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Lexus to take on AMG and M? Lexus unveils performance plans for Australia, and the epic GR Yaris-powered LBX Morizo RR could be next

The LBX Morizo RR Concept was revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon

Lexus has bold plans to punch up its performance credentials in Australia, with the Japanese brand talking up its electrified performance future, and trademarking "Morizo" for our market.

Morizo is the racing name taken by Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Akio Toyoda, and was also the name given to one of the hottest-looking Lexus vehicles in years, the LBX Morizo RR Concept, unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.

The show-stealing performance SUV is powered by the same punchy three-cylinder engine as the Yaris Cross, with the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol producing 224kW and 400Nm, which it fires to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

The concept also featured aero-improved front and rear bumpers, bigger wheel-arch flares and 19-inch alloy rims shod with high-performance performance rubber.

The ride height is also dropped by 10mm, while high-performance brakes with ventilated rotors and yellow callipers complete the package.

Lexus in Australia has told CarsGuide its hand is high in the air for a production version.

"We'll watch that carefully, because that is an exciting hot hatch that we'd love to get a hold of it we could," says Lexus Australia CEO, John Pappas. "That would form part of our...performance lineup."

That performance lineup has come into keen focus for Lexus in Australia, with Pappas telling CarsGuide that a high-po revolution is coming for the brand, and it's one that will be powered largely through electricity.

"We're now going electrified, so we're really moving to that BEV, PHEV, and we're trying to get more in the lineup. We want to be really successful in that transition," he says.

"And those types of vehicles are going to be very good, strong performance vehicles. We have a concept...called the BEV Sports. It's a beautiful concept car and that's just to give a bit of a glimpse of what the vision of Lexus looks like, a taste of the design language and the sort of aesthetics of where we are going as a concept.

"We want to make sure that as we move to that lineup, we have performance front and centre, and we bring that to life through our transition to BEVs."

First to arrive could well be a Lexus RZ F, with a the brand's traditional performance nameplate also trademarked in Australia this week, which followed the unveiling of a performance-focused concept also unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

The trademarking has led international media to point to the brand's first performance-focused electric vehicle being on its way.