Over the years, Lexus has grown from the small luxury arm of Toyota into a significant brand in its own right. Today, Lexus is one of the most important car brands in the world with a strong presence in markets across the globe. On a global scale, the brand sells more than 700,000 vehicles per year, a figure that has been steadily rising year after year. More than 50% of the brands overall sales are from the United States, and while the brand remains incredible popular in the USA, sales have begun to slip.
In 2018, Lexus sold a total of 298,302 vehicles in the United States alone, which a 2.3 percent loss from 2017. Similarly, 2018 was also the first time that the brand failed to shift more than 300,000 units in the USA since 2013. And things haven’t gotten any better. In 2019, Lexus sold a total of 298,114 vehicles in the United States, which is a small 0.06 percent reduction on 2018. It’s a small reduction, but it’s a reduction nonetheless. Consequently, Lexus also failed to break 300,000 sales for a second consecutive year. Hopes were pinned on the success of the new UX subcompact model; unfortunately, the UX didn’t quite meet expectations. The RX mid-size crossover still remains as Lexus’s most popular vehicle in the USA, with the Lexus ES mid-size car being the most popular sedan model.
The US market might have stalled for Lexus, but across the Atlantic things are booming in Europe. 2019 saw Toyota’s luxury arm sell a total of 87,206 vehicles in Europe. The numbers may be smaller than in the US, but it’s a record breaking year for Lexus in Europe. Sales are up by a whopping 14 percent. In fact, sales in Europe have been steadily increasing for the brand, with their total sales having doubled in a six year period. Curiously, Lexus attributes their new found European success to the hybrid market, with 96 percent of all of their European sales being hybrid vehicles. The best-selling vehicle in Europe was the Lexus NX mid-size crossover, with a grand total of 24,309 units sold that helped boost Lexus SUV sales by 26 units compared with 2018.
Globally, things are going well. The US market may not being showing the growth that Lexus needs, but thanks to huge success in Europe and other markets things are looking very bright for Lexus indeed. 2019 saw the brand sell more than 700,000 units worldwide for the second consecutive year. This gave Lexus global growth to the tune of 4.9 percent. After such amazing sales in Europe, with an emphasis on hybrid technology fuelling the success, the future of Lexus will no-doubt have a heavy focus on electrification for their future models.
In fact, the director of Lexus Canada, Jennifer Barron, recently announced that the firm had ambitious plans to field an electrified version of every single Lexus model by the year 2025. That’s a narrow time frame but not impossible. If Lexus continues to push hybrid technology, and perhaps go a step further with full on electrification for a few models, then we may be seeing even more Lexus hybrids on the roads in the US in the near future.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a short overview of some of the new and exciting models that Lexus might bring to market in 2021. Since 2021 is still a way off, some of these models may or may not appear in the future, some are based on fact, while others are based on rumor. So please, don’t take all of these as fact just yet. Without any further ado, here’s what we can expect from the 2021 Lexus range!
What To Expect From The 2021 Lexus Line-Up
2021 Lexus NX
According to sources inside Lexus, we can expect a totally overhauled 2021 Lexus NX. When it first hit the scene in 2014 it was a fairly unusual vehicle with radical styling and features, but it went on to set an industry standard, becoming one of the most successful compact luxury crossovers sold in the USA. It was a sales success, and it seems like Lexus wants to stamp its authority on the market once again by bringing the next-generation NX to the sales floor in 2021.
At the moment, details are very thin on the ground. However, we do know that the vehicle will go into production in July 2020 at two locations: Toyota’s Kyushu Miyata plant in Japan, and in one of Canada’s manufacturing plants too. The industry magazine Just Auto has suggested that the new NX (codenamed New MC) will be built on top of the Toyota’s GA-C platform like the UX, but with longer dimensions.
The article also goes on to explain that the new NX will come in two flavors, with a four-cylinder gasoline powertrain, or with a gasoline-electric hybrid system. The current NX 300 boasts a 2.0 liter inline-four with a turbocharger, which produces an impressive 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. No doubt the new conventional internal combustion engine will produce similar stats—but it’s the hybrid aspect that really intrigues us.
The current NX 300h hybrid model features a larger 2.5 liter inline-four engine but with an electric motor addition, producing a combined total of 194 horsepower. The technology already exists there, but a recent quote from Lexus that mentioned the brand’s plans for their first plug-in hybrid to go sale in 2021 has made us wonder whether the NX will be the model that gets the full on PHEV treatment.
