Lexus’ in-house performance models are designated with the F badge – not to be confused with the F Sport packages that are offered for several of the automaker’s models. The F performance badge, affixed to products that are conceived to deliver exhilarating driving dynamics, has until now only found its way onto cars equipped with naturally aspirated engines.
Things could change, however, if Lexus decides to give some of its SUVs the royal treatment.
According to Cooper Ericksen, vice president of product planning and strategy at Lexus, the possibility is currently a subject of “active conversation”. But there was no word from the executive about how far these F-badge SUVs would go in terms of performance, which leaves a very wide range of possibilities.
And of course, we don’t know yet which models would be first to get the performance treatment. The company makes two kinds of utility vehicles: the unibody, car-based models (UX, NX and RX) and those build on a ladder frame (GX and LX). The latter models, conceived to be off-road capable and focused as well on interior comfort, would not seem to be ideal candidates. But in the case of the new UX, as well as the NX, it’s much easier to imagine a viable sportier variant.
One reason Lexus is considering F-badged SUVs is obvious: it would allow the automaker to put out products that can rival some of its competitors, namely those based in Germany.
The next few auto shows will likely tell us more about how serious Toyota’s luxury division is about moving forward with this plan. Stay tuned.