Lexus Pushes Passion and Performance with Debut of LC 500

Four-seater features all-new platform, 467-hp V-8.

by on Jan.11, 2016

Lexus brought the LF-LC concept from last year's Detroit Auto Show to life with the new LC 500. Photo credit: Len Katz.

For those who’d like a little more passion from Lexus, along with the brand’s traditional quality and reliability, the new LC 500 is likely to come along as a pleasant surprise.

Based on the well-received LF-LC Concept, the Lexus LC 500 will debut at the North American International Auto Show and serve as the flagship coupe for the Japanese luxury brand, offering what the Toyota subsidiary describes as “the strongest statement yet about Lexus’ future product direction.”

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“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,” explained Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda. The new LC 500 is meant to give the Lexus brand more traction in global luxury market where the brand as struggled to gain ground against traditional high-line stalwarts like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

With its rear-drive layout, the LC 500 features the latest take on the Lexus brand’s familiar spindle grille, framed by slit-like LED headlamps. A long hood flows into a steeply raked windshield. The roofline, in turn, wraps into a short, high rear deck. The standard roof, incidentally, is glass, but buyers will be offered an optional carbon-fiber top.

The new LC 500 is part of Lexus new design direction, according to Akio Toyoda. Photo credit: Len Katz.

The L-shape daytime running lights sit beneath triple LED headlamps, and frame a distinctive, 3D mesh pattern grille.

The 2017 Lexus LC 500 boasts a 113-inch wheelbase, and an overall length of 187.4 inches. It’s 75.6 inches wide, and 53 inches in height.

The overall look of the sport four-seater is low, wide and more than a bit menacing.

(Lexus set to reveal new LC 500 Coupe at Detroit Show. For more, Click Here.)

Inside, there’s a very much driver-oriented cockpit layout, with a low seating position. To deliver a “seductive atmosphere,” Lexus says it focused heavily on details such as the size and angle of the steering wheel, the feel and positioning of the magnesium alloy paddle shifters, and the use of leather and Alcantara.

Traditionally, Toyota and its various brands, have put engineering in the forefront, often forcing designers to compromise on their vision. With the LC 500, Lexus rethought that approach.

Inside the LC 500 is a driver-oriented cockpit layout, with a low seating position.

“Design and engineering sides worked together on issues and obstacles that were overcome one by one. I feel we achieved something greater than simply preserving the spirit of the concept’s design,” said Chief Engineer Koji Sato.

The Lexus LC 500 is the first car to use the brand’s new premium rear-wheel-drive luxury platform. Much of the development effort focused on keeping the platform low and well centered. The result is a front mid-ship layout with the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 punching power through a 10-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels – the first ever, Lexus notes, in a luxury automobile.

(Click Here for details about Lexus attempt to get back on top of the luxury sales heap in the U.S.) 

The all-aluminum engine makes 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds.

The L-shape daytime running lights sit beneath triple LED headlamps, and frame a distinctive, 3D mesh pattern grille. Photo credit: Len Katz.

Lexus claims it has programmed a new electronic control system that can anticipate driver inputs by monitoring such things as acceleration and braking, as well as lateral g forces.

To scrub speed off, there are six-piston front brake calipers, with fours in the rear.

To round out the package, Lexus will offer its latest multimedia infotainment system, including an optional Mark Levinson audio package. Safety features include active radar cruise control, pre-collision warning, Lane Keep Assist and more.

Production for the LC 500 is set to launch sometime next year with the vehicles hitting dealer showrooms as 2018 models. It will not be alone: it will have siblings, according to officials, including a high-performance model putting out nearly 600 horsepower.

But it won’t be the typical Lexus slow and stodgy HEV, but rather a high-performance take on what hybrid power can deliver. Remember, electric motors deliver maximum, tire-squealing torque instantly, unlike turbos.

(To see more about the new Lexus RX 300, Click Here.)

“It’s awesome. This is (Akio) Toyoda’s passion personified,” said Analyst Joe Phillippi. While the LC 500 will deliver “modest volume, it truly represents the new direction for the Lexus brand.”

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