Lexus already uses its early adoption of hybrid technology as a way to differentiate itself from the more established German luxury marques, and now it could take this differentiation to the next level by introducing a range of high-performance hybrids. Lexus hopes to appeal to a niche audience after something sporty but still environmentally friendly.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Lexus General Manager Jim Farley explained that these “enthusiast groups” are often willing to pay a premium for the technology and the segment is growing. Farley also revealed Lexus is working on “a hybrid that's engineered for really high mileage and really low emissions.”

Eric Fedewa, an analyst at CSM Worldwide, explains that hybrid can equal high performance. “The benefit of electric drives is immediately available torque,” he said, adding that there is potential for a true high-performance hybrid.

Lexus promotes its LS600h (pictured) as providing V12 performance but uses a V8 engine mated to an electric motor. The company expects to fill orders for about 2,000 annually, with ``most purchases being made in cash,'' Farley said.