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Everything posted by Rabbers

  1. There are situations where I find light sensitivity adjustments useful or even necessary. Examples include long series of tunnels where the intervals are mostly longer than the default 30' and the +2 maximum sensitivity setting is preferable to keeping the headlights permanently on, and long stretches of road or narrow city streets and alleys with alternating patches of sun and shade where the minimum -2 setting can be best unless you choose to turn off the auto function altogether. As regards entry into motorway tunnels at high speeds, given that the distance you travel into the darkness will be proportionate to the latter, the activation of the auto function - and your perception of it - may be fractionally delayed if the sensitivity is set to Regular. However, as a rule of thumb I established with an IS300h and have confirmed with my present RC, a +2 maximum sensitivity setting enables the headlights to come on perfectly simultaneously with entry into a tunnel at 100-110kmh without any perceptible delay in respect of lower speeds. With the settings on Regular or +1 or at speeds higher than this I find the activation to be noticeably less "prompt".
  2. Phil: your post is a summary of the reasons why many owners remain loyal after buying their first Lexus. My current Lexus is the sixth I have owned in seventeen years whereas my previous eleven cars, company ones for the most part but all of them personally chosen by me over a period of twenty-five years or so, consisted of seven different marques. Although I admit to having become lazier and more set on my ways than I once was, my loyalty to Lexus rests mainly on a continuing tendency to tick customer satisfaction boxes far more emphatically than I ever did with BMW, Audi, Jaguar and other producers of "executive saloons", my only big regret being that for one reason or another I have never owned an MB or had use of one other than as a short-term hire. Certainly, where I would once never have chosen a car without first testing several alternatives, I have latterly gone straight to my Lexus dealer armed only with a few on-paper price comparisons to help negotiations but confident in the knowledge that I will get a good deal for a good car supported by good service. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have experienced none of the major reliability- or dealer-related problems occasionally described on this and other LOC Forums. I am aware, of course, that quality and reliability gaps between competitors have narrowed over the years, as have prices, and that I may therefore have missed out on a lot of great alternatives by sticking with Lexus. On the other hand, when I continue to see good reviews for competitors alongside poor or tepid ones for Lexus, and knowing from my own experience that many of the latter are rubbish or, to put it more kindly, based on performance comparisons that have little or nothing to do with the practicalities of everyday motoring, my degree of loyalty tends to increase rather than diminish.
  3. Paul: see Anyone Checked Out Infiniti Q50?, started by DJP April 2, 2015 on Lexus General Discussions Forum.
  4. MNMJ: Even if the effectiveness may not be objectively demonstrable, I reckon that any measure you can take to protect your car when leaving it parked out of your sight is at the very least worth thinking about. I don't make a habit of skulking around car-parks for longer than necessary but, once or twice, having preferred to wait for my wife rather than go into a supermarket with her, I have stood and observed the foot traffic around my car after parking it in the full-lock stance. That people are, as intended, obliged to pass closer to the neighbouring cars is in itself no bad thing but the best result, alas not as frequent, is represented by those who see the angled wheels not as an obstacle to be skirted but as a barrier to be avoided, in which case they choose other pairs of cars to walk between.
