Pictured here, the Lexus LBX is a pint-sized crossover serving as a fancier alternative to the Toyota Yaris Cross upon which it's based. The latter is essentially a jacked-up version of the Yaris supermini, which is offered as a Gazoo Racing model with a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine. This three-pot also goes inside the GR Corolla where it has more power. A new report states Toyota’s luxury division could borrow the potent "G16E" engine.
According to Japan's Mag-X, the LBX will be the first non-Toyota model to use the tiny but mighty engine that pumps out as much as 295 bhp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) in the GR Corolla Morizo Edition. In the GR Yaris, its output varies depending on the region, but even the lowest numbers are still a rather healthy 257 bhp and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm). Much like with the two hot hatches, a GR-powered LBX would have all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
Lexus LBX (2023)
Interestingly, the report goes on to say the spicy Lexus crossover will optionally be offered with Toyota's upcoming eight-speed, torque-converter automatic gearbox. It's unclear whether the high-performance LBX will get the GR Corolla's full power or it's going to be aligned with the GR Yaris. The latter is believed to get some extra oomph as well as that new "Direct Automatic Transmission" Toyota has been praising lately.
Although it's only a rumour at this point, there is some substance to it. This week, Lexus announced plans to introduce a "performance model" of the LBX in January at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon. It will have a “strengthened powertrain” compared to the hybrid 1.5-litre engine of the regular model with its 134 bhp and 136 lb-ft (185 Nm). If the GR Yaris' engine is indeed planned, it'll have roughly twice the power of the standard model.
We'd be glad to see this engine in other cars beyond the GR Yaris and GR Corolla but in a sports coupe, hatch, or saloon rather than a crossover. Ideally, a GR86 with the G16E would be great. Come to think of it, Toyota has built a few of these cars but strictly as testbeds for carbon-neutral fuels. It might happen one day, per a statement made in September 2022 by Gazoo Racing's chief engineer Naoyuki Sakamoto:
"Yes, we are thinking for the future about the possibility of using it, but there are no concrete plans at the moment. For now, we're just using it to develop carbon-neutral fuels."