• Nov 20th 2009 at 10:01AM
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Lexus LF-Ch concept - click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus introduced its LF-Ch concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and it's believed to be a shoe-in for production for the European market. However, in a new Detroit Bureau interview with the brand's general manager, Mark Templin, it is confirmed that Lexus is seriously considering bringing a production version of the hatchback to the U.S. market as well. If it does come here, it would be the smallest Lexus and would compete against the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Volvo C30 and Mini Cooper – only the latter of which has managed to sell in big numbers. The Lexus concept will be shown again at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show as well as in Detroit, where Lexus officials will be evaluating reactions to a premium priced small car.

Such cars are already well accepted in Europe and the idea of smaller premium cars may yet hold some appeal in the U.S. – especially if fuel prices rise. Lexus has no intention of decontenting the LF-Ch to keep the price down if it does come to the States. While the Detroit Bureau cautions that a production LF-Ch is likely to have a conventional powertrain as standard fitment, a hybrid will probably be needed to compete with the A3 TDI and a possible 1 Series hybrid or diesel down the line.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Keys to this car are:

      1. RWD mandatory!
      AWD option would be great but not required.

      FWD Would kill this cars chances of being successful.

      2. Must be either the 3.5 V6 or a boosted engine of some sorts.
      A 4cyl 170hp motor will not help sell this car (see Infiniti G20 sales).

      3. Must have a decent weight / bias to it. Can't be over 3300lbs and can't be too front heavy.

      Toyota doesn't really have too many engine options for a vehicle like this but the 2.5 V6 205hp engine will definitely hurt this vehicles sales!

      Other than that.. I would love this car for like $34,500 nicely equipped with V6 270hp RWD. Where would I sign up?
      • 5 Years Ago
      4 door = fail. C'mon Lexus, get over the 4 door obsession.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the first lexus I would consider buying. If and that's a big IF, it drives well I would be tempted. I am not including the LF-A since it is way out of my price range.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The IS drives alright, but the 3er is better. Hopefully Lexus provides a nice 6-speed and turbo DI-4 turning mid 30s on the highway, maybe better. A 6-speed and diesel would have me in the showroom when it's time to replace my 3.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yup. i'm hard-pressed to understand why anyone who values enthusiastic driving would purchase the IS over a 3 series, B8 A4 or C series. but that's the rub, most lexus drivers aren't buying the car for the enthusiastic cache, but for boring staid reasons... lexus should be bringing us the 550 GT not bmw.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Even though I'm all for all sorts of hatchbacks (even the awkward ones), I can't imagine too many who'd buy this over a GTI/TDI considering price/performance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        well? the is drives 'well'. this'll drive like the is. if you like the feeling of the is (i hated it, biggest joke of the autox/track event) you'll enjoy this car. it'll sell in the US, it won't sell in europe, so they should bring it here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        zamafir

        The B8 A4 is simply over priced and really isn't that great, the C is smooth but doesn't really offer much in terms of "sport", not to mention it's interior isn't all that great either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't like the looks. Sorry, no go.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I sampled the IS and honestly the ride was harsh, and the shifter average at best. As for this car, I need my next car to get at least 40 mpg due to my long commute. I also am now willing to sacrifice SOME handling for a softer ride. Long commutes on crappy roads have a way of re-prioritizing your wants.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I sampled the IS and honestly the ride was harsh, and the shifter average at best. As for this car, I need my next car to get at least 40 mpg due to my long commute. I also am now willing to sacrifice SOME handling for a softer ride. Long commutes on crappy roads have a way of re-prioritizing your wants.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Front still looks like the predator.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I believe last years Lincoln Concept-C at the auto shows was "the preview" of smaller luxury 4-doors and its coming sooner than the Luxus... from Lincoln on Ford's Focus c-class platform, 200HP 1.6L I4 EcoBoost, 6-speed dual-dry clutch auto and 40+ MPG...!
      matthew
      • 5 Years Ago
      zamafir
      You're hilarious! You go on every post about Lexus and talk trash about them. You've probably never even driven one or owned one. I've got a first and second generation IS and they're both fantastic cars to drive (and yes, I've also driven the competition to them!)

      The 2.5L V6 could have been more powerful than the IS300's engine at least, but mated to the 6 speed automatic in sport mode, it's actually plenty powerful to toss around the 3450lb IS. A car like this is about handling precisely while maintaining the ability to take a 3 hour trip at 75mph+ and be refreshed when you arrive, not fatigued like some hard riding heap. The IS line is not really about straight line acceleration even though the F will do 0-60 in 4.6sec.

      If they put the 2.5L 6 in the LFC with that transmission and a flappy paddle shifter on the steering wheel it should be plenty fun. Maybe not a worthy successor to the inline six(amazing engine) powered SportCross, but a nice addition to the Lexus lineup.

      A hybrid version of this car would be totally pointless. They should junk the hybrid idea and just make sure it's RWD with AWD as an option. I don't understand the whole hybrid thing anyway. It's really just a fad so that someone can give the appearance of doing good for the environment. The HS250h drives like garbage because its FWD and has a huge battery pack.

      The 2.5L direct injection V6 gets almost 26MPG for me in the city/ about 30MPG highway at 75mph+ the whole time, in sport mode, and I DON'T drive for effeciency, I drive for fun. That's plenty of fuel effeciency for a sport/luxury car, and it doesn't have to have a heavy, toxic battery pack that wears out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matthew
        that's because 'zamafir' is a typical overzealous German badgewhore, move along...
      matthew
      • 5 Years Ago
      zamafir

      Are you one of those people who confuse harsh, loud and unrefined for "sporty"? It sure seems like it based on your commentary. Lexus makes vehicles that are very dynamic and sporty, but they do balance that out with their trademark silence and ability to absorb the bumps well.

      Just because a car's suspension doesn't break your back doesn't mean it won't handle well. You've just got to know how to drive well to get enjoyment out of ANY car, otherwise you'll end up confusing harshness and slide-off-the-road sloppy handling for "sportiness". With the exception of the FWD, designed for old folks ES, Lexus sedans do have competent handling.

      We owned both generations of C Class and a 190 until we discovered that MB sucks and Lexus is the best. Our 2001 E320 was very nice to drive, but of course it fell apart like Mercedes Benz tend to. I drove the last generation 3 and it was a fantastic car to drive. It drove like a lighter, smaller(it was) current generation IS. The steering felt like the EPS in my IS. It drove better than the previous IS, but still didn't fall in love with it.

      Assuming Lexus doesn't ruin the LFC by making it hybrid or FWD, and they give it a nice double wishbone/multilink setup with dampers like the IS's, it should be one of the best small wagons around, just like the IS300 SportCross was.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's the best-looking Lexus ever, by a thousand miles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pfft. A lot of good it will do us if the world is ending!

      And say the world isn't destroyed but is just turned into a post apocalyptic wasteland, I can hardly see Mad Max putting around in some Lexus small car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think my 2010 Mazda3 hatchback and the LF-Ch were separated at birth. At the very least there kissing cousins.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is doesn't even small.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll take one in Ultrasonic Blue Mica and slap a Scirocco badge on it
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