Category Archives: Automobile

National Mustang Day 4.17.18 – The Love Affair Continues Today As it Did 54 Years Ago.

Fifty-four years ago we were on the verge of a new revolution in automobiles. No longer was there going to be boring cars, no longer would you have to buy a sports car from a foreign car company, or be limited to one American brand. Ford Motor Company was about to change everything.  With the Ford Mustang, they did change everything and started a whole new “Pony Car” craze, which is as strong today as it was then.

1968-Ford-Mustang-Fastback_Bullitt_HVA_Casey-Maxon-600x281

That one car was the Mustang, the first of the pony cars was the first real modern car for America. Ushering in the sports car fad of the 1960’s.  And the car that took America by storm, and becomes the desired car to have, as well as a heartthrob in movies and on the street.

Global demand for the Ford Mustang has made it the best selling Sports Coupe for the third straight year running in the world. Mustang registrations worldwide in 2017 totaled 125,809 cars, according to Ford analysis of the most recent new light vehicle registration data from IHS Markit from data compiled capturing 95 percent of new vehicle volumes in more than 80 countries.

Need For Green Mustang
This time of year, green is on everyone’s mind. With spring just around the corner, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and rivers of green – everyone feels the need for green. Now, there’s one more green cause to celebrate – the all-new Need for Green hue available on the 2019 Mustang.

“The world is falling in love with Mustang,” says Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. “Mustang represents the best of American design, performance, and freedom, with an unmistakable personality that’s appeals – regardless of your postcode.”

Of the nearly 126,000 vehicles registered worldwide, Ford reported 81,866 of those were sold in the United States, meaning just over one-third of all Mustang registrations are occurring in export markets. Demand remains particularly strong in China, where Mustang was the bestselling sports coupe last year based on 7,125 registrations.
The most popular configuration worldwide is the Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter V8.

While sports cars have traditionally skewed toward male buyers in the United States, Mustang is increasingly finding favor with women. In an environment of relatively flat sports car sales to women. Ford research shows a 10 percent gain in women buying Mustang in the last five years.

Since global exports began in 2015, through December 2017, Ford has sold 418,000 Mustangs around the world.

Original 1968 Bullitt Mustang

Content for this piece came from the National Mustang Day press release from Ford.

William West Hopper.

 

 

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Volkswagen’s new 2019 Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has been the class-leading four-door sedan and it just got better, and be ready for this, cheaper than the model it replaces.

2019 VW Jetta SEL
2019 VW Jetta SEL

VW is well known for long-lasting models with designs that improve over time. Almost every model in VW’s line up has a long history of dependability and roadworthiness. The 2019 Jetta is no different, while the exterior design of the new may not grab your attention, we saw it displayed at the Washington Auto Show in January and barely took notice of it. It is worth taking a look at it if you are looking for a four-door sedan in the mid-level model market segment.

 

1980 Volkswagen Jetta 2-door sedan
1980 Volkswagen Jetta 2-door sedan

The Jetta is an icon that began back when it morphed from what was the staple of the 1970’s modern Volkswagen, the Rabbit, also known as the Golf. The Jetta became the version with four doors and an actual trunk, though there were two-door and wagon versions. The Rabbit/Golf was a two or four-door hatchback.  Since that time, the Jetta has been considered a solid choice for an economical while not extravagant sedan. Very much in the Volkswagen mantra of “The Peoples Car,” a dependable and economical vehicle for every person.

Turn the clock ahead forty years to 2019 and the seventh-generation model comes to market with all of that plus safety and technology that was unheard of at the beginning of the model run.

2019 VW Jetta R-Line Interior
2019 VW Jetta R-Line Interior

For 2019, the Volkswagen Jetta comes in S, SE, R-Line®, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels. Jetta continues to be powered by VW’s 1.4-Litre turbocharged direct-injection TSI® engine, making 147 Horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque with front-wheel drive. Jetta has either a new standard six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic, all Jetta’s (as do so many other models,) come with Start/Stop system designed to improve fuel efficiency by turning off the engine at idle when the brake is held, staring up again upon pedal release.

 

2019 VW Jetta Interior Cockpit
2019 VW Jetta Interior Cockpit

All Jetta models offer standard Driver Personalization for up to four drivers. Depending on the trim, the features will include: driver seat, drive mode, driver assistance preferences as well as climate control, Volkswagens Digital Cockpit arrangement, ambient lighting color, radio presets, navigation view and more. Safety is key with the combination of passive and active safety systems that meet or exceed crash regulations, including class exclusive automatic Post-Collision Braking system.

