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Car Tech Live 202: We welcome the electric Smart Car...and the Lexus LF-A (podcast)

The electric ForTwo and the Lexus LF-A debut for very different audiences. Verizon tries but can anybody beat Google maps on Android? The car key that doubles as a wallet. And we drive the BMW 740i, the thinking person's 7 Series.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 202 SHOW NOTES

Lexus LF-A being delivered

And the first electric Smart ForTwo being delivered!

Can Verizon VZ Navigator ever top Google Maps on Android?

Solar road melts the snow that falls on it

CNET's picks for must-have car tech featuresRead more

Lexus LFA owners get 'warm welcome' in Web video

Owners of Lexus LFAs are welcomed into the family by Lexus General Manager Mark Templin in this Web video.

Although the video doesn't show the LFA in action, it does show off some of the highlights of the supercar.

Only 500 units will be made over a two-year period, and dealers were apparently told the $375,000 vehicles were only to go to the most elite drivers.

The 4.8L V10 engine boasts 552 horsepower and goes 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 202 mph.

In a separate video on YouTube, Lexus shows … Read more

Toyota recalls nearly 1.7 million vehicles worldwide

It's almost a flashback to 2010. Toyota Motor Sales today announced a voluntary recall of nearly 1.7 million vehicles worldwide for various issues.

A safety recall to inspect the installation of fuel pressure sensors involves about 245,000, 2006 to 2009 Lexus GS and IS models sold in the United States. The recall also includes 10,000 vehicles sold in Europe. A separate recall involves 141,000 Avensis cars sold in Europe and New Zealand. These cars may have irregular fuel pipes that increase the likelihood of cracks and further leakage.

The automaker said on its Web site: &… Read more

Lexus gives IS 350 strategic 2011 update

With stylish good looks, a powerful engine, and sharp handling, the Lexus IS 350 makes for a fun driver's car. Luxury appointments in the cabin also make it a comfortable place to sit. The Mark Levinson audio system is a treat to the ears, but the rest of the cabin tech pushes no boundaries. And we found poor performance from the iPod integration.

For the 2011 model year, Lexus made some strategic updates, the biggest of which is the now available all-wheel drive. LED parking lights were a necessary addition, given the competition. And Lexus' new Enform telematics system … Read more

Play Halo all night with Lexus, win MS Points

Lexus is partnering with online gaming service Xbox Live to promote its new 2011 Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback by giving away Microsoft Points to lucky gamers. To be eligible to win, users must log on to the Xbox Live service, download the free Lexus All-Nighter Gamer Picture, and then just play Halo: Reach on the night of Saturday, December 18. According to Lexus, the longer you play, the better your odds of winning will be. Of course, that means that people who play all night long will have the best chance of snagging a prize.

Every hour between 6 … Read more

Lexus LFA to feature new 'Airbelt,' a seat belt airbag

The Lexus LFA, which is available this month, will feature new inflatable seat belt technology.

The Takata "Airbelt," or SRS Seat Belt Airbag, is built into the webbing of the seat belt. It's designed to protect drivers and front-seat passengers in front- or side-impact collisions.

From the looks of it, and a description of how it works, the airbag will fill up with air on impact. It looks strikingly similar to the inflatable rear seat belts revealed last summer from Ford for the 2011 Ford Explorer.

The belt expands directly to spread the shock-load over a wider … Read more

5 car video game crossovers we want to see

In light of the Jeep Wrangler making an appearance in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops, and the associated Wrangler Black Ops edition offered by Jeep, we came up with five other video game car crossovers we would like to see. We looked at the top games either available now or coming soon on GameSpot, and picked five likely candidates for a crossover deal.

 Game  Car Fallout: New Vegas Ford Shelby GT500 If we're roaming the post-apocalyptic wastelands around New Vegas, we want to do it Mad Max-style. The Shelby GT500 has the mean looks and … Read more

Lexus CT 200h gets the F Sport treatment

Lexus' new CT 200h hybrid hatchback has only been on the road for for about a month, but Lexus is already heating it up with an F Sport package, which it debuted recently at the Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) in Sydney.

For those unaware, F Sport is the Lexus analogue to Toyota's TRD division, producing performance accessories for Lexus vehicles. We've driven a few F Sport-kitted IS 350s and enjoyed the mild performance boost gained with the uprated parts, and we know that Lexus is trying to give the CT 200h a Honda CR-Z-esque performance bent, … Read more

Lexus LS 460: A luxury bargain

Pampered was how the Lexus LS 460 made us feel. Its sound-deadened cabin made even the howl of jet engines a distant whisper. It rode over potholes and the remains of road construction with little notice. At the same time, music poured forth from its Mark Levinson audio system with delightful clarity.

Our LS 460 was also dressed up with some sport equipment, but where this car really performed was in fuel economy, showing that a V-8 does not have to be too thirsty. Combine that with a price undercutting flagships from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and the LS 460 looks … Read more