Lexus is finally coming to India on Friday. The luxury brand of the Japanese giant Toyota Motor Company will enter India with two luxury SUVs and a premium sedan, which would be imported as completely built units initially, until Toyota arranges to localize assembly in the country.
Lexus is entering with two hybrids – SUV RX450h and ES300h and will set up its first showrooms in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. According to some reports, the company has also started offering test drives to potential customers.
The SUV RX450h is powered by a 3.5-litre, V6 petrol engine coupled to Toyota’s Hybrid system, the one that drives the Prius, mated to an eight-speed CVT gearbox to generate 312PS of combined power and 361Nm of torque.
The SUV could be pitted against the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. However, the all-wheel drive hybrid will only be in competition with the Volvo XC90, which was a plug-in hybrid launched in India last year.
The Lexus ES300h is based on the Camry, a luxury blue-logo Toyota sedan that costs Rs 32 lakh in a Delhi showroom. But this could cost more, given it’s a Lexus and will come with all the comforts of that par. However, ES300h could also be the first Lexus to be locally assembled, and would qualify for a FAME subsidy, slicing Rs 1.38 lakh off whatever the sticker price Lexus announces.
Being produced since 1989, the ES will borrow its motors from the Camry – a 2.5-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor and mated with the same six-speed CVT gearbox to generate 202PS of max power 336 Nm of max torque. The newest luxury in town could come north of Rs 70 lakh and will fight it out with the recently upgraded Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5 series which will be updated later this year.
Apart from these two, the Lexus will also come up with a diesel SUV — LX450d, for the market that is facing uncertainties over big diesels machines. The LX450d will be powered by a 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel engine that will roar out 272PS of max power with 650Nm of top torque.
Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, the LX450d will be offered in a five-seat configuration initially, and will take on the likes of Range Rover, Audi Q7 and the Mercedes GL club.
Toyota’s plan to bring Lexus to India could work, given the increasing appetite for big luxury SUVs and sedans in India. With principal leaders like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen already running successfully in India with their premium brands, Lexus will have a good playground to play in.