- Lexus is planning the attack on the BMW 5 Series
- The "Fives" as a yardstick
- From sporty to deliberately economical
- Enough space for the hair dryer
Lexus is planning the attack on the BMW 5 Series
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Lexus GS: The prototype of the car is still masked.
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The exact engine key figures are still secret.
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The world premiere is in late summer 2011. It will go on sale in spring 2012.
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Driving pleasure shouldn’t be neglected. The BMW 5 Series is the benchmark for the Lexus GS.
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The V6 easily generates 350 hp with electrical assistance.
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The interior has been completely redesigned. The backbenchers get more knee room.
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To keep the hair dryer, the roof was raised by three centimeters.
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Lexus GS prototype: Despite the camouflage sticker, you feel more comfortable – the cockpit looks more modern, a new monitor is installed.
When Lexus launches the new GS, it will be very economical. But it should also offer more driving fun in the future. And not just because of the engine power.
D.he highways between Brussels and Cologne could probably drive Yashihiko Kanamori in his sleep. And he also knows the country roads like the back of his hand. Because even if the Lexus engineer has his office in Japan, he regularly drives many thousands of kilometers through Europe.
After all, he is the head of development for the new GS, which will celebrate its world premiere in late summer and will go on sale next spring. "And we are developing this car primarily on the roads of the country from which our most important competitors come: Germany. "
The "Fives" as a yardstick
In the past, he was mainly on the German autobahn, because you are not allowed to drive so fast anywhere else in the world, but this time he focused more on the country roads. Because high speeds, a lot of long-distance comfort and the lowest possible noise level are one thing. But driving fun is something completely different.
"And that was more important to us than ever with the new GS, ”says Kanamori. While Lexus used to be compared with Mercedes and thus moved into the corner of the staid or even sedate business sedans, Kanamori’s team is now much more likely to seek a comparison with BMW. " The five was the benchmark for us in terms of driving dynamics. "
To get closer to that, the chief engineer reached deep into his bag of tricks. For the first time there is a steering with variable ratio and, just like the model from Munich, a steerable rear axle. It only turns the wheels by a maximum of 1.5 degrees, but even this small angle has a big effect.
The sedan, which is still thoroughly camouflaged, drives the slalom on the test site by itself. Outside on the winding country road, the luxury liner suddenly looks half a meter shorter and a few hundredweight lighter.
From sporty to deliberately economical
The driver can set how tight and sporty the GS is. Where others have the rotary knob for navigation & radio, there is a large wheel for that "Drive Mode ". It not only controls the steering feel, but also the adaptive chassis, the logic of the six-speed automatic and the engine’s characteristic curve.
Four levels are programmed between markedly sporty and markedly economical, with eco mode even making up six percent fuel.
The fact that, despite the thickly padded neoprene cover on the sheet metal and the unadorned camouflage stickers in the interior, you feel much more comfortable in the new GS than in the predecessor, is not only due to the dynamic qualities and the coordination work of Mr. Kanamori.
The designers also did a good job and brought the sedan into a new era. Instead of house-like graphics on puny displays, there is now a large data cinema on huge monitors, operation is carried out as if by magic with a kind of mouse on the center tunnel, the cockpit looks more modern, and for a few splashes of color it also has the nobility of the gray leather landscape enough.
Enough space for the hair dryer
In addition, you sit better. The armchairs are more comfortable and can be adjusted more individually. The driver moves closer to the center of gravity of the car and thus receives more direct feedback from the road. And there is also more space.
Although the GS is unchanged at 4.85 meters, you have noticeably more knee room, especially at the rear. You also benefit from the three centimeter raised roof in both rows. Where the parting used to be scratched quickly, it is now even enough for a voluminous hair-dryer.
The most important engine for the GS is of course a hybrid again. Kanamori doesn’t want to talk too much about him yet. But he makes no secret of the fact that the V6 remains with electrical assistance. As fast as the luxury liner accelerates with it, the double should probably come back to around 350 hp.
"In terms of performance, we didn’t have much need for action, "says Kanamori: "Instead, we turned another screw: consumption. "
Because the car has lost around 60 kilograms, has been drawn a little more streamlined and the drive has been optimized, the chief engineer promises a consumption advantage of over ten percent. If that’s true, there will be a six in front of the decimal point according to the standard cycle. "That’s why we don’t even think about a diesel. "
But the hybrid alone is no longer enough. Lexus had announced a year or two ago that apart from the LFA, there would be no other car with a conventional drive. "But we’re not quite that far yet, ”says the chief engineer and fetches his second GS prototype from the parking lot.
It is powered by a V6 engine, which will probably have a displacement of 2.5 liters and 250 hp and which does not appear as dynamic for a long time during the test drive. Kanamori has heard this several times in the past few days and sees it as confirmation of his long-term vision: "Even if we allow ourselves a little more time for the transition: We clearly see the future with the hybrid. "
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