Jetta S – Basic and everything a VW is known to be.

2019 VW Jetta
2019 VW Jetta

The Jetta S is the entry level at $18.545 with standard features including a six-speed transmission, 16-inch silver “Rama” aluminum-alloy wheels; standard LED headlights, daytime driving lights (DRL) and taillights; chrome grille; multi-function steering wheel; rearview camera; automatic headlights; electric parking brake; cloth seats; Eco driving mode selection; and 6.5-inch Composition Color touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices, one USB port, four speakers, and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect for compatible devices, enabling integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®.  For an additional $800 you can upgrade to the Automatic Transmission.

Jetta SE – Stepping up the model to the next level

2019_Jetta-Large-8155Jetta SE starts at $22,155 with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch two-tone “Rama Black” aluminum-alloy wheels; panoramic sunroof; dual-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; KESSY keyless access and push-button start; leatherette seating surfaces; and heated front seats. Standard driver assist features to include Front Assist; and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.

Jetta R-Line® – Putting some sportiness into a sedan

2019 VW Jetta R-Line
2019 VW Jetta R-Line

Jetta R-Line® starts at $22,995 and is the sportier version. Adding to the SE trim with standard 17-inch dark gray “Trenton” aluminum-alloy wheels; a gloss-black front grille; R-Line rear bumper with dual exhaust; foglights; black mirror caps; R-Line badging inside and out; black roof liner; R-Line multi-function steering wheel with contrast stitching; two-tone black and grey seating surfaces with contrast stitching; and the XDS® electronic differential.

Jetta SEL – Luxury in a great package

2019 VW Jetta SEL
2019 VW Jetta SEL

Jetta SEL starts at $24,415 and brings luxury into the model line up. With all the features of the SE trim it include LED Projector headlights with signature LED DRLs; rain-sensing wipers; Auto-dimming rearview mirror; Drive Mode Selection; 10-color customizable wrap-around ambient lighting; 10.25-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit display, allowing drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information; Volkswagen Car-Net® connected vehicle services; 400 Watt BeatsAudio® system with eight speakers plus a subwoofer; and 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with three-month trial subscription, voice control, and two USB ports. Standard driver assist features to include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); High Beam Control (Light Assist); and Active Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist).

Jetta SEL Premium – Top Of The Line Luxury

2019_Jetta_-_SEL_Premium-Large-8146The top-of-the-line Jetta SEL Premium has a starting price of $26,945. With all that comes with the SEL trim, add on 17-inch two-tone “Tornado Metallic” aluminum-alloy wheels; R-Line rear bumper; fog lights; side mirrors with integrated turn signals;  sport comfort seats; leather seating surfaces; ventilated front seats; power driver’s seat with memory functionality and power lumbar; 8-inch Discover Media infotainment system with navigation and alarm system. The Cold Weather Package, including a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated windshield wiper park and washer nozzles, and remote start, will be added as standard equipment during the upcoming year.

2019 Jetta Options – Simple and to the point.

 Driver Assistance Package. Available on S trims. Includes Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist) and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and heated side mirrors for $450.

Cold Weather Package. Available mid-model year on SE, R-Line and SEL trims. Includes heated steering wheel; heated rear seats; heated windshield wiper park and washer nozzles; and remote start for $495.

Destination Fee for all models is $850.

People First Warranty, America’s Best Bumper-To-Bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty. 

2019 VW Jetta SEL
2019 VW Jetta SEL

Volkswagen offers a 6 years/72,000 miles (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty on MY2018 and newer VW vehicles, excluding e-Golf.  Claim based on manufacturers’ published data on length and transferability of the car and SUV Bumper-to-bumper/Basic warranty only.  Not based on other separate warranties.  The remainder of warranty coverage transfers to the subsequent vehicle owner.  See owner’s literature or dealer for warranty exclusions and limitations.

 

The 2019 Jetta is built on VW’s MQB platform offering bolder design, more interior space than the outgoing model and new technology. Look for the new Jetta to arrive at U.S. Volkswagen dealers in the second quarter of 2018.

 

This report and the photos have come from VW’s recent press release and the recent 2019 Jetta press drive.

