Rumors of a compact Lexus bound for the European market have been floating around since late last year, and Top Gear is reporting that the new 1-series and A3-fighter is due to debut in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Unlike the Lexus HS250h on which its based, the entry-level Euro-only model will sport five doors instead of four and be slightly shorter overall. Power will be provided by the same 187-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid as its Stateside counterpart, but unlike the Prius, Lexus plans to brand the FWD premium compact hatch as a sporting alternative to its competition from Germany. Andy Pfeiffenberger, Lexus' European head, said, "The C-premium segment is the fastest growing segment and we must be in it," but for a brand associated more with wafting than corner-carving, it's going to be tough sale abroad. According to TG, the hatch is likely to go on sale in late 2010 and be priced below the IS diesel.

[Source: Top Gear]

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