Lexus ES300h: A Magic Flute Experience

 

2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys BANNER

2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury (right) and ES 350 Luxury

2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (31)2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury

2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (26)

 

2013 Lexus ES 350 Sports Luxury (ECO mode)2013 Lexus ES 350 Luxury

2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury

2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury

2013 Lexus ES 300h Luxury2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (28)

2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (27)2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (29)

Yes Yes Yes oh YES: limo-like feel, well appointed, economical, spacious cabin

Oh dear me no: woodgrain looks cheap, no cut-off for rear controls

Do you remember an ad for Lexus from many years ago featuring “The Magic Flute” playing in the background. We watch the huge LS 430 taking bends much faster than it has any right to go, then it stops. The door opens, and a pair of posh black shoes step onto the pavement. He pops the boot where a vintage turntable is seen playing a record. The driver impeccably dressed carefully lifts the needle off. I can’t imagine why Bang and Olufsen didn’t invent some weird in-dash record player, it make you long for instant gratification of your Iphone. With it, you can stream music straight to the cars audio system while your phone sits in your bag, and you can carry your entire collection in your pocket. Had you taken that many records with you, you’d have needed to own a school bus.

Lexus has taken a different design direction of late and as a result, the frumpy frocks are gone. Now there are luscious exteriors, and impeccable cabins which have been lavished with obsessive care and attention. The ES makes a return to Australia after a hiatus of some years and fits between the IS and the GS. It is a big car with big presence.

If you hold your head just right, you can see a touch of the four-door sports coupe which Mercedes, BMW and Audi have cashed in on, except Lexus is doing it for half the price. The exterior is classy and elegant with the top hybrid getting Xenon headlights and our base model making do with halogen. It isn’t as though you would notice. Try as I might, I just can’t think of the base ES, the 300h, as a pov-model. Interestingly, the bottom of the range ES is a hybrid. I’m a fairly recent hybrid convert and Toyota/Lexus’s Synergy drive is the grand-daddy of them all. You can run your car silently just on batteries up to about 30-ish KPH if there is enough charge. The system will tell you if the power is insufficient. All kinds of flashing happens, and noises come then without further fanfare the petrol motor cuts in. Unless you’re unless max power, the cabin is as silent as it was solely on electric power. The battery charges when you coast, and ramps up that charging when you brake. The rest of the time the system switches between charging and driving the wheels. Once upon a time naysayers pooh-poohed hybrids and the environmentally disastrous batteries. Much was made of the amount energy taken to manufacture the batteries, then to get rid of them when they are depleted. They had apoplexies from the cockpits of their 6 litre V8 SUVs but after a few gins they calmed down. There were also criticisms made of the life span of the batteries too, I know, I was one of those critics. However, with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that most of the batteries in the earliest hybrids in Australia are still performing as they were intended. The warranty is now 8 years, up from 5 years but most packs are lasting far longer.

The claims of fuel use are usually exaggerated beyond all recognition, but in this case it is pretty close. For a start, the Lexus runs on budget-priced 91 ron fuel according to the launch-day press release, which is unheard of in a luxury car. I note with some concern that the website states 95/98 ron. Perhaps one was a misprint.

The claimed economy is 5.5 l/100k which again is unheard of in a large luxury car. The 151kw output seems modest, but you’ll get to 100kph in 8.5 seconds, almost Hot-Hatch territory. The torque on the electric motor is available from the second you put your foot down so is almost a second quicker than the old petrol Gen 4 ES. The steering is uber-light with an ethereal feel at parking speeds, and sharp with loads of road feel at highway speeds. I could imagine doing a long leisurely road trip of a few thousand K’s without feeling like I’d been beaten with a baseball bat. I’ve done such trips in luxury Euro-snobs and was near crippled upon reaching my destination.

2013 Lexus ES 300h Luxury2013 Lexus ES 300h gaycarboys (30)

 

There are many things to like about the classy interior. The leather feels good to touch and it has been 2013 Lexus ES 350 Luxury boot spacelavished on almost every surface. The knobs have that gentle resistance you get from quality European audio gear. It isn’t the obvious that gets my vote though, it is the thoughtful way it is all put together that is most endearing. For example, the analogue clock looks almost art deco and the large LCD screen is set back into the dash so that reflection from the sun won’t obliterate your view. You input data via touch or the “mouse” joystick. I’ll admit the joystick takes quite some getting used to but once you do, selection is as quick as a flash. And, with no fanfare or crowd waves, the seat slides back when you press the “stop” button. It gives you all the space you need to get in and out, especially appreciated by those who have previously been crippled on long distance journeys in Euro-snobs. Even the boot lid is electric on the base model.

