To prove such fantasies can be a reality, Mobil 1 has been traveling the country in search of mad geniuses who have taken their passion for grilling, cars and performance beyond expectations.
Just released today, the first episode of Mobil 1 presents: Extreme Grillers takes you behind-the-scenes with MV Designz in La Habra, Calif. and their Kogi Scion xD, which they dubbed “The Mobil Grilling Machine.” This engineering marvel includes a refrigerator, a fully functional sink and a barbeque grill in back.
Each episode, released everyone one to two weeks through early January 2015, features the stories behind everyday vehicles – from classic cars cut in half to modern engineering wonders – that have been converted into culinary marvels. Viewers will not only see these extreme grills in action, but will also hear from the creators, discovering what it took to bring such amazing contraptions to life.
Golf is about always pursuing perfection and Lexus and the USGA share that goal. For the past 7 years, Lexus has been the official vehicle of the U.S. Open Championship in partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA®). Lexus will provide over 400 courtesy vehicles to players, USGA professionals and associates throughout this year’s tournament.
In anticipation of the 2014 Championship, Lexus will ask golf fans to vote on their favorite moment in U.S. Open history. We have pre-selected eight highlights (including Tiger Woods 2008 win at Torrey Pines despite a broken leg) and the multiple choice survey which you can take right here!
When commuting to work in a boring 4-door sedan, who hasn’t passed (or been passed by) a slick roadster and day dreamed about how fun it’d be to pilot such a car.
To help spur such fantasies, the esteemed automotive magazine Motor Trend identifies the “Best Driver’s Car,” a method of analyzing new sports cars that best deliver a balance of useable performance, accessible handling, and driver-friendly design.
Now Mobil 1 and Motor Trend, are partnering to give fans a chance to live that work commute fantasy in Motor Trend’s annual Best Driver’s Car competition. Five lucky fans will get a unique behind-the-scenes invitation to Motor Trend’s high-stakes, high-octane experience of a lifetime. The winners will not only get the chance to ride shotgun next to pro racer Randy Probst as he pushes each car to their limit in an all-out hot lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but they will also be given the chance to test drive these high performance supercars through Monterey’s best roads. Fans can visit www.BestDriversCarExperience.com to enter.
Last year’s winners got the chance to get behind-the-wheel of some of the greatest sports cars you can buy in America. These vehicles included:
· SRT Viper
· Bentley Continental GT Speed Le Mans Edition
· Aston Martin Vanquish
· Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
· Audi R8 V10+
· Jaguar F-Type V-8 S
· Porsche Cayman S
· Nissan GT-R Track Edition
· Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S Model
· BMW M6
· Ford Focus ST
· Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Last week I was at the Standard High Line & Biergarten in NYC to check out the Toyota FT-1. The car was the centerpiece to an awesome night that Toyota hosted. They had an old school arcade theme to it. From Frogger to Rolling Thunder there were many games that took us back in time. All the games were not from the 80’s though. Toyota had two custom made driving machine cars set up so we could virtually drive the FT-1 around the track in Sony’s Gran Turismo 6, which the FT-1 was created for. Hence that is why Toyota went with an arcade theme.
Still let’s get back to the main reason why I was there. It was to check out the FT-1. From top to bottom this car is sexy. It has curves in all the right places and it has a hydraulic spoiler and a pop-up display in front of the steering wheel. The seats even have fans in the headrest so that your head doesn’t get hot. Crazy right?
The FT-1 concept is a pure performance, track-focused sports car model created by CALTY Design Research, Toyota’s North American Design branch. The FT-1 concept is a symbol that captures elements of the emotion and energy we can expect to see in future Toyota vehicles designs. Its design is heavily influenced by Toyota’s long sports car tradition that includes vehicles such as 2000GT, Celica, Supra and most recently, FT-86 (Scion F-RS).
At the Toyota Arcade Biz Markie came to the event to not only DJ the event, but he was looking to test drive the FT-1 and even get one of his own. I can’t say I blame him. The food and drink had a German theme to it, which were all very delectable. The Arcade even had a booth where a company was making 3D copies of the FT-1. There were a few large scale models, but they made a lot of them in Matchbox car size. I did take a few of the smaller ones since it will be the closest I will ever get to own an FT-1.
