The Toyota GR Corolla's turbo-three could end up in a little Lexus

The turbocharged, 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine inaugurated by the rally-bred GR Yaris and also found in the GR Corolla could make its way to a Lexus. The brand put the engine in a concept unveiled earlier in 2024, and a recent report claims the model is headed to production.

Don’t worry if the LBX nameplate doesn’t ring a bell; it’s a small, Yaris Cross-based crossover unveiled in 2023 and developed for overseas markets, including Europe. It’s not sold in the United States. While there’s nothing genuinely sporty about the standard model, Lexus explored what a hot-rodded LBX could look like when it introduced the LBX Morizo RR concept at the 2024 edition of the Tokyo auto show.

It’s this concept that could reach production with an evolution of the triple found in the Yaris and the Corolla. John Pappas, the CEO of Lexus Australia, told Australian website Drive that a production version of the Morizo RR is “highly likely but not confirmed.” The outlet notes that Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, who reportedly uses the concept as his personal car, also hinted at a production model in a promotional video.

The Morizo RR uses a different version of the turbo-three than its Toyota-branded cousins. It’s rated at 305 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. For context, the GR Corolla offer a similar 300-horsepower output but 273 pound-feet of torque, while the updated GR Yaris posts figures of 280 and 287, respectively. What accounts for the difference in power isn’t clear. Lexus fitted all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, though it’s too early to tell whether the production version of the concept would also offer a six-speed manual.

Suspension updates, stickier tires, and a muscular-looking body kit further set the Morizo RR (pictured) apart from the regular-production LBX. All told, it looks fairly realistic; it’s not a wild, overly futuristic concept that looks unlikely to see the inside of a showroom until 2050.

If the Morizo RR concept receives the proverbial green light for production, we expect to learn more about it in the coming months. Nothing suggests the crossover will be sold in the United States, where the standard LBX isn’t available, but it will be interesting to see if the 1.6-liter triple makes its way to other members of the Lexus range — including some developed with the American market in mind — sooner or later.

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