The Toyota-BMW technology tie-up doesn’t include the use of BMW diesel engines by Lexus (the premium brand of Toyota that’s a rival to BMW in the premium car segment). Under the tie-up, BMW will collaborate with Toyota in developing next-generation environmentally friendly technologies. This means that they will jointly develop lithium-ion batteries.
At the Tokyo Auto Show, it was announced that part of the deal includes supplying BMW's 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter diesel engines for Toyota's models in Europe beginning in 2014. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Toyota Europe spokesman Etienne Plas said that the deal with BMW excludes supplying BMW engines to Lexus.
According to BMW's development chief Klaus Draeger, the tie-up won’t give Lexus an advantage. Draeger told German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche that there are no concerns since the Lexus brand won’t be using BMW’s engines. Industry association ACEA said that Toyota is focusing on making hybrid cars available in Europe even if 52% of cars sold last year in Europe in 2010 were diesels.
Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Center for Automotive research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, said that Lexus sales in Europe are “so small” that what makes more sense is for Lexus to be positioned as an “innovation leader” and to move towards the direction of plug-in hybrids and full hybrids.
Dudenhoeffer said that Toyota would continue to consider Lexus to be a niche brand due to its diminutive presence in Europe. He thinks that what Toyota is likely to do is to concentrate on increasing European sales by offering diesel versions of its core Toyota brand models.
When the engineering team designed the new Lexus GS, the goal was for it to offer a driving experience that was more engaging. It was therefore important to focus on agility and strength. To meet this objective, there was a need to have an aerodynamic body with a structure that was stiffer and had a wider stance. In addition, the transmission had to allow for faster shifts.
As a result, the engine would have a unique sound while the exhaust would have a nice note as well. The engineering also made sure to have an interior that offered more space. Since the dimensions of the exterior had to remain unchanged, the cabin and its boot space were increased. The result is an interior that is richly appointed and that brings passengers and their respective luggage to their destination in comfort, no matter how far it may be.
Going back to its design, the new Lexus GS displays more confidence due to the strong spindle grille. This feature is in fact expected to become a trademark quality for future models. Helping with this impression is the chassis that has been redesigned and with the strong and wide stance, shows that this new offering is meant to not just inspire but ultimately reward the driver with precise and sharp handling.
This new Lexus GS therefore, comes with a driving experience that is more engaging, sporting a bolder design with a modern interior that offers enough space, marking a new chapter in the brand’s history.
New Lexus GS was unveiled by the brand during the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance held in California. It is scheduled to be launched by 2012 including the UK market. The launching will include the F-Sport version and the hybrid variant through for the UK release it will also have the petrol powered GS 250 and the full hybrid GS 450h.