Posts Tagged ‘jay leno’

Jay Leno Gets Behind the 2014 Lexus IS Prototype

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Over the weekend 20-year veteran of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno, posted a very interesting video on his automotive YouTube channel, JayLenosGarage. The video was a review of the new 2014 Lexus IS prototype, and was filmed on Japan’s Fuji Motor Speedway with Lexus’ Chief Engineer, Junichi Furuyama.

In the video, which you can find at the bottom of this page, we get to see Leno grill a stone-faced Furuyama for confirmation of the new Lexus’ specifications. Of course, in typical Japanese-style Furuyama is completely unfazed by Leno’s persistent questions. In fact, throughout the video the prototype is tightly camouflaged to keep its re-designed exterior from catching even one ray of sunshine. The only part of the car that we get to see clearly is the interior while Jay is pushing the sports car to its limits on the racetrack.

Jay Leno’s video may have been uploaded to his YouTube channel last Friday, but the video was actually filmed late September when he test drove the Lexus LFA Spyder at the same Fuji Motor Speedway. This is probably why Furuyama was so tight-lipped about the Lexus IS’s specifications. Just last week he was much more expressive when the folks over at Autoblog were test driving the same vehicle.

I’d like to draw your attention to one specific section of the video during Jay Leno’s test drive as it really is a good insight: He says, “I kind of see why they call this their BMW fighter, because when I was getting interested in cars Germany was always the standard, and everybody tried to beat or match it. This feels extremely German in its handling; an extremely powerful engine, eight speed transmission, and it handles very nice.”

After the test drive by the folks over at Autoblog, we know without a doubt that Lexus wants the IS to be its contender for the BMW 3-Series. Furuyama specifically said to Autoblog that he wanted the Lexus IS to be “the most fun to drive in the segment”. Since the BMW 3-Series is so popular because of its responsive performance, it makes sense that this is Lexus’ chief goal.

To make the Lexus IS a legitimate competitor to the BMW 3-Series, Furuyama says they focused on three core areas of improvement, “body and suspension, driver environment and powertrain”. From what we can tell, the chassis in particular has seen vast improvements with significantly more rigidity. Apparently the car feels very sturdy when taking tight curves, like it was carefully tuned to withstand high performance; Leno says, “it doesn’t lean, it doesn’t roll, nothing flexes.”

It’s hard to tell whether or not the Lexus IS will be able to take a bite out of the endless accolades surrounding the BMW 3-Series, but Lexus is definitely trying and the IS will definitely be the car to do it. Either way, after seeing the Lexus IS prototype fly around the Fuji Motor Speedway I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t itching to get behind the wheel myself. This is definitely a Japanese car to keep your eyes open for in 2013.


Jay Leno Takes Topless Lexus LFA Out On It’s Home Track By Mount Fuji

Posted by Stephen On Monday, October 8th, 2012

Fans of car aficionado and late-night giant Jay Leno got a treat the other night on his popular show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” as the comic veteran took the Lexus LFA out for a spin in the car’s homeland. Making a stop first at Toyota City where Leno watched the LFA being built, the all-things-car expert then traveled to world renowned Fuji Speedway where he took the Lexus LFA out for a spin.

Unique Open LFA

But it wasn’t just any Lexus LFA Mr. Leno took out onto the track in Oyama, Japan; rather it was a white, roofless speedster that is the clean-air version of the sporty Lexus. While Leno said that the V10 was the only roofless car to be made, savvy car buffs will remember back to 2008 when a maroon roofless version was on display at auto shows (of course, maybe it wasn’t running back then and has since been repainted). Well, the one thing that he did have right is that the car is indeed, roofless. There’s no hidden storage of the roof anywhere: it simply wasn’t made with a roof, detachable or otherwise.

Regardless, Leno’s joyous reiteration of the phrase, “Oh, my God” as the supercar deftly handled the curves while hugging the track at Mt. Fuji were enough to let anyone know just how he feels about this car: superb. Proclaiming that no other care feels as “refined” as this Lexus, it was quite clear that Leno was taken aback by the innovative design, precision handling and brilliant craftsmanship that went into the car.

Lexus LFA Manufacturing Process

Earlier in the day, Leno visited the plant where the LFA is made and discussed the textile weaving process that the carbon fiber tub that holds the LFA together is constructed from. This structure is essential in allowing the LFA’s build to be stronger than steel, yet lighter than 20 kilograms. He also spoke about the intricate construction process, during which no worker is allowed to touch the car with their bare hands, instead having to wear gloves throughout the entire assembly process. Coolant is pumped at thirty-two square pounds of pressure runs through the door frame at all times, winding up in the rear radiator, which is essential in helping to cool  such a powerful engine.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: the Lexus LFA was built for class, speed, elegance and luxury and I would not be surprised to see one joining Jay Leno’s extensive car collection after his latest trip to Japan.