Venice Film Festival role for Lexus RX

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Gareth Herincx

16 hours ago
Auto News

All-new Lexus RX luxury SUV Official Car of the 79th Venice International Film Festival

The all-new Lexus RX is to take a starring role at the 79th Venice International Film Festival – La Biennale di Venezia.

The luxury brand is returning as sponsor for a sixth consecutive year, and the RX SUV will be the official car at the prestigious event.

Due for launch towards the end of this year, the all-new RX will be Lexus’ first performance-focused hybrid – the turbocharged RX 500h with DIRECT4 all-wheel drive force control. 

It will feature alongside the first plug-in hybrid electric RX, the RX 450h and the new RX 350h premium hybrid electric model.

As the official car of the festival, the RX will be used to chauffeur festival VIP guests, celebrities and officials to and from red carpet events, supported by other models from the Lexus  range, including the all-electric UX 300e crossover. 

In keeping with the glamour of the event, the Lexus fleet will also feature the LC Convertible – the multi-award-winning flagship model.

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Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Genesis G70 review

Genesis G70

We get behind the wheel of the latest entrant in the compact luxury saloon class – the Genesis G70…

Genesis, the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group (think Lexus/Toyota), only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021 and it already has an impressive stable of cars, ranging from saloons to SUVs, plus the G70 Shooting Brake.

So far, the range only includes traditional petrol and diesel powered vehicles, though plug-in hybrid versions of some models are on the way.

The big breakthrough will come later in 2022 when the 100% electric Genesis GV60 is launched. Developed alongside the acclaimed Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, it should be a cracker. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to driving the GV60 this summer.

Genesis G70

Meanwhile, we’ve been road-testing the G70 saloon, which has the tough task of stealing sales from the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60 and Alfa Romeo Giulia, to name but a few.

We’ve already driven the elegant estate version (marketed as a Shooting Brake) and we were impressed.

Competitively priced from £33,400, the four-door G70 is available with two turbocharged engines – either a 2.0-litre petrol (194bhp or 241bhp) or a 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

Genesis G70

Our test car was diesel-powered, offering a top speed of 143mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy is 42.7-44.5mpg, while CO2 emissions are 166-173g/km.

The more powerful petrol engine is faster, with a top speed of 149mph and a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds, but fuel economy is 31.9-35.4mpg and CO2 emissions are 181-201g/km.

First impressions of the G70 are good. It’s a good looking sports saloon with an athletic stance and there’s no mistaking that bold ‘G-Matrix’ grille design.

Genesis G70

Inside, there’s no shortage of kit, including a 10.25in landscape-oriented touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Unlike some manufacturers, it also offers a healthy mix of the modern and traditional with dials, buttons and proper air vents.

The G70 is packed with the latest safety kit too, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot collision avoidance tech.

The interior oozes quality and has been well put together. There’s ample space up front, but it’s slightly cosier in the back, especially for an adult passenger sitting behind a taller driver.

Genesis G70

Overall, the cabin is a comfortable, plush place to be and the low-slung driving position is perfect. For the record, boot capacity is a reasonable 330 litres.

The Genesis G70 handles well and offers a composed, luxurious ride, even if it’s not as sporty as you might expect (you can experiment with the drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Sport ). More spirited drivers can still have fun on more challenging roads because it’s nicely balanced and there’s plenty of grip, but it’s no BMW.

Ultimately, it’s not a class-leading drive, nor will the engine set your pulse racing. It does the job and there’s plenty of torque on tap, but it’s vocal when pushed and real world fuel economy is short of 40mpg.

Genesis G70

On the plus side, the steering is sharp and direct, and light when driving around town or manoeuvring into parking spaces.

So, the G70 is a mixed bag, but then Genesis is no ordinary brand and a completely different VIP ownership experience is on offer.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

Genesis G70

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, the 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The Genesis G70 should definitely be on your sports saloon shortlist, especially if you’d like to experience a VIP ownership experience. Luxurious, well equipped and delivering a smooth, composed drive, it stands out from the crowd and would probably come into its own as a plug-in hybrid.

Genesis UK

Genesis G70

2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre: extreme weather testing

Gareth Herincx

7 hours ago
Auto News

The all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre has concluded winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden – just 55km from the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures dropped to -40˚C temperatures and Rolls-Royce estimates 25% of a 2.5 million km testing programme (simulating 400 years of use) is now complete for the “Electric Super Coupé”.

“The announcement of every new Rolls-Royce motor car carries a great weight of expectation, but Spectre is unquestionably the most anticipated product in the marque’s modern history,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“This is because it is much more than a product. It is a symbol for our bright, bold electric future, and it represents a seismic shift in our powertrain technology.

“It is for this reason that we have created a testing programme that is as significant and historical as Spectre itself.”

