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Morizo RR Concept hints at a potential performance variant of Lexus's new crossover

Lexus has unveiled a high-performance version of the new LBX crossover at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Called the Morizo RR Concept, it swaps the LBX’s 134bhp 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain for the G16E-GTS engine from the Toyota GR Yaris. Mated to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox, the turbocharged three-pot sends 300bhp and 295lb ft to all four wheels. This is up on the 276bhp and 288lb ft that it produces in the facelifted GR Yaris.

The LBX’s suspension has been reworked, with the crossover now sitting 10mm lower and 20mm wider. The revised aerodynamics take inspiration from air racing and give the model a more aggressive look.

Yellow accents also feature throughout the car as a reference to Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, whose racing alter ego ‘Morizo’ uses it as a signature colour. It features above the grille, on the brake calipers and on the seatbelts.

Lexus has yet to confirm whether the Morizo RR Concept will make it to production, but it could be that the unexpected success of the GR Yaris – which has sealed it as a permanent fixture in the brand’s line-up – has bolstered the case for a new performance-focused Lexus.

Lexus Morizo RR concept driving on track – side

That Toyoda, who played an active role in the development of the Morizo RR, refers to it as his favourite Lexus (and his “buddy”) is a further hint at the car’s prospects of reaching showrooms.

Its unveiling comes months after new Toyota CEO Koji Sato, who previously led the Gazoo Racing (GR) motorsport division, hinted that the firm could accelerate development of its sports cars.

Sato said: “Our Master Driver [Akio Toyoda] was also president of the company at the same time as he had a steering wheel in his hand for Gazoo. Now he is only chairman, maybe he will have a lot more time to develop cars for them.”

Lexus LBX Morizo RR cornering – rear


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Although Lexus does not use the Gazoo branding on its cars, it appears that Toyoda’s enthusiasm for performance cars does indeed extended to the premium brand.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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Bob Cholmondeley 15 January 2024

I know this is out of keeping with the times but, come back big capacity, naturally aspirated engines, all is forgiven.