Malcolm Flynn | Jul 31, 2012

Japanese luxury carmaker Lexus could soon expand its reach into the premium light category, according to a new report this week.

Malaysian auto enthusiast site Paultan reports that Toyota’s luxury brand is looking to emulate the strategies of BMW and Audi, with their successful MINI Cooper and A1 models.

A premium light car could help Lexus to increase its market share in Europe, where the brand is yet to match the success it has enjoyed in the US market.

The report speculates that such a model could be based on the Prius c’s Yaris-derived platform, utilising a version of the light hybrid's drivetrain, or a new 1.2 litre direct-injected, turbocharged petrol engine.

Whether the relatively simple Prius c underpinnings and drivetrain could meet Lexus’ refinement standards remains to be seen.

Significant development would also be required to match the Cooper and A1 dynamically.

If Lexus is indeed plotting a new light car, it could instead lean on the next-generation Yaris platform, which is not expected until at least 2015.

A prestige Lexus version could well introduce the new architecture before the next Yaris is due, though not likely before 2014.

For now, Lexus has yet to offer any word on plans for a light car, and Paultan cites only the grapevine as its source.

With BMW understood to be preparing its own front-wheel-drive light car on the same platform as the next-generation MINI Cooper, Lexus will be, at the very least, considering its options.

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