The larger 3D copies of the car went to the people who finished on the top of the leaderboards in the Gran Turismo 6 game. It was safe to say that I had no chance in winning that at all. Still whether I finished in first place or last, Toyota put on one great party where the old school met the future as the FT-1 was proudly on display.
MANjr writer Jeremy Johnson takes the Scion FR-S through the best and worst of driving in and around Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES- It’s been nearly ten years since Toyota submitted a car for the sports category. Somewhere in the 90’s they put away their leather jacket and retired the supercharged Supra and MR-2 Spyder. Toyota settled in nicely into responsible adulthood, releasing sensible car after sensible car inspired by economy and reliability. Rinse. Repeat. One reasonably priced car after another rolled off of the automakers assembly lines, filling driveways and carports and city streets with practical and dependable options for every walk of life.
That’s nice. Commendable even. Cars impact people’s lives like few other consumer products can. We count on them to be there at the ready for work and play. We trust our lives to their safety standards and our finances to their dependability. Toyota understands that and hits the sweet spot over and over again.
Though… when done properly, cars can be all that and so much more. Shoot, they can even be fun! Thankfully, in Toyota President Akio Toyoda passionate drivers may have the staunch ally they need. Toyoda-San demanded sport and excitement from his engineers and developers and we are just now beginning to see the fruits of their efforts. The Scion FR-S embodies this mission.
Sexy. The car is extremely low to the ground. Its athletic stance and aggressive curves stand out from blocks away. I took and accepted stare downs from pedestrians and drivers alike. The FR-S is not marketed aggressively and only has two model years under it’s belt so it remains a novelty to many. Upon entry to your new Scion FR-S you become initiated into an unofficial ownership club. FR-S owners nod at each other. They like each other’s Instagram photos. A woman blew me a kiss. Questions you should prepare yourself for include, “Is that the new Scion?” “What is that thing?” and especially, “Is it fast?”
To answer question number 3, YES! Not Lamborghini goes 60 in 1st gear fast, not even Subaru WRX STi human catapult fast. But yes the FR-S is fast and it is glorious. You will be hard pressed to have more fun between 0 and 80 miles per hour. The car is so successfully tuned and so tightly suspended that each one of it’s 6 manual gears hits like a sling shot pulled to its firing length. It manages to feel fast from the moment you let your foot off of it’s snappy clutch. This car is not just sport mode “go kart handling” like that foresaken mini Cooper S. The 200hp Boxer engine emblazoned with the Toyota and Subaru name helps keeps the weight of the car flat to the ground and the optional exhaust roars with thanks each time you bury the throttle.
The “R” in the FR-S of course stands for rear wheel drive. This means at any moment in your drive you can switch off your safety hat and drive like a stunt man. Go ahead and let that rear end slide out or chirp your tires. Oh yea… it looks good on you. It’s not dangerous if you do it in the right place at the right time. Don’t be a dummy! Look twice!
Speaking of looking twice, if you manage to get your hands on one of these awesome cars your first stop should be the auto parts store for two of those 5 dollar blind spot mirrors. Save your neck the pain. In fact just bring them with you to the dealership and stick them on before you drive off the lot.
The drive is an A+. Next time you see a FR-S drive by take a look at the driver. 9/10 times they’re smiling. I know I was.
Spartan. Nothing here you don’t need except for maybe the standard touch screen 7 speaker sounds system. Built in AUX and USB jack, obligatory clunky 3rd party app suite
and an interesting cup holder design that I think I like. Irrelevant. The car’s interior is built around the driver, the seats are bolstered high enough to be called sidewalls. You will not be thrown around in this car’s warm embrace. An extremely stiff yet comfortable suspension and the near absence of moving parts contributes to a very tight and rattle free ride. The back seat can barely fit two duffel bags. The trunk can fit a set of golf clubs. Good enough for me. Track guy? Put down the seats and slip racing tires in the trunk.
