Sunday, 05 February 2023

Lexus is a luxury brand that has long been a supporter of hybrid vehicles, and it recently unveiled its first fully electric vehicle, the RZ 450e.

In the middle of that spectrum of differently powered vehicles is the plug-in hybrid, which embraces a partial EV operation combined with a hybrid setup. Lexus is also pursuing this category, with their first-ever offering being the 2022 Lexus NX 450h+, a plug-in hybrid version of their popular compact SUV.

The 450h+ is part of the second generation of the NX line, which also includes ICE and standard hybrid versions. Plug-in hybrids can help ease worries about range anxiety among buyers, while also allowing them to begin their journey toward fully embracing a true EV.

The luxury battlefield is always intense, and that applies to the electrified/hybrid realm too. So Lexus knows it has to come strong to compete in this sector — where it’s battling brands like Audi, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and more.

I recently spent time in a 2022 NX 450h+ F Sport, and I’m back with a full report on the vehicle, which shares some technology with the nonluxury Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

BMW recently announced the BMW Concept XM, a new vehicle concept that looks ahead to the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production, which is set to begin at the end of 2022. Electrification underpins a driving experience which allows the driver to both glide along in near silence and enjoy the engaging pleasure of high performance driving, M-style. The BMW Concept XM provides a preview of the new front end design for BMW’s forthcoming luxury-class models. It also introduces a highly progressive and distinctive take on BMW X model design, and an all-new form of luxury and sense of space for the interior.
 
The series-production model – the BMW XM – will begin production at the end of 2022 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. BMW M will be introducing its first standalone vehicle since the legendary BMW M1 in the year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  The BMW XM will be available only as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and exclusively as an M model. 
 
The exterior styling of the BMW Concept XM reflects the vehicle’s exceptional performance attributes: power, agility, and precision, plus an all-electric range of up to 80 km (WLTP) and up to 30 miles (preliminary estimate, not an official EPA value). The newly developed M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Concept XM brings together a V8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to develop a maximum output of 740 hp and peak torque of 738 lb-ft. The first electrified vehicle from BMW M GmbH in the high-performance segment is emphatically pointing the way forward for the future of the brand.
 
“The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance vehicle segment,” says Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “It underlines the ability of BMW M GmbH to break with established conventions and push boundaries in order to offer fans of the brand the ultimate driving experience. The series-production vehicle – the first pure BMW M model since the legendary BMW M1 – also shows how we are approaching the step-by-step electrification of our brand.” 

“The design of the BMW Concept XM is an extravagant statement by BMW M in the heart of the luxury segment,” says Domagoj Dukec, Vice President BMW Design. “It has a resolutely standalone identity and embodies an expressive lifestyle like no other model in the BMW line-up.”

Published in NEWS

EVs and hybrids are increasingly becoming the norm, and Lexus has been a leader in that realm in the luxury sector, long having offerings to boost fuel economy and eco-friendliness.

Their RX model debuted its hybrid model way back in 2006, and it’s still going strong — even as new plug-in and electric models start to take off and grow in popularity.

To keep people on board with their 2021 model, Lexus adds more standard features — including safety features such as Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and convenience items such as power folding mirrors.

Upscale but not over-the-top with its plushness, the RX450h walks a fine line in terms of blending a focus on sleek design with a tech-savvy approach that incorporates the latest technology — aiming for a best of all worlds when it comes to looks and utility.

I recently tested a 2021 Lexus RX 450h, and I’m back with a full report. Read on to see how it compares to its lofty competition in the luxury realm.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Automakers worldwide are making steps — at different speeds — toward a lineup full of electric vehicles, and BMW has been among the leaders in that regard in the luxury realm.

The 3-series has long been a success for BMW, and it’s been around for nearly 50 years with no sign of disappearing anytime soon, but there are now new versions of this iconic ride to match the times, including the 2021 BMW 330e plug-in. I recently spent some time in this eco-friendly ride and I’m back with a full report on whether it lives up to the BMW 3-series name.

LOOKS
The 2021 BMW 330e features an attractive and sleek exterior design, and my test vehicle had a clean Alpine White paint job.

It’s low to the ground, and has a distinctive and eye-catching grille. It’s the type of car you love to look at. Interior and exterior design live up to BMW name and expectations. This is a smaller luxury ride, but inside there is decent room for everyone, even in the back seat, considering the segment. Quality seating materials offer extreme comfort.

Published in CAR REVIEWS

While the charge toward electrification of the vehicles we buy continues, some brands are taking the challenge more seriously than others.

Among the brands most dedicated to this incoming change, and leading the charge (no pun intended), is Volvo. The company has a lofty goal of having fully electric vehicles comprising 50 percent of its sales by 2025, and already offers all of its new models in some form of hybrid or electric model.

Volvo has the difficult task of maintaining the strong driving experience that Volvos tend to offer, while adapting to this new eco-friendly environment. I recently tested a 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge, the plug-in hybrid version of their mid-size SUV, and I’m back with a full report on whether it lives up to these expectations.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

If you want to get people’s attention in the automotive world, there’s a couple routes you can take. You can aim at putting out the best product that outshines what is currently on the market. Or you can aim for a more affordable product to draw in car buyers looking to save.

Rarely are both achievable at the same time, but Lexus has come close to achieving that rare feat with its 2020 Lexus UX 250h, a hybrid SUV which delivers best-in-class fuel mileage and offers a beautifully designed vehicle inside and out.

LOOKS

Lexus’ UX, a subcompact SUV, slots in just below the Lexus NX in the automaker’s SUV lineup. It’s also one of the few vehicles in this class to offer a hybrid variant, giving it a leg up on the competition.

The exterior design features the usual sharp Lexus look, with a bold-looking grille and smooth angles and curves. Go inside the UX, and you'll find a luxurious look and feel, and some of the most comfortable seats in the business.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

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