Lexus has unveiled a new luxury 2+2 coupe that it hopes will be the start of a new era for the brand.
The large coupe will be positioned as a flagship for the brand and follows directly from the LF-LC Concept first shown to the public at the Detroit Motor Show in 2012.
Created to be as agile and athletic as possible, the LC will be the first Lexus to use a new platform for luxury vehicles and provide a template for future front-engined, rear-drive Lexus models. With the wheels pushed out into the corners to give shorter overhangs and the bulk of the powertrain moved behind the front axle to create a front-mid layout, the LC's construction is focussed on dynamism.
Placing the occupants lower in the chassis and reducing weight above the vehicle centreline, with an optional carbon fibre roof, aluminium door skins on a carbon fibre structure and composite boot floor gives the LC an impressive weight balance. The chassis itself is the stiffest that Lexus has ever made, surpassing even the LFA supercar.
The stunning exterior design, which won the car the EyesOn Design award at Detroit in 2016, shares many of the key design elements of the LF-LC Concept, with the new interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille, flanked with L-shaped daytime running lights and new triple-LED headlamp units.
This 'dynamic luxury' theme of the exterior continues to the cabin. It focuses on the driver, positioning critical information displays closest to the driver's sightline. The driver's hip point has been located as close to the LC's centre of gravity as possible to improve the feeling of the vehicle dynamics, urging the driver to enjoy pushing the car on (where appropriate!).
With Takumi craftsmen ensuring the quality of the detailing, upholstery and trim materials, the LC coupe is undoubtedly a premium car, while on the technology front the car will debut the new 2017 Lexus multimedia package, with a new interface and faster, more flexible software.
The powertrain options are typically Lexus. The LC500 uses the same 5-litre V8 that you'll find in the ferocious RC F and GS F. This naturally aspirated engine delivers 467hp and 388lbft of torque, which will accelerate the car to 60mph in under 5 seconds.
There is also a hybrid version, in the shape of the LC500h. This new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine with an electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery. These drive a four-speed automatic gearbox which, in a first for Lexus, has an M manual-transmission mode so the driver can make their own gearchanges if necessary. The added weight of the automatic 'box is offset by new compact battery and motor components, so the new powertrain weighs no more than existing Lexus hybrid systems. This model should also reach 60mph in less than 5 seconds.
The cars are fitted with Lexus Safety Sense+ as standard, to help prevent accidents or limit the effects of one. They include a radar-controlled pre-crash safety system designed to detect vehicles and pedestrians in the car's path, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam and lane keeping assist.
Although the LC isn't scheduled to go on sale until 2017, it's the latest in a series of vehicles created by the brand that offers distinctive styling and great driving dynamics in a truly premium package.