William West Hopper

What is New at Ford Motor Company?

March 15 – Dearborn, MI, U.S.A Ford Motor Company held a Ford Uncovered event today to bring the media up to speed with the upcoming vehicles, systems, and process that the Blue Oval Brand is bringing to market over the next few years.

Ford’s products will be some of America’s freshest lineup by 2020, replacing more than 75 percent of its current portfolio and adding four new trucks and SUVs.

Ford is investing in new propulsion systems and delivering full connectivity to pave the way for over-the-air updates and the Transportation Mobility Cloud. Including an all-in push on hybrid-electrics and battery electric vehicles with rollout starting in 2020, and performance utility as well as six BEVs by 2022.

Bronco

Ford Bronco coming soon
Ford Bronco coming soon

And YES, There is a Bronco!  We have been hearing about it for well over a year now. And Yes it is going to be in dealer showrooms.

Bronco Instagram

 

BEV and Next-Gen Hybrids

New Ford Explorer ST
New Ford Explorer ST

Battery electric vehicles: Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) represent more than a different
powertrain – they represent a lifestyle change for consumers, especially for those who have never driven an electric vehicle

Next-Gen Hybrid Electrics: Part of Ford’s new strategy includes going all-in on hybrids to bring more capability to customers of our most popular and high-volume vehicles like F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and Bronco – and serve as a hedge for customers against higher gas prices.

Pickup Trucks

Current Ford F-Series Truck
Current Ford F-Series Truck

Ford’s truck business will continue growing as the company adds new models and powertrains with an eye toward continued growth in high-end trims. Some highlights include:

  • 2018: New 3.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine for F-150, an updated version of the popular F-150 Raptor
  • 2019: Ranger returns to the midsize truck segment; new F-Series Super Duty debuts
  • 2020: New F-150 debuts with new hybrid powertrain featuring a mobile generator

Technology

FordCoPilot360

Ford Co-Pilot360TM, a package that includes standard automatic emergency
braking, blind spot warning, and other driver assist features.

Manufacturing

Ford also shared that new manufacturing tools and technologies. With the increased use of augmented and virtual reality helping reduce Ford’s plant changeover time by an estimated 25 percent. Simulating various production processes and assembly line configurations in the virtual world help to identify potentially hazardous maneuvers and fine-tune workflows before construction even begins, saving an estimated 20 percent of tooling cost on each vehicle program. The company also is increasing its use of collaborative robots that can perform jobs quickly and repetitively, helping reduce the risk of injury to employees, freeing them up for more high-value jobs.

 

Content from this was taken from the Ford Uncovered Press Release

 

 

We are looking forward to the World Car Awards

With the New York International Auto Show on the horizon, one of my personal favorite events each year is the World Car Award. This year held on March 28th.

2018 will be the 14th year for the annual awards and the for the fifth consecutive year based on Prime Research’s 2017 media report. The World Car Awards were inaugurated in 2003 and launched in 2004.

2018 marks the 12th year of World Car’s partnership with NYIAS, and the fifth consecutive year that the World Car Awards have retained their ranking as the No.1 automotive awards program in the world in terms of media reach. While the awards and ceremony are a recognition of automotive excellence is on an international scale and intended to complement and not compete with other national and regional Car of the Year celebrations.

The awards are administered by a not-for-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of pre-eminent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America. Peter Lyon (chair – Japan), Jens Meiners (vice-chair – Germany), Mike Rutherford (vice-chair – UK), Tim Stevens (director – USA), Siddarth Patankar (director – India) and Gerry Malloy (director – Canada and president, WCOTY Association).

 

Automobiles Nominated for the
World Car Awards


2018 World Car of the Year:

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– Mazda CX-5
– Range Rover Velar
– Volvo XC60


2018 World Urban Car:

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 – Ford Fiesta
– Suzuki Swift
– Volkswagen Polo


2018 World Luxury Car:

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– Audi A8
– Porsche Cayenne
– Porsche Panamera


2018 World Performance Car:

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-BMW M5
– Honda Civic Type R
– Lexus LC 500


2018 World Green Car:

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– BMW 530e iPerformance
– Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
– Nissan LEAF


2018 World Car Design of the Year:

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– Lexus LC 500
– Range Rover Velar
– Volvo XC60


The Road to the World Car began in Frankfurt on September 19, 2017, and was followed by the first-ever Tokyo Test Drive conducted at the BMW Tokyo Bay facility in October giving jurors yet another opportunity to evaluate contenders that might not be available in their home markets. Then, the fourth annual “L.A. Test Drives” took place across a six-day period in November with a record number of 35 jurors participating. At the Geneva show in March, they close in on the end of the Road to World Car journey which will end on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, when World Car opens the New York International Auto Show and also declares all winners in all categories.

New York International Auto Show

Owned and operated by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, the New York Auto Show is an awesome combination of new ideas, technological innovation, exceptional concept cars and nearly 1,000 of the latest new cars and trucks.  Over one million visitors are expected to visit the show this year to see what is truly possible from the automotive industry.

 

Information for this post is from the World Car Awards Press Release. Photos are from the various automotive media sites. Collated and edited by William West Hopper.

The Audi Q3 – Surprise it is an Alamo Rental

The Audi Q3 is the smallest of the Audi SUV lineup.
The Audi Q3 is the smallest of the Audi SUV lineup.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a long winter weekend with friends in New England’s epicenter of Sailing, Newport Rhode Island. Since we were where hanging out at the elite New York Yacht Club, it seems right to book a luxury car through Priceline’s AutoSlash, which Alamo stated would be a Cadillac or similar.

 

Alamo Rental Car Logo

After a grand welcomed to the top level of PVD Airport’s rental car garage, though by an Alamo competitor, we walked the few steps to the Alamo area and were once again welcomed with the offer of an Audi sedan or SUV as our luxury car.

 

 

The Audi SQ5 provides all the benefits of a small SUV with a lot of technology.
The Audi SQ5 provides all the benefits of a small SUV with a lot of technology.

The choice was the SUV, which turned out to be a Q3. While I have driven both the Q7 and Q5 variants, I have not been in a Q3. Alamo escorted us to the vehicle with a personal walk around offering to help with our luggage. Was this because we were renting a luxury car? Turns out, this is how Alamo is treating every customer who rents from them. Upon our return, again, we received a personalized, by name, welcome and “How was the Q3 for you?”  To add to this excellent level of service, an Alamo employee drove us, in our car, directly to the airport terminal. No need to unload and navigate the long walk with our luggage.  Big Kudos to Alamo Rental car for that kind of personalized service.

 

Now about the Audi Q3

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The Audi brand name alone is what must classify this as a luxury vehicle for Alamo. As the Q3 rented from them was an un-optioned base model, even with the S-Line nomenclature that appears on it. The $2100 navigation function was not included, which left the center screen a selection of menu options. Having just the Audi logo would have been better than the un-informative sub-menus that were displayed.

 

The Q3 is the smallest of Audi’s SUV line up, Q5 and Q7 being the larger kin, has a sticker price according to Audi’s website of $32,900 plus $975 destination, taxes registration, and title. Upgrades available are the $2900 Premium Plus package and the $2900 quattro® all-wheel drive that Audi is so well known for.

 

Audi Q3 sported an S line emblem on both the front fender and rear door threshold.
Audi Q3 sported an S line emblem on both the front fender and rear door threshold.

This rental did not have the paint upgrade ($575 for a standard color, up to $3900 for an exclusive Audi Paint color. Nor the $1000 Audi Sport Package, which includes Audi Drive Select, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, or 19 inch 5-double spoke offroad design wheels with 255/40 all-season tires. No sport seats, either!  Both optional packages require the $1350 Convenience Package, which includes the Audi Advanced Key (front doors and tailgate.) Auto-dimming interior mirror with compass. And a power tailgate and decorative aluminum satellite design inlay on the interior. All those options would have made the Q3 even better than it already is.

 

Q3's rear seat while comfortable was a tad tight to get in and out of.
Q3’s rear seat while comfortable was a tad tight to get in and out of.

While the Q3 is comfortable, it is small. Easier to get in and out of due to the SUV’s height, though rear passenger egress was tight as was rear storage. The standard Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights were nice to cut through the February fog and rain.  While it seems the now standard on most vehicles, a rear-view camera and acoustic parking system did help in backing in and out of tight parking spots.

 

The Q3 was equipped with a 16-valve Double Overhead Cam turbo-charged fuel injected 2.0 TSFI Engine. This cast-iron engine block with an aluminum head four-cylinder (1,984 cc displacement, 82.5cc bore, and 92.8 stroke) produces 200 horsepower @5100 to 6000 rpms, and 207 lb.-ft torque at 1700-5000 rpm. Mated to a six-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission. The Q3 has a 0 to 60 mph speed in 8.2 seconds. Which was a bit anemic for Rhode Island’s fast moving I-95 traffic.

