Lexus is set to launch a five-door compact hatchback at September’s Frankfurt motor show.
Although Lexus won’t officially confirm as much yet, Autocar can reveal the concept that’s a close match for the car it’ll offer up against BMW’s 1-series and Audi’s A3 in 2010.
Company insiders suggest that the car was signed off late last year, largely at the behest of European execs who insisted that the Europe’s premium C-segment was an area of the market “too lucrative not to be in”.
Our sources won’t divulge the car’s name - although rumours suggest that both ‘BS’ and ‘CS’ are in the frame. They will say that the car will be a petrol-electric hybrid-only model, like the firm’s RX SUV, so a fleet-focussed diesel model isn’t too likely.
As such, the new compact Lexus is likely to use the same powertrain as the US-market-only HS250h – a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that, with the help of an electric motor, produces 187bhp.
Like the HS it’ll also be front-wheel drive, but it won’t use the same platform as the bigger HS.
“The Frankfurt concept is called C-Premium,” our source advised. It’s a 90 per cent match for the real thing, which we’ll see at Geneva next year. It should be on sale in the UK by Autumn 2010.”