There's a sea change of performance occurring over at Lexus these days. At least, that's what the Japanese luxury automaker claims. Lexus has made plenty of excellent performance cars in its past, but the brand has never been known for performance. Instead, Lexus has produced some of the most comfortable, reliable and serene automobiles to ever come out of Japan, and it's found success in doing so. The brand has a clear identity, but it's looking to massage that identity.
"Moving forward, the efforts of the CE (chief engineer) will be focused on elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling as developed by Lexus International President Koji Sato and Chief Branding Officer Akio Toyoda," Lexus said in a statement. "The ultimate goal is to deliver a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before."
A new "standard of performance and handling" has definitely raised our eyebrows, and we’re curious to know what that looks and feels like. Toyota has already shown clear signs of upping its performance gains with the GR brand and additional TRD models. It’s only the beginning, and it looks like Lexus is going to follow the parent brand into this performance space. The construction of a new testing facility in Japan was instrumental in this fight for more performance, according to Lexus. We wrote about the mini Nürburgring replica before. It’s called Shimoyama, and Lexus will be developing its vehicles at this facility for the foreseeable future.
"More than merely a new test facility, this asphalt track signals a change in Lexus’ product development course and speaks to the brand’s commitment to its human-centered nature," Lexus says.
What does that entail for the cars? Lexus has an answer there, too: "Linear steering, brake responses, and optimized handling with exceptional ride quality is the result of heightened focus on tuning of the chassis and its interactions with the control surfaces through diligent evaluation at a test facility unlike any other."