  5. In addition to standard precautions such as seeking out uncrowded areas of car-parks, choosing new and expensive cars as neighbours, parking next to walls in order to reduce the risk of side-dents, avoiding parking next disabled spaces or cars with disabled permits or ones with baby-seats and/or damaged bodywork etc., I sometimes adopt the practice, when getting into position within parallel stripes, of turning the steering-wheel to full-lock and leaving it there so as to maximise the protuberance of the front wheels and thus visibly increase the car's width. The increase is not enormous but it is surprising how often it can get pedestrians who take shortcuts between cars to change their direction and movements by amounts sufficient to make them rub against one of the adjoining cars and not yours. Of course the stratagem is far from infallible, but it can be useful in car-parks where there is a lot of foot traffic, and is especially recommended where items of luggage, trolleys, shopping-bags or trendy large studded handbags, or combinations thereof, pose a possible threat
  6. Earlier this month my wife and I stayed a week with an old friend and his family near Toronto. Knowing that an RC350 was on his list of possible replacements for a BMW530iX, I had asked him to wait until my visit before arranging a test-drive, which he very kindly did. So, early one damp but clear morning, an RC350 F-Sport AWD in Atomic Silver (=Sonic Titanium) and Rioja Red (=Dark Rose) leather, coincidentally the same as my own 300h at home, was delivered to the front gate for an agreed six hours that included, with the dealer's consent, a booking for 20 laps at a test-circuit some 60km distant. The lighter and quicker - and presumably more agile - RWD version with the much praised 8-speed gearbox available in the U.S. is not sold in Canada, where AWD versions with a choice of 256hp (RC300) or 307hp (RC350) 3.5L V6 engines, both with 6-speed boxes, are considered commercially more viable because of the snowy winters. The RC300h is not sold at all (and nor is the IS300h). The 350's exterior and cabin being practically identical to those of the 300h, my first impression as a passenger was one of complete familiarity. The only difference I was able to detect after a few rare accelerations to 50kmh or so in the rush-hour traffic was the distinctly audible purr of the V6 instead of the silence I would have expected from a warmed-up hybrid in similar conditions. Whooshing from the 19" tyres (Bridgestones v. my Dunlop Sport Maxxes on exactly the same rims) sounded very familiar, meaning that differences in soundproofing, if any, are minimal. As expected, acceleration from 60-70kmh to 110-120km (i.e. significantly over the limits which most drivers take seriously because of the potential double whammy of hefty fines and demerit points) felt almost instantaneous and, at a guess, could not have taken much more than four seconds, if that. In fact, when I later got to drive the car, I initially found it difficult to correctly dose the accelerator and judge my speed. However, I soon understood the car to be a typical Lexus in its easy driveability, the main - indeed the only - behavioural difference in respect of the 300h being a much readier throttle response with pedal sensitivity seemingly calibrated to signal the availability of abundant power in all modes including ECO (whose presence in all Lexus non-hybrids including avowedly fast and not particularly fuel-efficient ones like the present 350 has always struck me as odd given that few owners will be looking to save a few drops of fuel or rescue the planet). And indeed, as was to be confirmed on the test track, where I managed six laps without harming myself or the car, the powerful and perfectly linear progression through the gears with the pedal floored (and with the individual shifts being more perceptible than I expected, no doubt as the result of my several years with an e-CVT), would not have exhausted itself until the rather low 210kmh limitation (223kmh displayed) at 6000rpm some 25-30' later. I recorded a time of 27.2' for 0-1000m on my only attempt, which, although it felt quite fast, was not spectacularly better than the 30' or so I have got on deserted stretches of road with the RC300h (and also the IS300h). Stopping at any speed with a short and firm pedal action was impressive by virtue of a more powerful braking system and larger discs. Use of the paddles in conjunction with the mechanical box was both effective and entertaining (and therefore more inviting than in the 300h, where I find them largely redundant), especially on the approach to corners and slow curves. To my delight, downshifts were sometimes accompanied by double-coughs from the exhaust, which I suspect had more to do with clever acoustic engineering than my achievement of perfect synchrony between man and machine. On the return journey with the ACC set for 110kmh and the car gliding along at <1000rpm, I could not help thinking that whereas most law-abiding citizens in Canada and the U.S. have learned to live with ridiculous levels of unused power under their hood, my own feeling would be one of extreme frustration. If I could buy one, and leaving aside issues such as higher running costs and possible fiscal disincentives, or pipe-dreams about owning an LC, would I prefer the 350 to the 300h? Yes, I would - provided it would not be priced at too much of a premium and my needs were to routinely include long motorway - or better still, autobahn - drives. On these, the 350 would not only offer an appreciably higher level of relaxation and comfort than the already very comfortable 300h but also, if and when required, quicker acceleration from higher cruising speeds, and as a consequence, even greater margins of safety. Whereas the 300h has sometimes been described, unkindly but not wholly without justification, as a sheep in wolf's clothing, the 350's looks and performance complement each other almost to perfection. However, to extend the metaphor and call the 350 a wolf would be silly because it is certainly not designed to snarl or in any way steal the RC-F's thunder. After leaning strongly towards an MB C300 4Matic, which he considered technologically more advanced than the RC350 and better built than anything BMW offers in the same price range, my friend decided, I would guess under pressure from his family, to abandon all thoughts of a coupé and go for a Volvo S90 AWD (a very nice car to judge by what I see and hear). Spaciousness and practicality were not primary considerations since it will be joining a Nissan Murano already in his garage.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. There was a thread on this Forum about a similar issue: see Front Brake Caliper Corrosion, started by Steve44, February 8, 2015.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.