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Everything posted by Rabbers

  1. When sifting through some old press releases and articles earlier today, I was reminded that the RC300h was, upon its launch, the world's first hybrid coupé. As snippets of information go, this may not make the pulse quicken with excitement but will probably merit a footnote in some future history of the car industry.
  2. Rabbers

    Keyless Thefts

    Interesting, as dutchie01 also points out, about Nigeria being a main market for cars stolen in the UK, just as it is said to be for ones stolen in continental Europe. The latter, being LHD, would be more logical choices for local customers but I guess that in practice little has changed in the more than thirty years since I was last in Lagos and when drivers did not seem over-fussed about keeping to one side of the road or the other. And the same went for Kinshasa and Luanda in, respectively, Zaire (as it then was) and Angola, which are said to be other favoured destinations for stolen cars and are probably also equally happy with RHD and LHD.
  3. Rabbers

    Keyless Thefts

    Although the battery-saving feature was also present in the key of the IS300h I previously had, and is simple enough to operate, I have never trained myself to use it - not that I see much purpose for it beyond stopping the doors constantly locking and unlocking and the mirrors folding and unfolding (yes, I know this function can be switched off separately) when I am washing the car, especially with a jetwash. Instead, I pop the key into a highly effective signals-blocking pouch I bought online for a price that was lower than the postage, and which I keep in the car for no other purpose. Like many other owners, I cling to the belief that professional thieves are less likely to target a Lexus in preference to other more common marques because of the small sell-on potential and the better chance of it being quickly spotted by the police. Unfortunately, this is probably not true in the case of joyriders, especially "serial" ones for whom the prospect of stealing and riding in a comparatively rare car might be the main attraction. Not that I would think many of them would know how to clone an electronic key.
  4. Rabbers

    RC Speaker quiz

    I confess that I often find the acronyms themselves to be more interesting than what they actually mean. As you point out, CST sounds suspiciously like an example of marketing BS [by which I take it you mean TE = Taurine Excrement], and indeed, given the flashes of semantic inventiveness one frequently encounters in them, the involvement of professional copywriters in their creation seems more than likely - and, to my mind, quite welcome insofar as engineers have never been renowned for their communication skills. Japanese companies seem particularly fond of acronyms, Lexus being no exception. My own favourite in the Lexus repertoire is V[EHICLE] D[YNAMICS] I[NTEGRATION] M[ANAGEMENT], the meaning of which seems, correctly in my case, to be conceptually so far beyond the grasp of non-engineers as to require an accompanying for-dummies picture of a ball rolling unhindered around the inside of a hemisphere.
  5. Rabbers

    RC Speaker quiz

    To my post of 24 August I am now able to add, should anyone be interested, that the speakers in question (or maybe some of them) employ Pioneer's proprietary premium CST (=COHERENT SOURCE TRANSDUCER) technology. If I understand the claims right, this ensures a more accurate delivery of sound from mid-range speakers at all frequencies to wherever in the cabin a listener is sitting.
  6. Paul: Great choice. Since you are going to become obsessive (or probably already are) about even minor bits of dirt, my advice would be to: * instal mud-flaps front and rear, overcoming any dislike you may have for them, since the RC, because of its shape, is more prone than most cars to splattering from dirt, especially around the boot. * give the front bumper, especially, but also the rear one and the skirts, a coating of protective wax, e.g. Collinite #845, so that a quick wipe with a wet cloth will remove most types of minor dirt wherever you happen to be. * with winter approaching you may also want to use the Collinite on the alloys, which are nice but not easy to clean.
  7. Rabbers

    RC Speaker quiz

    I apologise for straying OT, but I have always found it interesting that Lexus, unlike other marques with expensive flagship audio options of their own, has never attempted to visually differentiate its ML systems. Even the logo is difficult to see unless you know it's there. By contrast, when you look, for example, inside a Benz with Burmester audio, the first things you see are the silvered speaker-grilles with the "forte" symbol, and, just in case the mushroom tweeters escape your attention in an Audi with a B&O system, which is very unlikely, the liberal sprinkling of names and logos throughout the cabin will, as intended, quickly set you right about the owner's level of income. Certainly, in neither of these cases are you left in any doubt that you are looking at serious pieces of kit, but it is difficult to escape the thought that the designers teetered close to the edge before avoiding a potential drop into bling. By comparison, Lexus can only be accused of an excess of sobriety which might be considered boring by some and elegant by others.
  8. If you can, try driving across a major city in the rush hour in ECO and then repeat on another occasion in NORMAL. In my experience the ride quality and your degrees of relaxation will be exactly the same and the difference in fuel economy so slight as to be negligible. You will have released smaller amounts of noxious fumes in ECO but, assuming you care, without being able to prove or quantify it.
  9. Rabbers