2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury

 

We drove lots of highway K’s and only occasionally does the CVT make the petrol motor protest. The rest of2013 Lexus ES 300h Luxury the time you don’t know if you’re on battery power or not because the double glazing keeps all but the most persistent noises outside where they belong. You can view which motor is doing what via a small graphic in one of the menus which will be displayed on the driver’s LCD monitor. I wouldn’t bother because you’re meant to be watching the road. If using a phone, or watching tv, makes the state nannies spin, the synergy monitor would make their heads come away.

I started to read all about the platform, and transmissions, and planetary gears and it was all double Dutch, but it was the suspension description that made me giggle like a school girl. I had no idea what a “counter-wound coil spring” was but the OMG prize for “what are you talking about” goes to “rose-joint mounted stabiliser bar”. I stopped reading the ridiculous gobbledygook at that point. After you’ve done a few thousand kilometres, a rosebud joint isn’t going to seem important.

We had a variety of passengers on board to source as many opinions as possible. By far the least 2013 Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxuryentertaining was my hubby who came with me on a school run. He and an 8 year old found the rear controls. It made the trip home akin to Chinese water torture because you can alter far too many functions from back there. On several occasions I was heard to say “Don’t make me come back there” and I realised I sounded like my parents. I was less than amused. The 8 year olds mother chuckled and said “it comes to us all in the end”. I got very grumpy.

Everyone who rode in the ES loved it, especially the gay ones. One, who works as an I.T. guru in banking, insisted on being dropped at his head office’s main door. He said it was just because of the short walk to the lifts, but I suspect it’s because the managers take their morning coffee just around that time.

Many thought it was as good as a BMW or Mercedes Benz and some thought it actually was a BMW or a Mercedes Benz. Whilst I realise Lexus would like to be admired in her own right, she could do worse than to be compared favourably to the premium Germans. I’ll bet the premium Germans would be far less happy about it. They are terribly precious, if you know what I mean.

As I pulled into the top secret Lexus HQ, in The Shire, I felt pangs of regret because I didn’t want to give it back. I don’t find many cars I don’t want to give back so make of that what you will. “Waft” is my word du jour and for the first time in a long time I can’t think of a single thing I’d change. I like the ES just the way it is thanks very much.

Would I buy one? Yes

Model

ES 350

ES 300h

Engine

2GR-FE

2AR-FXE

Capacity

3456cc

2494cc

Engine type

All-alloy 60-degree V6, 24 valves, double overhead cams (per bank) with dual VVT-i

All-alloy Atkinson cycle in-line 4 with double overhead cams, dual VVT-i and cooled EGR

Fuel type

95 RON (ULP) or higher (recommended)

Bore x stroke (mm)

94 x 83

90 x 98

Compression ratio

10.8:1

12.5:1

Max power

Petrol engine

204kW@6200rpm

118kW@5700rpm

Combined (hybrid)

151kW

Max. torque (petrol only)

346Nm @ 4700rpm

213Nm @ 4500rpm

Hybrid system

Type

Series/parallel, full hybrid

System output

105kW

Torque

270Nm

Electric generator (MG2)

AC synchronous, permanent magnet

Voltage (V)

650

High-voltage battery

Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)

Voltage (V)

244.8

Transmission

Type

U660E six-speed automatic, electronically controlled with sequential shift

P314 electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) with sequential shiftmatic system

Gear ratios

First

3.300

Six-step CVT

Second

1.900

Third

1.420

Fourth

1.000

Fifth

0.713

Sixth

0.608

Reverse

4.138

Final drive ratio

3.458:1

Suspension

Type

Front

Double-wishbone with coil springs and gas-pressurised dampers. Adaptive variable suspension on F Sport and Sports Luxury

Rear

Independent multi-link with rear-located toe control arm and separate coil springs and dampers

Driveline

Driven wheels

Front drive

Brakes

Front

296mm x 28mm ventilated disc

Rear

281mm x 10mm solid disc

Additional features

ABS

Electronic Brake-force Distribution

Brake Assist

Active Traction Control

Vehicle Stability Control

HAC (on ES 300h)

Steering

Type

Road-speed sensitive electric power-assisted steering

Turns lock-to-lock

2.9

Minimum turning diameter – tyre (m)

11.4

Wheels and tyres

Rims

17x7J Aluminium

Tyres

215/55R17 93V

Body/exterior dimensions

Overall length (mm)

4900

Overall width (mm)

1820

Overall height (mm)

1450

Wheelbase (mm)

2820

Track front (mm)

1590

Track rear (mm)

1575

Weights/loads

Kerb weight (kg) (Sports Luxury)

1630-1665

1685-1705

Capacities

Fuel tank (L)

65

65

Seating

Five

Boot Space (L)

490

425

Performance

Max. speed (km/h)

210

180

0-100 km/h (sec)