Dare I say cheap? Brand new drive off the lot for just under $25k. Lease it for $300 a month. It drives like a car twice the price.
It’s a home run. Sure it could use a little more torque. Yes, a turbo engine would be incredible. Blind spot mirrors sure… But that’s really all I’ve got. I drove this car in canyons and on freeways, up the coast and in bumper to bumper. It’s fun pulling out of my driveway, it’s fun changing lanes downtown. It’s really, really fun searching for an apex on a winding road. I grew attached very quickly and separation anxiety set in hard on my last day. I didn’t want to give it back. In Los Angeles you spend far too much time in the car. May as well enjoy every minute of it.
22 / 30 m.p.g.
2.0L 4 cylinder Boxer Engine
0-60 in 7.6 very quick seconds
IRWINDALE- The sweet stench of burning rubber and al pastor tacos filled the air as I shoehorned myself into the passenger’s seat of Ken Gushi’s 1000 horsepower Scion FR-S. He waited patiently while I fumbled with my 5 point restraint. Click. Click. Click.
I’m suddenly confused as the sound from the gentle rumbling of the engine is replaced by the roar of some sort of screaming banshee and we must have just been shot out of a cannon or something because I am pinned in my seat and all I can smell is burning rubber and I am wishing I was wearing some sort of adult diaper because holy crap we are flying through the air.
Oh. No cannon. We’re cool. That’s just hot laps with Ken Gushi.
Ken Gushi is a legend in drifting circles. He was drifting his fathers Toyota AE86 by the age of 13, and won his first race before he even had a drivers license.
By race I mean a drifting race, which aside from quadruple digit horsepower and disintegrating tires bears more resemblance to March Madness and figure skating than NASCAR.
Drivers in the Formula Drift series race head to head in a bracket style competition. Each driver is given a score by judges based on optimum line, angle and style. The highest scoring driver moves on to the next round until one remains.
Wait, back it up. What exactly is drifting?
Yea. Now take your Dramamime and check out my view from the passenger seat.
Pretty bad ass. See it in person this weekend as Formula Drift kicks off their 11th season on the streets of Long Beach, California.
And F SPORT makes three. Driving enthusiasts, get ready for more Lexus RC options from which to choose. When the all-new model launches in the U.S. this fall the 2015 Lexus RC 350 F SPORT will join the recently introduced RC 350 sport coupe and RC F performance model.
The RC 350 F SPORT will make its world debut at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show.
The RC is a stand-alone model rather than a two-door derivative of a sedan although it is built on the GS sedan platform. It has the same width as GS and a shorter wheelbase than the IS sedan to help achieve spirited handling and agility.
The F SPORT’s dynamic upgrades include Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and the available Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system. These features provide drivers with an even more rewarding and engaging driving experience.
Readily identified by a model-specific “F” mesh design, the RC 350 F SPORT features a further evolution of the Lexus spindle grille.
The unique 19-inch F SPORT mesh alloy wheels feature machine-finish and dark metallic paint.
The RC 350 F SPORT also inherits a descendant of the innovative LFA driver’s meter with a moving center ring, and an F SPORT perforated leather steering wheel and shift knob. The interior design is completed by Silver Performance trim, an F SPORT-exclusive Rioja Red interior and seats with unique contrast stitching.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is part of the F SPORT package. In response to driving operation, vehicle body motion and road surface conditions, AVS automatically and independently adjusts the performance of the damping at all four wheels. When the vehicle’s SPORT+ drive mode is selected, AVS changes to allow the driver to feel improved body control and precise responses to steering input.
The suspension enhancements of the RC 350 F SPORT are complimented by the available four-wheel steering benefits of the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system. This leading edge platform technology offers the integration of Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).
Monitoring vehicle speed, steering direction and driver inputs, the system calculates the optimum angle for all four wheels. Using VGRS in the front and DRS in the rear, the system can independently manage both front and rear wheel steering angles to help improve turn-in response, rear grip, vehicle control and overall agility when cornering.
