Having good credit is essential to many financial milestones of life. Good credit is needed for things like renting a nice apartment, buying a house, getting a business loan, even some employers check the credit history of potential employees. However people do not usually associate good credit with test driving a car; financing a car sure but a test drive?
It looks like a new trend is starting to develop among dealerships. If you want to test out their flagship cars then better be ready to have your credit run! User “aj996tt” of the 6SpeedOnline forum (lets call him “AJ”) from Texasfound out the hard way. See, AJ was in the market for a new car. Hes a family man so he had a few trucks and SUVs on the top of his list but he kept his options open for sports cars as well. On his list of potential sports cars was the upcoming Corvette Stingray and the current Nissan GT-R
He stopped by one local Nissan dealership to check out the GT-R for himself. The staff at the dealership seemed to be from the “pinky ring and gold chain” crowd as AJ described it but the manager was nice and gave him a quick tour around “godzilla. Unfortunately, the weather was bad that day so he never went on a test drive.
Later, he was contacted by a sales rep from the Orr Nissan dealership in Corinth, TX. The rep invited AJ to check out a 2013 GT-R they had in stock. The listed price seemed like a good deal so AJ took them up on their offer and went out to the location of the car which was actually a good 50 miles away from Corinth, in Greenville, TX.
Once he reached the location he was told only a manager could show him the car. Once he finally met said manager he immediately informed AJ he could only test drive the car after filling out a credit application and being approved for financing. AJ promptly expressed his displeasure of being subjected to a credit check for a car he wasn’t even sure he wanted and then left the dealership after some choice words were exchanged.
AJ happened to have a friend who works in the legal dept at Nissan corporate and she informed him that the “credit before drive” policy is something being adapted by many OEMs with their dealerships. AJ says he has never been asked to do such a thing when shopping at Mercedes or Porsche dealerships. Frustrated, he vented to his fellow forum members.
Many users agreed that the practice smacks of “poor business etiquette” and that they have never been subjected to such a thing in their past dealings. However a user “YellowBull” who also happens to be a GM of a dealership chimed in and made some good points.
YellowBull’s take is with a car like the GT-R which is just as popular with young broke college kids as it is with affluent older adults, dealerships need to take measures to weed out the “tire kickers” and joy ride seekers, from serious buyers.
But AJ was a serious buyer and the whole experience has turned him off to GT-R’s period. What do you think? Would you be willing to submit a credit application to test drive a GT-R? Or do you think its wrong for dealers to demand such a thing from customers, even if it is in regards to a high-dollar sports car?
In a little less than an hour Nissan will launch a live press announcement concerning the future of NISMO worldwide. Up to now little is known and in the original press release CEO Carlos Ghosn was pretty vague on the what this would be about. We do know that the announcement has something to do with NISMO’s future motorsport plans but they might also announce a few new NISMO badged vehicles. Honestly I have no idea.
The good news is that we can find out together! Just scroll down for the live stream of the press announcement!
UPDATE: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn just announced that in the next 12 months there will be a “GT-R NISMO”
UPDATE #2: Here is the official Press Release on the GT-R NISMO
YOKOHAMA, Japan – NISMO is planning to work its magic on the famed Nissan GT-R as the flagship of a new range of performance models.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd announced today that NISMO, its dedicated global performance road car and motorsports arm, is developing a new, higher-powered road version of the iconic Nissan GT-R.
The GT-R NISMO will be the third NISMO-badged model to emerge from Nissan’s performance-oriented brand as part of a strategy to add a range of exciting, innovative performance models across the Nissan range.
NISMO, with a new global headquarters near Yokohama, Japan officially opening today, already has deep experience in developing and preparing the Nissan GT-R for the racetrack. That expertise will go into creating GT-R NISMO.
“It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of NISMO road cars without including the GT-R,” said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. “The standard road car is a global supercar and the GT-R’s performance on track reflects the passion and talents of the NISMO team. The GT-R NISMO will be special and I can’t wait to drive it.”
Already a legendary name to millions of video gamers and motorsports fans around the world thanks to Sony’s Gran Turismo® video racing series and Skyline’s on-track success since 1969, it’s no wonder that, together with acclaim for its road-going versions from leading automotive publications, the GT-R has achieved cult status.
