Lexus will reportedly borrow the GR Corolla’s engine, but not for a sports car
Lexus confirmed a high-performance version of this small crossover, without revealing what will power it.
November 10, 2023 in 5:47 AM ET
The Lexus LBX is a pint-sized crossover that serves as a cooler alternative to the Toyota Yaris Cross. The latter is essentially a lifted version of the Yaris supermini, which is offered as a Gazoo racing model with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This three-pot is also placed inside the GR Corolla where it has more power. According to a new report, Toyota’s luxury division could borrow the powerful ‘G16E’ engine for the LBX.
According to Japan Do XThe LBX will be the first non-Toyota model to use the small but powerful engine that pumps out up to 295 hp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) in the GR Corolla Morizo edition. In the GR Yaris, its output varies by region, but even the lowest numbers are still a fairly good 257 hp and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm). As with the two hot hatches, the GR-powered LBX will have all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
Lexus LBX 2024
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Interestingly, the report goes on to say that the hot Lexus crossover will be optionally offered with Toyota’s eight-speed automatic gearbox and torque converter. It’s unclear whether the high-performance LBX will have the full power of the GR Corolla or if it will be closer to the power of the current GR Yaris. However, the Yaris could get some extra power in addition to the new “direct automatic transmission” that Toyota recently praised.
Although it’s just a rumor at this point, there is some substance to it. Lexus this week announced plans to introduce a “performance model” of the LBX in January at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon. It will have a “boosted powertrain” compared to the regular model’s 1.5-liter hybrid engine with 134 hp and 136 lb-ft (185 Nm). If a GR Yaris engine is indeed planned, it will have almost twice the power of the standard model.
We’d be happy to see this engine in cars other than the GR Yaris and GR Corolla, but in a sports coupe, hatchback or sedan rather than a crossover. Ideally, a GR86 with a G16E would be great. Come to think of it, Toyota has built a few of these cars but strictly as carbon-neutral fuel laboratories. That might happen one day, according to a statement made by Naoyuki Sakamoto, Gazoo Racing’s chief engineer, in September 2022:
Yes, we are thinking about the possibility of using it in the future, but there are no concrete plans at the moment. Right now, we’re only using it to develop carbon-neutral fuel.