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Lexus Driving event


Master Bruce!
LA/OC, California
Genesis Model Type
Genesis G70
So Lexus has a free driving event working its way around (the country?) and I got the chance to check out some of their newer offerings yesterday. Figured I'd write up a short review on the cars I drove for anyone considering the brand. Keep in mind, this is from the perspective of a 25 year-old G70 3.3t owner, so I may not exactly enjoy the same stuff as some of the older crowd and the actual amount of time in these cars wasn't super long.

Lexus ES 350 F-Sport - So this car was the lowest price vehicle we tested, but as far as the interior goes, I liked it the best. This is Lexus's refresh of the model and it looks MUCH better than the outgoing variant. Very comfortable with super soft leather and the screen embedded in the center of the dash was very sleek. I did notice that it was not touch screen and the touch pad used to interact with the screen was cool in theory, but I wasn't a fan of it in practice. The car is heavy and seems to drive nicely for the size/weight, that is to say it is very smooth, but I felt it was too slow at WOT despite some 300hp. The butt coolers worked nicely and there seemed to be plenty of storage in the car.

Lexus LS 500 - The flagship luxury model for the brand and it was rather apparent that it wants to compete with the Mercedes S-Class. Maybe its our youth, but my brother and I both found the interior to be inferior to the ES 350 F-Sport. Not to say that it wasn't comfortable, but the leather just did not feel as nice as the other vehicle. However, my dad did say he preferred this vehicle. There was ample space for anything you could think of and one look at the back seat would tell you that you'd rather be the passenger(s) in this vehicle. With some 400-odd HP, this car was noticeably quicker than the ES 350, though not exactly a "fast" car, despite being the clearly heavier vehicle. It was exceptionally smooth. Something we noticed was that it felt like the throttle would stick after going WOT. Noticed on 2 different cars, so I don't think this was an anomaly. Its a very odd feeling when you lift off and the car still feels like it's pulling (until you press the brake).

On both the ES and LS, something I didn't like was the steering wheel. It just seemed rather cheap and a stark contrast to the rest of the car. The LS did have some nice wood trim embedded in the wheel though. Something they did get right on both vehicles was the Mark Levinson audio system. We didn't really crank it up, but the audio clarity was great.

On to the reason we wanted to go to this event in the first place:

The Lexus LC 500 - Derived in part from the Lexus LFA, the LC 500 is the highest level of performance that Lexus offers. Our drive in this was an autocross course and lasted about a minute or so because of how hard we drove it. As you can see above (and from my other posts on the forum), I don't exactly think Lexus delivers sportiness/speed well. The 471-hp naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 barely manages a 0-60mph time of 4.4 seconds. Not exactly what I would have expected from a performance car that clocks in over $100k. With that said, the noises this thing made were amazing! Both from the inside and outside. The interior didn't exactly impress me, but it wasn't bad per-se. The Alcantara seats gripped you tight enough, but not exactly true bucket seats. I think most of the "grip" the seat had was from the material rather than design. Similarly, I wasn't a fan of the exterior, but I did really like the paint on the vehicle I drove. Seemed similar to the Genesis Adriatic Blue, but it definitely had a more purple-ish look. Very nice. Checking the website, I don't see anything that looks like this color, so I'm not sure if it was an unavailable color or if I'm blind.

Despite a few lack luster areas, I will say the car drives VERY well. Goes where you point it, even on the cusp (or what I thought the cusp was) of losing grip. The Brembo brakes have plenty of stopping power and the body roll was very well managed as we swung from full lock to full lock in tight corners. The steering was heavier than our Q50S, but lighter than the G70. Perfect to me.

It was my first opportunity to drive a car in the most aggressive manner I could muster and it was amazing. I just wish I could have taken the G70 out on their course because I think it might have managed even better than the LC 500. Overall, I think you'd be wiser spending that $100k on a different vehicle, but the LC is still something I would be excited to drive again if I had the opportunity.
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