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Motoring News

LEXUS ES250 F SPORT

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LEXUS ES250 F SPORT

By EWAN KENNEDY

Long, low and sleek, the Lexus ES250 F Sport looks exceptionally good for a machine originally introduced as a family sedan.

Before I launch into our review of the Lexus ES250 F Sport, I’d like to share a short anecdote about picking up the car.

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Often when I call into a showroom for a press car someone says: “It is not quite ready yet, would you like a coffee, tea or a cool drink while you’re waiting?”. I reply: “A white-coffee please and a couple of Tim Tams.” They laugh and say: “Sorry our budget doesn’t run to Tim Tams.”

However, when I asked for Tim Tams at Lexus of Southport they said: “Of course.” Asked me to wait in their lounge area – and brought out a couple of Tim Tams. That’s the sort of attention to detail that makes Lexus stand out from the crowd.

Anyhow, on to the ES250 F Sport. It’s the higher-spec’d of the two ES250 variants, ahead of the ES250 Luxury. There are also three hybrid models, ES300h Luxury, ES300h F Sport and ES300h Sports Luxury.

STYLING

ES250 F Sport is a great looking car with a long, low look further enhanced by changes to make it different to the standard ES. It was admired by friends and relatives who saw it during our test week.

The front grille starts off relatively narrow at the top, narrows sightly in the mid section, then widens greatly in the lower area. The lights have a fascinating zig-zag shape. Beneath them, the grille styling is repeated. The overall effect is excellent.

At the side a mild indentation begins at the lower edges of the front doors, then rises to meet the rear lights. The lower edges of the windows sweep up towards the rear and meet the upper edges in a neat ‘V’ shape that match the slope of the roof.

Then there’s a lip spoiler that gives it a nice aero effect. It’s probably not doing much for the aerodynamics, but – hey, it looks good. And that’s what counts, especially in a sporty vehicle.

INTERIOR

The interior is upmarket, with quality materials and a design that looks just right.

It has a good amount of useable space in the front seats. But the rear isn’t quite as big as expected in what is a fairly large car. As is common, the person sitting behind the driver may have to sacrifice a bit of leg space if the driver is tall.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

The ES250 F Sport has a four-cylinder 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine with 152 kW of power and 243 Nm of torque at 4000 revs.

The engine drives the front wheels, not the rear wheels as you would expect in a full-on sports machine. As such the ES250 F Sport falls into the category of “sporty” rather than “full-on sports”

It has an eight-speed automatic transmission so there’s plenty of ratios for the computer to get the engine working in the correct range for the best performance.

Like most Lexus vehicles the ES is also available as a petrol/electric hybrid.

The ES300h F Sport generates 131 kW and 221 Nm at 3600 rpm with fuel consumption listed at 4.8 L/100km compared to the 6.6 L/100 km from the petrol only ES250. CO2 emissions are 109 g/km and 150 g/km respectively.

SAFETY

The Lexus ES250 received a five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested in 2021.

Standard safety features include 10 airbags, 3-eye Bi-Beam LED headlights; auto-levelling system, Headlight cleaners, LED Cornering Lights, LED Daytime Running Lights, Tyre Pressure Warning System, ISOFIX child seat anchors, Rear Seat Reminder,

Automatic anti-glare mirrors, Blind Spot Monitor System and Hill-Start Assist Control.

The Lexus Safety System in the F Sport includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian & Daytime Cyclist Detection, Lane Trace Assist, Adaptive High-Beam, Radar Active Cruise

Control, Road Sign Assist, Intersection Turning Assist and Emergency Steering Assist.

Lexus Connected Services provides Automatic Collision Notification and SOS Emergency Call together with Stolen Vehicle Tracking.

INFOTAINMENT

The 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is large and easy to read as is the 8.0-inch driver information display.

Both the ES250 Luxury and F Sport come with wireless Apple Car/Play and wired Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic updates and two USB ports.

