The low-slung LC500 Coupe has been unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show!
If the 2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept impressed you, then you should like the all-new, production-ready LC500 luxury Coupe on which it is based. The LC500 is the brand’s flagship coupe and is said to "embody the essence of Lexus’ future product direction".
"The LC500 has been an important product for Lexus and me personally," said Akio Toyoda, chief branding oficer and master driver for Lexus. "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 brand's emotional direction and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally."
A key goal for engineers and designers was to create a production car that carried the design philosophy of the LF-LC. As a result, the LC500 Coupe incorporates several design cues of the concept car. The prominent Lexus grille is trimmed with chrome on three sides and features a 3D mesh design. L-shaped daytime running lights are set below the triple-LED headlights, which Lexus says includes the industry’s thinnest projectors. The technology allowed the LC 500 Coupe's designers to endow the newcomer with a low-profile bonnet and short overhangs.
A sloping roofline, long wheelbase (2 870 mm) and squat haunches give the LC500 an athletic stance. A glass roof is fitted as standard, but a carbon-fibre roof can be specified. The rear-end is defined with multi-layered taillamps, diffuser and an active rear spoiler to manage airflow when travelling at high speed. The LC500 rides on 21-inch forged aluminium wheels.
As you’d expect, the LC500 Coupe's luxurious and elegant interior layout is decidedly driver-focused and the seating position was designed to inspire spirited driving. The seats are clad in leather and Alcantara, but sport seats featuring additional bolstering and lateral support will be offered as an optional extra. Lexus reportedly paid particular attention to the size and angle of the steering wheel and the feel and positioning of the magnesium alloy paddle shifters.
"At an early stage, the designers collaborated with the engineers to understand their image for the Lexus LC500's driving dynamics, and they incorporated this into the design," said Tadao Mori, the chief designer of the LC500. "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 times that designers were closely involved in the dynamic engineering development so we could understand the driving goals and support with the car's design."
The LC500 is the first Lexus to use the brand’s all-new rear-wheel drive platform that forms the blueprint for future rear-wheel driven, front-engined cars. In an effort to improve the centre of gravity, much of the vehicle’s mass, including the engine and occupants, are positioned lower in the chassis. Managing mass was a high priority for the LC500 Coupe and as a result, the car features a well-balanced 52/48 front-rear weight distribution. The LC500 features the stiffest unibody ever made by Lexus and the strategic use of lightweight, high-strength steel further increases torsional rigidity.
Lexus also focused on the development of the LC500’s multilink suspension system, which features double ball joints on the upper and lower control arms. The setup is said to improve suspension geometry, increasing wheel control and delivering a more precise steering response.
The Lexus LC 500 coupe is fitted with the same naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 found in the RC F and GS F. This engine produces 348 kW and 527 Nm of torque, powering the rear-wheels through a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission, which marks the first time this type of transmission is utilised on a luxury car. The 0-100kph sprint time is said to be well under 5 seconds.
In terms of safety, the LC500 features Lexus' Safety +, which integrates All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist and Automatic High-Beam.
You can expect to see the Lexus LC500 Coupe in South Africa at the end of 2016 or in the first quarter of 2017.