 

Fuel Economy for our short under 100-mile drive, a mix of highway and in-town driving, was unimpressive at 18.63 mpg on premium 91 Octane gasoline. But for a 2-wheel drive and the short driving we did, not amazing. Averaging -20   City 20 Highway 28 estimated with a 16.9 Gallon Tank I did expect better for this small car.

 

Audi Q3 hatchback design allows for cargo area access.
Audi Q3 hatchback design allows for cargo area access.

I found the handling of the Q3 was a little numb, which surprised me for an Audi with front MacPherson struts and four-link rear suspension. Unlike the Q5 which is more nimble. The fully galvanized steel unibody with an aluminum hood and tailgate gave the Q3 a feel solid. Running on 235/50R18 all-season tires mounted on 7-inch wide wheels gave it a solid grip on the wet roadways. Steering is tight, and I did not notice the power dropping off with electromechanical power steering when the engine shuts off at stop lights. Braking was fine with the 12.3” front ventilated discs and solid 11.1” rear disc brakes.

 

Interior Accoutrements

Leather seating surfaces were nice, though without reading the website, I might have thought they were faux leather.  The 60/40 split folding rear seat made the useable but tight cargo area better (16.7/50.3cu ft, cu ft, rear seatbacks up/folded down.)

 

Audi's Q3 cockpit is well appointed and comfortable to be the driver in.
Audi’s Q3 cockpit is well appointed and comfortable to be the driver in.

Even in the dreary weather, it was nice to have the panoramic sunroof over both the front and rear seats. The three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with tilt and telescope manual adjustment was comfortable to hold onto as was the leather-wrapped shift knob.  I always like ambient LED interior lighting, and today you need the power outlets.

 

I missed pushbutton start on the Q3, for an upscale car having to get the switchblade key out and put back every time seemed so old-fashioned. While our trip did not encounter freezing temperatures having the heated windshield washer nozzles is a great help.

The Q3 came with a spare tire, which is rare in small SUV's.
The Q3 came with a spare tire, which is rare in small SUV’s.

The Audi Concert Single CD player Radio with MP3 capability was confusing to operate, especially while driving. Having the BLUETOOTH® and voice control system did make it easier.

 

While this Audi made for a great rental vehicle, stylish and well sized, with decent handling. If I were to choose one as a daily driver, having more optional equipment would make me happier. Though after driving the Q5 and the SQ5, I would upgrade to one of them, preferably the SQ5.

 

he Dashboard controls and switches on the Audi Q3 are easy to understand and navigate.
The Dashboard controls and switches on the Audi Q3 are easy to understand and navigate.

This Q3 is made at Audi’s production facility in Spain and has a 4-year/50K Mile Audi New Vehicle Warranty and comes with 12-month / 10K mile no charge first scheduled maintenance.

Check out the Audi Website for more info on the Q3 as well as their other SUV’s. Audi dealers are plentiful and very customer focused like Alamo was to us when I rented this car.

 

Queer4Cars is always big on getting deals when we go shopping, for anything. Check with organizations you belong to for their buying service options, from your insurance company or financial institution to the warehouse clubs. When local auto shows happen, always stop by the booth of the brands you are interested in and request them to send you more information. Many times you will get a monetary incentive opportunity to buy a vehicle because of this.

 

Photos and words by William West Hopper.

 

You are invited to the LGBTQ Family Night at the Washington Auto Show on Feb 1, 2018.

2017-Washington-Auto-Show-Saturday-54Join us at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Thursday evening February First, 2018 for an evening of auto show fun with friends at the LGBTQ Family Night at the Washington Auto Show.

 

Sponsors

Cadillac, Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota are; and we hope you will as well. These automotive companies are some of our 2018 sponsors along with The Washington Auto Show itself.

 

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Like last year, this will be a gathering of friends at the DC Auto Show. You don’t have to be an automotive enthusiast, and there will be no set program, just come meet new people, or friends of long standing, and enjoy all the 2018 Washington Auto Show has to offer.

Cadillac XT5
Cadillac XT5

We will have a private room, and plenty of friends to talk with about cars and all else. Thanks to Cadillac and Mazda for supporting our event, we will have snacks and iced tea, but more importantly, we want to get you out and enjoy the show, see the displays and experience all that the show has to offer.