The NISMO team’s intimate knowledge comes from their involvement in racing the GT-R and is a good precursor to the development of the new NISMO road car.
“We know that enthusiasts around the world will be itching to know more about the forthcoming GT-R NISMO,” said NISMO President Shoichi Miyatani. “It’s too early to share any details yet, but fans can be certain we’ll be applying all of our motorsport expertise to creating a GT-R NISMO worthy of the name.”
The current production 2014 model year Nissan GT-R has received evolutionary design and engineering enhancements based around feedback from competing in last year’s 24-Hours Nürburgring, and its success in Super GT and Global GT series.
As a result, the vehicle’s overall performance has been dramatically increased, high-speed stability improved and ride quality vastly more refined.
In development now, the new GT-R NISMO will sit at the top of the new Nissan NISMO range of performance vehicles, and be available alongside the standard model in Nissan’s specialized GT-R dealerships next year.
Technical specifications and performance figures will be released closer to launch.
It has been rumored since before the FR-S’ release but it was recently made official that TRD is in fact working on a Supercharger for the Scion FR-S, thus continuing its tradition of boosting Scion coupes that started with the tC. Right now the FR-S supercharger is in the test phase as the first and only prototype unit has been sent to Ken Stout Racing. The racing outfit will bolt the supercharger on to their Scion FR-S race car which will compete in the full 2013 season of the Pirelli World Challenge series in the GTS class.
TRD will gather data from the season to make nessasary tweaks and adjustments when producing the final product which I imagine will be sold through Scion and Toyota dealerships.
This is great news but it also begs a few questions. The first is: “What is with the supercharging?” Almost all the FR-S SEMA cars featured a supercharger rather than a turbocharger. Why is this? The FR-S does feature a Subaru developed boxer engine and we all know how much those engines love turbochargers. So, why is the aftermarket favoring a belt driven solution for the FR-S? I don’t know the true answer but if I had to make a guess I would say perhaps it is easier to make a supercharger street legal than a turbocharger? SMOG compliance is a big deal these days (especially in California) and its hard to enjoy a power adder if you are constantly worrying about the cops.
The other question is that with so many companies opting for the supercharger route, will anyone develop a turbo charger system? Greddy I am looking at you for an answer to this!
Finally, will Subaru go the same way? Many are anticipating that an STi version of the BRZ will come soon. Will Subaru abandon their tried and true turbo system for a supercharger? Or will they stick with what they know and bolt a turbo snail onto the BRZ?
Right now the FR-S has a significant lead over the BRZ when it comes to sales but if there is a factory turbo’d BRZ on the horizon then I predict the tide changing very soon.
For more on Ken Stout Racing’s TRD Supercharger test check out the press release below.
TRD Supercharger Built for Ken Stout Racing’s Scion FR-S
Brownsburg, IN (February 21, 2013). Ken Stout Racing Inc. (KSR) today announced receipt of the highly anticipated, newly developed TRD supercharger for their Scion FR-S racecar. While most of us last week were receiving chocolates and cards for Valentine’s Day, KSR received the best gift ever in the form of the first-ever TRD supercharger built specifically for the FR-S. KSR will race the FR-S in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class in 2013 with Robert Stout, the 2010 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Champion, behind the wheel.
At the SEMA Show and the unveiling of their FR-S, KSR teased the industry with news that a supercharger was going to be developed for the car – the go ahead to develop the supercharger was given at the SEMA Show. The TRD team, in collaboration with their business partner Magnuson Products LLC, developed and built the supercharger for the car in an impressive 15 weeks. CAD data was quickly developed after SEMA and a focused group of the best engineers in the world went to work delivering the completed supercharger to KSR on February 14th.
“The concept for this unit was just a thought in somebody’s mind at the SEMA show,” said KSR Team Principal Ken Stout. “It went from a thought, to CAD data, to the real thing in about 15 weeks! They also delivered it three days before their predicted deadline, very impressive indeed. We are honored to be the flagship team for TRD in the development of their supercharger.”
“This has been a collaboration of great minds with years of experience using the most sophisticated tooling in the industry,” added Stout. “Thank you to Brent Craig of TRD for allowing this project to take place and Steve Hatanaka of Scion for his instrumental part of the equation as well.”
