• Reviews

    The Lexus GS 450h Combines Comfort & Efficiency With Elegance & Aggression

    The Lexus GS 450h is a hybrid that has all the elegance and aggression of its petrol counterparts. We took a test drive of the new luxurious Sedan and were well and truly blown away.

    First Impressions – Exterior
    At a quick first glance, the Lexus GS 450h looks like your standard luxury Lexus, you know the one you’re used to seeing your wealthy family friends drive? They’re normally lawyers or doctors more often than not.

    On closer inspection though, there appears to be something different to this particular Lexus. Something a little unnerving that you can’t quite put your finger on, but in a good way. It’s not the striking Riviera Red exterior that cries out elegance, it’s something else, something subtle but something that leaves you with the impression that this Lexus is up to no good.

    Some simple design changes to the front grill really leaves you with this feeling that this Lexus is a bad boy, it oozes aggression and seduction and you better be prepared for something a little unexpected!

    This wasn’t supposed to be the case of course. We expected the comfort and luxury that comes with the Lexus name. But, when we learned this Lexus was a Hybrid, we tried to lower our expectations because somethings gotta give right? Wrong!

    lexus gs-450h

    First Impressions – Interior
    Upon entering the car, you can’t help feel like you’ve stepped into your own shoes 20 years from now. It kinda feels good though, the wooden trim and the perforated leather interior makes you feel like you’ve just left the country club after reading a few leather bound books and are on your way home to sip an old fashioned in your loafers.

    Turning on the ignition is a bit of an anti climax and we did have to double check the engine was actually on a few times, but this is to be expected for a Hybrid. The driver memory system is pretty cool though and makes up for the lack of engine noise.

    The steering wheel and seats automatically adjust themselves to your comfort preference on entry making you feel like this car is has something exciting prepared for you and is providing you with a sense of security.

    lexus gs-450h interior

    The Ride
    On the road, the drive is smooth, calm and effortless. The blind spot monitor is a super convenient option and makes life so much easier on the highway. The steering is a little delicate, but personal preference can decide if this is a good or bad thing.

    The 3.5 liter V8 engine and electric Drive motor with Lexus Hybrid Drive is basically translated as ‘this car has a bad boy button’ to people like you and me. However, the difference isn’t all that much, and we mean that in a way that suggests the ECO mode is pretty impressive in terms of providing you with that sporty, aggressive drive.

    It reaches 0-60 in just over 4 seconds in this mode and in terms of fuel economy, 31 MPG means that we don’t see why you’d feel obliged to hit that bad boy button? Petrol heads would perhaps have a different opinion, but the GS 450h really does give you the best of both worlds.

    gs-450h rear

    The Comfort
    There are a whole host of cool convenient and comfortable features for the car. It’s naturally comfortable as a Lexus always will be but the most impressive for us was the air conditioned centre console that kept our bottles of water surprisingly chilled on a very hot day. The Mark Levinson Premium, 17-speaker surround sound audio system really packs a punch, adding to that aggressive yet sophisticated experience.

    What Turns Us On
    The hybrid drivetrain is the standout feature of the Lexus GS450h. Economy wise, its great value with an estimated annual fuel cost of just $1800.

    What Turns Us Off
    The Lexus remote touch cabin controller, a rectangular joystick was a pain in the backside to use. It was too responsive and a few times it was easier to just go old school and use the unsafe buttons on the dashboard. Something as easy as stopping the navigation system also proved difficult

    Lasting Impression
    With an impressive fuel economy for a car of this class along with an aggressive look and a comfortable ride that has a real kick you really can get the best of both worlds with the 2014 Lexus GS 450h.

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  • Reviews

    Top Gear First drive: Bentley Continental V8 S (REVIEW)

    So what is it?

    A Bentley Continental V8 with a little extra. This is good news: since the arrival of the second-gen GT in 2012, the ‘base’ 500bhp 4.0-litre V8 has been our pick of the engines over the more powerful 6.0-litre W12.

    But this V8 S, says Bentley, is a car pitched at V8 owners ‘who want more’. It’s priced at £139,000, some £16,000 more than the regular V8, which places it above the regular 567bhp W12 but below the range-topping, 616bhp W12 Speed on the price scale.

    What do I get for my extra 16 grand?

    More powerrrr. Twenty-one horsepowers more, to be precise, taking the twin-turbo V8?s output to 521bhp and cutting the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds, the same as the regular W12. V-max? 192mph. Sufficient.