    RC Speaker quiz

    I agree entirely. When I first had my RC with 10-speaker audio I remember thinking that I had never previously felt a need to count the speakers let alone research exactly what lay behind the grilles. Lexus has never offered the sort of over-complicated descriptions that appeal to audio geeks, such mentions as the systems have received in advertising literature over the years having been limited to wattages and speaker numbers and a few laudatory adjectives. I have always taken this sketchiness as an acknowledgment on Lexus' part that good audio does not rank so high in the desires of most car buyers as to significantly influence their final decision to buy any specific car and is therefore not worth actively promoting.
  10. Rabbers

    RC Speaker quiz

    I've been trying, I regret to say unsuccessfully, to find the French (or maybe Belgian) site from which, last year when I was awaiting delivery of my MY2016 RC300h, I jotted down the following data relative to the Pioneer 10-speaker system. I've seen the data nowhere else. 256 WATTS TOTAL OUTPUT SPEAKERS : 3.5 inch L and R dash 2.6 inch centre dash 7.0 inch/dual-cone front doors 6.3 inch rear side-panels (grilles colour-blended) 10.0 inch parcel-shelf sub-woofer It appears that the rear side-panels speakers have been modified in MY2017.
  11. Rabbers

    Rust on brake caliper

    There was a thread on this Forum about a similar issue: see Front Brake Caliper Corrosion, started by Steve44, February 8, 2015.
  12. The merits and de-merits, the latter mainly economic, of ML audio have been debated as long as LOC Forums have existed without, as far as I can see, anything like a general consensus of opinion having emerged. As for me, my RC is my first Lexus without ML, which, on the basis of tried and trusted performance, I would have preferred had its availability not involved a wait of 4-5 months against immediate delivery of an F-Sport with the 10-speaker system as standard. While I have learned to live with the latter system, and consider its quality perfectly acceptable (so much so that I am faintly ashamed to be focusing on such a typically First-World issue), I would still objectively have preferred the ML. What I would not have tolerated, on the other hand, and would have put up with any length of waiting-list to avoid it, is the 6-speaker system, whose tinniness I experienced in a CT loaner and which would certainly once not have been considered worthy of Lexus, let alone of any of its higher models.
  13. I understand, therefore, that unless you insist on ML you can avoid the 6-speaker audio only by paying for optional Premium Nav. This sounds fair enough, albeit a bit complicated as buying decisions go.
  14. I never realized before reading this thread that no version of the RC300h sold in the U.K. gets the 10-speaker Pioneer audio system even as an optional, which is odd since I believe it is available just about everywhere else and is normally standard on the F-Sport. It crosses my mind that this might be a ploy to get customers to stretch for an ML, but I would have serious doubts about it being successful.
  15. Because they tend to be based on single negative episodes and generally consist of extremes of blame or praise, or even over-praise when individual staff members are mentioned, I take opinions about dealerships with a pinch of salt. Not surprisingly, dealers whose staff do their jobs properly and for the most part anonymously and invisibly (with generously-endowed receptionists with prominent name-badges being a justifiable exception) inspire little or no comment. With specific regard to Lexus dealerships, I have over the years used eight or nine in different countries and, except for rare encounters with people were obviously having a bad day (as I probably was too), I would give them all similarly high marks for conscientiousness, helpfulness and courtesy, punctuality and, above all, an ability to quickly solve whatever problem I had, the only jumps in blood pressure I have experienced (and continue to experience) being normal reactions to the size of the bills for major services and/or parts - not that the need for replacements has been frequent given the good quality of the originals. And although I can't say to what extent overall reliability is dependent on good scheduled servicing by honest dealers, my own experience certainly tells me that Lexus' traditional high scores in independent reliability surveys are deserved. Of course, having been a Lexus owner for the better part of two decades I am no longer in a position to offer opinions about other dealerships, but I must say that the days when new customers were almost startled by the far higher visible levels of enthusiasm and motivation displayed by Lexus staff compared to their counterparts at, say, BMW or Audi (which were the marques I previously drove) are long gone. This does not mean that the quality of work has necessarily declined. It means that the pressure of work has increased. What appears to be happening is that staff numbers, especially in the workshop, are lagging behind the volume of service needs being generated by the cumulative totals of Lexus models on the road in the sales area covered by individual dealerships. And although a forced increase in staff productivity irrespective of whether current sales targets are being met might be good news for the owners of a dealership, it is probably not for customers who remember getting a smile along with their service needs.
  16. I have always wondered about that myself, and can only imagine it could happen in the event of an unusually high full-frontal headwind. The only occasion when I actually expect the car to slow significantly because of a headwind is upon entering high viaducts/bridges with the wind-sock pointing directly at you. Since my own automatic reaction is then always to disengage cruise control and drop down a gear or two in order to keep the car steadier, I really cannot say if the system would do so of its own accord, though, as the manual states, I strongly suspect it might. I personally find it difficult to tell at medium-to-low speeds unless I am in Sport or Sport+ and thus observe the revs needle.
  17. I recently had occasion to test the ACC's ability to maintain set speeds of 100kmh and 120kmh, as per the indicated limits, on steep downhill stretches of motorway of as much as 15km in length (e.g. the descents on either side of the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland, and even steeper albeit individually shorter ones around Kassel in central Germany where the main deterrent to speeding, apart from good sense, is the presence of worryingly short sand-filled escape lanes for use in the event of brake failure). When there were any deviations at all from the settings, they were no more than +1-2kmh on the steepest and straightest bits, which was certainly not enough to warrant downwards re-adjustment with the control lever. Occasionally, the speeds reverted to their settings as the result of the slight slowing effect of curves or changes of lane. The deviations were no different from those I have also observed in the non-adaptive cruise controls of all IS generations back to the 200.
  18. An almost exact conversion of 40kmh, which is the speed below which cruise control cannot be engaged and, similarly, is programmed to disengage after deceleration.
  19. Rabbers

