The Lexus RC F (blue) and RC F Track Edition (grey). Picture: SUPPLIED
The Lexus RC F (blue) and RC F Track Edition (grey). Picture: SUPPLIED

Lexus has launched two high-performance derivatives of its RC executive coupe in SA: the RC F and the RC F Track Edition.

They’re both powered by a normally-aspirated 5.0l V8 (the same engine that the Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux is based on) with outputs of 351kW and 5307Nm.

Power is fed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic and Lexus claims a 270km/h top speed and 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds.

With stiffened suspension, increased stability and improved aerodynamics, the duo also feature motorsport instruments and bolder styling.

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Inside, high-backed sports seats, a sport steering wheel, and carbon fibre ornamentation set an athletic mood.

The regular RC F sells for R1,318,300 while the R2,098,200 Track Edition has a raft of performance modifications including a front lower spoiler to further reduce front-end lift, and extensive use of carbon fibre body parts.

The cars claw the road with 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres, and arrest speed with high performance Brembo brakes. A speed-activated rear wing — which is made of carbon fibre in the Track Edition — helps improve downforce.

Both cars are highly specced, including a Mark Levinson surround audio system, voice control, and driver assist features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and a blind spot monitor.


Mitsubishi sharing warmth with Hot FM

Mitsubishi Motors and community radio station Hot 91.9 FM are working together to spread some winter heat — not only in North Riding in Gauteng where the radio station is situated, but all over SA.

The Hot Cares campaign calls out to people to donate a blanket, or an item such as canned food or clothing, and drop it off at any of Mitsubishi’s 53 dealerships anywhere in the country.

"We would like to challenge everyone — not only Mitsubishi customers — to spread some warmth in the life of those who don't have the luxury of a cosy home," says Nic Campbell, GM of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.

“Share your warmth — donating just one blanket can make a huge difference in someone's life.”

The campaign runs until the middle of August.


BMW/Toyota to build fuel cell car

A 20-year BMW journey into hydrogen technology will finally see a series production car in 2025.

The German premium car maker’s chief engineer, Klaus Frölich, has confirmed that its multigenerational hydrogen development programme would have a production car available in six years.

He said BMW’s long technological tie-up with Toyota was only about half a generation from fruition.

That will be the end of one chapter of a long story for BMW and hydrogen, which even saw the company dabble in directly burning liquefied hydrogen in variants of their existing internal-combustion engines in 2006.

There was even talk that the third generation of the i brand would be a hydrogen fuel cell that was due into production two years ago.

They’ve been beaten to the punch by Mercedes-Benz with its GLC F-Cell, and also Toyota, Honda and even Hyundai. Audi has also dabbled heavily in fuel-cell technology, having production-ready A7 h-trons tested by journalists at the Los Angeles motor show two years ago.

“In the early '20s there will be a small series of X5 hydrogen cars and by 2025 there will be a mass producible hydrogen car available, with Toyota,” Frölich said.

“They (Toyota) make the standard performance stack and we make the high performance stack.”

The early series of X5s will be very expensive, low-volume models and there’s no word of whether BMW will lease or retail the SUVs and what countries they would be sold in.

A full series production model in 2025 would help with both range and with BMW’s CO2-reduction commitments as well.

Hydrogen fuel cells combine oxygen coming into the car with on-board hydrogen to generate electricity, emitting nothing but heat and water vapour. Effectively, they are an electric car with the hydrogen fuel cell behaving like an active battery.


New boss for Bridgestone

Jacques Fourie is the new CEO of Bridgestone South Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED
Jacques Fourie is the new CEO of Bridgestone South Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED

Bridgestone South Africa has appointed Jacques Fourie as CEO of the company, effective  July 1 2019. Fourie replaces Gavin Young, who stepped down on June 7.

Fourie moves over from Cummins Rocky Mountain, a leading manufacturer of engineering equipment.

“We are delighted that an executive of Jacques Fourie’s calibre and experience will be leading Bridgestone South Africa into the future. His track record speaks for itself, and in particular his expertise in manufacturing will be invaluable as the company repositions itself to take advantage of new opportunities,” says Mete Ekin, Regional MD for the Middle East and Africa at Bridgestone.

Fourie’s 14-year career at Cummins started in 2004 as the finance manager for Cummins Southern Africa before transitioning as finance director for Cummins Africa in 2006.

In 2008 he accepted an expatriate assignment and relocated with his family to West Africa as MD for Cummins Ghana. In this role he was responsible for establishing the Cummins-owned distributor covering Ghana and neighbouring countries in West Africa. In February 2011, he relocated back to SA to assume the role of MD for Cummins Southern Africa, a region covering 11 countries. Later in 2014, he assumed the role of director of sales and marketing for Cummins Africa.

Since 2015, he has been based in Denver, Colorado in the US, where he acted as Executive Vice-President Operations, overseeing the manufacturing operations and company-owned branches in eight US states and a mining operation in Mexico.

Fourie became a President of Cummins Rocky Mountain in June 2017, from which date he also took responsibility for the Cummins Mining business segment in US, Canada and Mexico.