SEMA Lexus Hints At New Brand Direction

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

While there can be no doubt that many of the current Lexus models have superlative performance, the question still remains as to whether or not Toyota is really very serious about positioning Lexus as a sporty, high performance brand. Over the last few model years, the major changes made to their vehicles have focused on peripheral aspects rather than building a strong brand identity to lust after.

Simply adding more LEDs and F Sport body kits is no really going to cut it. If you want a comparison, just take a look at Jaguar. British gentlemen’s clob fuddy duddy has given way to cutting edge chic. Lexus, on the other hand, seems frozen in time.

GS350 F Sport – The Turing Point?

This model could be a great starting point if Toyota and Lexus are serious about really turning the brand into a first class sporting brand. Let’s see what they have done for the SEMA show with the 2013 GS350.

First up there is the forced induction system. Who knows what the output is, but it sounds exciting. It also sports coil covers, a Wald body kit, 20-inch Vossen wheels, red Brembo brakes and a freer flowing exhaust setup.

The forced induction is a cool twist as no standard Lexus models have ever had a turbo or super-charger. Is this to gauge the reaction of the buying public? After all, most of the other brands in the same class have already been doing this for a while. Take BMW and Audi for example. The entire BMW 5-series uses turbo charging. The Audi A6 goes both ways, using both superchargers and turbos.

Adding forced induction to the GS350 F Sport would really spice it up. After all, 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds is already pretty quick, but still not quite enough to be best in class. Add then the other question is whether Lexus might be thinking of using smaller turbocharged engines in the future to keep power up and emissions down. Again, this is an approach being taken by other manufacturers, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Lexus went that route also.

But at the end of the day it all boils down to character and style. Have this in bucket loads, and perceived value goes through the roof. Have only a thin veneer, and you will be left behind.

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