7.4

8.5

Fuel consumption (L/100 km)*

Combined

9.5

5.5

Urban

13.5

6.0

Extra urban

7.2

5.2

CO2 emissions (g/km)*

Combined

224

130

Drivetrain

Model

Price

Enhancement Pack

Enhancement Pack Specification

ES 300h

Luxury

$63,000

+$3,000

Pre-Collison Safety System and Active Cruise Control

Sports Luxury

$72,000

N/A

ES 350

Luxury

$65,000

N/A

Sports Luxury

$74,000

Back in gravel mode – Shakedown completed: Volkswagen all set for Australian round of the WRC

Rally Australia 2014Rally Australia 2014

 

  • Latvala, Ogier and Mikkelsen fourth, fifth and eight fastest
  • WRC event down under boasts unique conditions on this year’s calendar

A rollercoaster ride through the forests of New South Wales, with the added difficulty of having to switch from asphalt back into gravel mode – Volkswagen used the shakedown ahead of the Rally Australia to prepare for the tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) was the fastest Volkswagen duo on the 4.98-kilometre practice route, which the teams will tackle in the opposite direction on Friday as part of the opening “Hydes Creek” special stage. They ended the “free practice” session fourth fastest in the Polo R WRC, just ahead of team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) in fifth place. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) clocked the eighth fastest time of the shakedown. First and second place went to Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg (Citroën), with Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) third fastest. Interestingly, just 4.4 seconds separated the top ten.

Despite the route becoming ever faster, the Volkswagen drivers each completed just three back-to-back runs of the shakedown, choosing to save their tyres – unlike the opposition. Only a limited number of Michelin competition tyres may be used per rally, including the shakedown.

Quotes after the shakedown at the Rally Australia

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The stages at the Rally Australia are spectacular and the scenery is uniquely beautiful. Julien and I had a fantastic rally here last year, winning 19 of the 22 special stages. The car felt very good during the shakedown. Although the opposition is, in general, a lot closer in general this year, I still have a lead of 44 points over Jari-Matti in the World Drivers’ Championship. As a team, we are also in a position to secure the title for Volkswagen in the Manufacturers’ Championship here. I am looking forward to what will hopefully be a good weekend for us.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“To be honest, I come into the Rally Australia feeling very positive. The shakedown went very well for us. I like the routes and the scenery around Coffs Harbour. After driving on asphalt at the most recent rally in Germany, it was important to adapt quickly to the road conditions on gravel again. My Polo felt very good and I am determined to challenge for the win again here. I have not forgotten our retirement in Germany, but I have put it behind us. When you make a mistake, but learn from that mistake, it can only make you stronger.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“Good pace notes are essential at the Rally Australia. There are a lot of undulations, blind corners and unforgiving trees nearly everywhere along the narrow special stages. On top of that, we must adjust from driving on asphalt to gravel. For me, the shakedown was all about getting used to these specific conditions and getting a good feeling for the Polo. That is all I was focusing on for the first two of the three shakedown runs. Now the rhythm is back, I feel good, and I can’t wait to get started tomorrow.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“The shakedown always provides the perfect opportunity to stock up on confidence ahead of the rally and to get the right feeling for the conditions at that particular event. We come to Australia with high hopes and would ideally like to wrap up the Manufacturers’ Championship with rallies to spare. Today’s five kilometres showed that all the systems are running perfectly and that our drivers are in good shape and fully focused. We are ready.”

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia – TV broadcast

Western Europe
Andorra (Canal +); Austria (LAOLA1.tv, ORF, RTL, ServusTV, Sport 1); Belgium (Canal +, RTBF); Denmark (TV3 Sport, VIASAT); Finland (MTV3, YLE Sport); France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Germany (Sport1, RTL, n-tv, LAOLA1.tv, ServusTV); Greece (OTE); Ireland (Setanta); Italy (RAI, Canale Italia, Sportitalia); Liechtenstein (RTL, ServusTV, Sport 1); Luxembourg (Canal +, RTL, ServusTV, Sport 1); Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Netherlands (RTL 7); Norway (VIASAT, Viasat Sport); Portugal (Sport TV, RTP); Spain (Canal +); Sweden (SVT); Switzerland (Canal +, RTL, ServusTV, Sport 1); United Kingdom (ITV 4); Wales (S4C)

Eastern Europe
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (Auto Plus); Croatia (SPTV); Czech Republic, Slovakia (Czech TV, Sport 5); Poland (TV 4, TVP); Romania (Dolce Sport); Ukraine (First Automotive Channel, Auto Plus)

Middle East and Africa
Angola, Mozambique (Canal +, Sport TV, SuperSport); Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe (Canal +, SuperSport); Lesotho, Liberia, Mayotte, Reunion, Socotra, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, St Helena & Ascension, Sudan, Swaziland (SuperSport)

Asia Pacific
Malaysia (Astro); Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (ESPN Star); Japan (J Sports); New Zealand (Sky Sports); Australia (Speed TV); Thailand (Truevision)

North and Latin America
Argentina (Channel 12, Fox Sports); Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA (MAV TV); Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Latin America, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela (Fox Sports); Brazil (ESPN); Paraguay (Fox Sports, Telefuturo)

