Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.
Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.
Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.
Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.
I’m a long time reader, first time writer. I have a question which no one seems to know the answer to so I figure you and the B&B can have a go at it. I have a good condition spare turbo laying around from my MR2 turbo before I upgraded. I want to install this into my toyota previa. The problem is the area where the turbo will sit it will be exposed to the elements under the car ( rain, snow, salt) the way the exhaust manifold sits I have no choice. What sort of problems do you think I have in the future with the turbo being exposed like that? I’m in Chicago and this will be driven in winter. And the van is lowered too so the turbo will be pretty close to the ground. (Read More…)
TTAC’s man-about-the-junkyard Murilee Martin has made the bold claim that we live in the golden age of cheap superchargers, but when it comes to new cars, we may be entering another “golden age” for superchargers as well. Eaton’s Ken Davis tells Automotive News [sub] that his firm is looking at doubling its supercharger sales as the technology comes into its own as a fuel-saving measure. Though turbochargers have received the lions share of attention as the industry moves towards downsized, forced-induction engines, Davis argues that supercharger have their own role to play in the effort, specifically when it comes to “downspeeding” engines to produce better power at lower RPM. He adds
Audi is our largest supercharger customer, and we are on a couple of platforms with Nissan… Nissan will bring their supercharged vehicles here. We’ll be on Audi and Volkswagen platforms, too. We are starting to get some attention.
What keeps powertrain engineers up at night? C’mon, get your mind out of the gutter. The move towards downsized, turbocharged engines is creating a number of new engineering challenges, and “torsional excitations” grabbed the spotlight at this year’s Society of Automotive Engineers Congress. Steven Thomas, manager of Ford’s global transmission and driveline, research and advanced engineering, illuminated the issue [via Wards].
As we reduce the engine torque, particularly just off idle prior to the boost coming on, we’re going to adversely impact the ability to accelerate the vehicle. I would challenge you all to think about new ways of dealing with this. We could really use new designs to deal with these challenges to optimize the fuel economy, but at the same time deal with (noise, vibration and harshness) and performance issues presented by these new engines.
The problem: the increased inertia of forced-induction engines. The practical example: a turbocharged Fiesta. A worthy adversary, a worthy cause. Let’s do this. (Read More…)
Back in the day, where could you go for a cheap supercharger? Maybe grab a grungy 8-71 off a million-mile transit bus? Thanks to GM’s decision in the early 1990s to plop Eaton blowers on all manner of 3800 V6-powered machinery, the going rate on a junkyard supercharger is well below a C-note. (Read More…)