Concept cars are endlessly frustrating. Often jaw-dropping in design, they embody the formidable creative potential of companies operating in one of the most competitive industries in the world.
Invariably, however, the years-long transition from motor-show plinth to dealership car park causes their most exotic edges to be knocked off as the realities of safety legislation, supply-chain economics, takt-time travails and so on bite hard.
All of which makes the new LC500 an unusually exciting prospect. It is, give or take, indistinguishable from the LF-LC concept whose rakish profile dropped jaws at the 2012 Detroit motor show and whose popularity convinced the suits at Lexus headquarters in Nagoya to go ahead with a production version.
As such, it dramatically continues the brand’s determined efforts to shake off traces of the staid design language exemplified by its former flagship (£343,000 LFA supercar notwithstanding), the thoroughly uninspiring SC430.
Razor sharp but well rounded, understated but confident, the front-engined, rear-driven LC is how modern Lexus wants to be perceived.
To help its cause, Lexus has fitted the LC500 with a naturally aspirated engine in the mould of the howling V10 in the 202mph LFA.
The newcomer trades a couple of cylinders with its carbon-wrought forebear for slightly greater cubic capacity, and although its 5.0-litre V8 doesn’t quite spin to 9000rpm, you get to experience its feverish, wailing delivery for an outlay of just £76,595.
The LC500 is an ambitious project, then. It’s certain to land conquest sales on the appeal of its design alone, but the real challenge for Lexus is to back that up by matching the dynamic versatility of rivals from companies who have been in this game for far longer. (Remember, Toyota’s luxury subsidiary has been in existence for only 28 years.)
Whether it has achieved that – and it would be some feat – will determine whether this is a car to be taken seriously by those who buy a car for the driving experience it offers, and not just its kerbside appeal.