International
Worldwide (Reuters, SNTV)

The Semi Electric Camry is OK, if not exciting.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL (left) and Camry H

 

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL battery2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL interior

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL rear blind2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL (left) and Camry H

Yes Yes Yes oh YES: fuel economy, tech inclusions

Oh dear me no: a bit dull

Things have changed rather a lot since the first hybrid landed here. The Prius is still seen world-wide as “a hybrid” and if you want to be green, and “seen to be green” then it is a Prius you buy. Of course there are so many semi-electric options now. Honda, Nissan and Lexus have hybrids but now the Germans have gotten in on the act. Sadly Holden’s costly version, the Volt, languishes unloved and unsold because Australians will not pay $65k for a small car. Whether a ranger extender or not, it is simply too expensive. Nissan’s leaf and Mitsubishi’s EV’s have been even slower sellers. We are not yet ready to completely abandon fossil fuelled transport.

So, to the Camry:

The exterior is a bit slab -sided. It’s a great shame we are not doing the review for the 2015 model. It is stunning. As for this one, I don’t actually dislike it, but doesn’t inspire me to break into choruses from the Sound of Music. Importantly, it is the “not offensive” design that is what has made Toyota so big. They go for mass market appeal being careful not to polarise anyone along the way. That safe attitude sells lots of cars but they will be bought for practical reasons, not because of desire. It’s a shame because they are so well and along with cockroaches, will be the only things left standing after the nuclear Armageddon. The head and tail lights are not particularly attractive and have been upgrade for next year so I’ll leave my dislike of them pass this time. There is a touch of the wedge going on so I can’t understand why the designers didn’t inject a bit more je ne sais quoi.

I sat in the new Camry for the first time, and liked the huge improvement in the cabin design. The previous model looked a bit wrong. Here, the switch gear is all in the right spot and is very easy to use. I particularly loved the JBL sound system which had the high-end sensation you expect from a premium German brand. The interface feels slightly awkward in places but is saved by physical buttons on either side of the screen. The touch-screen Satnav is easy to programme and Bluetooth easy to pair. The one thing I can’t tolerate is slow reacting systems that are impossible to navigate. I’m thinking of Volvo’s system which needs input from a dial like a 70 telecom phone. It’s positively 20th century and takes what feels like hours to respond to inputs.

I’ve mentioned the seating but it would be churlish of me not to mention how comfy they are. The poor passenger has to make do with few electric adjustments than the driver which is silly given that full adjustments are available. After all the Camry sells in left and right hand drive. Cheeky Toyota has cut a few costs unnecessarily but since they aren’t daily controls it doesn’t matter much. The glossy brochure describes the leather as “accents”. Does that mean there is also “pleather” sneaking in surreptitiously? Certainly the dash board reveals a man-made origin upon closer inspection. In order to test properly, the extra beefy lads were unavailable so I roped in my “honorary gay” friends and did a school run. Remarks were made on the spaciousness of the cabin and the “sunroofness” of the sunroof.

I’m pleased to see the plastics looking less poverty and more premium. That’s a bit mean because most car makers have improved their materials, so snaps to Toyota for taking full advantage. However the interior does not match the high quality feel of Holden’s VF Commodores.

We had the top model “L” for-luxury-model at $45.878. The pov model is $39, 607 so what goodies do you get for your 16 grand extra? Auto lights and wipers with keyless start and entry are standard. You not only have electric leather seats and climate control, but you also get driver aids like a rear camera and blind spot warning. One thing worth mentioning is at this price the L model competes with Holden’s Calais ($44,670). Calais is one of my favourite sedans under 100k. It feels premium from end to end, and it parks itself. Like most hybrids, fuel consumption is only part of the reason. Most of the reason lies in the fact that some people want to be seen to be green whether or not they actually are.

The real-life fuel consumption figures differ wildly from those claimed by the manufacturer. People get terribly bent out of shape about it, but unless the test conditions are the same from model to model there is no other way to truly compare apples and apples. The Calais uses 9.0L/100k compared to Camry’s 5.2. This means the Toyota uses 45% less fuel for a car similar in size to the Holden. More fuel means more CO2, more cost, more tax, and considerably more power.

The Camry drives reasonably well without being overly exciting. It has plenty of room and will easily do a long trip. You have to get used to the slightly floaty steering but Camry does go where you point it. The ride can be harsh at times. It tends to bump nastily on corners if you hit ruts on the way through. It’s not unpleasant as such, but it could be better. It’s the handling in hybrids that always makes me feel a little uneasy. You certainly notice the extra poke from the electric motor but you also notice the weight of the batteries. As you corner you feel like the back of the car is going to swing out rather awkwardly. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. I was never quite sure if the sensation was just in my mind, but it was a feeling I couldn’t shake. I got used to it, but I never accepted it.

