Arts & Culture

Malcom Gladwell launches new podcast that takes listeners behind the scenes at Lexus

Celebrated storyteller Malcom Gladwell takes listeners behind the scenes at Lexus in a new podcast.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

He's written several bestselling books, been a longtime storytelling in The New Yorker magazine, and has hosted the Revisionist History podcast. Malcom Gladwell is also a self-proclaimed car nut. He's has teamed up with Lexus for a six-part podcast that is available now.

The podcast is titled "Go and See", which is an approximate translation of the Japanese "genchi genbutsu," or "go and see for yourself." The idea stems from the idea that if someone goes to see how something is made, designed, or created, they'll gain a greater understanding of the people behind the method. Lexus has invited Gladwell to visit Japan to take a behind-the-scenes look at Lexus operations.

Go And See Malcom Gladwell The podcast is available on a number of platforms.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

"Human-centered design has been a Lexus core value since inception, and this has led to some interesting and original approaches through the years," said Lisa Materazzo, vice president of marketing at Lexus. "Malcolm Gladwell's curiosity is contagious, and we are so pleased that he accepted our invitation to take a closer look at Lexus. I believe he was able to gain an understanding of how we learn by studying people. The resulting podcast series is truly intriguing."

According to a release, the podcast series follows Gladwell as he travels to the company's headquarters in Japan, explores a top-secret racetrack, and shadows engineers and executives.

Lexus excels at infusing key components of Japanese culture into its vehicles' identity. Take, for example, the oragami-inspired folds of material in the Lexus LS.

The podcast takes a deeper look at this including how a Japanese tea ceremony influenced the engineering of a car window; to the musical composition of a coupe's engine and the emotions it elicits.

"I once had a Lexus sports car and loved it. But after I gave it up, I didn't really give them much more thought," said Gladwell. "In Japan, I saw firsthand just how much thought and cultural know-how and expertise goes into the final product."

Recorded over 10 weeks from December through February, Gladwell's own Pushkin Industries produced the six-part series in partnership with Lexus. The first episode became available on March 5, 2020, and new episodes launch on subsequent Thursday.s Listeners can stream or download the series from Apple Podcasts, Radio.com, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Pocketcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Castbox, NPR One, Web Players and more.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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The design study gives customers an idea of what to expect out of the next-gen QX60

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

It’s not the next-gen Infiniti QX60, but it is darn close. The Infiniti QX60 Monograph is a concept car and design study of the forthcoming new version of the three-row SUV.

"We commenced the design of the Monograph knowing this was an opportune time to start a discussion about where we are planning to take the QX60 in the future and more broadly, where we are heading as a brand with our design language'" said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president, Global Design, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph Slim headlights and an athletic stance make the face of the SUV unique.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Consider it a detailed plan. Even Infiniti itself is relaying that the QX60 Monograph “provides tangible insight” into the new model from proportions to design elements. With the new QX60, Infiniti looks to not break the mold, which their buyers love, but instead refine what customers expect.

"In crafting this Monograph, we wanted to change the tonality of the QX60 and transform the nameplate from a sculptural and architectural point of view. We raised the visual center of gravity, giving it a strong, straight shoulder line that carries through to the hood, with a higher, more prominent grille, and longer-looking cabin to deliver a sense of muscularity and a commanding presence" Albaisa said.

The QX60 Monograph is more muscular than the current QX60, with distinctive athletic styling that sets it apart from the usual SUV crowd and gives it its own Infiniti identity. A long wheelbase, teardrop-like greenhouse, and sweeping lines give the SUV a new profile. A horizontal window line and wide backside are designed to give the concept a sense of poise and stability.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph The SUV’s grille features a fresh design.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti is showcasing the QX60 Monograph with a platinum plant color that mimics the qualities of liquid metal. It features a black roof that is on-trend for the current design environment. On top of the car is a panoramic roof that features a “kimono fold” pattern.

"The QX60 Monograph embodies the Japanese concept of 'Ma,' a sense of minimalism where designers seek harmony, adding just the right amount of elements with very specific meaning to create something special. This is evident on the body, where at a glance it is simple, but when you get closer, you see that there are elements that are playing against each other in a sense of harmony." Albaisa explains.

At the front of the SUV is a new take on the traditional Infiniti grille - a two dimensional surface that projects a sense of three-dimensional depth. It’s a mesh pattern that repeats on the car’s side intakes.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph Infiniti has given the SUV a black roof.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti calls the lighting at the front and rear of the SUV “Digital Piano Key” technology saying that it projects a “futuristic appearance”. The taillights are tinted and appear to wrap around the sides of the vehicle. The lamps are accompanied by a glowing “infinite road” brand emblem.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph The model’s taillights appear to wrap around the vehicle.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The interior of the model was not shown and not detailed as part of this design study. It is expected that a thoroughly modern, new interior is on tap for the next-gen QX60.

The production version of the next generation QX60 is expected in 2021.

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