We hope this rumor is true.
The previous-generation Toyota Mirai featured groundbreaking hydrogen fuel cell technology, but its Prius-like styling put off buyers who may have embraced its advanced propulsion system. By comparison, the second-generation 2021 Toyota Mirai is a stunner based on the same rear-wheel-drive TNGA-L platform that underpins the Lexus LS and LC. The latest Mirai is extremely luxurious inside and out; we could even imagine it seeling with a Lexus badge. According to a new rumor, this may happen soon.
Drive.com says it spotted a now-deleted Instagram post detailing future Lexus product plans. The plan mentioned a hydrogen fuel-cell model based on the Mirai to replace the now-discontinued Lexus GS sedan. Lexus ended GS production last year after nearly 30 years on the market.
With the GS gone, Lexus no longer has a RWD midsize sedan to rival the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Though the Lexus ES offers a similar size and luxury, it is dynamically inferior to the European options due to its front-wheel-drive platform shared with the Toyota Avalon.
If Lexus does build a car based on the Mirai, we hope it gets more power than the Toyota version. The Mirai only produces 179 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, and takes a sluggish 9.2 seconds to hit 60 mph. If Lexus could add more powerful electric motors, it could easily give the GS quicker acceleration. A Mirai-based GS wouldn't compete with the Germans on raw speed, but its hydrogen powertrain would be the first to feature in a luxury brand in the United States.
Until now, only mainstream automakers like Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota have offered FCEVs; therefore, we may have to take this latest rumor with a grain of salt. FCEVs have a limited market because hydrogen filling stations only exist in California. Casting even more doubt to this rumor, fuel cell vehicles are prohibitively expensive due to their low volume, which is why the Toyota-badged Mirai costs over $50,000 in base form. A Lexus-badged model would be even pricier.
Our spy photographers will monitor this situation to see if Toyota and Lexus begin testing any suspicious prototypes.