Lexus’ run as the United States’ most popular luxury automaker will come to an end this year, but the Japanese automaker is planning a new product onslaught that should help it get back on top.

2012 will be an important year for Lexus with four all-new or heavily revised models set to launch. The all-new GS sedan will be the first to the plate, launching in early 2012. The GS will arrive on a revised platform shared with the IS, but will retain the current car’s overall dimensions. U.S. engine choices will include a 3.5L V6 and a 4.6L V8, but European buyers will also have the choice of a four-cylinder diesel.

A high-performance GS-F model could still be in the cards, but Lexus would rely on a hybrid drivetrain rather than a tuned V8 or even a V10 for the car’s added performance.

Following the GS Lexus will launch an all-new ES sedan in mid-2012. The next-gen ES will switch to the Camry’s all-new platform, with engineers placing a greater emphasis on sportier handling. A hybrid model will finally join the mix, with early estimates suggesting a 40mpg combined rating. If true, that would best the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid by 1mpg.

Lexus’ IS range is set for an update in late 2012, with the 3-Series rival set to switch to the GS’ revised platform. No significant powertrain changes are expected, but the line should feature more expressive styling and better handling characteristics. The IS Convertible will ditch its retractable hardtop in favor of a simpler folding soft top.

The HS 250h is set for a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, but the hybrid will retain its nickel-metal hydride batteries. The move to lithium-ion isn’t expected until the car’s 2015 update.

Lexus’ LS flagship will be updated in 2013, with the big sedan set to shed a significant amount of weight through the use of premium materials. The LS 600h will remain on offer, although the revised car will put a greater premium on overall fuel economy.

The Lexus RX crossover will finally ditch its dated architecture in 2014, switching to the Camry’s all-new platform. The hybrid version of the CUV will likely stick with nickel-metal hydride batteries in an effort to reduce costs.

2014 should also bring us a convertible version of the LF-A supercar. Lexus will likely end production of the LF-A coupe in 2013, meaning there will be a one year gap between the two variations of the Ferrari-rival.

A seven-passenger crossover dubbed the VX was slated to launch somewhere in that new product mix, but Toyota has reportedly put the kibosh on that project. The idea hasn’t officially been canned, but the VX is considered to be on hold indefinitely.

Advertisements