Lexus tackles the 1-series

Posted by Paul Horrell at 12:01 am on Tuesday May 5, 2009

01_2010_hs_250hNext year Lexus will have a crack at the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series. You’ll see a concept version of the car at this autumn’s Frankfurt show. The big news is that, like the new RX SUV, it’ll be hybrid-only. Hybrid is to Lexus what high-boost diesel is to the Germans. Big performance, low thirst.

After that Frankfut show appearance, the real thing will go on sale in late 2010, at a price below the IS diesel. Think £20,000-odd.
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If you’ve seen the photos of Lexus’s HS250h you’ll probably be panicking by now. The HS250h is a rebodied, higher-performance Prius. It’s made for the US market, and was introduced at the Detroit show in January. It is hideous in profile (right), as you can see from this shot. Luckily, we won’t be getting it.HS250h

The new compact Euro-Lexus won’t share any body panels with the HS250h, and it will be a bit smaller. And of course it’ll be a hatchback. It will be FWD and based on the versatile new Prius platform.

Lexus hybrids are different from Toyota hybrds. They show an opposite way to ‘spend’ the efficiency gain of the system. A Prius is designed to get small-car economy from a bigger car. But Lexus hybrids all have higher performance than their standard counterparts.

Lexus has decided that it has to change its hybrid policy. The GS and LS hybrids aren’t making much headway. Andy Pfeiffenberger, Lexus chief in Europe, told Foreman, ‘Our hybrid saloons are going up against the V8 diesels in Europe. In future we need to compete against the four-cylinder diesels. So we will enter new sectors with low-displacement hybrids. The C-premium [i.e. Audi A3] segment is the fastest growing segment and we must be in it.’

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  1. Mikeado said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to comment Report comment

    Well that was bound to happen. I wonder if it will be any good? Being a Lexus, it’ll probably be underappreciated by the target market, who just want a German badge.

  2. bugsy said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to comment Report comment

    its not hedious. it looks ok.

  3. KarMa said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to comment Report comment

    True, but since a 1-series is “no real BMW” (they should at least be the 3 ones) I would rather have a Lexus… but I just bought my dad a Lancia Delta, which is totally equivalent and looks way better.

  4. svrallo svrallone said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    sorry but i hate lexus.for no reason, i have to say, but i never liked them, and never will do it.
    now, said that, why in the name of something holy i have to spend 20000£ for a golf with a battery in the boot and an L badge on the front while i can just buy a proper golf?
    Premium C sector?
    I never heard something so marketing artificial than premium C sector. When the car is reliable put some alloys,leather and spoiler optional pack and you have all the premium a man can need in the whole life. I think that The Glittering 80’s are definitely gone with the C Crunch. if have the money go for a proper sedan, if don’t have it just buy a proper hatch. if you spare a 1000 take the premium pack. showing off isn’t the most popular choice if there’s people with forks running down the streets.
    yes today I’m in a bad mood.

  5. Showie said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    its got a couple of problems already.
    1- its based on the worst drivers car on the market today, 2- its a hybrid, 3- its re-badged as a Lexus, 4- that makes it a Lexus, 5, being a Lexus, that makes it a Lexus Prius, which makes it even worse. until it overcomes all these problems though, go ahead, make it. buy a Punto, it will look better, go faster and be a diesel, which means it will use the same amount of fuel. oh and its Italian, not re-badged, never good jap car. like the Nissan Micra Hammond was forced to drive.

  6. The Stig said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to comment Report comment

    looks good!

  7. moneymouth77 said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Looks like a nice car… Well, look is the wrong word, it looks atrocious… a bit like the new Chevrolet Camaro SS, sounds grand, looks awful.

  8. Ron911 said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The HS250 looks OK to me.

  9. boring said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Toyota and Lexus have a skill when it comes to styling. They always manage to get their cars look nice enough that your not going to be embarrassed by owning one but not so nice that you actually want one. They always appeal to your reason-side of your brain but not enough to the emotional side.

  10. KarMa said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to comment Report comment

    True, like VW-Skoda. You end up with one rather than choosing it.

  11. PetrolHead247 said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to comment Report comment

    If Lexus are going to compete with the likes of Audi then they really don’t want to base a small car on a Prius. This won’t have the same spectacular build quality that all Audi’s do, it won’t drive as well as some BMW’s do, but it might be better than the Mercedes A-Class.

    The A-Class is an over-priced small hatchback which isn’t overly clever, spacious, fun to drive or practical, the A-Class is just average, it does everything averagely. So this new Lexus might be able to compete with the A-Class. The best thing is the European version will look nothing like the US version (above), the US version just looks like a squashed IS.

    I doubt it will beat the A3 or 1-series, maybe it will be a cheaper alternative to the 1-series but can it beat the A3? Considering the A3 is probably the best of the ‘C-Premium’ bunch, the new Lexus probably will turn out to be a cheaper, more economical C-Premium car.

  12. Damien said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Looks like you and Tom are gonna have some trouble with sad individual who calls himself “the Stig” who posts complete crap on these blogs !

  13. Anonymous said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm Link to comment Report comment

    In the first picture it looks like something out of nascar, where they paint on the cars details such as headlamps and so forth.