The Camry is an attempt by Toyota to give its large car the “small hybrid” shine, and to a degree it is2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry H auto transmission successful. In fact a long drive in the Camry Hybrid left me with more questions than answers. The fuel consumption isn’t much better than city driving as is usually the case with Hybrids. The CVT transmission has no gears so is prone to make the petrol engine sound like

I’m a hybrid convert because where once I questioned battery life, I now admire the fact that decade-old batteries r still going strong. More importantly, I “get them” now. They are cars built for how we actually use cars, not for how we want to use cars. In other words we drive in cities, in traffic and are far more likely to fly any distances longer than a few hundred kilometres. Moreover, most of us don’t often make many journeys of that distance, so the hybrid is a product of its time. If you live in the country your needs will be different 2012 Toyota Camry HL blind spot monitorand a diesel or turbo petrol is going to be more up your ally.

There are lots of inclusions in this top model. The blind spot alert is a favourite, now I’m used to it. I could live with the Camry hybrid but it would only ever feel like transport.

I pondered for the longest time whether or not I’d buy one, and the answer is no, but I could live with it if it came with the job.

Kombi Camper at Porsche price

fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS banner

fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS (4)fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS (2)

 

• Rare surviving ‘60s VW Campervan
Exhaustive, documented restoration to better than new
• Multiple Show and award winner

When Professor Ferdinand Porsche designed his Volkswagen ‘People’s car’ in 1934, he never envisaged that 80 years on its variants might be worth as much, or more, than the sports cars carrying his name.

But that could be the case at Shannons Melbourne Spring auction on Monday, September 29 when an exhaustively-restored and multiple award-winning 1966 VW Campervan named ‘Buster’ is expected to sell for the price of a early Porsche 356.

‘Buster’ is a rare surviving ‘E-Z’ Camper conversion based on an increasingly collectible ‘Split-Window’ Type 2 Kombi.

fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS (1)Introduced in 1949 with the same reliable running gear as the original Post-War VW Beetle, the Kombi soon carved a niche as a reliable, versatile and endearing workhorse and it was available as a van, a bus and as early as 1951, as a camper, with a conversion by the German Westfalia company.

As demand for these campers outstripped supply – particularly in North America – other campers entered the market, including  ‘E-Z’ Camper built in Littlerock, California that cleverly transformed the Kombi into a veritable house on wheels, with a folding bed, tables and chairs, kitchenette, 55-litre water system and wardrobe.

The ‘E-Z’ being auctioned enjoyed a long association with the original owner’s family before being inherited by their stepson who began the task of refurbishing the vehicle to better than new condition in the early 2000s.

The restoration was thoroughly documented by a detailed, step-by-step photographic record of all work fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS (5)performed, along with a comprehensive receipt file.

A new 1915cc engine fitted with Twin Weber carburettors and electronic ignition was installed, along with a replacement ‘Freeway Flyer’ transmission and a CSP front disc brake conversion for added safety. Optimax deep cycle batteries were fitted, along with a discreetly-hidden Alpine sound system.

‘Buster’ also comes with its original canvas annexe, twin Coleman stoves (still in their original packaging), fully-restored Californian built 1966 VW Kombi ‘E-Z’ Camper GAYCARBOYS (3)the original (and still functioning) icebox along with various accessories such as anodised mugs, crockery and cutlery.

The factory left-hand-drive Volkswagen has only travelled a further 1,500 miles since its rebuild was completed in 2001 and remains in truly remarkable condition.

Since being imported to Australia from California in 2011, ‘Buster’ has been a hit at various NSW and Victorian shows, where it has won numerous awards for its stunning presentation.

Shannons expect this stunning reminder of the free-living 1960s to sell in $62,000-$72,000 range.

THE GORGEOUS LEXUS RC F DEVELOPS 351kW – NATURALLYLEXUS RC F DEVELOPS 351kW – NATURALLY

Lexus RCF gaycarboys BANNER

Lexus RCF gaycarboys (1)Lexus RCF gaycarboys (2)Lexus RCF gaycarboys (3)Lexus RCF gaycarboys (4)

LEXUS RC F DEVELOPS 351kW – NATURALLY

The Lexus RC F will launch a powerful assault on the luxury performance vehicle segment in early 2015, with the all-new coupe developing 351kW from its naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine.
The new engine will develop almost 13 per cent more power than the IS F engine on which it is based – making it the most powerful Lexus V8 engine in the marque’s history.
All-new cylinder heads and lighter moving parts have increased the maximum power of the 5.0-litre, 32-valve engine by 40kW, with maximum revolutions increased from 6600 to 7300rpm.
Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley said the RC F will have a powerful presence in the Australian automotive market.
“The RC F will be powerful in every respect. From its design to the powertrain beneath it, the RC F has been designed to engage, excite and inject emotion into the Lexus brand,” Mr Hanley said.
“As our performance hero, RC F plays a very important role in highlighting our engineering and design capabilities, and just as importantly it also displays the passion and pride of our engineering team.
“RC F encompasses all of our learnings from LFA and wraps it up in Lexus’ latest design philosophy,” he said.
The RC F will also feature an intelligent engine management system that allows the drivetrain to switch between Atkinson and Otto cycle, conserving fuel while coasting or delivering maximum power when required.
The RC F is scheduled for launch in Australia during the first quarter of 2015.