The LDH system monitors vehicle speed and yaw rate, steering angle and speed, and lateral G to calculate the required rear wheel steering input up to a maximum rear wheel angle of 2.0 degrees. The front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions at lower speeds, and in the same direction at higher speeds.
Lexus will introduce the RC 350 F SPORT at a press conference on March 4, at 8:45 a.m. Central European Time at Palexpo’s hall 4, stand number 4211.
LOS ANGELES- The first time my fiancé and I drove to San Francisco from Los Angeles was in her 1995 Toyota Corolla. My lush by comparison 1997 Saturn SL2 had, um, “insurance issues” and sat unused on the streets of Venice while we rattled our way through the San Bernardino mountains and farmlands of the central valley. It was 2003, we had recently met, and the purpose of our trip was to show off this amazing girl to some old friends. We listened to music on the tinny speakers of my iBook and shouted over the wind from our open windows. Love was in the air. Luxury was decidedly not.
This year we made the trip in a fully equipped 2013 Lexus ES 300h. We packed my future mother in law in the full size trunk and our luggage in the spacious back seat… err… and began our 394 mile drive with a question I would hear and think countless times over our 5 day trip, Is the car on?
It was, of course, though you wouldn’t always know it. The silent electric idle made for some bumbling moments in the drivers seat. We may or may not have eaten a delicious lunch with the car left running outside of M.H. Bread & Butter. Yea, we probably did. I double checked from then on.
EPA rating is 40 city, 39 highway. We averaged about 34 mpg in mostly highway driving. One tank of gas got us from Los Angeles to north of San Francisco with over a hundred miles worth of fuel to spare. Not too shabby for a car that weighs over 3,600 pounds. A revelation really, to not have to stop in dreaded Coalinga to fuel up for the home stretch. Be careful with the in dash screen or you’ll end up rear ending someone trying to gauge your mpg’s. After some truly distracted driving, I used the assistive touch mouse to set the 8” screen to a more pedestrian map / music split.
Top class. Our fully equipped ES contained the “Ultra Luxury Package” which features heated and cooled leather seats, leather trim, power sunshades, front seat position memory and a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel. The dual climate zone control wrapped us in it’s warm (or cool) embrace as we flew over the countryside. Easy bluetooth connectivity and USB inputs round out the experience.
Though the ES performed admirably on the open road it’s still pretty far from a sports car. The Continuous Variable Transmission may be the answer when it comes to fuel economy but even changing Drive Mode Select to “Sport” couldn’t force the car to be something it isn’t. With a CVT the gears shift through an infinite amount of combinations so that you are always using the perfect amount of RPM’s for maximum efficiency. It makes for a ride lacking in driver feedback and raw experience. My half hearted attempt to carve some roads in the redwoods of Marin County ended abruptly as the engine revved late and understeer pulled me a little too close to the edge. I went back to monitoring my miles per gallon soon after that.
Loaded. 8 airbags, crumple zones, stability control, anti-lock brakes and smart stop technology top the list but some of the more subtle features really impacted the drive. Blind spot monitoring is a comforting presence in the side views and I love the auto dimming rear view mirrors. I even got to use the Rear Cross Traffic Alert backing out of our Air BnB home’s driveway. (Beep Beep Beep!) Parking assist and the rear view camera made parallel parking a simple exercise, no small feat in a car 16 feet long.
The redesigned 2013 ES is a satisfying and pleasant car to drive. You and 3 adult sized passengers will easily ride to your destination in comfort and style. The luxury marketplace lacks competition in the hybrid sedan segment and Lexus is poised to capitalize with this strong offering. The tradeoffs in performance and driver experience are compensated more than adequately by comfort and luxury. All in all this years incarnation of the ES is a true joy to drive.
$38,850 – $47,944
0-60 mph 6.8 seconds
2.5L Dual Cam 4 Cylinder Engine with Electric Drive Motor for 200hp combined
40 / 39 EPA MPG
Want power, precision and passion? Lexus revealed its most powerful V8 engine in the all-new 2015 RC F performance coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The F performance model, based on the RC coupe, gets its powerful roar from more than 450 horsepower and more than 383 lb.-ft. torque.