    Carrying a dog in RC

    As someone who is somewhat reluctant to grant even other human beings access to his car because of the likelihood, indeed the certainty, that they will leave behind organic traces of their presence, invisible and innocuous as these might be, I shall be following this thread with considerable interest as, no doubt, will others whose image of a canine presence in cars is less realistically relatable to a Lexus RC300h than to Volvo wagons and green wellies or, if royalty is involved, to corgis and vintage LRs. Nevertheless, should the owners feel able to correctly interpret and record their dogs' opinion of the RC's ride comfort, cabin ergonomics and rear-seat accessibility etc. they will be making a valuable - and probably unique - contribution to Lexus literature.
  20. I was given a MY2017 IS300h ("Luxury" spec, 18" rims, no Sport+ mode/AVS) as a courtesy car for a morning when I took my RC300h in for its first service a couple of months ago. The differences in the ride are noticeable in cornering, the RC having a flatter trajectory which tends to encourage faster entry, and also in anything other than normal gradual braking when the IS, as it comes to a stop, tends, unlike the RC, to perceptibly lower its nose as part of a slight lengthwise undulation. This is something I had not noticed, or perhaps considered normal, in previous generations of the IS, and indeed, it would probably not be worth mentioning other than in a direct comparison between suspensions such as this. All in all, you pays your money and takes your choice. Personally, I went for the RC because of its good looks and my limited need for rear seats. Both cars perform admirably with the IS having a slight edge in terms of comfort and the RC of stability. Their ability to inspire pride and pleasure of ownership is pretty much equal.
  21. Very likely. Looking back, it was fortunate for my career at the time that Lexus was largely unknown on this side of the Atlantic or I would probably have been tempted to try and sneak an LS past the corporate watchdogs as my own company car and then been fired on the spot!
  22. Agreed. The groundwork for Lexus' success in the U.S. was admirably done in the 1990s when Toyota exploited a gap in the luxury sedan market by offering a product that was so palpably of a better quality than anything the Americans were making that professional reviewers were not only immediately impressed but have tended to be favourably disposed towards Lexus ever since (*Note below). The gap was so big and Lexus' success so immediate that Honda and Nissan, who had pioneered the concept of a luxury marque with Acura and Infiniti respectively, albeit by initially simply re-badging the top models in their ranges, quickly started investing heavily, as also did MB and BMW, whose marketing efforts had hitherto been somewhat low-key and niche-oriented. In this scenario, which was further crowded by Cadillac, who reacted slowly but significantly with improved build quality and several re-stylings, Lexus has generally managed to stay ahead of the pack, or at least run neck-and-neck with it. No such exploitable quality-based gap existed in Europe, where, then as now, any and all demands for premium cars in each and every country were, and are, capable of being satisfied by any single one of MB, BMW and Audi/VW with the result that Lexus, as regards potential market share, is destined to remain a tiny speck in the German industry's rear-view mirror. As reported by dutchie01 in his last post, realism dictates that Lexus' future ambitions, supported as they fortunately are by high margins, be largely limited to good styling, selectivity in introducing new models, and appeal to connoisseurship. (*Note) Not that Lexus did not have a few nationalistic hurdles to overcome in the U.S., of which I am personally reminded every time I hear the present Administration's proclamations about an "America First" policy. Whenever I visited my employer's Chicago head office in the late 80s/early 90s I would find many of the guys with company cars literally drooling over the recently launched LS, not least because the main Lexus dealer's very impressive showroom happened to be located just down the road. Unfortunately for them, there was a total veto on the car on the part of the company Chairman himself, who was not only Republican to the core but, for reasons I was never able to fully fathom, rabidly anti-Japanese. Certainly, he and a couple of other senior people were perfectly content with their Cadillacs and driver, but there was no question that their underlings would have felt better motivated driving to work in a Lexus instead of one of the Oldsmobiles or Buicks that were then the main order of the day.