Half-baked and short sighted – VACC slams unnecessary and unhelpful automotive industry ideas

 

What next? VACC, the peak automotive industry body in Victoria asks what other ill-thought out, unworkable and misguided ideas are about to be made regarding the automotive industry.

“As Australia prepares for the closure of automotive production in 2017, the entire automotive industry needs time to adjust and discuss with the Federal Government strategies to take the industry forward. Instead, we are hit with one pointless hair-brained idea after another, from politicians, the Productivity Commission and other social commentators,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

“Recent calls to flood Australia with used car imports and enable consumers to directly purchase new cars from overseas were made in the name of red tape reduction and increased consumer choice. The reality is it would bring the exact opposite, with so many problems that motorists and businesses would become bogged down in paperwork and consumer detriment would escalate.

“It is frustrating because many of these ideas are generated by people, with little or no automotive industry experience and the Government appears to be reluctant to speak directly to the automotive industry itself.  Mixed messages also cause confusion and some consumers might delay the purchase of their new cars in light of this public debate. 

“For example, yesterday, our national body, the Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), corrected many misunderstandings caused by misinformed reports about new imports in an already overcrowded market. If AMIF had been consulted in the first place, it would have been clear that any thought of enabling consumers to buy overseas vehicles directly, with no regulatory regime in place, with no safety, security or consumer rights considerations, with no thought to guarantees or warranties, and with no indication of how or when the Australian Design Rules will be amalgamated or overtaken by international standards, not to mention service, repair and component parts issues, you really wonder what our politicians and so called automotive industry experts are doing.

“Why would you not consult with the automotive industry prior to releasing documents to the media? With three out of four people, approximately 320,000, involved in the automotive industry employed in the RS&R sector, surely it makes sense to talk to this group of experienced, knowledgeable and seasoned professionals for insight and input.

“VACC members and our sector are robust, dynamic and not afraid of change or competition. However, we are concerned about lurching from one baseless idea to another, groping in the dark for a solution, when the answer is staring everyone in the face: come and talk with the automotive industry first,” Mr Purchase said.

The Stunning Divine DS: Capturing the essence of the DS brand

citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS banner

citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (8)citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (9)

citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (3)

citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (5)citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (2)

 

 

With more than 500,000 vehicles sold worldwide in four years, DS is building on its success and is now a brand in its own right. Its latest creation, the concept car DIVINE DS, is a true expression of the brand’s DNA. Designed and created in Paris, France, it captures the very essence of DS:

- unique styling cues: a 4-door, compact vehicle (4.21m) DIVINE DS immediately draws all eyes. Spectacular, elegant and enchanting, with a subtle shimmer in its metal grey bodywork. The strong, sensual curves showcase striking graphic features such as the ‘DS Wings’, the sharp sweep of the side lines and the unique roof design. A unique exterior and an exceptional interior! The original cabin features a bold, high-tech layout of spectacular contrasts, expressing the avant-garde design, refinement and sophistication of DS;

- bold design: with its exclusive ‘Hypertypage’ concept, DIVINE DS introduces a new automotive experience.
Customers are invited to choose an interior trim that truly reflects their personality from a selection worthy of a haute couture fashion house. The cabin of DIVINE DS features three interchangeable interior ambiences, each with its own original and unique personality;

- French elegance: DIVINE DS reflects the combined expertise of several prestigious houses, such as Lesage for embroidery and Swarovski for crystal work. The presence of these firms, each one setting the standard in its field, demonstrates the ambition and the capacity of DS to overturn established codes and bring different worlds together, a first in the automotive industry!

- technology contributing to style: DIVINE DS is a car of dynamic, active design, with futuristic, avant-garde headlights combining sequential indicators with laser technology, facets on the roof that open to reveal a reversing camera, and optimised aerodynamics. Inside the car, the ‘cockpit’ driving position and exclusive use of digital systems (touch screen, holographic display, etc.) showcases the in-car technology.

“DIVINE DS is an expression of our expertise. This concept car is the very essence of what DS is and what it will be. A perfect alliance between sophistication and technology. Unveiled just a few weeks after the birth of the brand, DIVINE DS perfectly expresses the unique personality of DS.” Yves Bonnefont, CEO, DS Brand.

