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Detroit show: Lexus lobs lithe sports concept

Sleek: First teaser image of Lexus’ surprise Detroit concept appears to preview an aggressive new sportscar.

All-new sportscar concept to emerge from Lexus at next month’s Detroit motor show

13 Dec 2011

LEXUS has revealed the first teaser image of a surprise new sportscar concept it will unveil at the Detroit motor show on January 9.

The Japanese luxury brand provided no information alongside this single tightly cropped front three-quarter image, but said the unnamed concept was designed by the company’s California design studio, Calty, which helped produce the 2007 Toyota FT-HS concept that provided some of the LFA super-coupe’s design elements.

Lexus also said its Detroit show car “showcases the new design direction embraced by Lexus”, which is what it said about the third-generation GS large sedan that arrives Down Under in April, making it unclear exactly what kind of production model – if any - the aggressive new concept could preview for the Lexus range.

Toyota’s premium division is expected to debut a facelifted version of its large LandCruiser-based LX570 at Detroit, before a facelifted RX crossover range debuts at Geneva in March and a facelifted LS limousine line-up emerges at Paris in September.

 center imageHowever, the sleek concept seen here is clearly none of those models – nor the facelifted IS medium sedan that is due to follow them – leading to speculation it could preview an all-new Lexus sportscar based on the compact rear-drive coupe jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru.

While the Toyota version arrives here by June, the Japanese giant is reportedly keen to also develop smaller and larger sportscars to bookend the 86 – the latter as a potential belated replacement for the fondly remembered Supra.

Lexus’ decade-old SC430 convertible is now well overdue for replacement and its potential successor – positioned below the LFA - could be based on any of these new Toyota sportscars, but would also need to accommodate hybrid power.

More details are expected soon from Lexus, whose last two concepts morphed relatively quickly into reality – with the LF-Ch becoming the CT200h and the LF-Gh previewing the new GS. Every Lexus concept since 2003 has also carried the LF suffix, so the latest show car is likely to follow suit.

At this stage only one thing appears certain: if this Detroit concept previews any Lexus production car, then details like front wheel-arches wrapped tightly around massive 21-inch alloy wheels, a prominent new hourglass-shaped ‘spindle’ grille and wild triangular headlights will make for one aggressive new Lexus.

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