More images of the Lexus Electrified Sedan Concept have been released, and Lexus Australia is interested in a production version.
The company said it’s very interested in all-electric vehicle opportunities, and has signposted its desire to bring an electric IS successor here.
The brand is now without a rival for the BMW 3 Series, let alone the Tesla Model 3, following the shock departure of the IS just 12 months after a heavy refresh due to stricter government side impact regulations.
The Electrified Sedan Concept, teased in December 2021, features dramatic styling, plus the long wheelbase and tight overhangs possible with a dedicated electric vehicle platform.
There’s no spindle grille up front, though the creasing of the bumper and bonnet nods to Lexus’ long-running design signature.
The design language is an intriguing mix of flowing curves and sharp creases.
Take, for example, the feature line running down the side of the vehicle. It starts as a curving line, flowing from the C-pillar, and then dramatically plunges down to the front wheel arches in a straight line.
There’s a similarly sharp crease at the bottom of the rear doors.
Curves can be found on the flowing bonnet, rakish roofline and sloping fastback rear, though they’re buttressed with sharper elements.
This includes the rear detailing, where the tail lights appear to fade into triangular cutouts that call to mind the LFA supercar.
Lexus is spelled out across the boot lid, as the company has started doing with its most recent products.
Overall, there’s more than a hint of the current IS in the design but it arguably still looks fresh and new.
In addition to teasing the Electrified Sport Concept last year, Lexus previewed a slew of new models including an electric sports car to succeed the LFA, the new RZ450e large crossover, and a boxier crossover, possibly with three rows of seating.
There was also an electric shooting brake revealed that appears to be based on the Electrified Sport Concept.
Sitting in the shadows were what appeared to be next-generation petrol/hybrid Lexus models, including a new small hatch, a larger sedan, a boxy SUV, and possibly the next-generation RX.
The company will continue offering internal-combustion engines in its vehicles up to 2035, though in some regions these will be phased out by 2030.
Following the release of its first EV last year, the UX300e, Lexus Australia wants 80 per cent of its sales by 2025 to come from cars running either hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or battery electric (BEV) drivetrains – making petrol-only offerings a sliver of its volume.
This is well up on its record 39 per cent hybrid share achieved in 2021.
It’s unclear if the Electrified Sport Concept previews the next-generation IS, or if there’ll be another generation of combustion-powered IS.
The current model may have received a heavy exterior refresh, revealed in 2020, but inside and under the skin it’s fundamentally the same as the car launched in 2013.
It may have been axed here but it lives on in markets like Japan and the US, where the new, stricter side impact regulation has yet to be implemented by authorities.
The range also includes, in North America, an IS500 F Sport Performance with a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine.
BestCarWeb reports the model could be introduced in Japan, suggesting it’ll be made in right-hand drive, but it’s too late for Australia.
With the IS gone and the GS having been discontinued globally a year earlier, Lexus Australia’s sedan range consists of the front-wheel drive ES and the rear-wheel drive LS flagship.
The majority of Lexus sales in Australia are of its SUVs, though the IS still managed to be the brand’s fourth best-seller in 2021 with 1143 sales, behind only the NX (3091), RX (1908) and UX (1744).
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