UNIQUE STYLING CUES

citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (1)

Enchanting design lines

DIVINE DS is a compact 4-door vehicle, 4.21m long and 1.98m wide. It is a car of powerful, charismatic styling, with taut lines and a low driving position (1.35m high), sitting squarely on its 20” wheels. Strong, sensual curves contrast with graphic features sculpted in chrome. DIVINE DS features metal grey bodywork with a subtle shimmer that showcases its lines. A body style that captivates at first glance, with bold styling cues that reflect the image of DS.

The wide, powerful front end of DIVINE DS, features the ‘DS Wings’ first seen on the DS 5LS and DS 6. The front end is slightly stronger and more vertical, for a greater sense of prestige. In the centre, the radiator citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (6)grille provides a stunning setting for the DS emblem. Floating diamond shapes of different sizes and in varying shades of chrome create a play of light to give the radiator grille a spatial effect.

Viewed from the side, the lines of DIVINE DS form a sharp sweep. The first stroke of the designer’s pen is clearly visible. Like a signature on the side of the concept car, it emerges as a circle around the rear lights to taper away naturally at the front.

Underlined by a chrome strip, this line makes the whole body tauter and more dynamic. The chrome strip also cleverly conceals the door handles, for an even cleaner look. On the lower side panels is a line of finely sculpted chrome, subtly highlighting the elegant body lines and bringing to mind the interior console design.

Another major styling highlight is the roof. The roof of DIVINE DS is truly unique with a design resembling the scales of a reptile. Playing on contrasts, these scales feature alternating effects: matt and satin, opaque and transparent, revealing the light inside and outside the car through changing reflections. The scale pattern extends over the rear window and can also be seen on the door mirrors. A unique and enchanting display that contrasts with the sensual, voluptuous curves of the rear end.

An avant-garde interior display

The cabin of DIVINE DS is a spectacular display of contrasts, between the contours and relief of the driver’s cockpit and the flowing lines of the passenger seat.

On the passenger side, a single continuous drape enfolds the console and dashboard, forming a twist as citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (7)it reaches the door insets. The airy-looking drape embraces the passenger, taking him/her into a world of haute couture, far removed from conventional automotive standards. An original sensorial experience.

The driver’s side is a showcase of advanced technology, crafted like a jewel. The central console, which resembles a backbone, sets out the driving functions. Its white gold covering is both crystalline and majestic, contributing to the refinement and sophistication of this original interior. Main features include special toggle switches decorated with made-to measure stones and, in the middle, a digital clock with a stone set in its surround. A black granite stone with gold speckles, echoing the design of the central console.

The rectangular steering wheel is a work of sculpture, promising new driving sensations.

The seats are a visually striking retake on the watch strap design, underlining the character and comfort of this exclusive DS signature. They are upholstered in full-grain aniline leather selected by the SETON tannery for its exceptional quality and specially tanned. The slight warmth of the grey highlights the metallic touches of white gold and each ambience.

At the rear, the absence of a rear window immerses the passengers in an intimate, sophisticated cocoon.

A NEW AUTOMOTIVE EXPERIENCE: ‘HYPERTYPAGE’

DS, as an innovative brand is introducing a new concept with DIVINE DS: ‘Hypertypage’. This completely new concept extends far beyond the idea of personalisation by bringing customers a choice of interior trim worthy of a haute couture fashion house, with premium materials rarely seen in the automotive industry. Based on a dashboard and door scrolls that can be changed in just 15 minutes, a choice of three interior ambiences are available. Three “dress codes” that can be swapped to suit the ambience, embodying three radically different personalities:

- “Mâle” is a sober, contemporary creation, alternating natural carbon fibre, used as a textile, and glazed, burnished leather. A blend of highly masculine materials for a car-centered ambience inviting the occupant to take the wheel, with a pearl stitch in red and black as a note of punctuation.

- “Parisienne Chic” is an invitation into a world of Parisian sophistication and elegance, with materials borrowed from the world of haute couture. Full grain ivory-coloured leather of exceptional quality is allied with pleated silk satin and embroidered, in the door panels, with beads and crystals. Sewn by the globally recognised firm Lesage, these embroideries echo the form of the DS monogramme.

- “Fatale Punk” creates a bolder ambience, with a darker and more glamorous touch. The dominant note is provided by deep black, padded leather studded with crystals, and clipped in subtle touches like a piercing. The door panel scrolls are covered in Swarovski Crystal Fabric, a material that shimmers with millions of tiny cut and uncut crystals. A rock-style ambience!

  • ‘Hypertypage’ is a bold concept that gives life to DIVINE DS. This exclusive feature underlines the ambition of DS to bring customers vehicles that fully reflect their personality.

A MODERN TAKE ON FRENCH ELEGANCE

More than a concept car, DIVINE DS is a meeting of several leading companies, each illustrating expertise and excellence in their field. A first in the automotive industry.
“We want the best for DS: the best partners, people who are recognised as setting the standard in their field. And we also want to be the first to explore new territories,” says Thierry Metroz, head of DS styling.
Through these cooperative projects, DS is highlighting the emphasis placed on every detail, through to the choice of materials rarely used in the automotive industry.

