A concept car come to life, the Lexus LC combines stunning design, scintillating performance, long-distance comfort and premium craftsmanship to join an elite group of international grand touring coupes.
"It is a huge feat for Lexus to have succeeded in turning its LF-LC concept into an uncompromised production car. This would not have been possible without cooperation between the design and engineering teams who worked in tandem throughout the development process. Not only has Lexus delivered a design with high visual impact, it has also developed ground-breaking engineering and technology for the LC 500. This isn't simply a car that looks good - the LC 500 has been engineered in every dimension to deliver a very special driving experience," says Calvyn Hamman, sales and marketing senior vice president of Lexus South Africa.
Previewed by the LF-LC concept in 2012, the Lexus LC debuted as a production model at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While available in both petrol and hybrid in other global markets, only the V8-powered petrol derivative is confirmed for South Africa.
Toyota Motor Corporation president, Akio Toyoda, who is also chief branding officer and master driver for Lexus, inspired development of the LC. Focused on offering more emotional and exciting vehicles for global markets, he called for a flagship production coupe echoing the spirit of the hand-built Lexus LFA supercar and delivering the visual impact of the Lexus LF-LC concept.
As much as Lexus sought to carry forward the sensuous styling of the LF-LC concept into the production LC, it also worked to introduce a high level of aerodynamic performance to improve the coupe's handling stability and ride quality and suppress wind noise.
Design elements that help control and direct the airflow include small but critical aero stabilising fins on the front pillars, just forward of the door mirrors. Just a 5mm difference in their size or position can affect the car's handling and level of wind noise.
Aero ducts are featured just forward of the rear wheel arches, serving a highly practical function as well as contributing to the dynamic power of the LC's styling. These feed air into the wheel arch, which then exits smoothly across the sidewall of the tyre. This contributes to the car's high-speed straight-line stability and steering responsiveness and generates improved grip feel from the rear tyres, for example when changing lanes.
The treatment of the underbody has been given equally close attention, with an almost completely smooth finish. Parts are aligned with the aero line, which kicks up towards the rear - notably the silencer is angled upwards, like a diffuser.
High-output V8 with fury
Upon startup, exhaling through the variable Active Exhaust, the 5-litre naturally aspirated V8 issues a clarion call to driving enthusiasts. Based on the engine in the Lexus RC F high-performance models, the LC 500 version raises the output to 351kW and 450Nm of peak torque. It can sprint from zero to 100km/h in less than 4.7 seconds.
This 5-litre V8 is a well-proven performance engine, with a low-mass reciprocating assembly using lightweight forged connecting rods, along with titanium intake and exhaust valves to allow a 7,300-rpm redline. The 32-valve cylinder heads, equipped with performance-tuned Variable Valve Timing (VVT-iE), take full advantage of the engine's low internal friction and aggressive valvetrain specs. The D-4S injection system uses direct fuel injection that allows a high compression ratio (12.3:1), augmented by port fuel injectors to enhance low-speed response.
Under acceleration, the LC 500 V8 reveals its character in a continuously rising power curve, with the maximum power of 351kW developed at 7,100rpm and the torque peak of 540Nm at 4,800rpm.The driver can adjust the natural exhaust sound level via the drive mode select system.
New multi-link suspension design
The layout of new front and rear suspension systems for the LC focuses on achieving excellent vehicle response and greater steering feel, from the moment the steering wheel is turned, supporting the "even sharper" quality Lexus sought for the coupe.
The new high mount front suspension system has an optimal arm design to secure the required level of steering feedback. Conversely, the rear suspension has a low mount configuration, with precisely defined arm locations to achieve high-stability steering characteristics.
Double ball joints are featured on each of the two upper and two lower control arms, allowing for control of the smallest movements from driver inputs and the road surface. This arrangement helps optimise the suspension geometry and create more precise steering response with better initial effort.
LC 500 at glance
- Standard Bi-LED-auto high beam headlights
- Aluminium-smart entry outside door handles
- Carbon fibre inside door handles
- Lexus dynamic handling with 4-wheel steering
- Vehicle dynamic integrated management
- Drive mode select (Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport S+)
- 21" Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tyres
- Adaptive cruise control
- Heads up display
- Navigation system
- Driver and passenger seat heater and ventilation
Priced at R1,729,600, the LC 500 comes with a service plan of four years/100,000km and a standard Lexus distance plan complete.