Lexus to Make a UX F Performance Crossover?
Daily Slideshow: Lexus officials are contemplating performance variations for its SUV lineup.
The next F to give
Lexus is apparently considering expansion of its F performance sub-brand from its cars to its SUV lineup. In a market where traditional car sales numbers are being replaced by utilities, the automaker is a little behind the curve on building a true performance-enhanced luxury SUV to compete against the likes of Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. Which SUV might Lexus consider giving a performance boost to? Information is scarce, but find out what Lexus officials are pondering.
What about the "F Sport" crossovers?
Several Lexus crossovers wear F badging including the UX, NX, and RX. Whether or not they are truly "performance" SUVs, is debatable. For example, the 2.0-liter turbo inline 4 in the NX 300's engine bay cranks a decent 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, but this is the same engine used in the non-F NX 300. The "F" here is more visual enhancements than performance based. The luxury performance market probably expects a true F brand crossover or SUV to exceed the 300 hp threshold, at least.
Word on the Street
Cooper Ericksen, Lexus VP for Product Planning and Strategy, acknowledged ongoing talks among officials about building an F performance crossover or SUV at a recent media event in Florida for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
Lexus officials noted at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona the automaker is assessing whether to focus investments in on-road or off-road performance.
Any Lexus crossover or body-on-frame SUV currently available could benefit from more aggressive visual aesthetics, power upgrades, and performance-tuned suspension. The UX, NX, or RX could use bigger motors and turbos, or a high-powered hybrid drivetrain to boost performance. It'd be fun to see a GX or LX rocking F performance styling and tuning (perhaps with a supercharged power plant) while maintaining Baja-race capabilities, but it seems more likely that a crossover would be more realistic for the automaker to pursue at this point.
For Lexus to successfully jump into the performance SUV market may be a challenge. Mercedes-AMG has seven performance SUVs (including GLC and GLE coupés) currently on the market, with power figures ranging from 381 hp (GLA) to 585 (G-Class). BMW features six X-series M models.
It may be a while until we find out if Lexus will commit to building an F performance SUV. As autonomy and electrification continue to trickle into automaker offerings, it will be interesting to see how these technological shifts will affect Lexus' decisions for its F performance sub-brand. Only time will tell if we will see a Lexus crossover or SUV get the F performance treatment.
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