By on January 29, 2019

There’s no shortage of F Sport models populating the Lexus lineup, but those efforts amount to little more than an appearance package designed to foist some of the aura of the brand’s F performance division onto pedestrian models. There’s no additional power.

While the brand already has two F models in the form of the GS F and RC F, there’s groundwork afoot to identify the right crossover for F duty. Surely you’re not surprised.

Speaking to Motor1 on the sidelines of last weekend’s Rolex 24, Cooper Ericksen, vice president for product planning and strategy at Lexus, said the prospect is an “active conversation” among company brass.

While Ericksen didn’t mention a specific model, Chika Kako, executive vice president and chief engineer to the Lexus UX, previously stated that the new subcompact crossover has “potential” to become the brand’s third F vehicle.

If turned into a street performer, the UX would adopt a ballsy hybrid system to do the deed. Currently, the UX, which went on sale in the U.S. in December, makes do with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission. Output for the 3,300-pound crossover is 168 hp and 151 lb-ft. (The engine does double duty in the Toyota Corolla hatch.)

The UX is a stepping stone designed to get urban Millennials into the brand, and a performance variant of said vehicle could endow the model with appeal that goes beyond just the premium badge. That said, a new F-badged crossover or SUV is still just a thought, not yet greenlit by Lexus uppity-ups.

“[What] we’re currently trying to figure out is [if] the on-road performance aspect [is] more important [for Lexus] to invest in than the off-road performance,” Kako told Motor1.

[Image: Lexus]

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11 Comments on “F This: Lexus Mulling a Hotter Crossover...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Well, ya know you just can’t have enough crossovers ;-)

  • avatar
    carguy

    What the UX need is a refined power-train and not the Corolla mill that sounds like a blender when pushed.

  • avatar
    JMII

    BMW has M. Benz has AMG. Audi has S. So Lexus would be foolish not to cash in on a F crossover.

    “[What] we’re currently trying to figure out is [if] the on-road performance aspect [is] more important [for Lexus] to invest in than the off-road performance,” Kako told Motor1.

    Is this keeping Lexus engineers up at night? If so I can help them sleep… nobody is taking their Lexus CUV off road. Add power (really just put a different exhaust on it), drop it 2″, add a bigger spoiler and get back to bed.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    To relate to the “premium” question – one problem with Lexus is they don’t really do true high output mainstream models. They offer nothing like the x3M40, or X5M or 240i that BMW provides (and also Audi S and MB AMG), which offer some serious power and sport versus the mainstream 4 cylinder entry models.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The RC-F and GS-F seem pretty serious to me. Certain former editors of this site would agree.

      https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/buying-maintenance/a25683229/the-lexus-gs-f-is-the-future-classic-nobody-is-talking-about/

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Well if you consider the RC-F and GS-F to be based on mainstream Lexus models when they sell a few dozen a month at seriously high prices, then we have different mainstream definitions. I’m talking about fast versions of models that are somewhat attainable (BMW X3 or 2 series) and/or based on top selling models (BMW X3 or X5). Let me know when Lexus does a seriously quick RX or ES.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Why not Lexus?

    BMW has the X3/X5. FCA has the Alfa Stelvio (dumb name, but infinitely better than XT5 or 6).

    What amazes me is that neither Ford nor GM have the imagination to take components they already have (bigger engines, stiffer suspensions, maybe even magnetic shocks), and tart up their cross-overs to make them the equivalent of the 1964 GTO or the 1976 VW GTI:

    An mass-priced make (Ford or Chevy) that can run with, or better yet, quicker than the BMW or Alfa on the racetrack.

    Perhaps the economics aren’t there? And, if the Ford Edge ST is Ford’s attempt to do this….yawn…

    One big difference–today, even plebeian cars have relatively high performance.

    Still, Ford and GM could take their little CUVs (Trax), put a 250 hp engine and manual trans, and voila….the ‘new GTI’.

    Of course, that would require some creativity and some investment money, and both are in short supply at these sycophantic companies. Never mind.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Good for Lexus. If these guys are going over the CUV rainbow, they might as well make some that go fast.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    The UX is FWD except for the Hybrid.They should make the sporty version AWD.

    We live on a steep hill and have an AWD RX ,currently looking to downsize,the NX is not much smaller,the lack of AWD for the UX means we will look elsewhere.

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