  14. Auto-History said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The only thing that is Hideous about this is the one that said it,

    You dont deserve this car

  15. Auto-History said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm Link to comment Report comment

    http://www.lexus.com/mode ls/ISF/?s_ocid=AllModels_ ISF_Info

  16. JES0381 said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The most tepid car ever – help i need to be resuscitated from my coma! And it’s a hybrid so it’s gonna save the world – yippee!! zzzzz

  17. Andyf1 said...
    Tuesday May 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to comment Report comment

    its quite a good looking car really but why the casters for wheels?

  18. Arno said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to comment Report comment

    The new Lexus hatchback isn’t the one shown in picture, so why are you all talking about the looks…we have no idea yet.
    And for the Lexus haters, you should maybe know that Toyota is the biggest manufacturer in the world, most reliable, and one of the few companies which has billions lying in cash in the middle of a credit crunch. Therefore they don’t have to fire ou sell there soul and thats thanks to intelligent thinking and good cars…travel the world, TOYOTA is everywhere…not peugeot, nore vw, etc…
    Lexus is a perfect match of reliable and luxury, it’s still young for the design and the soul but it will come…sooner than you expect

  19. I never said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to comment Report comment

    I see. And which branch of Lexus do you work in?

  20. Tom Servo said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to comment Report comment

    It’s always interesting to the see the UK perspective on autos. Here in the US the Germans are seen as the odd men out and Lexus is what everyone seems to want to drive.

    People here flock to Toyota and other Japanese names and generally laugh at the Germans for their poor build quality. Maybe BMWs are regarded a little better but Merc, VW and Audi are all pretty much heavily derided for their unreliability.

    But this is the country that loves Chevrolet and Toyota’s bland automobiles, so I guess there’s no accounting for taste!

  21. Rich T said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to comment Report comment

    It always amazes me that the UK and US markets are so different – two countries divided by the same language!

    The Yanks will probably love it but it won’t be a good seller in the UK. As for the BMW 1 series just how sad do you have to be to buy one…………..

  22. svrallo svrallone said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to comment Report comment

    toyota is in every single place of the world and is very reliable (It’s absolutely true), so i have to love lexus.
    Yeah! Right! You convinced me.
    but…. thinking about that… there are also other things that are extremely reliable and everywhere in the world… AIDS virus for example.
    I have to like also that?

  23. fuuny said...
    Wednesday May 6, 2009 at 11:56 pm Link to comment Report comment

    well UK perspective on things just show how little UK journalists know about cars. HS250h is not based on Prius, but shares platform with Avensis. It has apsolutly nothing to do with Prius.

  24. jruhi4 said...
    Thursday May 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @fuuny: Prius and Avensis DO share the same platform and 2700mm wheelbase. The Prius’ suspension, however, is a cruder beam rear axle, while the Lexus HS shares the Avensis’ more sophisticated independent rear suspension. For more on the subject: http://my.is/forums/f41/l eonardo-dicaprio-cameron- diaz-your-next-ride-ready -379396/

  25. Ivan said...
    Thursday May 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It’s interesting to see the European point of view. A VW Golf comparable to a Lexus? I supposed if the rating is equal to 1/reliability, it might be. Most European cars here are usually scolded for bad reliability (which is usually true). To add insult to injury, some companies like VW decide to assemble some cars in Mexico, which adds to even shoddier quality.
    So at the end, the only people who drive cars such as BMWs/Audis are pompous douchebags who don’t know how to drive and just want to make a statement. That doesn’t help their image here either.

  26. Rich T said...
    Monday May 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Ivan – Isn’t it funny: we “scold” American cars in the UK for poor build quality, reliability and handling!

    As regards BMW and Audi there driven by half wits here too……………..

  27. Tetsuo 77 said...
    Thursday May 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    “I doubt it will beat the A3 or 1-series, maybe it will be a cheaper alternative to the 1-series but can it beat the A3? Considering the A3 is probably the best of the ‘C-Premium’ bunch, the new Lexus probably will turn out to be a cheaper, more economical C-Premium car.”

    Funny this things, as none of the mass-market german brands has really nothing too scintillating on the aesthetics department, but the new Merc Sonata [dare I say the new Hyundai E-class?], and that is a pun to Merc, not to Hyundai [which is evolving rahter well].

    Let´s be honest: family hatchback market is so close, and cars that segment are so identical to each other for everyday use, that decission on one model would be just based on affordability and snobbery. That´s it.

  28. Fraser said...
    Wednesday May 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I HATE LEXUS, i’m sorry but its just another American brand of cars trying too hard to be Ford, Lets hope that lexus don’t mess this up like all of their other cars!

  29. Alex said...
    Saturday May 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @ Fraser:

    Lexus is not just another American brand for the very simple reason that isn’t American, it’s Japanese. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand.
    You’ve obviously never driven one, because if you’d have, you’d be saying completely different things about Lexus.

  30. KarMa said...
    Thursday May 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Awww c’mon, Lexus is not a bad brand at all, they make jolly good cars.
    Problem is they’re usually duller than Skodas, they look just too “sensible – average” for their price.

  31. asg said...
    Thursday May 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm Link to comment Report comment

    My uncle had a Lexus IS 200, and i rode loads of times in it. And based on what i heard, he drove it for something around 125,000 miles in 8 years, (he did quite a few trips to Europe overnight), and nothing went wrong with the car, ever. Extremely reliable, and true not as much fun as a Bmw, or a hot audi, but then it wasn’t really made to be. It is ecellent at what it was intended for, a decent car, for decent people.

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