ou could call Melbourne Australia’s shining jewel, but to do so might risk bodily harm from the denizens of Sydney and er, Adelaide. Capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is the second-most populous city in Australia with a population of approximately 5,000,000 The city was founded on August 30 1835 in what then was the British colony of New South Wales. In 1847, Melbourne was declared a city by Queen Victoria and it became the capital of the newly developed colony of Victoria four years later.
Not long thereafter, Melbourne saw a huge inflow of wealth following the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and became one of largest and richest cities in the world. Flash forward and this sunny burg was named the world’s most livable city seven years in a row between 2010 and 2017 by The Economist. One reason this writer has always wanted to go there: the city is highly regarded for its coffee culture, regularly topping global surveys and indexes. World barista champion Pete Licata, who hails from the US, said this of Melbourne’s coffee scene: “The coffee culture in Melbourne is just incredible; it’s nearly impossible to find a bad cup of coffee in Melbourne” My personal recommendation, is Clark Street Coffee, a hip coffee roaster offering up a great brew in a chilled-out environment.
Despite the fact that we are here to drive a stunning new Lexus automobile, it’s worth noting that the city has one of the largest tram networks in the world, with 250km of track, 487 trams, 25 routes, and 1,763 tram stops. Oh, and the weather is beautiful- Melbourne has a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm summers. In November it is springtime, with average high temperatures of 22.6 degrees Celsius and average lows of 12.6 degrees Celsius.
Debates over which is the greatest city in Oz aside, Melbourne is home to at least one more prestigious icon- the Lexus Melbourne Cup Trophy, a stunning 18 carat gold piece noted for its three-handled “loving cup” design. It is a national icon embedded in Australia’s cultural fabric and one of the most identifiable sporting trophies in the world.
The Cup, as we know it today, was designed by Mr James Steeth in readiness for the 1919 Melbourne Cup, won by Artilleryman. He was commissioned by the VRC to design a trophy which would be in keeping with the prestige of the race. The trophy was manufactured by Drummonds Jewellers, and Maurice Steeth took over crafting the Cup from his father following James’ death, yet following Maurice’s premature death, it was left to his able assistant ‘Lucky’ Rocca to continue the tradition.
In 1980, the making of the Cup was then entrusted to Hardy Brothers Jewellers and the same processes that commenced in 1919 are still followed to this day. Hardy Brothers Jewellers Chief Executive Stuart Bishop is entrusted with this responsibility today. It is made of 44 pieces of gold metal, hand beaten over 250 hours.
Like molten metal being forged into the Melbourne Cup Trophy, or perhaps a fine Japanese sword, the lines of the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept have the potential to shape the future of a flagship luxury crossover for Lexus.
Lexus established the luxury crossover segment two decades ago with the global debut of the RX 300 at Detroit. It remains the top-selling luxury crossover despite nearly 50 competitors that have since entered the segment.
LF-1 Limitless concept
The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept introduces a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover. Combining high performance with unrestrained luxury, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless is a showcase of technology, innovation and the latest evolution of design at Lexus.
Like its name, the possibilities for powertrains are limitless. The LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric. By around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model, or have an electrified option.
The innovative spirit of the LF-1 was created at CALTY Design Research in California. The design language is rooted in the simple yet elegant design concept dubbed “molten katana”. This design visualization fuses the organic shapes of liquid metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword. Imagining that shift from a smooth, flowing mass into a solid, chiseled shape formed the basis for the fluid, yet aggressive design of the LF-1 Limitless.
True Sport Sedan
A midsize sport sedan with few compromises, the 2019 Lexus GS continues to offer a unique blend of pulse quickening performance, sumptuous luxury and world-class quality. Powered by either a turbocharged four-cylinder (GS 300) or a velvet smooth V6 (GS 350), the GS provides the performance feel of a rear-wheel drive sport sedan along with the everyday efficiency and comfort of a true luxury car. For cold-weather climates, the GS 350 is also available with the added confidence of all-wheel drive traction.
All GS models offer the peace of mind that comes with one of the industry’s more comprehensive standard safety systems. The Lexus Safety System+ includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beams (IHB) and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. A Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) is also standard.
With classic proportions that are enhanced by its solid stance, the GS proudly wears the Lexus signature grille that gives it such an eye-catching look. Framed by satin chrome trim and flanked by distinctive standard Bi-LED headlights, the aggressive front fascia is unmistakably Lexus. Standard 17-inch, nine-spoke alloy wheels compliment the stylish silhouette of the GS while a choice of 12 exterior colors allows buyers to choose everything from subtle blacks and silvers to vivid colors like Matador Red Mica or Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0.
The Superlative Ride
The 2019 LC 500 is the ultimate luxury sports coupe. With a combination of supreme comfort and dynamic performance, Lexus designers and engineers created a grand touring vehicle that is sharper, smarter and faster than ever before.
The Lexus LC 500 represents the most passionate expression of the Lexus brand. The eye-catching coupe displays a unique mesh grille that spreads across the front of the car. It has a large glass panel and blacked-out rear pillars that creates a floating roof appearance. Chrome-plated moldings along the edges echo the lines of a traditional Japanese sword. You can also order an optional carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof for an even more exotic look.
One of the most stunning aspects of the LC 500 is its unique light signature at night. The taillamps were inspired by the glow of a jet’s afterburners while the ultra-compact, triple-projector LED headlamps are not only striking, they’re half the size of conventional headlamps.
Wrapping up with Sydney
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our time in gorgeous Sydney, home to the Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. A beach bums paradise, Sydney has more than 70 beaches on its coastline, with Bondi its most famous. It has more than 2.5 million acres of national parklands and nature reserves.
But in addition to its beauty, Sydney is ranked 11th in the world for economic opportunity and regularly finishes highly in global liveability studies – It has hosted global events including the 2000 Summer Olympics, which IOC president of the time Juan Antonio Samaranch named as ‘the best Olympic Games ever.’ What a stunning setting for showcasing such an impressive brand.
Given a choice between Melbourne and Sydney there’s only one logical choice: why not both?