Lexus will finally be setting up shop officially in India. The luxury division of Toyota is likely to launch its cars in the first quarter of 2017 and the deliveries will begin soon after as the cars are being imported as CBUs. However, the carmaker has started offering test drives to potential customers and is accepting bookings as well. Initially, two SUVs – the RX450h and LX450d – and one sedan, the ES300h, will be launched in the country. Although the automaker wants to assemble them locally in future, for now, the cars will be directly imported from Japan. Let's check out what the upcoming cars have to offer.
The RX450h, the ‘h’ in whose name stands for ‘hybrid’, is one of the most popular Lexuses in the international market. This SUV accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the total sales of Lexus worldwide. Globally, it competes with the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. However, since it is being imported as a CBU, it will be priced much higher than its rivals. It is likely to have a price tag of around Rs 1 crore. Powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine along with three electric motors, the total combined output of the SUV is 308PS. The AWD (all-wheel drive) drivetrain consists of an e-CVT gearbox. However, there isn't any mechanical link between the two Axles.
Lexus will also introduce its mighty flagship SUV – the LX450d – in the country. Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, it is offered with two engine options in the international market. Here, the diesel variant is likely to be launched first, followed by the petrol sometime later. The diesel is powered by a 4.5-litre V8 engine which produces 273PS and a massive 650Nm of torque and is coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the petrol variant has a 5.7-litre V8 engine under the hood which produces 388PS and 546Nm of torque and is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The LX competes with other flagship SUVs like Range Rover and Audi Q7, and is expected to be priced around Rs 2 crore.
The ES300h will probably be the most affordable offering from Lexus in the country. It is based on the Toyota Camry and will be offered in a hybrid avatar, like the RX450h. The luxury sedan is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine, assisted by an electric motor, and is mated to a CVT gearbox. The sedan mainly focuses on comfort rather than performance and would mostly appeal to the chauffeur-driven ones in cities. Globally, it competes with the likes of the BMW 5-series and Audi A6. However, since it’s a direct import, it is likely to be priced around Rs 75 lakh, which is higher than its rivals.
Lexus cars are widely popular in the luxury car market for their reliability. In spite of being a young brand in this segment, they have a good following. However, being direct imports, they are priced much higher than their rivals and aren't a value-for-money deal. However, the hybrid drivetrains in RX and ES set them apart in their segments and will definitely attract a lot of attention.