ROAD TRIP: NEW LUXURY CAR RELEASES FROM LEXUS, ALFA ROMEO AND AUDI

by | Mar 9, 2021 | Cars, Motor

The last dance with an internal combustion engine requires serious consideration. Led by Audi, here are three models that are worth thinking about—although two of them (the Audi RS7 and the rumoured Alfa Romeo GTV) incorporate hybrid technology.

Related: Coming soon: The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, an electrifying non-electric luxury sports car driving experience

Lexus IS 500 F Sport

Are you itching for a beautiful driving experience backed by superior reliability? Consider the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance. The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine is combined with a quad exhaust in order to appeal to refined drivers who want a performance kick. Savvy enthusiasts will also realize the 2UR-GSE is the same engine formerly used in the Lexus RC F.

With 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, the IS 500 F slots itself directly opposite the similar power output of the BMW M3. Although 0-to-60 is a respectable 4.5 seconds, it needs to be noted that this falls short of other vehicles (C8 Corvette Stingray 0-to-60 is 3 seconds; a Tesla Model S performance is about 2.4 seconds). However, a drag-race from the lights is just one small metric for a vehicle—and the IS 500 F Sport has much more included for sheer driving experience.

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Lexus is attempting to elevate its vehicles to new performance and handling standards. The IS 500 F Sport is part of the next generation that focuses on balance, refinement and confidence. The vehicle is equipped with a Torsen limited-slip differential and larger brakes.

The curb weight is estimated at 3,891—just 143 pounds more than the V6-equipped IS 350 F. The infotainment system is considered a tremendous advance over what was previously available. The IS 500 will also come with distinctive black badging on the sides in order to separate it from F models.

MSRP, options and color choices are expected to become available closer to the fall launch date.

Alfa Romeo GTV

Rumors about Alfa Romeo’s impending GTV incarnation are diffuse over the internet. All that an Alfa Romeo spokesperson was able to say to us was “the brand doesn’t publicly discuss future product plans.”

The previous Alfa Romeo GTV sports car was produced from 1993 to 2004. It means Gran Turismo Veloce, or Fast Grand Touring, which is an apt description. It was offered with several engines including a turbocharged 2.0-liter V6 designed to circumvent higher taxes on higher displacement engines in Italy.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

News first broke in 2019 that Alfa Romeo was postponing the new GTV in favor of concentrating on the more in-demand SUV market. Then there were reports that the GTV would launch in 2021, being based on the Giulia and Stelvio platforms.

There was to be a 280-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a Quadrifoglio version with a 505-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9 liter V6. It may incorporate hybrid technology, although this is all speculation. When you recall all the rumors that periodically surfaced regarding the new Toyota Supra, it’s easier to take anything we hear about the GTV with a grain of salt.

Alfa Romeo has earned a reputation for exciting cars. They are about looking cool—capturing the moment and living for passion. The long term doesn’t exist. Given this approach, if, or rather when, the GTV drops, it will certainly attract rapt interest.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C and vintage Alfa Romeo GTV
2003 Alfa Romeo GTV

2021 Audi RS7 Sportback

For something more practical and ferocious that already exists, we can look at the Audi RS7 Sportback. With a twin-turbo 4.0 liter V8 engine and a 48-volt hybrid system, the RS7 makes 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Also worth noting over the Mark I RS7: The 2021 RS7 gains 40 millimeters in width and allows it to seat five instead of four.

As already indicated, 0-to-60 times aren’t a perfect measure of overall performance, but the RS7 does it in just 3.5 seconds. With all-wheel-drive and air suspension coming standard, performance and handling are heightened. The vehicle tips the scales at a curb weight of 4938 lbs, but it is known for its tremendous grip and smooth ride even at the excessive speeds it is capable of.

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Moreover, for real-world utility, the RS7 offers 19 cubic feet of space in the cargo area and 49 cubic feet if the rear seats are folded down. This means that you can use the vehicle for all sorts of purposes—hockey practices, cello lessons, large dogs—and still enjoy your Sunday drive in rapid, hair-raising style.

On Audi.ca, the MSRP starts at $126,400 plus taxes, freight, PDI and other fees.

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