Sound quality from the 10-speaker Lexus Premium stereo is very good and it’s nice to have a proper volume knob rather than having to mess around with a touchscreen. Doing the latter can take attention off the road and possibly cause a crash.

DRIVING

The power-adjustable (height and reach) steering column is a lovely touch as it lets you tailor the position to exactly what you want. For example, you may want it to be closer to you when you’re having a fang on your favourite winding country roads. Or further away when you’re cruising along on long trips in the bush.

For some reason the car we tested was relatively slow in responding to the throttle at times. This may have been the car’s computer trying to match my needs as it is programed to do. And when it has done so, it might respond more quickly. I certainly hope so.

There’s enough power, but only just, as this is a relatively heavy car and there are times when we found ourselves wishing it had more grunt.

The steering responds to inputs very quickly. Feedback through the wheel is excellent, which is what you want in a car with Sport in its title.

The ES250 F Sport has a rather firm ride but one that’s acceptable for a sporty model. However, the seats are too firm and I had a sore back and bum after about 60 minutes  driving. On a long trip I would have to stop every hour or so to recover.

Okay, I’m not as young as I used to be – but neither are many people in the market for a car like this.

I suggest you try the seats for comfort when you’re shopping around. Tell the sales person that you would like to take it for a decent trip. Overnight would be nice – if they’re aware that you’re serious about the car they may be willing to oblige.

Around town and in the suburbs, it used 7.5 to 8.0 litres per 100km not far off the listed 6.8 L/100km. On the motorway and easy paced country driving it was under 7.0 L/100km. That’s pretty good for a relatively heavy car like this. It needs premium unleaded petrol which is often ridiculously overpriced compared to standard.

SUMMING UP

The Lexus ES250 F Sport is an impressive machine that has a good mix of prestige and styling and is a worthwhile competitor for the upmarket offerings from Germany and the United Kingdom. It certainly deserves a place on your short list.

RATINGS

Looks: 9/10

Performance: 7/10

Safety: 9/10

Thirst: 9/10

Practicality: 8/10

Comfort: 6/10

Tech: 9/10

Value: 7/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE

ES 250 2.5 Luxury: $61,620

ES 250 2.5 F Sport: $70,860

ES 300h 2.5 Luxury hybrid: $63,550

ES 300h 2.5 F Sport hybrid: $72,930

ES 300h 2.5 Sports Luxury hybrid: $78,180

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Lexus dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Lexus ES 250 F Sport 2.5-litre four-door sedan)

ENGINE:

Capacity: 2.487 litres

Configuration: Four cylinders in line

Maximum Power: 152 kW @  6600 rpm

Maximum Torque: 243 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol

Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.8 L/100km

CO2 Emissions: 156 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:

Length: 4975 mm

Wheelbase: 2870 mm

Width: 1852 mm

Height: 1445 mm

Turning Circle: 11.8 metres

Kerb Mass: 1680 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:

Front: Ventilated disc

Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:

Four years / 100,000 kilometres

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Hyundai Launches New Santa Fe Hybrid in Australia: Rivalling Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento

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Hyundai Launches New Santa Fe Hybrid in Australia: Rivalling Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Hyundai has unveiled its latest offering in the family SUV market with the 2024 Santa Fe, a seven-seat hybrid vehicle designed to compete directly with the Toyota Kluger Hybrid and Kia Sorento. This new model introduces significant enhancements and a variety of options tailored to meet diverse consumer needs and preferences.

Model Range and Pricing

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The new Santa Fe comes in three distinct grades: the base Santa Fe, the mid-tier Elite, and the top-of-the-line Calligraphy. The entry-level front-wheel-drive Santa Fe starts at $55,500 before on-road costs, marking a nearly $10,000 increase from its predecessor. Customers looking for enhanced stability can opt for all-wheel drive for an additional $3,000. The Elite variant, priced at $65,000, includes all-wheel drive as standard, while the range-topping Calligraphy is available from $75,000 and offers both seven- and six-seat configurations.

