In recent years, Lexus and Toyota have unleashed the blandest overall collection of vehicles in either brand's history. Now Lexus is about to re-enter one of the toughest segments in all of auto-dom, the entry-level sport sedan segment. The 2016 Lexus XE is the weapon they have chosen as they join the war on the BMW 3-Series. This is it.
The XE is being unveiled right now at a special live event in Tokyo, a month before its official debut at the Paris Motor Show.
Lexus has said they are very interested in chasing a 3-Series type of volume with the XE, so this is a critical car for the relentless Japanese brand. They're hoping this sedan will lure in a wider range of buyers than they currently have, including more women and younger customers.
As we've reported before, the XE will make liberal use of aluminum to keep weight down and efficiency up. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, all-wheel drive will be optional, and power will come from a range of 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines. The car is also expected to get the lifeless hybrid 4-ccylinder from the CT 200h and maybe also a V8 if they feel like going nuts.
The last time Lexus tried a car in the compact executive class, it didn't go so well because that car was the Toyota Camry-derived ES350, a product that terribly wasn't sporting, pretty nor desirable. But Lexus is a different company these days, and the XE will almost certainly be better than their last effort.
If the XE is anything like the other new cars we've seen from Lexus and Toyota lately, it will be a force to be reckoned with. I'll be watching this one very closely.