There are several reasons for subjecting the marque’s products to such extremes. When the first prototypes are built, engineers perform very basic tests in extreme conditions to ensure that each system is operational and functions at a basic level in a cold weather environment.

This test is combined with the beginnings of the refinement process, focusing on noise and vibration, for instance. The variables that affect this include the materials selected for major hardware components to the density of the door rubbers, bushing compounds, fastening materials and even properties of bonding agents.

The performance of these variables can change considerably when subjected to extreme temperatures – likewise the efficiency of the motor car’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling systems.

By driving on low traction surfaces, such as snow and ice, and wilfully destabilising the car, the engineers can create dynamic circumstances at low speeds that would ordinarily occur at high speeds.

This can be reviewed and guided in situ and in slow motion, in doing so parametrising and finessing cold-weather vehicle performance in areas such as handling, controllability, stability, predictability and the “waftability” that defines the Rolls-Royce experience.

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Genesis GV80 review

Genesis GV80 SUV

It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new name to the UK car market, so let’s hear it for plush South Korean brand, Genesis.

Already successful in the US and South Korea (with 130,000 sales in 2020 alone), the luxury division of Hyundai (think Lexus/Toyota) initially launches in Europe with two cars – the GV80 SUV and G80 saloon.

Both face a tough task, especially when it comes to stealing sales from the German big three – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Apart from competitive pricing, Genesis has another couple of tricks up its sleeve to entice buyers, most notably a unique buying experience, generous warranty and VIP aftercare package (of which more later).

The epic BMW X5-sized GV80 is likely to be the best-seller for Genesis until smaller, electrified models appear over the next few years.

Weirdly, when most new launches are either hybrids or fully electric, the GV80 is only initially available with a choice of 2.5-litre petrol or straight-six 3.0-litre diesel engines.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Starting at £56,815, both versions have four-wheel-drive as standard and you can choose between seven or five seats.

The GV80 certainly has road presence and its Korean origins and American appeal are obvious. The enormous chrome grille, bold winged badge and twin horizontal LED headlights are attention grabbers, while the general shape is classic SUV.

There’s even a hint of the Bentley Bentayga there, which is no surprise given that Genesis’s chief designer is Luc Donckerwolke used to have a drawing board at the luxury marque.

Genesis GV80 SUV

The beautifully finished interior is just as impressive with its blend of high-quality materials, comfortable seats and modern technology, including a panoramic 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 13.3-inch digital driver’s cluster and head-up display.

We tested the 274bhp diesel mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, configured as a spacious five-seater.

There’s lounge-like space up front and space for three adults in the back, while the boot can swallow 735 litres of luggage, or an enormous 2,152 litres of kit with the rear seats folded.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Naturally, there’s a commanding view of the road and let’s just say it’s swift rather than fast.

For the record, it can sprint from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, fuel economy is 33.1mpg and CO2 emissions are 231g/km.

You’re aware of its size, especially on narrower country roads, where it feels a bit of a handful.

The cabin is light, airy and refined, and it soon becomes clear that it’s been engineered as an effortless long-distance cruiser, perhaps more with the American market in mind.

Genesis GV80 SUV

The ride on motorways and A roads is pleasantly smooth, but it doesn’t feel quite so sophisticated on smaller, rougher routes.

Thanks to all-wheel drive, grip and traction are impressive, while the engine is suitably responsive, the steering is light and precise, and the brakes provide ample stopping power.

More spirited drivers can switch to Sport mode and try their luck on more challenging roads, but the combination of a large girth and moderate body control soon bring you back to your senses.

That said, if you live in the country or you want to stay in control during extreme weather, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a Terrain mode which can switch between Mud, Sand, or Snow conditions.

Genesis GV80 SUV

As you’d expect, the GV80 is generously equipped, not least in the safety department where it gained a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests (a claimed first-in-class central front airbag is fitted as standard) and goodies include active cruise control and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

So, the GV80 is a classy, distinctive, all-round package, but it’s the ownership experience that might swing sales. Not only is it likely to be as dependable as its sister brands, Hyundai and Kia, but the five-year/unlimited mileage warranty is tempting too.

Then there’s the transparent buying process. There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

Genesis GV80 SUV

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

The Five-Year Care Plan also includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a big, plush new SUV that stands out from the crowd, plus peace of mind and excellent customer service, then consider the all-new Genesis GV80. Spacious, safe, comfortable and generously equipped, it’s an effortless cruiser.

Genesis UK

BMW 8 Series Coupe review

The rakish, all-new 8 Series Coupe is proof positive that BMW is a brand on the move – in an upwardly mobile direction. Here’s an accomplished big GT that’s an intoxicating blend of old school and cutting edge with a dash of luxury. Powerful, plush and packed with the latest tech, it’s also blessed with …

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