Lexus Future Plans to Include GS-F Hybrid & LFA Roadster?

Lexus Lineup

Automotive News has served up a full set of rumors today, touching on almost every model in the Lexus lineup — let’s take a look at each of them:

IS: The small sedan line will be re-engineered in late 2012, based on a shrunken version of the GS platform. Expect handling refinements, but not much change in the powertrain setup. Styling will be more youthful and expressive.

The next generation is expected to get a soft-top convertible to avoid the cost and weight of the hardtop.

With the the IS & GS models currently built on the same platform, it’s no real surprise that the next generation IS would see the same kind of benefits that have been seen with the early reviews of the fourth-generation GS — nor would it be all that shocking to see the IS retain its 2.5L & 3.5L V6 engines, as both of these powertrains to be used in the new GS as well.

HS 250h: Although the plug-in Prius is moving to lithium ion batteries, the HS will stick with a nickel-metal hydride for its midcycle change in 2012. Lithium may arrive with the 2015 redesign.

I’m very interested to see what Lexus does with the HS for its midcycle change — after a decent run in 2009 & 2010, the HS 250h has essentially disappeared with its near 80% drop in sales, and it’s the model most in need of a shakeup.

ES: The midrange sedan will be redesigned in the summer of 2012. Engineers have worked on tightening the ES’ handling so that it doesn’t wallow so much when pushed. A hybrid option will be offered, and there’s talk of a 40-mpg combined mileage. In terms of styling, the ES will get the big grille of the GS, and much more visual differentiation from the Camry platform it shares.

An ES hybrid with a 40-mpg rating would essentially be a license to print money for Lexus, even if it means a 4-cylinder and what will likely be a serious lack of top-end power.

GS: A re-engineered version arrives in early 2012 on an updated platform shared with the IS. But it will retain the same wheelbase and width and will be barely longer overall. The suspension has been modified for a sportier ride.

Engine offerings still will include a 3.5-liter V-6, with a six-speed transmission, and the 4.6-liter V-8, but with faster acceleration and better fuel economy. A four-wheel steering system will be optional. Lexus is considering a GS-F performance edition but using hybrid power instead of a hulking V-8 to make it happen.

I would think it’s pretty clear that Lexus won’t be releasing a GS 460, and will instead be replacing it with the GS 450h, which makes it hard to believe the idea of a hybrid GS-F. The current GS 450h powertrain, which is reportedly being carried over with the new generation, is plenty powerful and more than capable of replacing the GS 460 in the lineup — but I wonder if anyone looking at a GS-F would be happy with anything less than a V8, especially if it was to come with the extra weight of the hybrid system.

LS: A redesign is due in the spring of 2013 for the big flagship sedan. Weight-saving technology using premium materials is high on the priority list. As for the range-topping LS 600h, Lexus will place more emphasis on fuel economy than performance, but it will stick with a V-8 hybrid, not drop down to a V-6.

Sounds about right, though I’m convinced that we’ll see a LS hybrid with the same powertrain as the GS 450h, perhaps as a second hybrid option.

LFA: After the current batch of 500 is built, there likely will be a one-year hiatus before a roadster version is offered, probably in mid-2014.

As much as we would all like to see the LFA roadster reach production, I’ve been told more than once that part of the LFA sales pitch was that only the sedan would be built — and this rumor would go directly against that. A new model, perhaps similar to the LFA Roadster but with a different name, or even a convertible SC-F using the LFA V10? That I could believe.

RX: A redesign is planned for early 2014. The crossover currently rides on an ancient platform that will be updated with the new Toyota Camry/Avalon underpinnings. The hybrid battery may stay nickel-based, rather than use lithium ion, since Toyota has found packaging gains but only marginal fuel efficiency improvement from lithium.

With the RX yet to receive even a mid-cycle refresh, I have some difficulty buying into a fully redesigned model in 2014.

LX: Since the incremental volume of the top-line SUV helps justify Toyota’s investment in the Land Cruiser, the LX won’t go away. But expect the current version to stick around longer than planned, perhaps beyond 2015.

While I don’t imagine a full redesign of the LX is a top-priority for Lexus, it is certainly in need of a refresh — though when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

VX: After years of study and several concept models, Lexus has delayed the idea of a seven-seat car-based crossover.

Strange that this is the only rumor to address a model that’s not currently in the Lexus lineup, as I expect a smaller CUV is much more likely to reach production than another large Lexus.

Lastly, the article gives some insight into Lexus’ future development plans:

As far as cycle changes go, expect Lexus to follow BMW’s example with a major change every three years, alternating between sheet metal and powertrain. That way there is always something new to brag about.

This would certainly explain why we’re not seeing any new powertrains with the GS, and if true, it’s a great move by Lexus, as it should prevent the product slowdown that’s been happening over the last couple years.

[Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)]


  1. Time ago, were so much rumors about an LF-A Roadster, but I think they should improve the design in this, because not seems to be nice.
    • No IS coupe either, which is pretty hard to believe. Of course, that's just one of the many problems in this article. ;-)
    • Maybe they "shhhhh" first ... and later on they surprise you guys with IS-Coupe-F , came with 450hp 3.5-liter Twin Turbo engine & transfer with 6MT . XD
  2. I agree that an LF-A roadster is coming.  I feel they just wanted to see if the LFA wold really be a hit.  Now that it has gotten over, the Roadster is the next logical progression. Lexus SHOULD make a seven passenger RX.  It should replace the GX.  This would be wise. A smaller RX based off of the Rav4 is expected, and that makes sense. I guess if the ES will have a 40MPG combined hybrid, that goes for the Camry too BD
    • Replacing the GX with a 7-seat RX would be a smart move -- I just don't think there's enough room in the market for both the GX & LX.
  3. IS Coupe? or IS-F coupe/convertiable
  4. The GS was build on S-Chassis ... which is the same chassis with the Toyota Crown , one of the most luxury Toyota ever (E-Class competitor) , not sure if the 4th generation GS is still based on S-Chassis . While the IS was build on XE-Chassis ... which is should be a whole new chassis for Toyota because of the Altezza , which in Lexus it's our IS ... it was a good chassis but for most of the owner & reviewer would know it's actually getting handling from a stiff suspension . HS is big disappointed for not using Li-ion battery as it could shed weight & save space as the same time ... which Toyota already use it on their Prius Alpha , or called Prius V in America market . Since Camry is coming this fall , it's expected the ES would coming soon ! For the GS , I'm not happy to see id the GS460 is coming back because a GS450h is able to overcame it ... while for GS-F , it's really not-so-good to be Hybrid unless Toyota/Lexus give it a power up . I'm good to the weight saving because the LS600h is too heavy ... but not-good to see there's no V6 because V6 can lowered it's price & level for people that wanted it but couldn't really afford one . LFA Roadster sounds good , but 2014 is too far later ... because everyone else at that time would have even faster & better on performance . Are Toyota sure about Li-ion on improve that bit on FC ? As Li-ion can be smaller & somehow bit lighter . Indeed LX will be needed a long wait as it's based on a long-life car , the Land Cruiser . VX ... based on something like Toyota Kluger ? Would be nice ! I'm more love to see Lexus improve on handling & save weight instead of getting new engine ...
    • If the LFA roadster comes out in 2014, it will be with updated specifications. Not the current specs.
    • I'm hope so ... because by the current spec for current car , it's already slightly outdated .
    • Every other article about the new GS states that there will be no GS 460, so it's inclusion here is likely a mistake by Automotive News. As for the LFA Roadster -- if it comes to market (which I doubt), it would have to with updated specs.
    • Because Lexus GS450h is enough to replace the GS460 , cheaper Roadtax (in my country for example) would attract more people to get it ... and made more people take an Hybrid , good things ! I'm really hope for LFA II , which came with better engine , gearbox & corner ability !
  5. att : Krew - Thanks heaps for the Lexus Timetable ... excellant reading. As for the LX, i have stated it in the past and i will state it again - Lexus really does need to introduce the 4.5 V8 diesel to the lineup as found in the regular Landcruiser in many markets of the world including Australia. Considering European motorist generally prefer diesel powerplants, i reserve no hesitation suggestion it would be more popular then the regular petrol/gasoline 5.7 V8 LX450d ...!!   
    • Absolutely agree. A diesel (or even better, a hybrid-diesel) LX would be fantastic, but I just don't see Lexus investing resources into a vehicle market that continues to shrink.
  6. With rumours circulating that Toyota is developing a manual gearbox for hybrids to be used in the rumoured Prius rwd coupé due out in 2014,the GS-Fh makes sense.
  7. The RX needs a Highlander size and a RAV4 size, but I doubt the Highlander sized RX will be made as those 2 might chew in to much into the current RX sales.. But a RAV4 sized RX is quite obvious.. LS; it's still fresh and despite new vehicles from the competition, the LS isn't missing out on anything.. And they should stick with their state of the art V8 GS; yeah as the current GS sales have dried up, the upcoming GS should spice things up IS; Definatley needs a coup'e.. And pricing needs to be lowered from the current one, as the IS should truly be aimed at getting the young crowed..
    • It would be great to see the RX extended to seven seats (RX-L?) in addition to a RAV4 sized SUV, but I just don't think it's a priority for the brand right now.
  8. GS-F ! Im all for hybrids...but make the GS-F just petrol please.
  9. Wouldn't a 40mpg ESh negate the need for the HSh and drive the HS's sales further into oblivion?
  10. The HS seams like the odd ball in the Lexus family. They will need to hit a home run with the next HS. Styling improvement and performance (modest) improvements are much needed.
    • The HS doesn´t seem to fit quite right into the Lexus portfolio,and with the next ES offering a hybrid option the HS will have an in-brand rival. I´m thinking Lexus might as well take a bit of a risk with the next HS and make it a station wagon. Conventional thinking will tell you that the station wagon market in the US has gone the way of the Dodo,but why follow trends when you can shape them?  Just a thought. 
    • YES! DOUBLE YES! :-)
  11. Why are they teasing us with an LFA?  I thought those are sold out?  Are they making more? It would be cool if they had an LFA-F.