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Lexus IS 200t Turbo Prototype Spotted in Colorado?

Lexus IS 200t Spy Shots

A camouflaged Lexus IS prototype with emissions testing equipment and manufacturer plates was spotted in the Colorado Rocky Mountains by The Fast Lane Car:

Lexus IS 200t Turbo Spotted

As suggested by TFLCar, a plausible possibility for this IS prototype is the testing of the 2.0L turbo engine first introduced with the NX 200t.

Lexus has already trademarked IS 200t in various markets around the world, and the 2.0L turbo the best candidate to replace the aging 2.5L V6 currently found in the IS 250.

[Source: TFLCar]

Photoshop: Experimenting with the Lexus Teaser Image

Lexus GS F Photochop

One of the funnest things about automotive teasers is trying to pull something unexpected from the image, and that’s what reader Michael Pannone did with the Lexus photo from yesterday (click for a larger image):

Lexus GS F Photochop

Flipping the original image and photoshopping a mesh grille from the RC F to fill in the gaps, Michael was able to create a reasonable representation of what Lexus might reveal at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

New Lexus High Performance F Model Coming to Detroit Auto Show

Lexus GS F Teaser

Lexus has released two teaser images for new model set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January — here they are (click for a larger version):

Lexus GS F Teaser 2

Lexus GS F Teaser

Here’s the full press release:

Lexus announced it will be adding a second vehicle to its growing stable of F brand high performance models. Earlier this year, the luxury manufacturer launched the RC F, a V8 powered performance coupe.

The newest Lexus F brand vehicle will make its global premiere at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on Jan. 13. The vehicle will be revealed at a press conference in the Lexus display space at Cobo Center on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8:40 a.m. EST.

While nothing is confirmed, the images are almost certainly the highly-rumored GS F — in the past few months, prototypes for the new super sedan have been spotted all over the world, and there are strong hints of the GS in both images.

Early impressions from the images: LOVE the headlight design and integrated carbon fiber front lip. What do you think?

Toyota to Transform Scion into Small-Premium Brand?

Lexus Scion FR-S Premium Brand

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz believes that Scion should become a small-premium brand, according to an interview with Wards Auto:

“I still personally believe small-premium is the direction we should be going,” he tells WardsAuto in a recent interview here during a Toyota press event. “I think that (the) Toyota channel, itself, with vehicles like Yaris and other small, B-platform cars, can handle the lower end of the market. I think that C-platform premium small cars are probably the best place for Scion to be.”

The positioning also makes sense as Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand has said it won’t sell a model below $30,000, bucking the trend of other premium automakers offering models below that price point (Mercedes-Benz CLA, Audi A3).

This has been an ongoing campaign for Lentz, who also discussed “Scion as a premium brand” last year with Automotive News:

Scion, not Lexus, may be the way Toyota meets the new premium competition typified by the CLA, which will start at under $30,000, not including shipping. The Toyota brand, which has 18 nameplates, may be too product-heavy to compete in the mass market and join the entry-luxury fight as well.

And Lexus has refused to drop below the $30,000 price point. “There’s a cost to provide that outstanding Lexus customer service,” Lentz said. “We don’t want to lose that, and we don’t want to cheapen our cars.”

This has been a very clear point over the last couple years — Lexus will not be introducing any new vehicles below the $30k CT hatckback, and will not directly compete with the lower-tier offerings from BMW, Mercedes & Audi.

By sticking to strategy instead of chasing volume, Lexus is taking a calculated risk that these cheaper models will devalue the German brands, and in turn increase the prestige of the Lexus brand.

This position leaves a large gap in the Toyota family — bringing Scion upmarket may be the ultimate solution, but it won’t be easy. The brand currently exists in North America only, and any premium brand will require a worldwide presence to gain any traction.

This type of transformation comes at an enormous cost, and may not even succeed — should Toyota take the risk? Should Lexus just abandon its current under-$30k strategy? Why not just sell these premium models under the Toyota brand?

It all makes for an interesting puzzle, and one that will be fun to watch over the next few years.

[Source: Wards Auto]

The Lexus RC F Biometrics Test: How the Body Reacts to Driving the Lexus Coupe

Lexus RC F Translogic

AoL video series Translogic has bypassed the subjective parts of an automotive review and gone straight to the hard data — here’s host Jonathon Buckley hooked up to biometric equipment while driving the Lexus RC F:

(Thanks Mohammad!)