Lexus has unveiled its all-new luxury coupe, the LC 500, at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show introducing a new era for the global luxury brand.
The coupe's alluring styling, performance, and craftsmanship help position the vehicle as the brand's flagship product. The LC 500 utilises the brand's new chassis architecture that promises enhanced dynamic capability and performance.
It is likely to be available in right hand drive markets – including New Zealand – in the second quarter of next year.
“The LC 500 will further strengthen Lexus’ performance and design credentials, and we are excited about the debut of the production model.” said Spencer Morris, general manager of product for Lexus New Zealand. Mr Morris also confirmed plans to make the model available to New Zealand customers in 2017.
Based on the Lexus LF-LC concept which debuted at Detroit four years ago, the 2+2 LC 500 coupe is a provocative, athletic flagship making the strongest statement yet about the brand's future product direction.
"The LC 500 has been an important product for Lexus and me personally," said Akio Toyoda, chief branding officer 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 makes a strong statement about our brands' emotional direction, and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally," said Mr Toyoda.
Design and engineering teams worked together to find new solutions to maintain as much of the concept in the production car as possible. Additional prototype vehicles allowed both teams to better study design and engineering ideas and refine key elements.
Much of the LF-LC's design ideology was able to be transferred into the new LC 500. The new production model shares many of the key design elements, proportions and visual dynamism of the concept car that inspired it.
The LC 500's visual appeal is defined by an aerodynamic shape, with sensual curves and emotional forms, creating a low, wide imposing stance that comes together for a highly functional, passionate package.
Its front 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 hood with a short front overhang.
The sexy 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 active rear spoiler also help manage airflow. It rides on 20 or 21 inch alloy wheels with Michelin Sport tyres.
The interior design of the LC 500 is influenced by the dynamic luxury theme of the exterior with a layout that is both cockpit-focused and elegant. The driver's hip point was engineered to be as close as possible to the vehicle's Cg (Centre of gravity) where feedback from the car is the most communicative to the driver.
The front seats offer excellent support and comfort for long drives while available sport seats offer additional bolstering and lateral support during cornering. Lexus engineers focused on details such as the size and angle of the steering wheel, the feel and positioning of magnesium alloy paddle shifters, and supple leather and Alcantara seating surfaces. The entire interior features elements of Lexus' world-renowned, detail-obsessed Takumi craftsmanship in its finish.
The LC 500 is the first Lexus to use the brand's all-new, premium rear-wheel-drive luxury platform that does not share any components with any current Lexus models and is part of the new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). The underpinnings of this new coupe will become the blueprint for the company's future front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
In an effort to sharpen the car's handling, 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 centralized and lower in the chassis to improve the centre of gravity.
The drive train mass has been located behind the front axle line to create a front mid-ship layout. The 12-volt battery has been relocated to the trunk as part of the mission to redistribute weight.