The development of the FR-S platform is a massive project to say the least and KSR has received significant support from over 25 companies to date.
“This has been a wonderful experience to see everybody pull together,” said Stout. “World-class companies are developing race quality parts for every aspect of this car that we will put to the test and racers from around the world will use. What an exciting time for all of us! The guys are already working on the next one, but as of now this is the only TRD supercharger built for the Scion FR-S in the world. To watch the complexity of this project take place so quickly is extraordinary. Now it’s time to put it to work!”
“New product development is always exciting,” said Ted Moncure, P.E. TRD, F-Sport and Functional Accessory Design Engineering Manager.
Toyota Motor Sales USA Ken Nunn, Technical Director for Magnuson Products along with Ted Moncure also added “Coupling the latest Eaton TVS rotor technology with a dual intercooler system significantly increases boost while keeping inlet air temperatures low, improving both power and efficiency throughout the rev range. We are all very excited to see this project develop and are eager to see the results of our efforts.”
KSR’s FR-S will feature the FA-20 boxer power plant paired with the newly developed TRD supercharger to boost horsepower to competitive levels for the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class. KSR with their TRD Supercharged Scion FR-S will compete against Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Mustangs, Acura TSXs and Porsche Cayman in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class.
Organized under the leadership of Ken Stout, award -winning motorsports commentator and automotive enthusiast, KSR has competed for seven years in various levels of motorsports and will make its sports car racing pro level debut in 2013 in Pirelli World Challenge. Since 2011, Robert Stout has been competing in GT, GS and ST classes in Grand Am. During his first year in Grand Am, Stout led numerous races and qualified as high as 2nd while earning five top 10′s and one top five in 10 GS races.
In 2013, Stout will return to Pirelli World Challenge where he had a stellar 2010 season piloting a Scion tC in Touring Car. Stout took home the Drivers’ Championship, Rookie of the Year and Sunoco Hard Charger Awards in his rookie season in Pirelli World Challenge on the strength of five wins, nine podium finishes, 11 top five results in 12 starts and one pole. Stout’s performance also led Scion to their first ever Touring Car Manufacturers’ Championship beating out Honda, Mazda and VW for the title. Stout became the youngest winner and Champion in World Challenge history at 18 years old, as well as winning the most prestigious street race in the US, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
About Ken Stout Racing (KSR) Inc.: Ken Stout Racing, based out of Brownsburg, IN, is a factory-supported partnership with Scion/TRD. Led by Ken Stout, award-winning motorsports commentator and automotive enthusiast, the team will debut the Scion FR-S in sports car racing in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class in 2013. Former 2010 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Drivers’ Champion Robert Stout will pilot the car.
Ken Stout Racing acknowledges its tremendous partners:
About Scion: Scion, from Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., was developed with a new generation of youthful buyers in mind. Scion’s mission is to provide distinctive products, the opportunity to personalize, and an innovative, consumer-driven process at the retail level. The brand features five groundbreaking models with a wide array of standard features: the xD urban subcompact five-door, the iconic xB urban utility vehicle, the tC sports coupe, the premium micro-subcompact iQ and the FR-S rear-wheel drive sports car. The Scion brand often applies new practices in all aspects of its business and pushes the creativity envelope with non-traditional advertising and marketing to engage young consumers. Scion also supports originality through its programs in the artistic community. For more information, visit RobertStoutRacing.com and Scion.com
One of the “must-do” activities for those who live in the Southern California area is to visit the Disneyland resort. Being based in so-cal myself I have been to Disneyland many times and I love it. One of my favorite things to do at Disneyland is visit the “Innoventions” pavilion. The Innoventions pavilion is full of all kinds of cool tech that, well used to be from the not so distant future. However today most of the tech on display are products that are out now but just a bit out of financial reach for most people. Although one very futuristic piece of tech still lives in Innoventions and that is Honda’s ASIMO Robot which does live shows every day.
ASIMO stands for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility” and was developed by Honda to be an “assistant” to people and their families in their daily lives. I have seen the live show myself many times and I can tell you that watching the little bot in action is pretty awesome. For those who have not had a chance to see ASIMO, Honda has launched a Facebook contestto help a lucky person meet their assistant bot in person. The winner will receive a four-day, three night stay at the Disneyland resort for four people with Airfare, hotel, and tickets to the park all included. When the winner visits Disneyland they will get a chance to interact one-on-one with ASIMO after one of the live shows. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal!
