WITNESSED a car crash in Sydney this week that could have had fatal consequences.
I’M A CARBON EMISSIONS LOSER
THE purpose of my visit to Sydney was the launch of the third generation Prius, a vehicle which is highly prized by Black and White Taxi owner-operators in Cairns.
As you’ll read on P14-15, it is Australia’s cleanest and greenest car with average fuel economy of 3.9L/100km (which we achieved on the drive program) and carbon emissions of just 89 grams per 100km.
As part of the launch the 20 journalists were issued a CO2 challenge at Camden airport about 60km from Sydney.
The aim was to complete a lap of the 1.2km course in the Prius, setting a time, while producing the lowest CO2 emissions.
Racing driver Neil Crompton established a benchmark which was 81.8s and 88gm/km for a combined total of 7256.
The course included three sharp left turns, a series of slaloms and a bus stop manoeuvre.
The theory was to accelerate hard at the start and then maintain momentum, achieve a reasonably fast time but be very prudent with the use of the accelerator.
Too heavy on the throttle and the result was more carbon emissions. We were allowed two practice laps before the test. Drivers were also warned if they were too slow or were 20 per cent beyond the banchmark time they would be disqualified.
The winner was website Go Auto’s Marton Pettendy who achieved 96s and 43.8gm/km for a total of 4205.
I’m ashamed to say I achieved the highest score of 83.4s and 113.2gm/km for a total of 9441, more than double that of Pettendy’s.
Two journalists were black flagged for being too slow around the track. Paul Gover of the Herald Sun and The Sunday Mail’s Stuart Scott were disqualified.
SNEAK PREVIEW OF LEXUS COUPE
WHILE in Sydney, I was given a sneak preview of the next Lexus to arrive in the showrooms.
It was the elegant Lexus IS 250C coupe-convertible which is shown to dealers next week before the media launch on July 27.
There were several IS 250Cs hidden around the back of the Toyota Australia sales and marketing head office near Cronulla.
It looked quite stunning in a metallic red hue called vermilion and a light leather interior (pictured above).
In a secure area there was a black version with a black leather interior. The three-piece aluminium folding top went up or down in 21 seconds.
The IS 250C’s rear overhang has been increased by 50mm over the sedan. It combines with the compact roof to generate a significant increase in luggage space, allowing stowage of a nine-inch golf bag even with the roof down.
Specifications and prices won’t be released for two weeks but expect prices to be more than $80,000.
IS 250C will be powered by the 153kW 2.5-litre V6 power plant mated to a six-speed automatic transmission from the sedan.
The exterior will be distinguished by new body panels from the A-pillar back, unique LED tail lights, a high-mounted stop light, revised front bumper styling and unique alloy wheels.
On board, the driver’s instrument binnacle has been extensively revised to increase open-topped motoring visibility. The instrument panel and surrounding components, as well as the steering wheel, are shared with the IS sedan range.
Australian engineers also tested the vehicle locally for the impact of temperature, vibration and wind on the vehicle, along with the effectiveness of ventilation dust and water sealing designs.
In particular its airconditioning system was given a rigorous workout in the Northern Territory.
UKELELE, OOPS, UTE SALE
CAR dealer Westco Motors is taking a tongue in cheek view to its latest used car advertising. The dealership is having a uke, err, ute sale. Having a dig at Mayor Val Schier’s plans for a signature ukulele festival, the car yard decided to string along with the theme too.
They are giving away a free ukulele with every used car sold this weekend as well as giving free ‘valuations’.
It’s all part of a move to shift some used cars with a bit of local humour.
We’re not sure if Westco’s car salesmen must woo buyers with a rendition of Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through The Tulips number.
Perhaps that’s not a good idea either. They want to sell cars not put buyers off.
Maybe Westco should hire a professional ukelele player to enter into the spirit of the sale.
We wonder if Val will be putting in a cameo appearance, to give more creditability to the ukelele festival.
Val won’t be buying a car though. She drives a new hybrid, the Toyota Prius.