European consumers enjoy a segment those of us in the States have never warmed up to: premium compact cars. But in recent years, one luxury marque has been noticeably absent from the throngs of A3s, 1 Series and B-Classes populating the congested roads across the pond. Lexus hopes to rectify that situation next year, and its first foray into the segment will be based on this, the LF-Ch concept.
As we pointed out earlier today, the exterior and interior design continues to adhere to the automaker's L-finesse design philosophy, with swoops, creases and a taut organic shape that's slowly making its way onto production models. A few elements we failed to mention are the blacked-out B-pillars, integrated spoiler and rear door handles that fit within the C-pillar's trim. The theme carries over inside, with a set of concave passenger compartments, aluminum and wood trim, ambient lighting in the headliner and Lexus' Remote Touch controls (originally seen on the RX 450h), along with iPhone docks for the rear seat passengers.
Unfortunately, Lexus isn't releasing details on the LF-Ch's powertrain, only saying that the system is a "full hybrid" and can be driven exclusively in EV mode. However, when the LF-Ch makes it to production next year, expect the same engine that powers the HS 250h to be fitted to the compact hatch, complete with a six-speed automatic transmission and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
We'll be on hand for live impressions of the LF-Ch from the Frankfurt Motor Show in less than a week, but in the meantime, get all the details in the press release below the fold, along with a host of new images in the gallery below.