To enter, contestants must “like” ASIMO on Facebook, print out a photo of ASIMO from Facebook gallery and take a picture of themselves with that printed photo enjoying a favorite activity, take another picture of themselves and a group of friends with the printed photo enjoying another fun activity, answer a set of triva questions, and finally write in 50-200 words why you love ASIMO and why you want to meet it at Disneyland.
That is definitely a bit extensive but for a practically all expense paid trip for four to the happiest place on earth to meet a full-on robot I would say it is worth it. At the very least contestants will come away with a few fun photos for their Facebook pages!
To enter, simply visit ASIMO’s Facebook page (click the bold red text) and follow the official rules and instructions. Good luck!
I have known this bit of information for almost a year now when I asked Toyota Motorsports Manager Les Unger about this at the post-race press conference during last year’s Pro Celebrity Race. However, today at the Chicago Auto Show Toyota made the official announcement that the FR-S will in fact replace the tC as the Pro Celebrity racecar this year. At first glance it may look like a stock FR-S with some graphics and wheels but there is more than meets the eye here. No, I don’t mean its going to turn into a giant robot. I mean that the race engineers ripped out the interior, added a roll cage, fire system, window nets, a TRD suspension, TRD Air Box, and TRD custom exhaust system.
The air box and exhaust system increase the power output from 200 to 210. That may not seem like a lot but for a bunch of celebrities, some of which will have never even driven a manual transmission car prior to their race training, that is more than a decent amount of power!
If you want to see the new FR-S celebrity race car come together then scroll down for the official build video hosted by Scion Racing driver Ken Gushi.
CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2013 – Toyota Motorsports and Scion announced today that the Scion FR-S sports coupe will be the official vehicle of the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. This first Pro/Celebrity race-ready vehicle is making its debut here at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will take place April 20 and mark the 37th anniversary of the charity event held annually as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. It also marks the first time in 27years that a rear-wheel drive sports car will serve as the designated race car.
“The transformation of the FR-S into a race vehicle is a dream come true for many die-hard FR-S fans, and we wanted to share the journey with consumers at the Chicago Auto Show,” said Doug Murtha, Scion vice president. “Scion vehicles have been driven in the Pro/Celebrity race vehicle since 2005, and we can’t wait to see the rear-wheel drive FR-S race around the historic street course.”
The race-ready, identically-prepared FR-S cars will produce 210 horsepower, equipped with performance enhancements that include a range of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) products such as: stainless-steel exhaust, coil-over shocks and springs, big brake kit featuring Hawk Performance brake pads, performance air intake and 18 inch wheels. Other custom equipment includes a Centerforce single disc racing clutch, front MacPherson struts and a rear double wishbone suspension.
A build video shows the transformation of the FR-S into a race vehicle and highlights the painstaking process and level of detail that goes into each of the 25 race vehicles created for the event.
“The newly designed Scion FR-S sports coupes are being prepared to debut in time for the 37th anniversary of one of America’s most entertaining motorsports events,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. “Our participants should find it easy to celebrate this year’s race theme – Revved Up to Race – sitting behind the wheel of a race-ready Scion FR-S. The drivers will compete for a chance to earn yearlong bragging rights and acknowledge charitable donations made on their behalf.“
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity race has evolved into one of the longest-running corporate-sponsored events of its kind, pitting celebrities from music, sports and film against professional race drivers. The event benefits “Racing for Kids,” a nonprofit, national fundraising program that supports children’s hospitals throughout the United States.
Since 1977, Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants have included many Hollywood elites such as Keanu Reeves, Ashley Judd, Adrien Brody, Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Queen Latifah and Jay Leno. Outside the red carpet, participants include former astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, NFL star John Elway, NBA All-Star Karl Malone, X Games Champion Tony Hawk, Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton and twelve-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres.
Toyota has donated more than $2 million to the Racing for Kids organization since 1991 on behalf of the Pro/Celebrity race and its participants. In addition to Toyota’s annual contributions, a $15,000 donation will be made in conjunction with the 16th annual “People Pole Award.” Sponsored by People magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on April 19.