 

Toyota HSR Left SideAfter Party

After the show is over, Toyota and Lexus will be hosting an afterparty for those attending the event. So you will not want to miss that and drink a toast to the New Year thanks to our friends at Toyota and Lexus.

 

MX5 Santa

Why are we holding this event, so that LGBTQ friends and family know that the auto manufacturers and dealers in the Washington area appreciate our business and want us as customers.

 

When and Where?

Date, Thursday evening February 2nd, at the Washington Convention Center (Room to be announced ) from 5 pm to 9 pm (when the show closes) then we will transfer the party over to a nearby location for a little more celebrating.

While there is no fee to attend the LGBTQ Family night at the Washington Auto Show, we ask you to register for the event.
Register Here:

Yes, the event is free, though you will have to purchase tickets to get into the show.  You can get tickets directly from the show here. Or if you want discounted tickets through Groupon, you can click here. Or if you are not on Facebook, send us an email to let us know you are coming and if you are bringing a friend or family along with you.

For information on what will be happening at the 2018 Washington DC Auto Show, check out their daily schedule of events.

The Lexus LC500h is a Supercar that is Eco Friendly and available to the Masses*.

The Lexus LC500h
Lexus LC500 Coupe
*If the Masses have a hundred grand to spend.

Don’t tell anyone that the LC500h saves trees and drops panties at the same time!

 

 

 

Chef Matt in the Navigators Seat of the Lexus LC500h
Chef Matt in the Navigators Seat of the Lexus LC500h

Lexus provided us a pre-production 2018 LC500h for a weekend in early September to attend the Radnor Concours d’Elegance and drive in their fundraising road rally for Thorncroft Equestrian Center. A drive that took us on 90 miles of bucolic Chester County roads, not only a picturesque Pennsylvania countryside, it was an opportunity to test out this “High-Performance Lexus.” Myself and co-driver Chef Matt enjoyed every moment behind the wheel.

Lexus LC500H Hybrid badge.Surprises were many, mostly the attention this coupe got where ever we went, especially women. Women coohed over it, and when offered an opportunity to get the driver’s seat they practically leaped at the chance to get in and caress the soft interior surfaces. Never have I driven a car that so enthralled women of all ages. I kept kidding my co-driver, a single guy, that this was his big chance! We would catch glimpses of people photographing the car where ever we went. Yes, a Lexus can bring that much attention.

 

Stock photo of the Lexus LC500H from the Lexus media site.
Stock photo of the Lexus LC500H from the Lexus media site.

The attention started when my original co-driver found out a wedding conflicted with the rally and he could not join me. I posted a stock photo of the Lexus LC500h on my Facebook Page, asking if any of my friends were interested in spending the day driving around Philadelphia’s fox hunting country. One buddy responded, “If that is the car, count me in, I want to go.”  Though his idea of a Rally was speeding across back roads at breakneck speed, like, so many internet videos show.  I assured him it would be a relaxing and fun ride in the countryside, and We would get a meal out of the deal. “Any meal I don’t have to cook is one I will enjoy.” The classic line of anyone who spends their days in a kitchen for a living.

 

 

The two of us met up with about 125 other participants at the Radnor Hunt Club. A wide range of cars from classic Rolls, compete with the mustard to old farts in Aston Martins (who kept getting in our way but won the Rally.)  Even another Lexus, and a bright RED Infiniti G series, whose owners we became friends with during the weekend.

 

The Lexus LC500H an Aston Martin and Infiniti all lined up and ready for the Radnor Concours Road Rally.
The Lexus LC500H an Aston Martin and Infiniti all lined up and ready for the Radnor Concours Road Rally.

It did not take long before we quickly found that our car was both adored and somewhat sneered at. “That is some High-Performance Lexus,” said one upper-crust passer-by. A hybrid called High Performance, well shows what great styling can do! Chef Matt also quickly found out that the LC was a chick magnet. Watching an introvert struggling to talk to pretty girls was painful, and sometimes more so when you could see the ladies were more interested in the beautiful road machine he was driving, than the man with incredible culinary talents.

First of all  How it Looks.

Lexus 500H Rear view, lots of shapely lines.
Lexus 500H Rear view, lots of shapely lines.