Swarovski crystals

Recognize as a standard-setter in the world of fashion and luxury, Swarovski has developed a reputation of excellence with haute couture fashion houses, working with the leading names in French fashion. The citroen Divine DS GAYCARBOYS (4)magic lies to a great extent in the manufacturing secrets of Swarovski crystals and in the cutting and polishing process that gives them their sophisticated sparkle.

Today, the DS automotive brand is calling upon this prestigious firm. Swarovski crystals adorn the exterior lines of DIVINE DS and decorate the headlights for an alluring finish. Inside the car, these legendary crystals adorn the door panels and dashboard in sophisticated touches.

Lesage embroidery

As part of another cooperation project that is truly exceptional in the automotive industry, DS is working with Maison Lesage,France’s most prestigious embroidery house. Founded in 1860, Lesage works with the leading fashion designers.

Embroidery is an art form that is continuing to develop today. Demanding meticulous handwork, it draws upon precious materials such as silk, beads and crystals.

The art of embroidery comes into its own in DIVINE DS with the “Parisienne Chic” Hypertypage, enhancing the cabin materials and giving new emphasis to the DS monogramme.

These exceptional cooperation projects demonstrate once again how DS overturns established codes and brings different worlds together. They show that DS is credible as an expression of French-style luxury.

TECHNOLOGY CONTRIBUTING TO STYLE

A lively body style

Technology brings the body style of DIVINE DS to life, starting with the futuristic, avant-garde headlights.

The light signature at the front was inspired by the DS 3. It maintains the principle of independent LED modules designed to resemble diamonds in their setting. With Swarovski Crystal Fabric at the base to bring the light to life, these headlights combine sequential indicators with laser technology. The laser headlights of DIVINE DS comprise two high-powered laser diodes per module. These diodes are 50% more powerful than conventional LED lights in terms of their lighting intensity.

The laser function works with the LED headlights from speeds of 60 kph. The light beam is conducted to the headlight through optical fibre for instant, precise adjustment. Further, the laser diodes are located in the engine compartment, so they are protected in the event of impact or if the headlight lens shatters. Laser lighting is an efficient technology since its durability is equivalent to that of the vehicle itself. Also, these laser lights do not dazzle other road users, since cameras are used to identify other vehicles and automatically adjust the lighting.

At the rear, the full LED lights feature retracting scales that play with the light and bring them to life. These scales light up at night or on braking creating a magical, hypnotic effect, completed by the sequential indicators.

The rear window is equipped with opening facets that optimise the aerodynamic performance of DIVINE DS. One of these facets includes a camera for onboard rearview vision. Here again, technology is contributing to style with this reptilian display.

The 20’’ wheels feature an innovative design in which the floating spokes are disconnected from the hubs. A technological feat that gives the wheels an airy look, suggesting the aerodynamic performance of DIVINE DS.

A high-tech ‘cockpit’

The cabin of DIVINE DS showcases its in-car technologies with a ‘cockpit’ driving position featuring an array of digital functions. These technologies contribute to driving as well as to interior design, since they enhance the interior sophistication of DIVINE DS.

First, the controls of DIVINE DS are grouped on an HD touch drive interface that is a spectacular 10.4 inches in size.
Located on the overhead console, this multifunction screen frees up space on the dashboard and includes a function that replaces the central rearview mirror.

Driver information is in digital form, with a head-up display above the wheel showing essential driving information. This panel is completed by a holographic display behind the steering wheel. A 3D readout that lets the driver view navigation information, for example, without taking his/her eyes off the road.

An engine combining efficiency with advanced performance

DIVINE DS is equipped with the turbocharged direct-injection 1.6 THP petrol engine developing 270 bhp. A perfect fit with its dynamic character. With maximum output of 199 kW at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 330 Nm between 1,900rpm and 5,500 rpm, this is an engine of outstanding performance.

Meeting high standards in performance does not mean turning a blind eye to environmental concerns. This engine is compliant with Euro6 standards and emits just 145g/km CO2.

The concept car DIVINE DS was unveiled on Thursday 4 September 2014 and will be displayed at the Chantilly Concours d’Elégance style contest on Sunday 7 September 2014, then at the Paris Motor Show from Thursday 2 October 2014.

The DS brand
Initiated by CITROËN in March 2010 with the DS3, DS stands out as a premium brand. Drawing on the very best of French know-how, DS perpetuates the values of innovation and distinction inherited from the first DS, launched in 1955. Designed for customers looking for a means to express themselves as individuals, the DS range now comprises five models: DS3, DS3 Cabrio, DS4, DS5 and DS 5LS (sold in China only). The DS range makes bold statements in terms of style, pleasure and refinement. And it stands out thanks to avant-garde technology, in particular the Hybrid4 hybrid diesel drive train on the DS5. Marketed in Europe by CITROËN in dedicated showroom areas.