2013 Toyota Pro / Celebrity Scion FR-S Specifications ENGINE
Type 4-cylinder, boxer type, 16-valve DOHC with Variable Valve Timing Control
Displacement 2.0L (121.9 Cu. In.)
Power 210 hp @ 7000 rpm
Induction Fuel Injection D-4S (Direct and Port Injection System) TRD Performance Air Intake
Bore X Stroke 86.0 mm X 86.0mm
Compression Ratio 12.5:1
Fuel F&L racing fuel 100 octane unleaded
Exhaust TRD stainless-steel exhaust
Motor Oil Redline 0W20 synthetic
Transmission 6-speed manual with Redline MTL synthetic transmission fluid
Differential Limited-slip differential
Clutch Centerforce single-disc racing clutch
Body Scion FR-S
Graphics Vinyl graphics by Hukill Paint and Graphics
Type 4-wheel independent
Front MacPherson strut with TRD custom coil-over shocks and springs
Rear Double-wishbone with TRD custom coil-over shocks and springs
WHEELS AND TIRES
Wheels TRD 18 X 7.5 in.
Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE11, 225/40/18
Brakes 4-wheel disc with ABS and TRD big brake kit. Hawk Performance brake pads
Safety Full roll cage, Onboard fire system, Window net, 5-point seatbelts
Race Weight 2775 lb.
Wheelbase 101.2 in.
Overall Length 166.7 in.
Overall Width 69.9 in.
Overall Height 48.7 in.
Ground Clearance 3.0 in.
Track Width Front — 59.8 in., Rear — 60.6 in.
Fuel Capacity 13.2 gal.
It is once again time for our annual tradition of over analyzing the automotive ads that are aired during the unofficial American holiday known as “Super Bowl Sunday”. Again I will give you my top 3 picks as well as my bottom three and you can choose to agree or disagree with me in the comments below. You may note one small modification from last year. I have officially changed the name from the “Ad Bowl” to the “Hype Bowl” just to make it a little more personal and also to avoid any confusion as “Ad Bowl” is actually used quite often! I have also decided to go with regular numerical rankings so its more clear which ad I liked the best. Anyhow, lets get into it shall we? Below are my picks for the best three car ads from this year’s Super Bowl.
#3 “Prom” AKA “#BraveryWins” by Audi (7,321,366 YouTube views)
Last year Audi took a shot at the Twi-heads with their “Vampires” commercial. This year they went a different route and instead of lampooning a sect of teen culture they celebrated a huge part of it by making “Prom”. In this spot a young guy is pretty bummed out that he will be heading to his prom solo. To help lift his spirits, his father lets his son take is brand new Audi S6 to the high school shindig. His confidence is boosted so much by the German hot rod that the lad feels the courage to go after what he wants. Watch the commercial to see what I mean. I like this spot because in a way it brings to life the confidence we all wish we had back in our high school days. The commercial’s heavy inspiration from John Hughes (“Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles”) combined with a lack of cheesiness puts this spot solidly in the third place spot.
Audi’s commercial showed the audience what prom may have been like with a bit more confidence. In Hyundai’s “Team” commercial the audience is taken even further back in their early years to imagine what could have been if we had some of the toughest friends on the planet to help us deal with bullies. In this spot a young kid has his football taken away from him by a group of bullies at the park. When he demands his ball back one of the hooligans challenges him to come back when he “has a team”. The wronged boy immediately gets to work assembling a team of middle school friends who probably have more bad-assery than the Avengers and the Justice League combined!
#1 “Farmers” By RAM Trucks (329,250 YouTube views)
Once again the Chrysler group has taken the number one spot in the Hype Bowl. Last year they pulled it off with Clint Eastwood in the “Halftime in America” bit in which they put together a message to help up lift not only Detroit but all of America. This year to help give some strong identity to the RAM brand the group produced this spot simply called “Farmers”. In this commercial we hear a recording of Paul Harvey’s “Farmers” poem over a slide show of, well farmers, as well as their “offices” which happen to be the heartlands of America. Despite its simplicity, this commercial was so eloquently done that even though I was in a room full of raucous football fans everyone, and I mean everyone fell silent while the spot ran. This commercial makes an attempt to remind the American public about the proud yet humble people who helped to build this country and also continue to keep it going through hard, honest, and necessary work. The people at RAM were also very careful to not step on their own feet with an overdose of branding. In fact you only see an image of an actual RAM truck twice in the entire spot. Despite having the fewest amount of views and being the longest commercial (just over two minutes) out of the top three, RAM’s “Farmers” ad is clearly the winner in my book. Congrats to Chrysler and RAM for earning the top spot and reminding all of us of the people out there who help to make our country great!