  23. It's really a question of size and scale. Were Lexus to supply a wider range of products to the same or a larger number of markets it would incur a whole series of additional costs and expenses in all sectors of its business starting with an expansion of its present manufacturing capacities, continuing with a corresponding enlargement of its stocking and distribution facilities, and ending with increased sales and marketing expenditures, all in a context of increased commercial risk and without taking a need for extra management resources into account. Of course, there are few organisations in the world better equipped than Toyota to finance and undertake this sort of task, but is clearly not in line with its corporate strategy, which, expressed in very broad terms, is to cater for big numbers with the Toyota and not the Lexus brand. However, since the quality gap between the top of Toyota's range and the bottom of Lexus' appears to be narrowing, maybe we'll one day end up seeing a new marque called LEXOTA, or something like that!
  24. Having just re-visited this thread after some time, I was surprised by the direction (and tone) it had taken, with people chasing their own tails about what cars they would buy if Lexus sold them, which, in the case of an IS350 in Europe it probably never will, or whether the 200T is a crap product or not, and so forth. Little of this has much practical bearing on what Lexus actually does, which is not to offer everything it can make to everyone everywhere but to develop and selectively market such ranges of models as it believes to be suited to any given market or group of markets and do so profitably. In fact, the last post I had read was dutchie01's of 1 July, which came to much the same conclusion but with the additional comment that Lexus' U.K. sales are so small as to be irrelevant. I'm not too sure about that. Bear in mind that Lexus sells as many units in the U.K. as it does in Germany, France, Italy and Spain put together, so that if Toyota was ever to consider winding up any of its Lexus operations in Europe it would certainly not be the U.K. but, more probably, all of them at the same time because, if measured by overall market share, they do not add up to one-tenth of the slightly less than 3% achieved in the U.S., which is not, on the face of it, particularly spectacular either. However, I would believe that Lexus' individual national market shares are scrutinised less closely than the financial resources required to achieve them, and that as long as the latter are acceptable or show realistic signs of becoming so, operations will continue. There do not appear to be any drastic moves afoot in Europe at the moment unless the weeding out of a product like the 200T in the U.K. is considered to be one, although it is said that many people in the Lexus organisation, especially dealers, already considered its launch to be a mistake at a time when other subsidiaries were actively pursuing an all-hybrid strategy. In fact, Lexus is said to be Toyota's most profitable division, reflecting higher margins on premium cars and, according to some analysts, because of its avoidance of slow-moving inventories through a close synchronisation of production and delivery, Lexus having as far as possible always followed a policy of not customising individual cars to order but of selling finished packages from combined totals of landed inventories and shipments continuously underway from Japan, a high proportion of the latter pre-sold. Insofar as these offerings originate from market-by-market sales projections made by local managements whose job it is to know the likes and dislikes of their own prospective customers they contain - or should ideally contain - enough permutations of variants and optionals within predetermined ranges to preempt what would otherwise be unmanageable numbers of demands for customisations or wider choices of models and versions. As a result many customers are happy enough to buy what they are offered rather than what they might prefer were they to be given a wider set of options, Lexus' aim being to mitigate what would otherwise appear to be motivational incompatibilities between buyer and seller, an aim that would be unthinkable without the marque's reputation for quality, reliability, and good customer service in a context of exclusivity. In this scenario, any misinterpretations or miscalculations of local market requirements, when they occur, mean that customers who are unwilling to modify their preferences have to accept the long waiting times concomitant to inclusion in the next appropriate production and delivery cycles. Failing that, their sole remaining option is to buy another car, probably a German one, or maybe a Cadillac or an Acura or an Infiniti in the U.S., thus slowing Lexus' rate of market penetration. However, the number of customers thus lost, historically, has rarely been sufficient to reduce pre-existing levels of sales, which, despite fluctuations in the worldwide car market, have mainly continued to grow year-to-year, translating into increasing market shares - perhaps better described as the sum of several increasingly comfortable niche positions - along with considerably strengthened brand recognition.
  25. Flattered as I am to be quoted in a forum concerned with a piece of badass machinery like the IS-F, I feel obliged to point out that my words, as was evident from the much longer post from which they were taken, were intended to be sarcastic. Now I understand how the Donald feels when one of his tweets fuels a whole new cycle of false news. Sad. That Lexus has preferred to play the "looks" card and not offer something more muscular in the case of the RC300h is fine with me. Why should anyone sneer at Melania? .....