift, the IS 350 will be available in two model grades (EX and SE) already familiar to the IS range.
That means standard specification is high, EX models coming with 17-inch wheels, HID headlamps and daytime running lights. Lexus Premium Sound, electric seats, Smart entry/start, cruise control, HDD navigation and a back guide monitor are all standard.
In addition, SE models will feature 18-inch wheels, electric seats with memory, heaters and coolers, rain-sensing wipers, anti-dazzle mirrors, illuminated entry and an electrically adjustable steering column – far more standard features than the competition can offer and a continued fantastic value proposition in this exciting performance sedan.
Fresh from its international unveiling in Pebble Beach seven weeks ago, the new generation Lexus GS will arrive in South Africa mid-2012 in a range of petrol and full hybrid derivatives.
The fourth generation Lexus GS is completely new, inside and out. More dynamic to drive, the GS 350 is also bolder to look at, taking Lexus’ L-Finesse styling to a new level and indicating the luxury brand’s future styling direction.
Boasting improved interior space, despite maintaining exterior dimensions, the new GS brings a host of new innovation to the medium premium segment, not least of which is four-wheel steering.
In its first public viewing in SA, Lexus’ bespoke LFA supercar will stimulate any motoring enthusiasts’ heart. Built for the sheer joy of motoring, the limited production LFA is the epitome of Lexus engineering and a brilliant showcase of the luxury brand’s relentless pursuit of the perfection.
Production of the LFA is limited to just 500 cars worldwide and SA will be fortunate to have three on its shores, two already delivered. With its unrivalled soundtrack outside of Formula One, the LFA has just conquered the notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife in record time for a standard production car, carving through the 20,8km curves through the German forest in seven minutes 14 seconds (7:14.62).
The LFA’s bespoke 4,8-litre V10 engine develops 412kW and revs to 9 000 rpm with such alacrity that a conventional rev counter couldn’t keep up. As a result, the LFA’s instrument display changes with driving modes courtesy of its LCD technology. The rest of the car is riddled with the ultimate engineering and innovation that allows the LFA to sprint to 100km/h in 3,5 seconds and go on to reach 325km/h.
That innovative high-tech approach is mirrored in Lexus Hybrid Drive, available in the widest range of hybrids on the SA market. Lexus’ full hybrid technology will play an increasing role in the luxury brand’s line-up and offers real-world benefits including performance, refinement, fuel economy and emissions.
The recently launched CT 200h has been successfully accepted by the SA premium hatch market. The world’s first full hybrid premium hatch is relevant to today’s society, with good fuel economy, luxury specification, performance flexibility and low emissions.
Attracting yet another new market for Lexus, the CT 200h offers a completely new platform and the first front-wheel drive Lexus. Powered by a 1,8-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine combined with a high-output electric motor, the CT 200h offers 100kW of total system output.
The result is 2,0-litre performance with class-leading fuel economy and emissions: just 4,1 litres/100km on a combined cycle and, at 94 g/km of CO2 emissions, one of the few cars on the SA market not to attract emissions tax.
Completing Lexus’ line-up of full hybrids is the RX 450h and LS 600h L. Hybrid sales account for between a third and half of sales in their respective models, indicating a growing demand for the technology as a genuine and attractive alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models.
Whether pure performance in the LFA, or efficient technology in any of Lexus’ hybrids, every Lexus continues to be supported by the best quality and un-rivalled customer service. The luxury experiences enjoyed by Lexus customers really do extend far beyond the cars they drive.
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