Honorable Mention: Fast And Furious 6 trailer (1,377,109 YouTube views)
I will be the first to admit that I winced along with the rest of the purists when I found out that yet another Fast and Furious movie would be making its way to theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the last film but I felt like they could not really top themselves after that and anything else would just be a step down. Then, I saw this trailer! There are awesome cars everywhere and everything explodes! Not in the cheesy way either but in the freakin’ awesome way! Also, instead of the usual “against the law” storyline, this time “Dom” and his crew are asked to aid law enforcement to help them nab a group of “precision driving” outlaws that might be worse than them. Sounds interesting right? If not, who cares!? EVERYTHING BLOWS UP IN MUSHROOM CLOUDS OF AWESOMENESS! I am definitely getting a ticket to this flick.
Well, there you have it! Three great car ads and one awesome car-related-ish ad. If you have a pick that you think should have been in the top three then speak up! Let me know in the comments and let the debate commence!
When the Toyta FT-86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ made its debut, many speculated that while it was designed as a pure driver’s car there would probably be a convertible version coming down the pipe. At first this was just talk; then at the Long Beach Grand Prix we spotted a custom Scion FR-S roadster which added more fuel to the convertible fire. Today the fire has turned into an inferno as Toyota revealed a sketch (pictured above) the FT-86 “OPEN” concept which will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show this year. As you can see, the OPEN concept appears to be a stock FT-86 with the full-on convertible treatment.
Toyota says that the OPEN concept is being produced as a way to gauge possible interest in a convertible FT-86, which would translate to a Scion FR-S drop top in America. What do you think? Would you be interested in an open top FR-S?
With NAIAS rolling on, the debuts keep coming. Today, Lexus pulled the sheet off the redesigned IS sedan. Although looking at it from far away one might assume that Lexus merely did a face-lift. However, once you look at the new IS up close you will see that just about everything has changed except for its general shape. The biggest visual change is that the new IS has inherited the same “wide mouth” front bumper design that is found on the new GS and LS sedans. Does the new bumper work with the new IS? Well, on the base IS I would say “no.” On the other hand, when it comes to the new “F Sport” package I would say the designers went a little overboard. I think the F Sport’s front bumper will be something of an “acquired taste”.
The new IS will come in three trims: the IS 250, IS 350, and the new IS 300h which will be the first IS offered with “Lexus Hybrid Drive”. There will also be two drivetrain layouts available: standard rear-wheel drive and what Lexus calls “all-weather drive”. I am assuming “all-weather drive” is an all wheel drive system designed more for keeping stability during un-certain road conditions rather than an all-wheel drive system meant for track performance. The IS 250 and IS 300h will both come equipped with a 2.5 liter V6 engine while the IS 350 will come with a larger 3.5 liter V6. It should also be noted that the IS 350 will be available in rear wheel drive only. The new IS 350 will also receive the same 8 speed transmission from the IS-F. I haven’t been able to find a spec sheet on the new IS but during the reveal it was said that the IS 350 will make “over 300 horsepower”. Hopefully a list of specs will be released soon so we can find out just how much over 300hp the IS 350 goes.
As I mentioned earlier the F Sport package makes a return for 2014 and adds a few technological ehancements in addition to the radical front bumper addition. F Sport models will come equipped with sport tuned “Adaptive Variable Suspension” (AVS) and sport tuned electronic power steering (EPS) systems. The F Sport’s interior will also feature a dynamic gauge cluster similar to that of the LFA with a center gauge that will move to the side to reveal addtional information; nice touch!
So far, no MSRP information has been released, but Lexus did say the new 2014 IS is due to go on sale in “mid 2013″ AKA probably around the end of Spring. In the meantime you can check out all the pics and official press release.
