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Lexus confirms turbo for IS and GS

Coming soon: The next-generation version of Lexus' CT hatch is likely to gain the car-maker's 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine for a possible hot hatch variant.

The NX 200t’s new 2.0-litre turbo is poised to spread across the Lexus range

Lexus logo9 Feb 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

LEXUS’ first turbocharged petrol engine is set to replace the ageing 2.5-litre V6 in the IS and GS ranges as the entry level powerplant in the near future.

Now available in the NX SUV as the 200t, the all-new 8AR-FTS in-line four-cylinder unit is also mooted to migrate into the next-generation version of the smaller CT series as a performance flagship, as Toyota's luxury brand seeks to broaden its youth appeal.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the NX 200t in Canberra last week, Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley revealed that the 2.0-litre turbo has a massive role to play in helping rejuvenating the range.

While suggesting that the IS and GS are likely to be the first recipients of the 200t, he would not disclose when the engine would be added to the respective ranges.

“At the moment this engine is being assessed for its suitability in other Lexus models,” Mr Hanley said. “It is being investigated for fitment in rear-drive models, and obviously its power and torque figures make it a logical enhancement for vehicles using our 2.5-litre V6 engine (serving) the IS and GS.

“It’s clear to me that this 2.0 engine would be suitable for other applications in the range (too)… if the opportunity came up I’d like to explore that. Given that it’s been developed for Lexus by Lexus, it’s clear to me we’ve entered the turbo regime…(and) there are opportunities coming.

“We don’t have a confirmed plan at this stage… but we certainly encourage expansion. It’s certainly something we’d be interested in.” Pressed on the likelihood of an Audi S3-style performance booster for the slow-selling CT range, Mr Hanley said that all options are currently being explored.

“In terms of desirability, Lexus is about bringing cars to the market that the market wants, and what’s clear is that performance luxury is desirable – whether it be coupe, SUV, hatch or sedan.” “That’s why we brought F Sport to fruition – that’s why it performs so well. So would we ever rule out the potential for a hot hatch? We don’t have a plan right now, but we’d never rule it out. Would one be desirable? You’d better believe it.” In the new NX 200t, the 2.0-litre twin-cam engine features a unique combustion process and a twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver a healthy 175kW of power and 350Nm of torque, to take the all-wheel drive F-Sport version to 100km/h from standstill in 7.1 seconds.

With the CT weighing in at nearly 300kg less than the NX, it is likely to return much quicker acceleration figures. Note also that the hatch and SUV also share the same basic platform componentry, making a CT 200t AWD spin-off feasible.

Another potential starter for the 2.0-litre unit is the recently launched RC coupe. The sleep two-door is currently powered by the 233kW/378Nm 3.5-litre V6 and in 'F' guise, a 5.0-litre V8.

While reiterating that the new 2.0-litre turbo is a Lexus engine designed for Lexus vehicles, Mr Hanley would not rule out the likelihood of it ending up in Toyota-badged vehicles sometime in the future.

First seen in Australia at the launch of the second-generation IS in November 2005, the existing IS 250’s 4GR-FSE direct-injection V6 delivers 153kW and 252Nm.

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