The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has made its debut in the Lexus NX that launched internationally this week in Canada.
Toyota’s luxury division has yet to officially confirm which other Lexus models will follow the NX200t to gain a turbo petrol variant, though admits it wouldn’t produce such an engine for just one vehicle.
“The turbo petrol engine was very expensive to develop,” Lexus’s assistant chief engineer on the NX, Kei-ichi Nishiyama, told CarAdvice at the NX launch. “We know what is happening [in terms of what other models will use it] but we cannot confirm at this stage.”
IS200t has already been trademarked by Lexus, and insiders say this badge will eventually be seen in the brand’s showrooms.
CarAdvice believes the Lexus IS200t won’t appear until about 2016, to coincide with a mid-life facelift for the latest-generation IS sedan that was released in 2013.
The IS200t would replace the IS250 that uses an ageing 2.5-litre V6 that is short on torque and fuel efficiency. The six-cylinder has 153kW of power and 252Nm of torque.
In the Lexus NX, the 2.0-litre turbo four produces 175kW and 350Nm, with the maximum torque produced between 1650 and 4000rpm compared with the 2.5L V6 that doesn’t develop its peak torque until 4800rpm.
It’s logical the RC coupe that’s based on the IS will also receive the 2.0-litre turbo, to create an RC200t.
There are plenty of other candidates. The Lexus CT hatch is currently offered only with a hybrid drivetrain and is crying out for the turbo petrol to make it more competitive with the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volkswagen Golf.
Lexus’s larger SUV, the RX, is expected in late 2015 in fourth-generation form and has the potential to offer an RX200t variant.
The Lexus NX goes on sale in Australia in November, initially with the NX300h petrol-electric hybrid that is set to be the price leader for the company’s smallest SUV.
The NX200t doesn’t follow until early 2015 as production of the turbo engine doesn’t start until late 2014.