Lexus has unveiled its stunning new, production-ready flagship, the Lexus LC 500 coupe.
Set for a global launch in 2017, including Australia, the luxury four-seater is being hailed by Lexus as the strongest ever statement of its brand direction.
Although exact timing of arrival is yet to be confirmed, Lexus Australia chief executive Peter McGregor said he was delighted the local subsidiary’s appeal to Lexus International to secure the vehicle for Australia had been successful.
“The LC 500 epitomises the new spirit of Lexus and will act as a lighthouse model for our expanding range,” Mr McGregor said
Inspired by the equally impressive LF-LC concept at the Detroit Motor Show in 2012, the production model is underpinned by the company’s new Global Architecture Luxury (GA-L) platform, said to be the most torsionally rigid ever produced by the company. The new GA-L platform will also serve as a blueprint for all future front engine, rear drive models from Lexus.
Lexus’ Chief Branding Officer and Master Driver, Akio Toyoda, has been integral in the development of the production model since it was first shown as the LF-LC concept at the Detroit Motor Show in 2012.
“The LC 500 has been an important product for Lexus and me personally,” Mr Toyoda said.
“A few years ago we decided to guide the future of the brand with products that had more passion and distinction in the luxury market. This flagship luxury coupe’s proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brands’ emotional direction, and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally.”
The Lexus engineering and design team has successfully transfer most of the LF-LC’s design theme into the new LC 500, with the production model sharing many of the key design elements, proportions and visual dynamism of the concept that inspired it.
The LC 500’s visual appeal is defined by an athletic aerodynamic shape, with sensual curves, emotional forms, an available flowing carbon fibre roof (glass roof standard), creating a low, wide imposing stance that come together for a highly functional, passionate package.
The LC 500’s front fascia features a powerful interpretation of Lexus’ signature spindle grille, bordered by chrome on three sides and a radical new 3D mesh design that varies its visual tension.
The “L”-shaped daytime running lights rest below a new triple LED headlamp unit specially designed to include one of the industry’s thinnest projectors to enable a low bonnet with a short front overhang.
Functional venting also plays into the LC 500’s exterior design to help improve aerodynamic stability and cooling.
The car’s athletic profile is characterised by its fast, sloped roofline, its wind-cutting silhouette, a long 2870mm wheelbase with compact front 920mm and rear 970mm overhangs and low bonnet height.
The curves and flowing lines maintain a consistent tension in sheet metal through to the rear end that features slimly designed, multi-layered tail lamps with a unique lighting effect that helps convey a sequential L motif.
A rear diffuser and available active rear spoiler also help manage airflow during performance driving.
It rides on machined cast aluminium 20-inch, or available 21-inch, forged aluminium wheels, as shown on the show car. They are shod in Michelin Sport 245/40 RF21 front, and 275/35 RF21 rear tyres.
Inside, the interior design of the LC 500 is influenced by the dynamic luxury theme of the exterior with a cockpit-focused and elegant layout.
It will debut Lexus’s new Multimedia package featuring updated, faster and more flexible software enabling future enhancements and a graphic user interface.
The coupe’s driving position was calibrated to invite spirited, sporting driving, and help develop easier confidence with a more intuitive control layout.
The LC 500’s door panels, centre console and dash pad structures feature elements of Lexus’ world-renowned, detail-obsessed Takumi craftsmanship in their finish.
“At an early stage, the designers collaborated with the engineers to understand their image for the LC 500’s driving dynamics, and they incorporated this into the design,” said Tadao Mori, chief designer of the LC 500.
“For example, we gave serious consideration to where the driver’s eyes would focus, and designed the surface shape in that area to help support a driver’s mindset.
“This project was one of the first time that designers were closely involved in the dynamic engineering development so we could understand the driving goals and support with the car’s design.”
Power for the LC 500 comes from Lexus’s proven, high-revving 5.0-litre V8 that also motivates the RC F and GS F.
The naturally aspirated V8 was selected for its smooth, linear throttle response and emotional engine sound.
The all-aluminium, 32-valve V8’s output targets 351kW and 530Nm.
The new engine is built for durability with lightweight, high-strength forged connecting rods and titanium valves that allow the engine to flourish at high rpm.
A newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission – the first ever in a luxury automobile – with shift times rivalling those of a dual-clutch transmission helps transfer power to the rear wheels.
The component is smaller and lighter than some current eight-speed transmissions.
The wide bandwidth of shifting afforded by 10 closely spaced gears is said to be ideal for all forms of driving, providing an optimal gear in all conditions.
This transmission is matched to a new electric control system with software that helps anticipate the driver’s inputs by monitoring acceleration, braking and lateral g forces.
It will propel the LC 500 from 0-100km/h in less than 4.5 seconds.
The LC 500 will also boast Lexus’ renowned safety technology, Lexus Safety System +, which integrates several of Lexus’s active safety technologies: the Pre-Collision System (PCS) helps prevent and mitigate collisions; Lane Keep Assist (LKA) helps prevent vehicles from departing from their lanes; Automatic High Beam (AHB) helps ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving, and All-speed Active Cruise Control (All speed ACC).
As part of a multi-faceted approach to active safety, the Lexus Safety System + package combines millimetre-wave radar with a camera to achieve high reliability and performance.
|Power||351kW @ 7100rpm|
|Torque||530Nm @ 4800rpm|
|Transmission||10 speed automatic|
|Driven Wheels||Rear wheel drive|
|Fr/Rr Overhang||Fr: 920mm, Rr: 970mm|
(front and rear)
|1. 21 inches|
2. 20 inches
3. 20 inches
|Tyre size||1. Fr: 245/40 RF21, Rr: 275/35RF 21|
2. Fr: 245/45 RF20, Rr: 275/40RF 20 Fr: 245/45 RF20, Rr:275/40 RF20
|0 – 100km/h||Under 4.5 seconds|