Ben Summerell-Youde/Fox SyndicationCar and Driver
- Japanese website Spyder7 reports that Lexus is working on its own version of the new Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 called the UC.
- It’s rumored to use the same 228-hp 2.4-liter flat-four as the new Toyobaru rear-wheel-drive sports cars, but with a hybrid drivetrain making more power.
- Lexus declined to comment on the existence of the new car, but reports say it could make its debut by the end of the year.
Lexus might have a hybrid version of the recently revealed Toyota GR86 on the way, if rumors from the Japanese website Spyder7 are any indication. If this model comes to fruition, the new entry-level luxury rear-wheel-drive sports car would join the RC, RC F, and LC coupes in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. It’s said to be making its debut by the end of the year, and we’d love to see something like this in the States since many other small luxury coupes have disappeared.
It will reportedly be called the UC for “Urban Coupe,” using the same naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four as the new Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86. In those applications, the four-cylinder engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. We think it likely the Lexus would only be available with the automatic. The Lexus is expected to use a hybrid drivetrain with the flat-four in conjunction with an electric motor and battery pack, which should increase power over the BRZ and GR86.
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An alleged spy photo (above) of the car’s front end shows a Lexus spindle grille and the same overall shape of the Toyobaru siblings. The UC could be slightly stretched to accommodate the hybrid battery pack. The Subaru BRZ measures 167.9 inches in length. If the photo posted on Twitter does indeed show a prototype for the UC, we can also expect the production car to have other Lexus-specific trim pieces such as more angular lighting elements and larger wheels. The GR86 offers 18-inch wheels.
The UC’s interior should also be a step above the BRZ and GR86. The interiors of those two feature 8.0-inch touchscreens and a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster. The 2022 Lexus NX crossover debuted a new infotainment system for the luxury automaker with a standard 9.8-inch touchscreen and an available 14.0-inch unit. We don’t expect the small sports car to get a screen that large, but it could be larger than the other two sports cars’ screens.
It’s unclear if the Lexus UC will be sold in North America, as entry-level sports cars including the Mercedes-Benz SLC-class have disappeared from luxury automakers’ lineups in our market. However, a Lexus spokesperson told Car and Driver that there are “some exciting things coming to Lexus.” We sure hope that includes this new Lexus sports car. Look for more information in the coming months.
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