To get that amount of power efficiently to the ground the RC F will make use of a Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) to ensure remarkable handling and performance. The power will transfer through a newly calibrated eight-speed Sports Direct Shift (SPDS) transmission with paddle shifters.
“I’ve built RC F to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts – no matter what their level of expertise,” said RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi.
“There’s a misconception that racing cars are hard to drive. In fact, they’re easy in the right hands because they’ve been purpose-built for the skill level of their drivers. It’s the same with RC F.
“Electronics can be modified instantly on board to provide appropriate levels of performance and protection. But even at its basic setting, it’s a blast.”
Driving Dynamics with More Power and Usability
The RC F has an all-new 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 engine that will provide increased maximum power at higher engine rpm than previously possible. For the first time in a Lexus performance engine, the RC F uses the Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds for enhanced fuel economy and then switches to the Otto cycle at higher rpm to develop impressive performance levels.
Driver engagement has been made possible by purpose designed sound and power delivery. A uniquely tuned eight-speed Sports Direct Shift (SPDS) transmission improves linear throttle response.
It helps the driver control the torque and power precisely as it is applied.
The newly calibrated VDIM adds a vertical G-sensor to provide greater vehicle stability
Torque Vectoring Differential
The RC F uses a Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD), a first in a Lexus, to increase driving performance. It has three operating modes:
- Standard for a balance of nimble performance and stability;
- Slalom for emphasis on nimble steering response; and
- Track to help with consistent stability, ensuring the vehicle stays on the intended corning line as the driver applies more throttle.
The foundation for the vehicle’s mechanical grip is the highly rigid body with large cross-section rocker panels and a very stiff front lower brace. Specialized Lexus manufacturing techniques are also used, including body adhesives, laser-screw welding, laser brazing and multi-spot welding. Grip is further enhanced through use of a wider tire and wheel assembly.
RC F has front and rear coil-spring independent suspension, with monotube gas-filled shock absorbers and ball-jointed stabilizer bars. Unsprung weight is reduced by the adoption of three new 19-inch diameter forged aluminum wheels which minimize tire/wheel assembly mass and maximize rigidity.
Lexus RC F adds to the stylish body of the new RC coupe on which it is based. The RC F features its own version of the Lexus signature spindle grille which dominates the front of the vehicle from hood line to lower lip. The grille has a subtle F-mesh pattern on the lower half.
In profile view RC F has a unique front hood which raises the peak of the vehicle, creating a powerful side view.
The RC F takes design cues from the Lexus LFA supercar, especially in essential air cooling and aerodynamics. Its hood air vent, such as those on the LFA, combined with front cooling ducts contribute to engine cooling and overall vehicle stability.
As in the LFA, an active rear spoiler is incorporated into the trunk lid to provide down force at speeds of more than 50 mph. The active spoiler is a highlight of RC F’s aerodynamic package which includes careful tuning of the underbody, the intakes in the grille and the front fender vents, and strategic placement of the aero stabilizing fins.
To the side, front fender ducts in the shape of an L also aid cooling performance while adding to the aggressive stance.
The RC F’s available carbon fiber package offers a clear coated carbon fiber roof and active rear spoiler drawn from the LFA production experience.
Uniquely designed components, including combination meters, the steering wheel, seats, ornamentation and pedals, convey a sense of connection with the driver that only a Lexus F performance model can achieve.
RC F’s all-new combination meters are further developed from LFA while also referencing aircraft cockpit instruments. The meters provide a wide range of easy to read information for the various drive modes.
The combination meters include a large centrally mounted tachometer that alters according to drive mode, digital and analog speedometer, differential torque vectoring monitor, G-Force meter, oil and water temperature gauges, mileage information and a stopwatch.
The driver’s connection to the RC F is paramount. The RC F debuts a Lexus-first elliptical cross-section thick grip steering wheel for greater control during performance driving. The placement, shape and operation of paddle shifters make it easier to change gears on the track and in other performance circumstances.
The all-new high back seats have been designed for exceptional holding performance. An integrated foaming technique creates a highly supportive and taut fitting seat with trim material that stays fixed.