Power and Efficiency

Each model in the lineup features a hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, delivering a total output of 172kW and 367Nm of torque. This setup achieves an impressive fuel efficiency of 5.6 litres per 100km, matching the fuel consumption of its main competitor, the Toyota Kluger.

Design and Features

The 2024 Santa Fe boasts a bold, boxy silhouette reminiscent of classic Land Rovers, enhanced by dynamic H-shaped headlights and a distinctive light bar across the front grille. Standard features on the base model include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, and rear privacy glass. Inside, the vehicle sports dual 12.3-inch digital displays for multimedia and driver instruments, cloth seats, and comprehensive safety features including 10 airbags and a suite of active driver aids.

Technology and Comfort

The Santa Fe is equipped with Hyundai’s Bluelink app, offering over-the-air update capabilities and smartphone mirroring, along with a wireless device charger. All-wheel-drive variants benefit from multiple driving modes such as Snow, Mud, and Sand, enhancing the SUV’s versatility across different terrains.

The Elite trim upgrades the interior with synthetic leather-wrapped seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and an additional wireless device charger. It also replaces the standard six-speaker stereo with a premium Bose sound system for an enriched audio experience.

Calligraphy models elevate luxury with Nappa leather upholstery, a sunroof, power adjustments for the front passenger seat, and a head-up display that projects essential driving information directly onto the windshield.

For added convenience and health safety, the Calligraphy variant includes a UV-C sterilisation tray located in the dashboard above the glove box, capable of sanitising items in just 10 minutes.

Conclusion

Hyundai’s 2024 Santa Fe positions itself as a strong contender in the competitive hybrid SUV market in Australia, blending performance, luxury, and advanced technology to cater to the modern family’s needs. With its comprehensive features and competitive pricing, the Santa Fe is set to challenge established rivals and appeal to a broad audience seeking a reliable, stylish, and efficient family vehicle.

 

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Genesis Australia Poised to Enter High-Performance Market with Magma Sub-Brand

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genesis g80 magma
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Genesis Australia Poised to Enter High-Performance Market with Magma Sub-Brand

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Genesis Australia is eagerly positioning itself to launch its new Magma performance sub-brand, aiming to compete directly with established high-performance divisions like Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi Sport. The Magma brand, unveiled at the New York motor show in March 2024, signifies Genesis’ commitment to performance models, starting with the G80 sedan in Middle Eastern markets.

While plans for the Australian launch remain preliminary, Justin Douglass, the head of Genesis Australia, expressed strong interest in bringing Magma to the local market, known for its appetite for high-performance vehicles. “The Magma range seems to resonate well with what we anticipate the market will welcome. We’re excited about the potential of introducing it here once available,” Douglass remarked.

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In Australia, performance models form a significant part of car sales, with AMG variants constituting about 28% of Mercedes-Benz’s overall sales in 2023, or approximately 6,808 units. Similarly, BMW M’s sales surged by 19.7% in 2023, with about 6,664 units sold, underscoring the market’s robust demand for high-performance cars.

Genesis aims to develop a high-performance Magma model for each vehicle in its current lineup, potentially introducing six models based on the G70, G80, G90, GV60, GV70, and GV80. However, the G90 large sedan, not available in right-hand drive, will likely be excluded from the Australian market, leaving five potential models for introduction.

Among these, the GV60 electric vehicle is a frontrunner to debut the Magma sub-brand in Australia. A concept version was showcased in New York featuring distinctive orange paintwork and performance enhancements. The GV60 Magma concept not only promises a more aggressive styling but also improved electric motor technology, offering a glimpse into the potential capabilities of a production model, which might parallel the mechanically related Hyundai Ioniq 5 N with its 448kW/740Nm output, significantly more powerful than the current top GV60 Performance Lux variant.

