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Japanese sports car revival points to 2025 Lexus LFA, an LC and RC F replacement and LBX Morizo RR SUV to challenge down Audi RS5, BMW M4 and AMG GT - report

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Lexus LFA II render (Image: BestCar)
Lexus LFA II render (Image: BestCar)

Just as European, Chinese and American carmakers hurry to downsize engines, consolidate models and electrify everything, Japan looks set for a combustion-engined sports car resurgence. 

At the top of the tree is Japan’s premium brand, Lexus. It has a spotty performance car heritage with charming LC, RC F, GS F and IS F models remaining in the shadows of more popular Germans like the Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63. 

But Lexus produced one of the most revered supercars of the last 20 years: the LFA. With a screaming Yamaha V10, Lexus lost money on every example of it almost entirely bespoke supercar yet it stood proud as a true halo model.

This time around, the LFA II (as it’s currently known) will be different. The Japanese publication BestCar with its mostly-reliable industry sources expects a debut next year, when the vehicle will use Lexus’ new hybrid V8 powertrain. 

Pairing a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with a hybrid system, outputs of 662kW are expected, according to the reports, with 530kW from the petrol engine. No doubt it will be related to Toyota’s GR GT3 concept racer – on which BestCar’s render is based – and be front-engine rear-drive. 

It will use an aluminium chassis with a carbon-fibre body (down from the LFA’s full carbon construction) and be a series production model rather than ultra-limited special. Effectively filling a space between comfort-oriented LC and flagship LFA, targeting the AMG GT and Porsche 911. 

2012 Lexus LFA.
2012 Lexus LFA.

Reports suggest it will sell for a much lower price than the LFA, at around ¥20,000,000, equivalent to roughly AU$190,000 today. 

Below the ‘LFA II’, BestCar’s info suggests the LC and RC coupes will be replaced by a single, as-yet unnamed model. 

It will measure 4800mm from tip to tail, so longer than the existing LC, while its 1900mm width is slightly narrower. The 1350mm heigh figure is identical. 

Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept.
Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept.

Ditching the 5.0-litre V8 and non-turbo hybrid V6, the new model will apparently arrive with a hybrid boosted twin-turbo 3.5-litre petrol V6.

In the United States, the Tundra pick-up is offered with an 'i-Force Max' hybrid based around a 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 developing around 325kW. It is a parallel hybrid system, differing from the series parallel system found in the existing LC 500h. 

Instead, the new vehicle could take the LC 500h’s ‘multi-stage hybrid’ and add a pair of turbos, bringing grunt up from 220kW to somewhere more like 400kW to distinguish it from the GR Supra. 

Lexus LC RC render (Image: BestCar)
Lexus LC RC render (Image: BestCar)

A battery-electric powertrain will also be offered, likely co-developed with Toyota to suit the FT-SE concept car.

And then there’s the LBX Morizo RR. The brand has never offered a proper performance SUV despite Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-AMG proving there’s a hungry, deep-pocketed market out there for hi-po high-riders.

It is a concept for now, but word on the street is that an eventual production version is very likely. The powertrain, the ‘G16E-GTS’ 1.6-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder, is already in the family and has recently been mated to an automatic in the GR Yaris.

Toyota GR GT3 concept.
Toyota GR GT3 concept.

All signs point towards Lexus joining Toyota’s broader sports car rebirth, including new versions of GR86 and Supra as soon as next year alongside all-new models that rebirth the MR2 and Celica nameplates, as well as the first-ever S-FR kei sports car from Toyota. 

This information is not confirmed by Lexus or Toyota yet, but if even half the projects BestCar has reported come to fruition driving enthusiasts having nothing to worry about for the next decade. 

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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