German luxury brands have been bullish on turbochargers for years, but Toyota's Lexus division has been reluctant to follow — at least until now. An all-new turbocharged four-cylinder in the NX 200t serves as the base engine in the brand's newest SUV. If you believe Brian Bolain, Lexus' corporate marketing manager, it's just the tip of the turbo iceberg.
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Lexus has come a long way since its 1989 inception: Sixty dealerships have grown to more than 230, and the brand held the U.S. luxury-brand sales title throughout the 2000s. But it lost the crown to Mercedes-Benz in 2011 when a March earthquake and tsunami in Japan left U.S. inventory below BMW and Mercedes levels for six of the nine months that followed. Mercedes has kept the sales title ever since.
Bolain downplayed the importance of Lexus being America's top-selling luxury brand, but he did hint at a few directions it might go — specifically, more turbochargers and perhaps a replacement for the SC convertible.