DETROIT (Jan. 15, 2013) – Lexus today unveiled the all-new 2014 IS sedan at the North American International Auto Show. IS will be available in rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 and IS 350, a further evolution of F SPORT available across the entire model range, and for Europe, Japan, and select international markets, the IS 300h, the first IS to feature Lexus Hybrid Drive.
Driving performance is a key selling point in the sport sedan segment. In conjunction with a bold new design including the Lexus spindle grille, the all-new IS has been painstakingly engineered to have excellent dynamic capabilities to provide an exceptional driving experience.
“I adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the all-new IS,” said Junichi Furuyama, IS chief engineer. “Specifically, it was to make an entertaining driving experience a major premise behind all aspects of performance.
“The conventional approach involves developing each individual aspect in the hope that they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience. By contrast, development of the new IS flipped this process on its head, first establishing the pleasurable driving experience owners desire, and then developing the individual performance elements to support it.”
Every aspect of the IS has been engineered with a renewed focus on engaging performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.
“The IS has always been precise and fun to drive,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The all-new IS kicks it up a notch with true sport sedan driving dynamics, state of the art onboard technologies, and an all-new design that makes it look fast even when it’s standing still.”
Incorporating several Lexus-first features and technical innovations, the IS showcases an interior design with all the refinement and quality expected of a Lexus, plus a focused driver’s environment, a significant improvement in rear seat comfort and spaciousness, and a larger, more convenient trunk.
Rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 are powered by a 2.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 350 features a 3.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 300h, which will be available in Europe, Japan, and select international markets, will employ the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, based on a newly developed 2.5L Atkinson-cycle engine.
IS adopts the Drive Mode Select system which offers up to four switchable driving modes- ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT S+ (S+ available on IS 350 only) – to optimize vehicle systems to suit the driver’s preferred combination of fuel economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
The IS 350 RWD features the eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission from the IS F high performance sedan with quicker shifts, full torque converter lockup and throttle blips in manual mode. The new IS is the first Lexus model to adopt G force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) control in Sport mode. This system automatically selects the optimal gear and downshift pattern in response to G force, and maintains the selected gear through a corner.
Driving enjoyment was at the heart of the new IS development program, and every aspect of the new Lexus sedan’s driving dynamics has been carefully engineered to that end.
New, laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, along with additional spot welding, have increased overall body rigidity. This enhances stability and also allows for a more comfortable ride without compromising handling agility.
The double wishbone front suspension system has been revised, offering a twenty percent increase in sway rigidity. The rear adopts a new multi-link suspension system from the GS. Fine tuning has resulted in outstanding grip performance and excellent response to steering inputs. Separate mounting of the spring and shock absorber maximizes trunk space.
Steering feel and feedback is key to an enjoyable driving experience, and the new IS benefits from a steering gear box based on that of the GS sedan, incorporating a variety of tuning techniques. The structure and rigidity of each gear box component has been revised to create a smoother and more accurate steering feel with enhanced input response and greater driver feedback. F SPORT
IS F SPORT models not only benefit from exclusive, exterior and interior design features, but also genuine dynamic enhancements. Both the front and rear suspension systems and the Electric Power Steering (EPS) are exclusively tuned for F SPORT, enhancing handling performance. An Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system is tuned for F SPORT models, while Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) is also available on IS 350.
F SPORT models announce their presence with an exclusive spindle grille that incorporates a bolder insert design. The bottom corners of the front bumpers feature aerodynamic detailing to provide enhanced brake cooling. Unique 18-inch wheels feature a Y-spoke design inspired by the LFA.
On board, drivers will receive vehicle information from an innovative driver’s meter cluster with a moving center ring, inspired by the LFA. Interior trim detailing includes an F SPORT steering wheel and shift knob, and aluminum pedals and scuff plates that include the Lexus logo.
The overall dynamic shape of the body emphasizes the wide flare of the wheel arches to give the new IS a broad, powerful stance.
In profile, the strong horizontal beltline shows off the large rear tires and its low center of gravity. The exterior design includes a new, powerfully articulated headlamp cluster design with Lexus’ trademark, L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL) located independently below. Interior Design
The clean, horizontal theme of the interior is bisected by the strong upward sweep of the center console, creating an ergonomically ideal environment. The newly designed driver’s seat offers greater comfort and better lateral support. Both the seat hip point and the angle of the new, LFA-inspired steering wheel have been lowered and steering reach adjustment has been increased, creating a driver focused seating position.
