When the dramatic and sweeping lines of the Lexus LF-LC concept took the auto design world by storm in 2012 many had probably wondered if such a mesmerising luxury coupe would ever come to life. The reality is that Lexus has now implanted a throbbing 5-litre V8 motor in the LF-LC coupe to give it life. The Lexus LC 500 made its global debut at the 2016 Detroit Motor on Monday (11 January 2016).
With the reveal of the new flagship, Lexus is making a bold statement about the direction in which the brand is taking: manufacturing luxury cars that are both aggressively styled and performance orientated. The good news for all diehard and potential Lexus aficionados is that the new halo model has been confirmed for the local market. It’s expected to land on South African shores in the fourth quarter of 2016 or first quarter of 2017.
DESIGN PROWESS: The LC 500 shares many of the design elements that were first introduced in the LF-LC. It’s aggressively elegant from every angle. When viewed from the front, it sports an evolved version of the brand’s signature grille which is bordered by chrome on the edges. The front fascia is also characterised by a triple LED headlamp design and the floating L-shaped daytime running lights that give the coupe an aggressive stance.
The car’s athletic profile is further accentuated by the bulging curves and functional vents on the sides. The rear end is not short of drama either, courtesy of multi-layered tail lamps that are perched nicely at the back. A rear diffuser and available active rear spoiler also help manage airflow during performance driving.
ABUNDANT OPULENCE: There’s no doubt that engineers put considerable effort in creating an interior that is both seductive and engaging for occupants. The front seats boast a high level of comfort for long drives, while available sports seats offer additional support and inspire confidence during cornering.
Luxurious finishes abound, with door panels, centre console and dash pad structures mimicking Lexus’s renowned obsession with quality. The coupe’s cockpit and driving position have been calibrated to inspire a spirited and confident driving.
Occupants will also be treated to superior audio experience inside the cabin. The LC 500 comes standard with a new premium Pioneer audio system. It will also feature Lexus’s renowned safety technology, Lexus Safety System +, which integrates several of Lexus’s active safety technologies – including Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist, Automatic High Beam and All-Speed Active Cruise Control.
SIZZLING PERFORMANCE: The mandate to LC 500 engineers was to develop a luxury coupe with unprecedented dynamic driving experience and character in the Lexus stable. The result was thus Lexus’s first use of a brand new rear-wheel luxury platform that isn’t shared with any model yet. The underpinnings of this new coupe will become the blueprint for the company’s future front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The LC 500’s engineers focused on the platform’s fundamentals by placing most of the mass, including the engine and the occupants, in a position more centralised, and lower in the chassis to improve the centre of gravity.
Internally, Lexus engineers referred to this menu of mass-arranging tactics as the “inertia spec”. The driver hip and heel points have been lowered, wheels pushed to the corners of the car with shortened overhangs, and the drivetrain mass located behind the front axle line to create a front mid-ship layout.
The LC 500 also relies on run-flat tyres to improve packaging, reduce weight (thanks to no spare), and help shorten overhangs in the interest of dynamic targets.
The 12-volt battery has been relocated to the boot as part of the mission to redistribute weight. Other mass management measures include the available carbon fibre roof, aluminium door skins mounted to the carbon fibre door inner structure, and a composite boot floor.
The LC 500 also represents the Lexus brand’s most intensive use of high-strength steel. This provides enhanced rigidity, while reducing-and ideally positioning-vehicle mass to optimise dynamics.
The LC 500 as a result is very well balanced, with a close to ideal front/rear weight distribution of 52/48. Lexus engineered the stiffest monocoque the brand has ever produced to help achieve the level of chassis performance targeted for this new coupe.
Power: 351Kw@ 7100rpm
Torque: 530Nm @4800rpm
Transmission: 10 speed automatic
Seating Capacity: Four
0-100km: under 4.5 seconds
* Please note that details of local model will only be shared closer to the time of launch.