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First look: Lexus unveils compact hybrid

Small wonder: Lexus will show a hybrid version of its new C-Premium small car, dubbed LF-Ch, at Frankfurt.

First evidence of ‘C-Premium’ small car emerges from Lexus ahead of Frankfurt debut

2 Sep 2009

LEXUS has put its Frankfurt cards on the table, led by the first tangible evidence of the small car that has been confirmed for release in Australia in early 2011.

Previewed by a rear three-quarter sketch that shows an edgy five-door hatchback with a heavily stylised rear-end, the so-called LF-Ch concept will, as expected, emerge as a hybrid-only vehicle but is expected to morph into a production car with both petrol and petrol-electric engine options.

Lexus describes the LF-Ch, which makes its global public premiere at German’s bi-annual motor show on September 15, as a new full-hybrid premium compact concept with Lexus Hybrid Drive that “reinforces Lexus’ position as the only manufacturer to offer a range of hybrid vehicles”.

More details of the LF-Ch will be revealed by Lexus on September 10, but for now Lexus says it “combines stylish design and full hybrid technology in a practical five-door compact package to fulfil the needs of the most demanding premium compact segment customers.

“Benefiting from an electric-only driving capability, a key feature of Lexus Hybrid Drive, LF-Ch will allow for virtually silent urban driving with zero emissions.”

31 center imageFrom top: IS250 F-Sport, GS450h and LS600h.

Employing a 1.8-litre petrol-electric drive system from the Prius, the production LF-Ch, which is yet to be named, will be based on the same global front-drive Toyota small-car platform that underpins the Prius and Corolla.

Dubbed the Auris in Europe, the latter will also debut at Frankfurt with a hybrid drive system, and should be the second of eight new hybrid models promised by Toyota in Australia within the next four years.

Also appearing on the Lexus stand at Frankfurt will be an updated LS limousine range, plus model year upgrades for the GS, IS and IS F.

The “comprehensively revised” LS features upgraded exterior and interior designs, “significantly updated” equipment, a redesigned seating configuration and “enhanced driving dynamics”.

“The world’s only full hybrid vehicle in the premium luxury sedan segment, the Lexus LS 600h will be instantly identified as the high performance flagship of the LS model range through bespoke exterior and interior styling cues, improved packaging, and numerous enhancements to the vehicle’s Lexus Hybrid Drive system,” says Lexus.

The smaller GS, meantime, features a revised exterior design that emphasises the hybrid GS450h, plus upgraded safety equipment, revised audio and navigation systems and a revised colour range.

“The 2010 GS model range features enhanced safety features, new exterior and interior colours while the GS450h’s status as the model range flagship has now been further reinforced through several bespoke styling cues,” said Lexus.

“The GS450h remains the world’s only full hybrid model in the premium mid-size segment. The 2010 GS range also benefits from upgraded audio and navigation systems.” Finally, Lexus’ current entry-level model, the IS, will appear at Frankfurt with navigation and audio system upgrades, a limited-slip differential for the IS F and the availability of an F-Sport trim package for the standard sedan.

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