To better accommodate passengers, the new IS wheelbase is nearly three inches longer, providing a more comfortable cabin and increased trunk capacity. The extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design results in three inches more knee room for rear passengers. New to the IS are standard, lockable 60:40 split/folding rear seats.
Refined materials throughout the cabin are complemented by a high quality analog clock with surface-emitting illumination. The climate control system incorporates Lexus-first electrostatic switches, which enable vehicle occupants to adjust temperature settings with the touch of a finger.
All IS models are equipped with the next generation, Lexus Display Audio or Remote Touch-controlled Navigation multimedia systems. Both multimedia systems provide industry-first complimentary real-time traffic and weather information delivered without a subscription through HD™ Radio Technology. The new steering wheel is the first on a Lexus to coordinate multimedia system control with both the meter cluster and center console displays.
The 2014 IS has 10 airbags standard, including rear seat side airbags. Available safety and security features include an Automatic High Beam (AHB) headlamp system, a Lane Departure Alert (LDA) system, a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system.
The AHB headlamp system maximizes visibility at night by automatically switching to low beams when its camera detects the lights of either an oncoming or preceding vehicle.
An LDA system helps prevent unintended lane changes by alerting the driver when the vehicle deviates from its lane without the operation of the turn signal.
The BSM uses rear mounted radar to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes that are not visible in the outer door mirrors.
The RCTA system employs the BSM radar to alert the driver to approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking space.
Often I get asked the question: “What’s the difference between a ‘car meet’ and a ‘car show’?” I usually then ignore that person or flip them off… Seriously though I will give you the answer right now. A car show is about competition, entertainment, and is usually a big production. A car meet is much more low key and is really just about a segment of enthusiasts gathering to hang out, enjoy a nice day, and talk about the object of their obsession. Most of the time a meet is free and is held at some public location. However, sometimes a meet can be about much more than that. For example, the Nismolism meet last weekend in San Dimas was not only about enthusiasts celebrating all things Nismo but the event also raised money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Local dealership O.C. Infiniti also helped out by sponsoring the event. They also had reps on hand to answer questions and sell parts at employee cost! Can’t beat that with a stick!
Sure there were not many high-dollar magazine cover builds on hand but the fact that each car there represented hard earned money going to a good cause made each car there worthy of an award. I have a few teaser shots below but for the full gallery hit up our Facebook page. For more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation go to JDRF.org
This year at the LA Auto Show Mazda was all about the new 2014 Mazda6 sedan. Yes, we finally got to see the production Mazda6 in the flesh, on American soil! What started off as the Takeri concept is now a full-on production car and it is freaking beautiful! Say what you want about Mazda but they sure do know how to pull emotion out of you through their designs.
Looking at the Mazda6 just made me want to jump in and drive the wheels off it! What was more impressive was the announcement that the new Mazda6 will have Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-D diesel engine! Ever since Mazda announced their new SKYACTIV technology, we have been waiting for the first Diesel engine to show up and it looks like we are finally getting it! Unfortunately no performance numbers on the SKYACTIV-D have been released yet but I think its safe to say we can expect a bucket-full of torque. I will have more on the 2014 Mazda6 soon in its own post.
Mazda also brought out the MX-5 Club edition and it is amaz-ome! (thats amazing and awesome). The Club edition is something of a send-off for this generation MX-5 and it is certainly a proper way to say goodbye. It has everything that makes the MX-5 awesome but wrapped in a cool black/red color way and special edition badging. I really, really want one of these and at only $27,000 it isn’t a bad buy at all. Still out of my current price range but still a great deal!
Besides the 2014 Mazda6 and the MX-5 Club Mazda showed off their full line and even had their new SKYACTIV-D turbocharged race engine on display (nice touch) and a simulator that puts participants on a hot lap around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I didn’t get on it myself but it looked like a ton of fun!
For all the pictures from the 2012 LA Auto Show Mazda Exhibit check out our Facebook gallery. Also if you want to see Mazda’s LA Auto Show press conference scroll below and watch!