Lexus debuts IS hybrid in Detroit

Back in early December we told you about the morphing of the slick Lexus LF-CC concept into an actual production hybrid known as the IS.

We thought it would a be a sportier design for drivers of this sometimes stuffy luxury brand for Honda. Now word has come from the 2013 Detroit Auto Show that in 2014 there will indeed by a hybrid offering – only you won’t be able to buy it here in the US. Say what?

First the reason why you won’t see one in America. Lexus told Autoblog Green simply enough there are too many entry level hybrids it already offers American drivers, including the CT 200h and ES 300h. Given the way hybrids sell in other parts of the world vs the US, they just don’t see another doing well in an already saturated market.

So while you mill that over, we willl tell you about the car. As we mentioned previously, it is based somewhat off the LF-CC concept, which got some time in at various auto shows last year. What has become the actual street ready version has under the hood the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, based on a newly developed 2.5L Atkinson-cycle engine.

Given what we’ve reported on in the past, it is still reasonable to assume this hybrid drivetrain will have CO2 emissions that are targeted to come in below 100 grams per kilometer, while the engine delivers 2 hp for each gram of CO2. It will have a range of comfortable features owing to the Lexus moniker, including a newer exterior styling, LFA-inspired driving cockpit, significant increases in rear seat space/trunk capacity and a new multimedia system with complimentary real-time traffic and weather information.

It looks as if the IS 300h will be available in mid-2013 in Europe, Japan, and “select international markets.” No price was mentioned.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling