Japanese luxury car maker Lexus is getting into the grand tourer business.
The brand has turned the two-door LF-LC concept car it revealed three years ago into the LC 500 (for luxury coupe) for $190,000 (plus on-road costs), a 2+2 coupe it hopes will attract buyers looking at rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz SL or BMW 6 series.
The car comes in two variants for the same price – a naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 petrol engine in the LC 500 and the hybrid LC 500h.
Lexus says it’s created the world’s first 10-speed direct-shift automatic transmission for a premium car in the V8, having also worked hard to ensure the exhaust delivers the classic gurgle of a V8, with this version delivering maximum power of 351kW @ 7100rpm and peak torque of 540Nm @ 4,800rpm, getting from 0-100kmh in 4.7 seconds.
The hybrid-powered LC 500h delivers 264kW from a 348Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, 300Nm motor generator and lightweight lithium-ion battery, which the company says is also the first of its kind in a Lexus.
The biggest difference buyers will find is in the fuel bill, with the thirsty V8 consuming 11.6 litres/100km and the hybrid nearly half that at 6.7 litres/100km.
The body takes its lead from the LFA supercar with a ultra-high-tensile steel cage and, aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastic, although the V8 still weighs around 1950kg.
Among the standard features are a glass panoramic roof, flush door handles, large colour head-up display, two-zone climate control, new adaptive variable multi-link front and rear sports suspension and 21-inch forged alloy wheels with run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
The interior includes a single instrument dial with an eight-inch multi-information display, heated and ventilated front seats with 12-way power adjustment and memory function, magnesium alloy paddle shifters, and six drive modes. The multimedia system has a 10.3-inch display, enhanced voice recognition, satellite navigation and smartphone connections via Siri Eyes Free and Miracast.
The 918-watt, 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system also has active noise control to keep the engine sound out of the cabin.
There’s also a $15,000 enhancement pack with four-wheel steering and variable gear ratio steering, plus an active rear spoiler that deploys automatically at 80km/h, and carbon-fibre roof (in place of glass ).
Lexus Australia CEO Peter McGregor says the LC 500 embodies the company’s ambition to combine cutting-edge design with master craftsmanship.
“The V8 complements the finely tuned handling qualities of the coupe’s chassis by delivering the acceleration, responsiveness and high output customers expect,” he said.
“The LC 500h will change the perception of hybrids with much improved performance, greater responsiveness and a higher level of dynamic performance and driving pleasure.”
Lexus thinks around 80% of LC 500 owners will choose the V8 and Toyota’s premium brand is hoping to sell around 100 of the coupes this year.
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