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Sydney show: Lexus goes F-mad

Electric blue: The CT200h F Sport receives a number of chassis and cosmetic upgrades.

Lexus stages world CT200h F Sport debut and confirms $700K LFA supercar is sold out

Lexus logo15 Oct 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

LEXUS has presented the global premiere of a surprise F Sport version of its CT200h at this morning’s Australian International Motor Show opening, just two weeks after the dedicated hybrid hatchback made its world production debut at the Paris motor show.

Lexus said the F-badged CT will be among a range of forthcoming F Sport models, including the IS350 F Sport sedan that will be launched later this month and the range-topping LFA super-coupe.

The company also confirmed that all eight Australian examples of the LFA have now been sold, even before they begin arriving here in early 2011 and despite a pricetag of $700,000.

While the base CT200h will be priced from under $50,000 when it goes on sale in Australia early next year, the more expensive F Sport CT200h will receive a number of chassis and cosmetic upgrades, led by unique suspension tuning, more aggressive front and rear styling, unique alloy wheels and F badging.

It will be available in an exclusive ‘Flame Blue’ exterior paint colour and there will be the option of unique interior trim, plus standard privacy glass and F Sport steering wheel, sports pedals, scuff plates and instrument panel.

31 center imageFrom top: Lexus LFA, Lexus IS350 F Sport, Lexus CT200h.

Lexus Australia chief executive Tony Cramb said the global debut of the Japanese luxury brand’s newest hybrid in F Sport guise demonstrates the importance of the Australian market to Toyota’s premium vehicle division.

“CT200h gives Lexus a presence in the growing luxury compact segment,” he said.

“There is a clear trend to small vehicles that do not compromise on features. In short, CT is a small car with all the luxury features of a large car.

“CT200h F Sport models will add even greater appeal to a vehicle that – with its hybrid drivetrain and list of advanced features – is set to become Australia’s most advanced luxury hatch.

“The arrival of the CT200h in 2011 reinforces yet again Lexus’ commitment to hybrid vehicles. It cements our real-world hybrid advantage in the luxury market.” Lexus also staged a local debut for the IS350, which will become available in three specification grades (Prestige, F Sport and Sports Luxury) from next month priced from $64,800 plus on-road costs.

Priced $8900 higher than the equivalent IS250 Prestige sedan ($55,900), the 233kW 3.5-litre V6-powered IS350 is at least $20,000 cheaper than its European sports sedan rivals. These include the BMW 335i M Sport ($110,800), Mercedes-Benz C300 Avantgarde ($90,850) and Audi A4 3.2 FSI quattro ($88,914).

Mr Cramb said the IS350’s class-leading sub-$65,000 base pricing was designed to bring competition back into the high-output six-cylinder luxury vehicle segment.

“Luxury vehicle buyers looking for an engaging and dynamic luxury sedan need look no further. (The) IS350 with its class-leading pricing will be exactly what they’ve been waiting for.

“As part of Lexus Australia’s negotiation process for IS350, pricing was always top of mind. The entry price of $64,800 really throws the challenge to our competition.

“We are certain that IS350 will be an extremely popular choice among buyers for its high levels of specification and power, engaging drive and its class-leading price.

“IS350 pricing is not apologetic. It’s realistic and supports our long-held belief that luxury vehicles shouldn’t be priced highly just because they can be.” Lexus said the IS350 F Sport will build a bridge between the regular IS250 models and the IS F sports sedan, which arrived in 2008 as Australia’s first fully fledged F model from Lexus – and its first direct response to BMW’s M, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG and Audi’s RS model lines.

“Twenty years ago, Lexus offered just one dedicated luxury vehicle. Today, that dynamic has changed,” said Mr Cramb.

“(Now) Lexus leads the way with luxury hybrids, offers more than five model lines with over 33 model variants and is building a growing performance vehicle portfolio.

“The coming years for Lexus will be defined by a growth in hybrid vehicles and performance-oriented product, driven by our two halo vehicles – LS600hL and LFA.

“Mirroring our commitment to expand hybrid availability, Lexus is working hard to offer a performance-orientated model across our entire vehicle range.” Lexus confirmed that all eight examples of the LFA supercar earmarked for Australia – from a global production run of 500 vehicles – have been sold, with each of the $700,000 coupes featuring a unique combination of interior and exterior colours, trim and wheel options.

This follows an extensive purchase procedure that involved senior Lexus executives travelling around Australia to walk customers through the personalised vehicle briefing, ordering and confirmation process.

“Each and every Lexus LFA customer has had personal dialogue with senior Lexus Australia representatives,” said Mr Cramb.

“Lexus has forged a strong relationship with each LFA owner. This relationship will continue well into the future, encompassing technical and service support and access to Lexus’ exclusive Encore program.

“Lexus Australia is proud to have confirmed LFA for Australia and looks forward to offering further exclusive product in the future.” The LFA is powered exclusively by a 4.8-litre V10 petrol engine that delivers 412kW at some 8700rpm and 480Nm of torque at no less than 6800rpm.

Driving through a six-speed automated sequential gearbox, the carbon-fibre-chassis LFA, which weighs between 1480 and 1580kg depending on specifications, is claimed to sprint to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 325km/h.

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