 

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Introducing the 2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri: A Bold New Chapter for V12 Enthusiasts

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2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri
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Introducing the 2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri: A Bold New Chapter for V12 Enthusiasts

 

Keypoints:

  1. Enhanced V12 Engine Performance: The Ferrari 12Cilindri boasts an upgraded F140 6.5-litre V12 engine, delivering 610kW at 9500rpm—significantly enhancing its power and rev range compared to the 812 Superfast for faster speeds and superior responsiveness.
  2. Revolutionary Design and Aerodynamics: The 12Cilindri features a radically streamlined design with a monolithic bonnet, minimal cooling vents, and wrap-around headlights, complemented by advanced aerodynamics such as a speed-responsive twin-element active rear wing for optimal performance.
  3. Cutting-edge Interior Technology: The interior of the 12Cilindri is outfitted with three advanced displays and offers optional high-end features like a 15-speaker Burmester sound system, blending luxury with the latest technology for enhanced comfort and entertainment.

By Jeff Gibbs

In 2025, Ferrari is set to launch the 12Cilindri, its most ambitious V12 model to date, replacing the celebrated 812 Superfast with a vehicle that promises not only a continuation but an evolution of Ferrari’s illustrious V12 heritage. Unveiled at a glamorous event on Miami Beach just before the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix, the 12Cilindri signifies a radical departure in design and engineering while paying homage to the iconic front-engine V12 configuration that Ferrari aficionados have long revered.

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Powering the 12Cilindri is the enhanced version of Ferrari’s storied F140 6.5-litre V12 engine, which first roared to life in the Ferrari Enzo and later powered models like the F12 and 812 Superfast. Through extensive modifications and updated internals, this engine now delivers a staggering 610kW at a dizzying 9500rpm. This represents a significant increase from the 812SF, pushing the boundaries of performance further with a rev limit that exceeds the previous model by 1000rpm. This elevation in power is complemented by a more accessible torque distribution, ensuring that 80% of its 678Nm is available from as low as 2500rpm, despite a slight decrease from the 812SF’s torque figures.

2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri Engine

2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri Engine

Aesthetically, the 12Cilindri strikes a distinct pose with a cleaner, more streamlined design characterised by a monolithic bonnet and minimal cooling vents, diverging sharply from the 812SF’s sculptural and vent-infused facade. The design features wrap-around headlights and, in the coupe version, a strikingly large glass roof, contributing to a bold reinterpretation of Ferrari’s design language.

The chassis of the 12Cilindri has been completely reengineered, utilising a new aluminium structure that is 15% stiffer than its predecessor, paired with a slightly shorter wheelbase but increased overall dimensions. This new framework supports advanced aerodynamic features, including a twin-element active rear wing, which adapts dynamically to speed variations to optimise performance.

2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri Interior

2025 Ferrari 12Cilindri Interior

Performance-wise, the 12Cilindri mirrors the impressive capabilities of the 812 Superfast, achieving 0-100km/h in just 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 340 km/h. The Spider variant, while slightly heavier, boasts nearly identical performance metrics, ensuring that the exhilarating Ferrari driving experience is preserved across different model configurations.

Underpinning the mechanical prowess of the 12Cilindri is a suite of sophisticated systems designed to harness and refine the raw power of the V12. The introduction of an 8-speed DCT transmission from the SF90, enhanced for quicker shift times, and a comprehensive array of control systems including advanced four-wheel steering and a new evolution of the Side Slip Control, ensure that the 12Cilindri is as agile as it is powerful.

The interior of the 12Cilindri is a testament to Ferrari’s commitment to blending technology with luxury. The cabin is outfitted with three high-definition displays and offers customisation options like a state-of-the-art 15-speaker Burmester sound system, setting a new standard in automotive interior design.

Slated for European delivery in late 2024 with Australian deliveries expected by mid-2025, the 12Cilindri is poised to become a new benchmark in high-performance sports cars. Priced at EUR 395,000 for the coupe and EUR 435,000 for the Spider, it is set to continue the V12 legacy, providing an exhilarating blend of traditional Ferrari power and innovative design to the discerning enthusiast.

 

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