Lexus LF-Ch

Lexus unveils its hybrid hot hatch to rival the BMW 1-series and Audi A3

Lexus has unveiled its rival to the BMW 1-series. The funky LF-Ch – which appears in concept form for now – will debut at the Frankfurt motor show and points towards a production hot hatchback, likely called the LF.

It’ll be the smallest Lexus yet, and signals the company’s intent to become a big premium car player. It sees the compact segment as the way forward for premium cars, and an essential place to be as buyers downscale both in body size and engine capacity.

The LF’s biggest selling point over established rivals from BMW and Audi will be its hybrid powertrain, which may well be buyers’ only choice. Lexus is gradually turning into a hybrid-only brand in Western Europe, with petrol versions of its bigger cars – the GS, LS and RX off-roader – only available to special order in the UK.

A more performance-orientated version of the power plant from the Toyota Prius (a mixture of 1.8-litre petrol and electric power)  could be on the cards, but we won’t know for certain until Lexus releases firmer details.

Expect the production version not to look too far different to the LF-Ch concept, despite its high levels of motor show glitz. While the huge 20in alloys, lairy paintwork and concealed door handles are likely to be lost, the car’s distinctive wedge shape will hopefully remain fairly untouched.

The Lexus LF-Ch will get its big unveil at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15. Come back to evo.co.uk for live coverage from the show, which can be previewed here.Follow evo Magazine on Twitter for the performance car latest

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