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Lexus at the Tokyo motor show
Leading up to the Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus has shown off two of its launches.
The first is the Lexus RC, the rather pretty coupe version of the new IS. Or if you prefer, a production version of the LF-CC concept from the Paris show last year. It comes to Britain in late 2014.
Like the IS300h saloon, it will have the 300h powertrain, of four-cylinder petrol engine plus hybrid assistance. We’re also expecting a turbo four-cylinder option. The US will also have a 3.5 V6, but we’re not sure if it will make it to the UK. Maybe, later, some sort of F version too. Because hot small coupes are good things, aren’t they.
Less immediately attractive, let’s face it, is another version of the LF-NX concept that was at Frankfurt a couple of months back. Here it has revised - even more aggressive - nose and tail, plus the new 2.0 turbo engine.
If the purpose of a show car is to get attention, the NX certainly succeeded. But the real thing will have to be less spiky when it arrives in the UK in mid-2014. To give you an idea of size, it sits on the RAV4 platform, so it’s smaller than the existing Lexus RX and won’t replace it.
Mind you, as we stood and stared at it, we did get a sneaky regard for the devil-may-care surfaces of the concept. Maybe it was just the effect of the sake and the Japanese free-jazz-punk crossover band that Lexus had hired for the unveil evening. That sort of thing can mess with your senses.
After we’d sobered up, a discussion with the Lexus design chief Tokuo Fukuichi seemed like a good idea. He says the basic silhouette and proportions won’t change. He thinks it’s time for a braver sort of Lexus, and a braver sort of crossover. “It has had positive and negative reactions. The intention was to surprise people. The German three are our competitors but we won’t follow them.” He says the Lexus grille shape is integral to the design, because it feeds back into the blistered wings and the fuselage of the body.