Lexus Planning to Build Small Two-Seat Roadster?

Lexus LF-CC

According to Motor Trend, Lexus may be building a small two-seat roadster as a result of the recent BMW/Toyota partnership — here’s a quote from the latest issue of the magazine:

Sources in Japan say Toyota’s version (of the joint BMW/Toyota sports car) will actually underpin an all-new Lexus sports car, a suggestion that makes all the sense in the world given Akio Toyoda’s ambition to make Lexus a genuine global rival to the German lux-meisters. Whisper is the new Lexus will be positioned to compete with the Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4, and entry-level Porsche Boxster.

If I understand this correctly, this would be an additional vehicle beyond the rumored RC mid-size coupe — if true, this could be a major shift in the way Lexus approaches mass production vehicles, as niche market models have never been a priority with the brand.

The strategy reminds me of this Akio Toyoda quote from Automotive News:

“When we have a design screening, my role is to simply talk with the right side of the brain,” Toyoda said. “There are already enough people at Toyota who use the left side of the brain. You need to be able to say, ‘Wow! I want that!'”

(Joaquin over at Kaizen Factor has an astute analysis of the news — highly recommended reading.)

[Source: Motor Trend via Kaizen Factor]


  1. I think this is a splendid idea! Mostly because I personally love sportscars more than all other categories of vehicles combined,but also because a): a sportscar in that price range would be easier to sell as a Lexus,and b): Lexus really should have a mass-produced and relatively affordable sportscar to cash in on the excitement created by the LFA.
  2. BMW and Lexus need to build a dissel hybrid with BMW's performance and Lexus' reliability. I also think it's a great idea if Lexus gets a 2 seater sport roadster in its lineup because Lexus needs something like the Z4 or the SLK.
    • MT

      How are you going to make a BMW diesel engine with Lexus reliability? Either you have a BMW diesel. Or you have Lexus reliability. There is no such thing as black white, or loud silence.
    • You can have a reliable diesel engine. It might not be as refined as much as say a gasoline engine but it still can be reliable. I agree that it would take a lot of engineering and the use of stronger materials to get a reliable diesel engine but if BMW and toyota/Lexus work together...anything is possible.
    • Too expensive in the end of the day.
    • Diesel is more expensive then gas because of the taxes. If there are more diesel engine out, the taxes would be less because the tax burden would be shared by a greater crowed.
    • Diesel-engined cars are dead! Dead, dead, dead. So please stop talking about them!!! They put out too much toxic gases and those gases are taxed and hopefully soon banned here in Europe. And they sound bad too. Lexus will never make more dieselengined cars.
    • Lexus has a Diesel engine car. It's the IS220d.
    • Yeah, "sure" Mr. Empty. All they are talking about now is the new IS-diesel with a spindle-grille, and not at all the IS-hybrid. "Sure" thing!! Or maybe not... I said "never make MORE dieselengined cars", and I'm absolutely right.
    • Ms. Thomas, why don't you make yourself clearer next time and say the new IS.
    • Jim

      Diesel-engined cars are dead? Been to Europe lately?
    • Oh, yes! I'm from Europe and live here actually. Both Lexus Norway and Lexus Sweden have promised that they will never again offer a diesel-engined Lexus. The rest of the European countrys and the EU will follow, for sure as NOx emissions are getting taxed.
  3. ha ha ha lolz lexus is the gemanys big 3 worst and most feared enemy. BMW only joined with toyota to learn something from toyota. as we all know, toyota is best at predicting the future of the auto world. toyota made LFA, GS sport, IS sport and tons of state of the art hybids, BMW is absolute of no use to them. this is all about BMW learning from toyota
    • FWIW the LFA was a failure. A great car, a great engine, a great chassis, and a good first step. But it was still outshone in performance by cars that cost less but with more brand appeal. The GS/IS F-sport are another step in the right direction but only shine so much because the rest of the segment is trying to become more Lexus-like. They still don't compare to the E9X 335i and those cars are all but gone (except great standouts like the E92 335is that Lexus still doesn't have an answer for). Lexus has a lot to learn styling-wise (Lexus cars are widely perceived as safe and boring) and chassis-wise (no Lexus has the steering feel of a comparable BMW -- except maybe the 5 series) and power-wise from BMW (Lexus engines are underpowered and don't get good gas mileage). Toyota has a lot to gain from BMW, most notably the N54/N55 and the upcoming S55 (the TT I6 M3/M4 motor). Imagine a new Supra with 400whp bone stock and curb weight of 3400lbs with BMW M3/M4 suspension and Lexus service quality.
    • Brian how is the LFA a failure when it holds the fastest lap run on road tires? and why is Jeremy of top gear and many other claiming LFA as one of the greatest cars? funny thing LFA still goes racing with this very same engine with exactly same hp and beat cars with much higher hp. he he he. 335i lol don't forget that BMW has had to drop 2 turbos on this engine to beat the N/A lexus 3.5l.lotus uses this 3.5 with a super churger installed on it and you know what, it leaves the BMW 335 in a cloud of dust. lexus could easly cheat buy installing a boost to on this engine. knowing lexus like i do they dont often take the easy way out. it not that toyota cant do it, often they just choose not to toyota have nothing to gain from BMW. BMW only know how to make good big engines. toyota is not short on that skill
  4. toyota shouldnt have joined with BMW. you give the gemans an opening, they say thank you and they run with it while it still last. toyota on the other hand have the habit of waiting for the compitition to catch up a little bit, toyota dont bit you while u down. Give BMW a design styling of a two seater, 5 years later they have about 10 of them
    • Exactly! I can't believe someone else agrees with me! The Germans brand are true backstabbers, they're always in it for their own best interest and they have absolutely no class! Toyota is at a great loss with their BMW partnership. Stupid people at Toyota must be making these very poor decisions.
    • F1orce i also see it as very stupid of toyota to partner with BMW. Now that lexus is actually challenging BMW head on with perfomance cars this parnership can't be good news. We know,when lexus focus on something, they send shock waves. when lexus say perfomance they mean it and might mean a big blow for BMW reputation
    • Yeah that's right. When Lexus does focus on something it's done to perfection, the very best. They've nailed BMW on everything, build quality, interior quality, refinement, reliability & comfort. Now Lexus will pioneer performance.
    • The other thing @F1 these german brands got the media backing them. I've seen that Lexus have actually has had to walk the talk to prove itself. but you know what, the custormers recognise. soon it might not matter what the bias journerlist say
  5. Hard to see this as anything less than a way to leverage the Scion FRS platform, which Toyota financed and owns. Selling 15-20k FRS units a year wouldn't make much sense in itself as a business case. More is to come..... BD
  6. I'm not sure any form of association with any German brand or company is a good idea!
  7. Jim

    Here's hoping for a hard top convertible version. Nothing has taken the slot left by the departure of the SC, and as much as I love my SC, it's a few years old now, and I'd love to see a replacement.