It wouldn’t be out of the question. Toyota will be releasing their plug-in hybrid RAV4 for 2021, and with the Lexus NX’s next-generation model coming out at a similar time, a PHEV model isn’t a massive stretch of the imagination, is it? Toyota develops the technology for their models first, and then gives Lexus the same technology to power their own vehicles. It’s been done before, and it might be happening again, so it definitely makes a lot of sense. Will we be seeing a PHEV 2021 Lexus NX? It does seem very likely.
2021 Lexus LX
An interesting spread appeared in the Japanese magazine Mag-X. It seems to show off a next-generation Lexus LX with a 2021 release date. It’s about time that the venerable SUV got an update, since it’s been over 10 years since it had a significant revision. Take a look at the details, and get your Japanese to English phrase book out and see what you can learn. If your Japanese isn’t up to scratch, we’ll cover the broad strokes for you.
This new LX is supposedly going to be built on top of a new TGNA platform, and using a twin-turbo V6 engine that you can find on the current Lexus LS sedan. If that’s true, then the power output is going to be around 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of peak torque. This would be a handsome improvement on the existing LX 570’s 5.7 liter V8 performance, which produces 383 horses and 402 lb-ft of torque. This could be conjecture though; or it could mean that the 2021 Lexus LX will have multiple engine options. Why? Because Lexus trademarked the “LX 600” name late last year.
That could mean nothing. Manufacturer’s trademark odd names all the time. But this could be a clue that the LX 570 is getting a boost in displacement for 2021. Again, this might mean nothing, but it’s fun to think about just in case though.
Back to what we can see: here we have some unofficial looking images that Mag-X’s staff graphics whizz has knocked together. They may be based on real pictures or spy shots, or they might be totally invented. Either way, we’ve got something that’s rather Mitsubishi Outlander-like in design. At the back, we have an overhauled rear end with wide stretching tail lights, square exhausts, and a sportier shape overall. The rear windows have also been redesigned. At the moment, that’s about all there is to say about the possible 2021 Lexus LX update.
The only other significant detail that has been reported is that production is expected to commence in October 2021. Possibly making it a 2022 model. Whether it’s 2021 or 2022, it doesn’t really matter: let’s hope that is actually arrives though, because other vehicles, such as the Infiniti QX80 and Land Rover Discovery, are dominating the segment. Lexus can’t really afford to hold this update back any longer.
2021 Lexus IS F
Next up, we’ve got rumors of an updated Lexus IS F. Now, over the last 12 months there’s been a lot of talk about performance sedans. There’s the new BMW M3, which commands attentions and grabs headlines wherever it goes. Then there’s the new Toyota Supra, which literally everyone is talking about. But what about Lexus? There’s a lot of buzz about a new and improved IS F coming along to crash the M3 and Supra’s party. A lot of sources are claiming that the 2021 Lexus IS F project is well under way, while others are sceptical and think it’s all a load of hogwash.
The believers are suggesting that a successor to the IS F is on the way and could be showing up as soon as 2021. This new performance sedan is supposedly going to come equipped with a 3.5 liter V6 twin-turbo mill that produces 416 horsepower, the same found in flagship LS sedan. No doubt it would need a bit of tweaking to give it the edge over the LS though. Other rumors mention the B58 engine found in the Toyota Supra (and BMW Z4 and M340i), a 3.0 liter inline-six that produces 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque.
Other engine options being suggested online include a new Mazda developed inline-six, turbocharged 2.0 liter units, turbocharged 2.4 liter four-cylinders, and even a 2.5 liter hybrid. There’s all kinds of rumors flying around and all of them are even more wild and exciting than the last. And then there’s the other side of the argument.
According to an actual Lexus executive, Scott Thompson—who heads the brand up in Australia—said “there’s no plans at the moment,” when asked about the likelihood of a new Lexus IS F release. Thompson didn’t elaborate as to why Lexus isn’t prepping a new model, but he did go on to explain that the F-designated models aren’t a particularly high selling segment when compared to German competition. But perhaps he was just explaining that Australia wouldn’t be getting a new IS F, where other markets might? Perhaps he was just keeping his cards close to his chest or keeping fans guessing.
