BMW has the 2 Series Coupe, Mercedes-Benz has the CLA coupe and Audi has the S3 sedan. They are all sports compact designed for fun. And it seems Lexus is done watching the Germans dominate this end of the market space.
Words on the streets have it that the Japanese luxury marque is crafting its own sports compact to challenge the segment. But developing one from scratch is expensive, so the brand is rumoured to be looking at using the Toyota 86 as a base for a new entry-level luxury sports coupe.
The second generation of the Toyota 86 has just been launched, so it makes perfect sense for Lexus to get straight down to business before the 86 ages too much. In fact, spy photographers have already captured what appeared to be a ‘Lexusised’ Toyota 86 doing rounds at parent company Toyota’s test facility.
The early prototype could be seen with a disguised Lexus spindle grille, flanked by taped off front bumper intakes. The rear has much fewer Lexus clues, but the badge and part of the rear deck have been covered off to keep details under wrapped.
新型BRZテールなのにスピンドルグリルっぽいの付いてた#新型BRZ #新型86#SUBARU #TOYOTA pic.twitter.com/uVCju93UVc
— MARIN/川崎まりん🐱千歳+STELLA-RSver. (@marin_kawasaki) March 29, 2021
Lexus is expected to give its compact sports coupe the UC moniker, which stands for Urban Coupe. If introduced, it will join the Lexus sports car range as the smaller brother to the RC and LC.
Jointly developed with Subaru, the Toyota 86 is powered a Subaru-sourced FA24 2.4-litre naturally aspirated boxer engine (that also powers the new Subaru BRZ) producing 170kW of power and 249Nm of torque.
The Lexus UC is said to carry over the powertrain, but add some sort of electrification to produce a more powerful hybrid version. The rear-wheel drive format will also be retained, but the six-speed manual gearbox available in the Toyota will likely not be offered in the Lexus, with the luxury brand sticking to automatic only.
Lexus UC rendering by SugarDesign