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Lexus charges toward "performance hybrid" future

More go-fast hybrids on the menu for Lexus

Hybrid powertrains will form the cornerstone of Lexus' performance-flavoured future, with the Japanese premium brand rebranding its eco-friendly image for something more sporty and fun.

That's the word from the brand's international executive vice-president, and Lexus UX chief engineer, Chika Kako, who said "performance hybrids" would form the cornerstone of the brand over the next 10 years.

"I think everybody's preconception of the hybrid with Lexus has always been about fuel efficiency, but as we move forward we would like to add more value to that and have more focus and emphasis on the sportiness and dynamics that the hybrid technology can offer," she said..

"We want to have the performance and sporty advantages that the hybrid technology can offer. Of course, we cannot talk about what's next. But that's something we want.

"Having the hybrid motor and how you tune it can really change the level of dynamics in the car itself. We're really studying right now what is the optimum way to do that."

Speaking at the international launch of the Lexus UX, Kako-san said the brand's new crossover SUV, of which a hybrid-petrol engine powers the most performance-focused model, was a taste of what's to come for Toyota's premium sibling, with the car's chief engineer confirming Lexus would even consider a high-performance F-stamped version of its smallest SUV if there was adequate demand.

"We're going through the stages of electrification of as we speak, and we would like to find the best ways to do it with our own identity. If everyone goes in the same direction, you lose that identity. This is great time for us to really look into the opportunities that arise from electrification," she said.

"Our intent in creating this vehicle was to create something for peope who really like this package, and if those customers think they want a super high-performance version of the UX, then of course we'll have to study it and consider it."

Do performance hybrids get your electric motor running? Tell us in the comments below.