This two-door coupe has muscular lines from the front fenders to the rear haunches. It seems like an oxymoron to hear the word muscle when the car has hybrid badging.

While guys, from tatted and bearded Harley riders to conservative mainline types gave it thumbs up, and as we found out, it really seduced the ladies. And once inside they really connected to the Alcantara suede door panels and heated and cooled leather seats. Lexus has always known that marketing to the fairer sex is a smart business decision, and this car will have a lot of women becoming owners of their vehicles.

Inside

The very clean dash on the Lexus LC500H
The very clean dash on the Lexus LC500H

OK, this is a two-seat coupe, and yes it has four seats. And in those seats, you felt in control of the vehicle as a driver and enveloped as a front seat passenger.  Do not expect people to sit in the rear seats, as no adult of any proportion is going to fit back there, or even contort themselves to get into and out of the rear seats. But that is entirely OK! The front seats contoured the body like an elegant glove, holding you in comfort as well as style.

 

The LC500's Trunk is not especially big in the first place, and the hybrids battery takes up additional room.
The LC500’s Trunk is not especially big in the first place, and the hybrid’s battery takes up additional room.

Luggage, who needs a lot of baggage? The boot is limited to a couple of overnighters and a suit bag. No golf club bags, and honestly I had to lay a half gallon of scotch down on its side because it was too tall.

Powertrain & Driveability

While you can get this model in a V8. The one we enjoyed was a 3.5-litre V6 with multistage hybrid technology attached. This power plant may not be what you think of when you think of when you think of the other products in Toyota’s family of hybrids. Lexus was one of the first to put the hybrid engine in a vehicle other than a four-door sedan, with the RX. Now it makes perfect sense to put it in this luxury sports coupe. We experienced plenty of power, and excellent fuel mileage to boot.

With this LC500H you have all the options to make whatever noise you want, or NOT! A hybrid powerplant makes that sound, which you sometimes hear in this vehicle in eco and comfort mode (I call it chewing up logs with a dull blade.) Put the LC500h in one of the two sports mode and step on it, and it takes off like a bat out of Gehenna. Or just put it in EV mode and quietly move it out of the driveway. As sometimes you want to make an elegant exit without anyone hearing the exhaust growl of a performance car.

Lexus LC500H Center Console includes an integrated assistance handle for the passenger.
Lexus LC500H Center Console includes an integrated assistance handle for the passenger.

Fuel Mileage, this is a Hybrid, set it in eco mode and get top fuel mileage, like in the mid-30’s. Set it in Sport Plus and it is all power, and still, you will not be draining the tank!  All the while looking amazing and returning fuel consumption numbers that were impressive.

The classic Hold on for your life handles in this car, aka the O’Crap Handles are there for the front seat passenger.who is hardly forgotten. And since Lexus takes performance and handling seriously, the driver has control of the comfortable steering wheel and the shift paddles and fed constant updates from a well-balanced display screen as well as aided by the touchpad controlled display topping the center stack.

 

Speaking of screens:

 

We could have watched the transition on the dash display time and time again, as the image moved aside bringing more information forward. While the center display controls everything from HVAC to Audio to monitoring the performance of the Hybrid system. And when you want it to display a more extensive map, or set up the seats for heating and cooling, it is a touch of the screen away. We experienced a few lapses in the GPS display on our suburban Philadelphia adventure, with sometimes not displaying the roads we were on, this we chalked up to the car being a pre-production model. While it could have been operator error, and probably was, it would be nice for it to pop back after some time and tell you, hey, I have stopped working at your request.

Chef Matt and the Lexus LC500H
Chef Matt and the Lexus LC500H

Think Sports Car for those who want a supercar, but may not want to spend the several hundred grand. While this puppy tops out at that $100K mark it is still well priced when you consider what you are buying. A lot of technology in a very, very attractive package. One of the most beautiful Lexus body styles we have ever seen. While you may look at competing brands, this one has a vast dealer network as well as a strong history of brand dependability that comes with it.

Author William West Hopper with the 2018 Lexus LC500H.
Author William West Hopper with the 2018 Lexus LC500H.

Words and photos by William West Hopper.

We were given the use of the Lexus LC500H for a week to use at the Radnor Concours. No other compensation was provided, and all event, travel, and other fees were paid out of our own pocket.
For more information or to test drive for yourself the Lexus LC500H or any of their other vehicles, please visit your local Lexus dealership.