    Torque is up, too, from 487lb ft to 502lb ft, the whole lot on tap from 1700rpm right the way through to 6000rpm. Such grunt reaches all four wheels through an eight-speed ZF auto recalibrated to hold onto the gears for longer.

    So should I buy one?

    If you’ve 140 grand to spend on a very fast GT, then yes, yes, yes. True, the standard Continental W12 offers more power for slightly less cash, but the V8 S is cleverer than that. It’s a car concerned with the detail rather than merely the headline figures, and all the better for it.

    Read full Review and see more images at Top Gear
    First drive: Bentley Continental V8 S - Carhoots

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  • Reviews

    The Nissan GT-R Gets Even Faster

    Nissan GT-R

    The Nissan GT-R Gets Even Faster
    Nissan is known for its solid family vehicles, but sometimes the company can surprise you. According to a recent press release, their 2015 GT-R Nismo has just set the fastest lap time ever for a production car at Nürburgring. According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, “With a 7:08.679 lap time, we can authoritatively say that the Nissan GT-R NISMO* holds the volume production car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is the gold standard of high performance achievement.”

    DONT MISS: Brace Yourselves USA: The New 2015 Nissan GT-R Price Is Announced: 

    Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 17.38.51

    However, we probably shouldn’t be so surprised with this result. Since it was launched in 2007, the GT-R has developed a reputation for burning up the pavement. The car only takes 2.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 and the top speed is capped at 196 miles an hour. In fact, this car is known as Godzilla, and it’s a pretty accurate description. To be clear, you can buy faster cars, but it’s going to cost you a staggering amount of money. The only two production cars that top it are the Bugatti Veyron and the Porsche 918 Spyder – both of which are eye-wateringly expensive. On the other hand, you can pick up a GT-R for around $100,000, which is less than 1/10 of the price tag of a Veyron. In fact, you might even be able to get a better price if you look at TrueCar on LinkedIn.

    SEE ALSO: Paul Walker’s ‘Fast And Furious’ Nissan Skyline For Sale For $1.37 Million

    Nissan GT-R
    However, it’s true to say that the car that set the record at Nürburgring is not a plain-vanilla GT-R. The folks at Nismo – Nissan’s high-performance motorsport engineering division – took the standard GT-R and worked their magic on it. To start with, they turbocharged the engine, which raised the available power to 591 hp from 542 hp. The torque also went up by an extra 16 lb ft when they did this, making the Nismo version even faster off the line than the regular GT-R. They also played around with the engine timings and made changes to the air intakes and exhaust. Finally, the car is running on a set of Dunlop tires that give it extraordinary traction. All in all, what Nismo has done to the car is extraordinary – and the results at Nürburgring prove it.

    Nissan GT-R

    The mind-blowing thing is that this really is a production car. Although the 2015 GT-R is not available yet, February will see it starting to ship in Japan, and the US is slated to follow shortly after that. However, Nissan is only planning to produce a limited number of the special GT-R version – in fact, production this year is going to be limited to around 200 vehicles. The other question of course is how much it is going to cost when it does arrive. To date, Nissan has not put any prices on the table, but it’s a fair bet that you will pay about 50% more for this version than you would for the standard one. That would bring the car in at around $150,000 – which is still not a bad price for one of the fastest cars in the world.

    Nissan GT-R

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  • Super Cars/ Videos

    The 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S is in a Class Above its Rivals (VIDEO)

    The perception surrounding Porsche and their infamous 911 has all changed over the years, from its unforgiving early days to its most recent reputation as a ‘tour de force’ in its respective class.

    However, with all of the new rivals hot on its heals such as the 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray, Audi R8 V10 Plus and Nissan GT-R, is it still the first choice sports car? Can it compete with other great models that are further down the £90,000 price spectrum?

    2014 Porsche 911Carrera S

    Matt Farah’s recent ‘Drive Review’ of the Porsche 911 Carrera S says it all. He had the privilege of testing the luxury model recently, when he drove the very yellow Porsche around the famous Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, in California. Boy, he had been missing out, as this car blew him away.

    Watch the Matt Farah high praise review below:

    The 911 demonstrated amazing grip, steering feel and agility, and the acceleration was staggering. The exquisitely built 400 horsepower engine can do 0-60 in under three seconds. As Matt said, “you’re paying for the precision that you really don’t get anywhere else”.

    2014 Porsche 911Carrera S

    As for the build quality, Matt hits the nail on the head, “it’s nicer than a three hundred thousand dollar supercar” both in the exterior build and a touch of class from the inside. Now that is exceptional praise indeed.

