Lexus: The King of Cool
It’s been an exciting year for Lexus with a number of headline grabbing new car launches that have cemented the brand’s appeal among the glitterati.
The likes of Missy Elliot, Coolio, TLC, Ludacris, Kanye West, Rihanna, Chris Brown, and even the mighty Jay Z have all rapped about owning, driving or making out in a Lexus. And it would seem that this tie-in with the US hip hop/R&B establishment is set to continue, with much of Lexus’ marketing material currently featuring Black Eyed Peas member and The Voice judge Will.I.Am.
It’s no wonder Lexus has attracted so much attention, with the brand’s heady mix of radical and classic designs creating an alluring sense of style and sophistication that many of its rivals have struggled to match.
This has certainly been the case at Lexus Leeds, with frenzied anticipation in constant supply at the dealership as Lexus raises the bar with each new launch.
The recent introduction of the Lexus IS 300h F is a perfect example, with finishing touches that personify Lexus’ tendency to tip its hat at former glories, while driving confidently towards the future, with one of the best hybrid systems available in any car.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine runs direct injection and comes alive at medium revs, with the electric motor seamlessly filling in any gaps.
Such environmental concerns aren’t at the expense of performance either. Given the saloon size dimensions of the car, which are similar to the previous model, the drive has plenty of poke, with a 0-62mph at a not too shabby 8.2 seconds and a top speed at a more than adequate 125mph.
Switching to Sport Mode gives you firmer steering and a sharper throttle response, while Eco Mode gives you the option of a quieter and more frugal drive, maximising the electric motor to full effect.
Such a well-rounded hybrid system is a clear statement of intent, as is the IS 300h’s re-modelled bodywork, with aerodynamic contours and increased downforce that make a real difference to the drive.
Proving that Lexus has practicality in mind as well as knock-out looks is the NX 300, a crossover SUV for those that seek a fuller driving experience. Much has been made of its generous amount of standard equipment, and for good reason. This car has it all. Rain sensing wipers, check, LED daytime running lights, check, a touchpad controlled 6.2 inch infotainment screen, check. The list goes on, with extra interior spec in the F-Sport model including a rather useful wireless smartphone charger housed in the lidded armrest. Nice.
Technical wizardry inside, it’s the car’s outer shell that demands the most attention, with a striking mix of sharp lines and chunky curves that Kim Kardashian would be proud of and one that points the way for modern intuitive, iconic design.
Driving the NX 300 is also a joyous experience, with its near-silent hybrid system keeping emissions low at around 116g/km for the two-wheel drive model and 121g/km for the four-wheel drive version. Considering the associated tax advantages, the NX 300 is a sound company car option.
Not prepared to rest on its sizeable laurels, Lexus will soon be unveiling a veritable banquet of European premieres at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, including the fourth generation RX SUV, the 2016 GS F sedan, CT hybrid hatch and IS sedan.
Yes, it seems Lexus are intent on spoiling us rotten.