Lexus has revealed a new flagship performance model called the LC 500 at the Detroit motor show.
The new 2+2 coupe is a full production model based on the LF-LC of Detroit 2012 – both that concept’s overall design and technical ideology have been carried over into the LC 500.
The exterior takes heavy influence from the LF-LC, mixing Lexus’s familiar design features - such as a prominent front grille and angular headlights - with smooth panels and a swept back roofline. Inside, the car features Lexus’s digital dash display and the 2017 Multimedia package – the carmaker's next-gen infotainment system.
Under the bonnet is the same naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 found beneath the nose of the RC F and GS F, which produces 467bhp at 7100rpm and 389lb ft of torque at 4800rpm. Drive is sent to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic gearbox, which despite being a torque-converter, is claimed to swap cogs with shift times that ‘rival’ dual-clutch transmissions.
A key benefit for the use of a single-clutch system is weight – it’s both lighter and more compact in its design. And with so many ratios to play with, the LC 500 is expected to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
Interestingly, despite the engine's cubic capacity and number of cylinders, Lexus has felt the need to include a sound generator to ‘enhance’ its tone. The exhaust also features sound control valves to alter volume and tone depending on the driving scenario.
The car is the first to be built upon Lexus’s new rear-wheel-drive platform – part of a new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L) – which uses high-strength steel and aluminium suspension components to keep weight down and structural rigidity up. There’s even an optional carbon fibre roof (glass is standard) for those hoping to shed more mass.
The LC 500's use of double ball-jointed upper and lower suspension arms emphasise its focus on responsive handling, and the fitment of 245 width front and 275 width rear tyres should enable the chassis to generate plenty of mechanical grip. Impressively, the car also flaunts a 52/48 front/rear weight distribution.
Despite such focus, Lexus says that the LC 500 has been engineered to mix those balanced handling characteristics with a comfortable ride, suggesting it won’t be an out-and-out track weapon, but rather an accomplished grand tourer to rival the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GT (which produces 456bhp in its entry-spec).
Particular focus has been applied to ensuring that the car offers an engaging experience for the driver. Lexus says that it worked hard to make sure the driving position was just right, giving serious consideration for where the driver’s eyes would focus.
Lexus is yet to confirm the car’s pricing and launch date, but order books are expected to open later this year. Along with the RC F and GS F, Lexus hopes the LC 500 will help to give the brand a more performance-focused image.