Lexus’ Future Models Will be Sportier and More Emotional
The Lexus RC and the NX crossover get top marks as the best-looking Lexus models in the automaker’s entire lineup. But don’t be surprised if Lexus decides to swing for the fences and use the aggressive designs of the RC and the NX as springboards for a sportier and “more emotional” lineup.
Lexus’ European vice president Alain Uyttenhoven told CAR Magazine the company is looking to adopt a passion-based design platform for its future lineup. According to Uyttenhoven, it’s not enough for Lexus to continue promoting what it’s already good at, namely hybrid technology and all-world class and refinement. If it wants to appeal to a European market that puts a premium on sporty DNA, it needs to up the ante and design bolder and more distinctive models.
It’s easier said than done, but Uyytenhoven is confident that the company can pull it off without compromising its own brand identity. The RC F, in particular, showed that Lexus has the tools to develop an aggressively styled sports car that could give the BMW M4 a serious run for its money.
Now the focus isn’t to just stop with the RC and the NX, but to use those two models as the proverbial pegs to develop a future line up of Lexus models that adhere to the same sporty and emotional design principles.
That’s just one aspect of what the Lexus braintrust is thinking about these days. More F models are also expected as the company steers toward emphasizing dynamic models that not only look good, but also have the performance chops to back it up.
Uyytenhoven also didn’t rule out the possibility of performance hybrid models in the future, a sentiment previously shared by Haruhiko Tanahashi, the brains behind the design of the Lexus LF-A.
Lexus is definitely cooking a lot of things in the kitchen these days. Now we wait and see if there’s anything that comes out of it.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus’ future design plans.
Why it matters
Lexus is embarking on a strategy that has one goal in mind: to be in the same conversation with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. The automaker is not in that sphere yet, which is why the it is pushing to be build sportier and more emotional models that appeal strongly to the European market.
Lexus clearly has its eyes set on Europe. Right now, it’s trying to boost European sales to six figures by 2020. It’s already halfway there this year with 52,000 units sold. According to Uyttenhoven, the arrival of the NX could bump that up to 60,000 units in 2015.
If it wants to mentioned in the same breath as the German Big Three, Lexus needs to marry this goal of building sportier models without compromising its own core beliefs that have made it successful in other markets. If it can do that, it’s hard to bet against Lexus being able to pull it off.
Uyttenhoven told Autocar that this strategy even has the blessing of Toyota chief Akio Toyoda, which presumably means that the company has the financial backing of Toyota.
The opportunity is there. Let’s just hope that Lexus makes good use of it.
The Lexus RC was first unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, ushering a new era of Lexus sports cars created specifically to put the fear of God into its European rivals.
The RC arrived with a stunning new look that had a lot of people frantically pulling their jaws from the floor. The dynamic contoured lines immediately announced the RC’s profile as a sports car with mean intentions. The spindle grille stamped its identity as a true Lexus, and the sharp headlamps drove the car’s sportiness to a whole new level.
Under its hood, the RC is bolstered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that pumps out 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission it borrowed from the IS F.
The Lexus RC’s performance numbers allow it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds to go with a top speed of 143 mph.