Lexus A-List: Lexus Helderberg Driving Day
Last week I got chatting to a fantastic chap called Aiden from Lexus Helderberg about cars and online marketing. The two go together very well but most car companies still shy away from it. Aiden however, been a more forward thinking legendary kind of chap (and former head of Lexus marketing in Ireland), decided we could have a go, so we created the Lexus A-List. Lexus in South Africa at the moment is seen by some as a brand most suited for the older generation and has been confused with being “just an expensive Toyota”. The reality is far from the truth as we see with the Lexus brand image in the USA and UK etc. Our aim was to get a select group of peers from the online media / marketing word and get them into the driving seat of some of the new Lexus range of cars. In exchange Lexus Helderberg provided the candidates with everything they needed to write a little something about their driving experience.
The cars we picked for the day were the IS 250 Cabriolet, GS 450h (Hybrid) , RX 450h (Hybrid), and an IS-F (as a prize drive). The group met up at Lexus Helderberg and we then had a brief about Lexus and what sets them apart from the other car brands (on a side note their service bays look just like Aston Martins !) . One thing I didn’t realise is that when you get a Lexus pretty much everything is standard, think iPod docks, Bluetooth, heated/cooled electric seats, touch screen sat nav, parking sensors etc etc.
Next we drove out to the luxury Arabella Western Cape Hotel on one of Cape Towns most incredible coastal roads (click here to see the Map). Once there we had tea and two lucky people got to drive the IS-F on the return trip. Along the way we swapped cars to get a good feel of the range and then headed out to the fabulous 96 winery road restaurant for a wonderful late lunch, followed by a short drive back to the dealership, where we each received a surprise coffee table book, a great baseball cap, and then had to get used to the shameful reality of driving our own cars back to Cape Town.
Most readers will know I’m a bit of a die hard Audi fan but even I was blown away by the cars. My brief view of the models we tested are as follows (click here to see Henk Kleynhans thoughts) :
IS 250 Cabriolet: Incredible cabin, and very smooth ride without being too soft, Great with the top down and fantastic standard features (iPod dock, 7”touch screen sat nav, reverse camera, electric heated seats etc), overall a great car to cruise in.
GS 450h (Hybrid): At first I thought it was going to be a bit boring but then I touched the accelerator ! 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and it keeps going to over 240Km/h. The cockpit panel needs a bit of aesthetic work but then this is due for an upgrade soon I hear (no one else said anything negative about it though so maybe it is just me). A great performance hybrid with a ton of standard features (Bluetooth, 7” touch screen etc). Basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
RX 450h (Hybrid): My favourite car of the day, I have driven the equivalent Audi, Merc and BMW, and I promise you non of them are as good as this. The acceleration is great (0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds), it truly corners like a car (the handling was epic), If you’re a bit of a geek the cockpit is like the inside of the enterprise (great looking, not complicated), best of all it has similar fuel consumption to a 1.6 litre hatchback.
Have a look at the pictures to get an idea of the day at large. Huge thanks to Lexus Helderberg and Aiden, if you’re keen to try Lexus out give them a call on 021 841 8500, trust me you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. If you would like to be considered for the Lexus A-List day drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and will see what I can do or follow them on twitter at @LexusAList