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Lexus to unveil new concept at Detroit 2012

Published: 20 December 2011

Lexus has released a second teaser shot of its new concept car, set to be unveiled at next month’s Detroit auto show.

This glimpse inside the Lexus sports car reveals an elegant cabin; we assume the photograph has been cropped to show just one front seat and it is in fact a two-seater. All will be revealed at the NAIAS in January 2012.

It joins last week's teaser shot of the front bumper, which suggested this was a sports car in shape. Which rather begs the question as to whether Lexus is developing a 911 rival, or at least dipping its toes into premium sports car water to gauge public reaction.

What’s the significance of this new Lexus concept?

Penned by Calty, the company’s Californian design studio, the concept ‘showcases the new design direction embraced by Lexus’. That means continuing to move away from sedate, Saga-friendly styling to embrace sharper, edgier detailing with more overt visual tension.

Lexus told CAR its new design direction is an evolution, rather than a reinvention of its current language, dubbed ‘L-Finesse’ - and we can expect to see similar front-end treatments on future cars. That means deep, sculpted air intakes and spindle-shaped grilles that shout ‘out of my way’ in a way that the blandly polite Lexus of old didn’t.

L-Finesse was ushered in during the mid-noughties to inject more identity and character into the Lexus brand, and recent concepts like the LF-Gh, unveiled earlier this year in New York, have kept on-brief with strikingly aggressive front-end treatments, as has the production LFA supercar.

So does this mean there’s a junior LFA or a new Supra on the way?

Or perhaps a more upmarket version of the GT-86 with a Lexus badge? All speculation at this stage - it’s officially just a concept and Lexus remains tight-lipped. Interestingly, insiders have hinted to CAR that there’s a rear-drive sports car in development. That could fill the void left by the be-winged twin-turbo Supra of the mid-nineties and take the fight to Nissan’s mighty GT-R - at a less eye-watering price than the £350k LFA. 

We’ll update you when Lexus reveals more next week.

 

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