Design has long been a differentiator between Nissan and its competitors – along with performance, innovation and technology. Now, as the company celebrates its 80th anniversary, it is doing so with the world debut of the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Sport Sedan Concept, a design study with a particular emphasis on next-generation design and sporty style, was created to embody the essence of a true sports sedan – that rare execution of 4-door sedan with the aura of a real sports car. It previews a future production vehicle intended for owners with a passion for cutting-edge design and driving dynamics.
“The Sport Sedan Concept shows a new, highly emotional and energetic design direction that takes Nissan’s legendary approach of applying sports car principles to a sedan to the next level,” said Nissan Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura. “The Sport Sedan Concept captures that essence with bold and exciting sports car design and proportions.”
Next-Generation Nissan Design Language
The Sport Sedan Concept joins a trio of advanced concepts that share signature design aspects that will be adapted to all future Nissans. Along with the Nissan Resonance and Friend-ME concepts that were introduced in 2013, the Sport Sedan Concept shares the new V-Motion front aspect, “floating” roof and boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights.
As demonstrated by the three diverse concepts, these distinctive design cues will be incorporated into a range of body types from sedans to crossovers.
“Our new design direction mirrors the strength, power and capabilities of the engineering and innovation that serves as the foundation of every Nissan vehicle,” said Nakamura. “Nissan is a brand for people seeking bold and passionate experiences, and who are willing to make choices outside of traditional boundaries. That’s why Nissan is committed to breaking new ground in automotive design, as expressed in the stunning new Sport Sedan Concept.”
The exterior of the Sport Sedan Concept is marked by low, wide proportions, with a lowered hoodline and reduced ground clearance compared to traditional sedans – elements that would be right at home in a sports car.
The “V-Motion” movement of the front end flows from the dramatic chromed grille up through the hood. The front of the Sport Sedan Concept also incorporates the large LED boomerang headlights, a deeply scooped front fascia and wide, sloped windshield.
The profile of the vehicle is equally powerful, with its dynamic bodyside lines adding a strong sculptural feel and connecting the wheels and tires – which are pushed out to the four corners.
There is a projection of motion, even when the vehicle is standing still. The Sport Sedan Concept rides on custom 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with low-profile 275/30R21 tires.
The distinctive silhouette blends smoothly into the rear design, which is capped by the high deck, large chrome trunk accent and wide, deeply scooped rear fascia. As in the front, the boomerang rear combination lights accentuate the centered feeling and push outward to edges.
The unique “floating” roof adds a sense of openness and lightness in contrast to traditional sedans’ heavy cabin appearance.
“The innovative roofline, which is also prevalent on Resonance and Friend-ME, makes it seem as if there are no pillars at all, enhancing the sense of athleticism and sportiness,” said Nakamura. “The roofline also contributes to the Sport Sedan Concept’s class-leading stance, which balances the look of the substantial lower body and a streamlined cabin.”
The final exterior touch is the unique “Strad Amber” paint that was inspired by the craftsmanship and rich finish of noted classic violins – instruments capable of producing vibrant intensity at times and at other times a soft stillness. The elaborate candy color paint finish is achieved through application of an orange-amber topcoat over a base of gold paint, creating a distinctive depth and bespoke richness.
The Sport Sedan Concept’s interior also offers cues to future production designs. Premium materials are found throughout, with the use of diamond-shaped graphics on the quilted seats, stitching and panels enhancing the sense of dynamic motion. Rather than traditional flat surfacing, the diamond treatment adds three-dimensionality. The edgy and geometric look was inspired by modern furniture, apparel and accessories. The interior also features high-contrast colors and facet metallic accents. All these aspects finely express Nissan’s individual authenticity and modernity.
The front-wheel drive Sport Sedan Concept is powered by a 300-plus horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine backed by a sport-tuned Xtronic CVT® and features an innovative suspension layout with performance dampers.
The Nissan Sport Sedan Concept was created by Nissan Design America in San Diego, California and developed at the Nissan Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan.