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LEXUS WINS HISTORIC BEST CAR AWARDS TRIFECTA

Lexus has won a historic trifecta at the prestigious Australia's Best Car Awards.

Lexus won the Best Luxury Car for GS450h, Best Prestige Car for IS250 and Best Luxury 4WD for RX350 Sports Luxury, a record-breaking fourth year in a row for the RX Line.

The triple win is an outstanding result for Lexus and the first time in its history it has collected all three trophies in every category in which the marque was nominated.

A judging panel representing the nation's seven auto clubs and their 6.3 million members backed the winning Lexus trifecta.

"This is a tremendous achievement for Lexus," said Lexus Australia corporate manager John Roca.

"These awards are the most respected in the automotive industry due to their targeted and transparent criteria, so to win all three categories is an unbelievable result."

GS450h defeated Audi A6 Quattro and Mercedes-Benz E350 to win the most prestigious award in the Australian automotive industry.

It was recognised for its outstanding performance, contribution to the environment, drive handling and quietness.

It is the first award for GS450h, which made a stunning debut in May 2006.

"Social responsibility has always been the primary focus of our Lexus hybrid development and the new GS450h takes hybrid technology and luxury to a new level," Mr Roca said.

"To be recognised by such a reputable judging panel for our first hybrid is a real testament to Lexus' commitment to hybrid technology,"

Ernest Litera, Chief Judge of Australia's Best Cars, said GS450h outclassed its rivals.

"It's hard to be critical of such a vehicle at all," said Mr Litera.

"Lexus has raised the bar in many areas: build quality inside and out is of the highest standard.

"It performs like a V8 and has the ride and handling qualities to match this level of performance.

"In fact the Lexus GS450h may well usher in the dawn of a 'new era'."

For a record-breaking fourth year in a row, Lexus RX Line retained its crown as Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2006.

Its predecessor, RX330, had won the category each year since 2003.

Winning the category again - with the re-powered RX350 Sports Luxury - is an achievement unsurpassed in the history of the Best Car Awards.

"To have dominated this category for the past four years is an incredible testament to the design, engineering and consumer appeal of this vehicle", Mr Roca said.

Ernest Litera said the RX350 also outclassed its rivals, including the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.

"The RX350 Sports Luxury feels evolutionary rather than revolutionary," Mr Litera said.

"It has the opulence, quality, refinement and comfort.

"Its luxury pedigree is confirmed by a comfy ride over virtually any surface, [and] a whisper-quiet cabin and plenty of creature comforts and safety items make this soft-roader all you want from a luxury refined vehicle.

"Winning a competitive class four years in a row is no mean feat - but then the Lexus RX350 is no mean motor car."

At its launch RX350 was rated the most powerful six-cylinder four-wheel drive in its class available in Australia.

It is 18 per cent more powerful and has four per cent more torque than the single-VVT-i 3.3-litre RX330 it superseded.

Despite its increased performance, RX350 has reduced the RX Line's fuel consumption to an average of 11.2 litres/100km*, also an impressive figure among its luxury peers.

Lexus RX350 also offers reduced emissions compared to RX330.

The RX has been Lexus' most successful model globally and, since its Australian launch in April 2003, has consistently ranked as one of the highest-selling luxury SUVs in Australia.

To complete the trifecta, Lexus IS250 defeated the Honda Legend and Subaru Liberty to win the title of Australia's Best Prestige Car.

Judges awarded the IS250 the trophy in recognition of its impressive array of vehicle safety systems, including world-first twin-chamber airbag technology and outstanding driving performance.

IS250 has eight airbags as standard, including a new twin-chamber SRS front passenger's airbag and driver and front passenger's SRS knee airbags.

Ernest Litera said IS250 scored top in its class for safety, comfort, ergonomics, build quality, ride, and smoothness and quietness.

"The depth and consistency of the IS250 across all 19 criteria - the critical ones especially - gave the Lexus a deserved victory," Mr Litera said.

John Roca pointed out that IS250 had been a star in the Lexus range since its launch in November 2005.

"IS250 is an impressive blend of style, engineering and manufacturing techniques making this vehicle a truly sophisticated proposition", Mr Roca said.

The Australia's Best Cars competition, which replaced seven separate State and Territory car club competitions in 2000, is claimed to be Australia's most comprehensive and objective consumer-based vehicle testing and award program.

Full scores are available on the Australia's Best Cars official website, www.australiasbestcars.com.au.

*Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR81/01 combined cycle.

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IMAGES
Lexus corporate manager John Roca (left) accepting a trophy from Australia's Best Car Awards chief judge Ernest Litera. Lexus recorded a historic trifecta, winning the Best Luxury (GS450h), Best Prestige (IS250) and Best Luxury 4WD (RX350 Sports Luxury) categories.