Ferrari and Jaguar upstage new Lexus GS

* Lexus launches new GS in California * On sale early next year * Ferrari 250 GTO and Jaguar E-type also at Pebble Beach...

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John McIlroy
22 August 2011

Lexus provided the biggest modern debut at the weekend's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the United States - but classics from Ferrari and Jaguar still managed to steal the show.

Jaguar's celebrations, centred on the 50th anniversary of the iconic E-type, brought dozens of the classic sports cars to California. The company's chief designer, Ian Callum, was one of the honorary judges at Pebble Beach, but the Jaguar highlight was a one-make race for E-Types at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, held at the nearby Laguna Seca racetrack.

Ferrari's equally famous 250 GTO came out in unusually strong numbers for the Pebble Beach event; 22 examples of the car were present, more than half of the model's total production figure. The Italian marque also scored the biggest price at one of Pebble's auctions, where a 1957 250 Testa Rossa sold for $16.4m (9.95m).

Lexus was one of several manufacturers to use the event's profile - and well-heeled client base - to launch a new model. Its new GS, which is destined for UK dealers from early 2012, has a tidier, more angular look than the outgoing car.

The cabin layout is more modern - in particular the widescreen multimedia system - but it's still unmistakably Japanese in origin. That's unlikely to bother buyers in the US, though; the GS has been a major hit for Lexus there.

Other modern debutants at Pebble Beach included the BMW M5, Cadillac's Ciel concept, Lotus's hardcore Evora GTE and the Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster.