Posted Sep 19th 2011 12:32PM
We spy, with the lens of our spy guy, a rather unique Lexus LS that's taken to the track. Spotted lapping Germany's Nürburgring, this particular LS is wearing puffed-out fenders, a strongly styled decklid spoiler, what appears to be a faux nose hiding new bodywork, deep side skirts and a pair of vents on the hood. Something sporty is afoot, and we're itching to know more.
Toyota is clearly testing a super sporty version of its flagship luxury sedan. What's not clear, however, is what exactly is going on underneath the bodywork. We do know that this is work of the automaker, and not an aftermarket tuner testing some new performance parts out. The license tags on the car are from Cologne, and the car was spotted at the automaker's garage nearby.
Could we be staring at a Lexus LS F in disguise? The automaker has hinted in the past at such a car coming to market over the years, and this luxury sedan is certainly wearing some athletic upgrades. Funny, we thought for sure that a variant of the new GS was going to be next in line to get the F Sport treatment. Could this just be a one-off piece for the Tokyo Motor Show or Tokyo Auto Salon, or is it indicative of something more?
Final amusing note: The wheelman at the helm of this mystery "LS F' must be new to the 'Ring – that giant "L" on the rear window indicates he's a Learner.
So you thought the Royal Wedding was pretty exciting – not us. For us the most exciting part was when Prince William and his new bride, Kate Middleton drove around in a 42-year-old Aston Martin DB6 Volante MkII. However, the upcoming wedding of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco will be a tad more exclusive.
Lexus has built a unique hybrid LS 600h L Landaulet featuring a one-piece, transparent polycarbonate roof. The car will serve as the official Royal Wedding vehicle for the marriage, which takes place on Saturday July 2, 2011.
“Lexus is very proud to present this exceptional full hybrid vehicle to H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince of Monaco,” said Andy Pfeiffenberger, Vice President of Lexus Europe. “Our commitment to innovation and sustainable mobility at Lexus matches well with His Serene Highness’ keen interest in promoting sustainable development and environmental protection.”
The Lexus LS 600h L Landaulet took over 2,000 hours to complete.
While the LS 600h L Landaulet is a one off model, we’re pretty sure some other royalty will be interested in owning one.
2011 Lexus LS 460 Touring – Click above for high-res image gallery
Lexus has aimed its 2011 LS 460 Touring Edition at a less frumpy crowd, giving the ride new 19-inch wheels and a sportier body kit. The Touring Edition goes on sale later this month with a sticker price of $73,000 before destination charges.
To keep things looking fresh, Lexus is adding a special mica paint job to the limited-production sedan. The Touring Edition package also features sport seats, matte-finish wood paneling and black leather upholstery with saddle leather accents.
Lexus says this thing will be built in limited numbers, but doesn't say how limited. Want one? Get in line now. Catch the full press release after the jump.
Our own tcmaboy from PSTOC is in Japan, and has graced us with some of his own coverage of the Tokyon Auto Salon and the vehicles on display there.
WARNING: Do not expect too much information. Due to my language limitations this event was more of a photo scavenger hunt than serious research. I went out looking for things Toyota, things race car, and things just plain weird. What information I have comes from looking at the car, matching up logos, and tracking down company names. To kick things off I suppose I should start off with some Toyota-centric items. For those that follow the blog you have already seen the two IS F club racing concepts.
So, what hasn't appeared on the front page? What has Tom been up to all these years? Apparently making Lexus Parts. On display was a LS 460 with some very subtle body parts and an exhaust system.
Goodyear had a MK X on display all done up complete with booth girl (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get pictures of the car when the girls are around). The MK X is the successor to the MK II, and shares a platform with the GS. The resemblance to a NASCARed Camry is a bit scary (must be the Goodyear effect).
Gazoo Racing was the primary Toyota representative, and they brought a few shiny toys to show off. Among them were race cars, mini vans, and even an iQ. Packing a giant shoe horn they some how they managed to squeeze an intercooled super charger under the hood of the already cramped iQ.
Continuing down the path of tiny cars was this EV sports concept. It is powered by twin DC motors and a lithium ion battery pack. In a rather interesting twist rather than using the differential to send power to the wheels, a diff was employed to send power from the twin motors to the transmission.
To top things off was this T Sports Concept. I am sure all were excited by the promise of the FT 86 as a return of the small rear drive sports car. This little guy looks equally exciting (though the snowball would have to survive hell first). Front engine, rear drive with a 108 HP engine backed by a 5 speed. While 108 HP doesn't sound like much it should be plenty of fun with a weight target just shy of 2000 lbs. For comparison the AE 86 was several hundred pounds heavier with the 4AG putting out similar HP. Over the years the gold has faded to beige for Toyota, and all I can say is please Toyota polish things up and bring back the golden years.
According to Motor Trend, Lexus is planning to replace the dearly-departed SC 430 with a brand new coupe based on the next-generation LS.
Called the LC 600h, this flagship coupe would be AWD and powered by an updated version of the same 5.0L V8 Lexus Hybrid Drive found in the current LS 600hL, and is expected to hit a 0-60 of under five seconds.
Here’s an interesting quote from the MT article:
According to a Lexus insider, the company sees the new LC as the car that most captures the essence of what Lexus is all about — performance, luxury, and the environment — more than any Lexus model to date. It’s an upscale configuration that should elevate the car to a status rivaling the Mercedes SL-Class.
Currently being developed in the shadows of the next LS, our contact tells us not to expect the LC before its four-door LS brother hits showrooms in 2014. “If we don’t get anymore nasty surprises on the economic front, then any time after 2015 might be the right time for the LC.”
After the SC, this would be a dramatic and all-together necessary change-up, but even more, there’s something about this rumor that rings true — a sports coupe at this level is exactly what’s needed in the lineup.
All I can say for sure is that the sketches accompanying the article are mighty fine — here’s another sketch from a different angle:
Lexus: First of all, now that we know that the 2011 IS will have body changes, are there any big design updates coming for other 2011 models?
HUMPHRIES: At this point I can say only that there will also be a change in the front-end design of the GS, most likely arriving in 2012. Both the IS and future GS updates are dramatic changes—they’re much more distinctive, much more unique. In our minds, these aren't complete black to white sort of changes, but they are an evolution.