Either way, we know that a Lexus IS F should be coming soon, but probably won’t be. There are plenty of Lexus fans who are screaming out for a new model, but perhaps Lexus already missed their opportunity, and are looking further ahead for a time when a more significant update could perform even better on the sales floor? We will have to wait and see.
2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible
You’ll be pleased to read that this one is a genuine confirmed model. Recently launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2019, this is the Lexus LC500 Convertible. Just when you thought that the LC500 Coupe couldn’t get any better, Lexus only went and made a cabriolet version. In brief: it’s almost identical to the LC500 Coupe in every way, apart from the fact that this model has a folding textile roof. If you’re looking for a seriously cool car for 2021, this should be on your list.
The 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible is practically the same car as the Coupe from the front. The grille is the same, with the same mesh design, and the same fearsome, angled headlights on either side. The vents are in the same location, the hood is long and low, and it has the sleek and streamlined aesthetic that you find on the Coupe. While it’s the same, it’s not boring at all. The Coupe looks the part, and it would be a shame to mess with the looks just for the sake of making a distinction between the Coupe and the Convertible.
In the middle, that’s where the changes begin. Unexpectedly, the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible features a soft-top rather than a hardtop. The folding fabric roof uses a folding mechanism that stows the roof under a tonneau cover at the rear when open-air driving is required. The roof storage doesn’t take up much space either, which is an unexpected plus point. The rear has been tweaked to accommodate it without any drastic changes.
The Convertible’s rear end is a touch higher than the Coupe model, with the rear spoiled moulded and stretched in a way that gives the rear end a wider look. There’s surprisingly adequate cabin space and trunk space, even with the folding roof mechanism. Another noticeable difference is the addition of an integrated rear brake light into the trunk cover, rather than on the top of the rear windshield on the Coupe.
On the inside, the Convertible rocks the same interior as the Coupe, with single gauge instrumentation, a minimalist steering wheel, uncluttered controls, and a two-tone upholstery scheme. White leather may not to be everyone’s tastes, but we’re under the impression that it’s not the only upholstery option available. Thank god—because it’s a nightmare to maintain.
Under the hood, the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible boasts a front mounted 5.0 liter V8 engine that produces a potent 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of peak torque. The power is delivered through the specially designed Lexus Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s more than enough for this soft-top! Interestingly, the open-top nature of the car forced the designers to make structural changes to help maintain the Convertible’s performance. These changes included the clever relocation of structural braces to improve chassis stiffness, the addition of a polycarbonate wind deflector, and retuned suspension.
The 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible is expected to go on sale late in 2020 as a 2021 year model. As for how much it costs? Well, Lexus hasn’t announced the official pricing yet but we do know that the V8 Coupe model’s prices start from $92,950. Since the Convertible has more engineering and is more of a luxury vehicle, we expect prices to start from at least $100,000 or more. After all, this is a luxury performance car from Lexus…with a soft top. It’s not going to be cheap, is it?
2021 Lexus: More EVs?
We can expect to see more electric vehicles from Lexus in the near future. Toyota and Lexus recently announced that they would unveil three purely electric cars by 2021. This isn’t just a wild statement; it was confirmed by Lexus executives in an interview. At this point, we don’t know what vehicles are going to get the pure all-electric powertrain, and we don’t even know what the powertrain is going to be. We don’t even know how many will be Lexus branded vehicles and how many will be Toyota. Three models are on the way, that’s all we know for sure so far.
The rumor-mill has went into overdrive about this. The most talked about EV contender was the Lexus UX Crossover. This rumor has been circulating for the last two years, and it was proven to be correct. It has already been unveiled! However, Japan’s Chunichi Shimbun publication that revealed that production of the now-called UX 300e won’t begin until later in 2020 at the Toyota Motor Kyushu factory, with the first run being limited to 15,000 units.
That same article also claimed that sales will be limited to Japan, Europe, and China only for the debut year. The reasoning being that the Japanese, Chinese, and European markets are more receptive to EVs at this moment in time. The UX 300e may never even come to the US. But what else could arrive on US soil?
The CT hatchback has also been attached to the new EV rumors, and could potentially get the all-electric treatment. It was actually touted to be the first EV from Lexus, but given the market’s current love for all things crossover, it’s rumored that Lexus changed their mind and focused on the UX instead. Perhaps a surprise reveal of an American-focused electric CT hatchback could be on the cards? Maybe…