Lexus has taken an adventurous product direction, splitting its offerings into a traditional luxury channel for its older buyers and a new-product silo of performance-based vehicles to attract Gen X and Gen Y consumers. The next several years largely will involve the latter category, including several high-performance vehicles.
Lexus also will jazz up its engine offerings by following Audi and BMW in having a 2.0-liter turbo engine in several of its entry-luxury vehicles, and as a base engine for mid-sized vehicles with powertrain options. The Lexus turbo is expected to be in the 235 hp to 260 hp range, depending on the application.
Parent Toyota Motor Corp. is hinging much of its future platforms on the Toyota New Global Architecture, which will debut in the next-generation Prius. But the Prius' delay to December 2015 could push back the launches of Lexus vehicles that will share the platform, such as the ES sedan and CT hatchback.
Here is a look at Lexus' future product plans.
CT: A freshening came for the 2014 model year with more telematics features. Because the CT uses many components from the Prius platform, it will follow the Prius' delay by at least six months. That means a spring 2017 arrival as a 2018 model.
IS: The sedan was re-engineered in summer 2013. One possible midcycle change in mid-2016 would be the installation of a 2.0-liter turbo with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to replace the aging 2.5-liter V-6 as the base engine. The IS-C coupe goes away with the introduction of the RC nameplate.
ES: Re-engineered in summer 2012. Should follow a five-year cadence, meaning the redesign arrives in summer 2017. It could have a base 2.0-liter 240-hp turbo engine and an optional V-6.
GS: Re-engineered in spring 2012. A concept GS-F high-performance sedan will make an auto show appearance in 2015 -- with the production version to have the same 460-hp V-8 as in the RC-F -- and arrive in late 2015. Lexus has filed a trademark application for GS 200T, meaning a 2.0-liter turbo could join the lineup.
LS: Re-engineered in summer 2012. How will Lexus up the ante when a true redesign occurs in summer 2017? Sources say the V-8 engine will make incredible performance strides to try to pull the flagship out of the "appliance" category and into the "enthusiast" one. But the hybrid version may go away with the redesign.