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Peter Lyon of England's AutoExpress has published an interesting article with concrete predictions about Lexus' performance future, including fast and frugal hybrid sports models.<P>

For the IS, they predict "a new flagship when it is replaced in 2006. The IS350 GT will offer a tuned version of the 3.5-litre V6 that will be in the GS. However, it's not clear if it will sport a hybrid powerplant, although it may integrate some of the bigger system's fuel-saving technology, including engine stop and start systems which save fuel in stationary traffic."<P>

Here's the full article (with an IS300.NET editorial comment):<P>

Engineers are currently working on two machines, one of which will be a new version of the flagship LS. However, first to hit the road will be the GS350 GT, which was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show.(Note: The 350GT version of the 3rd-generation GS has NOT been introduced or shown anywhere. The author surely was referring to the new GS300 and 430.- Ed.) Expected in August 2005 and aimed at the Mercedes E55 AMG, it will mark Lexus' first anniversary of sales in Japan, and sport a 300bhp 3.5-litre V6 mated to a 170bhp electric motor. Offering an astounding 470bhp, the car will feature all-wheel drive and be capable of around 60mpg.<P>

But if you think that sounds impressive, then just wait another 12 months, when Lexus' ultimate hybrid - the LS500 GT - will appear. Combining a 400bhp 5.0-litre V8 with a 200bhp electric motor, the car will offer at least 600bhp and be targeted at the Mercedes S-Class flagship, the S600L.<P>

Thanks to predicted improvements in battery technology, economy of more than 50mpg is expected - double the standards set by traditional petrol engines of equivalent performance.<P>

But the march to bring eco-friendly performance technology to Lexus models won't stop there. The firm's popular IS will inherit a new flagship when it is replaced in 2006. The IS350 GT will offer a tuned version of the 3.5-litre V6 that will be in the GS. However, it's not clear if it will sport a hybrid powerplant, although it may integrate some of the bigger system's fuel-saving technology, including engine stop and start systems which save fuel in stationary traffic.<P>

For now, the cost of hybrid technology means it's likely to be reserved for Toyota and Lexus' most expensive models. However, at the Geneva Motor Show this month, one Toyota insider told us that the company was committed to hybrid cars, and that ultimately they will be available right across both ranges.<P>

Our thanks to .NET member <B><I>Pelucidor</I></B> for bringing this story to our attention.
 
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