    2014 Porsche 911Carrera S

    The Porsche is the ultimate dream. As Matt Farah claimed, “In the next two years I’m going to find a way to buy a Porsche because when you buy one everything else seems a bit sh**y”. If you’re lucky enough for that dream to become a reality, then you will require specialised insurance, to cover your pride and joy.  That’s where Express Insurance comes in handy – it will take care of all of your sportscar coverage needs.

    But, what about it’s rivals? We look at three sports cars to see if they can give the Porsche a run for its money: the 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray, Audi R8 V10 Plus and the Nissan GT-R.

    2014 Corvette C7 Stingray

    Corvette C7

    Price is a big standout for the Corvette. In fact, the recent ‘Chris Harris On Cars’ review put it in the same league as the Porsche 911, to prove money is not always the best indicator of what a car can do. The Corvette costs around £40,000, a big contrast to the 911 Carrera S’s hefty starting price of approximately £90,000, with an additional £40,000 worth of options! Yes, the options package costs the same as the Corvette. Crazy!

    Performance wise, the C7 is exceptional and the only real let down is the “slow and cubersome automatic gearbox”, which means it lacks the overall incisiveness of a Porsche.

    >> Chris Harris Thinks The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Is “Fucking Brilliant Fun” (VIDEO)

     

    Audi R8 V10 Plus

    Audi R8

    Audi’s R8 has evolved and improved with the recent V10 plus, giving it the power to rival the Porsche. With its dynamic dual-clutch gearbox and revised styling, it’s the best it has ever been. The V10 plus has a great engine and is packed with character.

    What it lacks is the Porsche’s razor-sharp edge, but it’s definitely a desirable sports car that will be at the top of anyone’s list.

    >> A Closer Look At The Audi R8 V10 Exterior and Interior From The Detroit Auto Show

     

    The Nissan GT-R

    Nissan GT-R

    This model really is a technological marvel and its performance will give some of the world’s fastest supercars a run for their money. It comes with an impressive 543bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6, giving it unmeasurable performance. On the looks front it sadly can’t compete with the Porsche – the exterior is clunky with lots of square lines and the bland looking interior leaves a lot to be desired.

    >> The Nissan GT-R Radzilla is an LED Monster! (VIDEO)

    All of these sports cars are clearly impressive, but the Porsche really does win the race as the ultimate exciting ride.

     

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  • Reviews

    2015 Lexus RC F Coupe Revealed Before Detroit Auto Show (PHOTOS)

    The 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe is officially here, and it’s a looker, to be sure. But does it have the chops to back up its sporty appearance?

    Perhaps the best implementation of Lexus’ avant garde “spindle grille” yet, the RC F’s nose announces its presence from miles away. Sharp, angular lights and vents cast in curving, complex surfaces wrap around to the flowing, aerodynamically sculpted fenders and sides. The wide, flared rear fenders catch the falling arch of the roofline as they both meet at the rear bumper, itself faceted and featured to mirror the nose.

    Inside, the new RC F Coupe is rather standard Lexus, though perked up a bit. Looking quite a lot like the IS sedan’s dash and console, the RC F’s main cabin interfaces are straightforward, clean, and modern, if rather stark. At the least, it should prove familiar and easy to use–two things we’re never opposed to in a car built for speed.

    As to whether the RC F’s performance chops will match is design aesthetic, it’s not yet clear; Lexus hasn’t graced us with the full details just yet. Full power, performance, and equipment details will have to wait for the car’s official public unveiling at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show on January 14.

    2015 Lexus RC F

    Lexus has revealed that an optional active rear spoiler will be offered, deploying at speeds above 50 mph, then retracting when speeds fall below 25 mph. Lexus says the spoiler improves high-speed stability. The only other performance-related detail: three sets of 19-inch wheels will be offered, all forged aluminum.

    We do, however, have some expectations for the RC F’s capabilities.

    As the successor, in spirit at least, to the IS F sedan, the new RC F Coupe will take its place as Lexus’ highest-performance car attainable by ordinary mortals. Reports have hinted at output around the 455 horsepower mark, carbon fiber body work, and a suspension tuned to take the fight to the best the Germans have to offer in the midsize sport coupe class. Under the hood, a 5.0-liter V-8, updated from the IS F but sharing its key metrics, is expected. Rear-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission, and some performance tricks learned with the LFA are also tipped as standard gear.

    We’ll know more about the RC F Coupe when it hits the stage in Detroit in a few days’ time, but for now, you can ogle the photos of the curvaceously angular, be-gilled, and rather sexy little coupe. When you’re done, there are also spy photos and spy video of the car undergoing development to ponder.

    2015 Lexus RC F
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