The Week That Was: Lexus GS And LS, EV Survey, Tesla Melbourne Store Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Dec, 28 2014 | 0 Comments

Lexus announced a 2015 upgrade for its GS and LS ranges this week, bringing more standard safety and infotainment gear along with a stiffer structure to aid performance.

The changes are accompanied by a modest price rise, with all GS hybrid and LS models $400 dearer than before and all GS petrol models costing $470 more.

All GS and LS models now get Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) as standard, along with Enform internet connectivity, SD card based sat-nav, fixed speed camera warnings and dual USB ports.

Results from a study revealed this week showed sales for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) varies dramatically between countries.

Norway, France and other countries with government financial incentives generally fared well for EV sales, while those with no government support had very small EV markets.

The report found only five countries will exceed 10,000 EV sales this year, and only one is expected to see a market share for EVs above ten percent in the next five years.

Another big week for Tesla in what’s become a very busy year for the EV-maker in Australia.

The carmaker through CEO Elon Musk strongly suggested than an updated version of the original Roadster will be unveiled soon, while a battery-swap pilot program is starting in the US.

In Australia, Tesla’s second major store was opened in the Melbourne suburb of Chadstone with a third set to follow in Richmond next year.

In other news, Mazda revealed a host of lightly tuned models to be shown at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon, including the MX-5, CX-3 and Mazda2.

The renderings came thick and fast this week, with the Suzuki Equator pickup, Audi R8 and Renault Megane all getting the ‘design-preview’ treatment.

Volvo teamed up with Ericsson and POC to develop a ‘connected’ bicycle helmet, and the results of the partnership were on show this week.

Mazda revealed its virtual LM55 Vision Grand Turismo concept, as part of a “Holiday Season Update” for Gran Turismo 6.

A report out of the US suggested General Motors would ‘fast-track’ the next Malibu midsizer, due to falling sales in an otherwise growing market segment.

Remember the Google autonomous car? It returned this week, but this time it’s equipped with a steering wheel in readiness for on-road testing.

Lamborghini pulled the covers off its latest special model, which commemorates the supercar maker's 50th year of partnership with that other Italian performance icon; Pirelli.

The Puritalia 427 roadster was unveiled in Italy, offering Ford V8 power in both 332kW/530Nm naturally-aspirated form or a supercharged 451kW/650Nm version.

Hyundai announced former BMW executive Albert Biermann will join its high-performance development team, as the Korean carmaker prepares to rev-up its new ‘N’ range or sports models.

AAMI’s Young Driver Index in Australia found 86 percent of respondents reported some form of driver distraction, prompting the insurer to launch a Safe Driver app.



No Christmas holiday for the 2014 Fiat 500 S Cabriolet this week, as we subjected it to the TMR test.

We found the 500 S offered funky styling and cheap open-air thrills, in a Fiat model that may prove to be ‘the new black’.

Finally, the 2014 Audi RS 6 Avant offers massive torque, in-your-face-styling (for an Audi) and a lush interior, but the $225,000 plus on-roads starting price may be a little steep…

And that’s… the week that was.

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