Lexus Debuts LC 500 Flagship Coupe

An all-new platform and a new 10-speed automatic transmission mated to Lexus’s 5.0L V-8 are just two of the features of the Japanese luxury brand’s new 2-door.

January 11, 2016

4 Min Read
LC 500 on sale next year
LC 500 on sale next year.

DETROIT – Four years after it showed, to generally positive reviews, the LF-LC concept sports car, Lexus unveils the LC 500 coupe this morning at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

The development of the LC 500 was heralded by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who has vowed to injected passion into the luxury brand.

“This flagship coupe’s proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brand’s emotional direction and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally,” Toyoda says in pre-show materials.

With a desire to maintain as much of the look of the concept LF-LC as possible, Lexus says a heightened collaboration was required between design and engineering groups, who needed to overcome manufacturing, design, material and dynamic hurdles.

Sensual curves, a low and wide stance and an optional carbon-fiber roof are just a few of the design cues retained from the LF-LC concept for the LC 500.

A new 3D-mesh and chrome borders update Lexus’s signature grille design, while triple LED headlamps using one of the industry’s thinnest projectors make for a low hood and short front overhang, Lexus says.

The car has a 4-in. (102-mm) shorter wheelbase, (113-in. [2,780-mm]) than Lexus’s current LS flagship sedan. But the LC 500 rides on an all-new chassis dubbed premium real-wheel-drive luxury platform, which Lexus says will underpin all its future front-engine/RWD models. The new platform is part of the Toyota’s new GA-L corporate luxury architecture.

Hallmarks of the new chassis include most mass placed central and low, to improve the LC 500’s center of gravity. Wheels are pushed to the corners, a 12V battery is in the trunk and the drivetrain mass is behind the front axle to achieve the weight distribution for the sharp, refined handling Lexus says it was aiming for.

Front/rear weight distribution is 52:48, with further weight-saving measures including Lexus’s most intensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum door skins on a carbon-fiber inner-door structure.

The car’s multilink suspension system has double-ball joints on upper and lower control arms for better wheel control and more precise steering, and all but one control arm are made of lightweight forged aluminum for improved suspension response.

Lexus Claims First Luxury 10-Speed Transmission

The LC 500 is powered by Lexus’s 5.0L naturally aspirated V-8 from the RC F and GS F models. In the LC 500, Lexus is targeting specs of 467 hp and 389 lb.-ft. (527 Nm) of torque, the same figures for the RC F.

A new 10-speed automatic transmission, which Lexus is claiming as a luxury sector first (Ford and Honda both have 10-speed automatics in development), transfers power to the wheels.

Lexus says the 10-speed’s size and weight is smaller and lower than some current 8-speed automatics, and it has DCT-like fast shift times.

Lexus is targeting a 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) time of less than 4.5 seconds for the LC 500.

The LC 500’s driver’s seating position is calibrated to invite spirited driving, Lexus says, with a hip point as close as possible to the vehicle’s center of gravity.

“This project was one of the first times designers were closely involved in the dynamic engineering development, so we could understand the driving goals and support (them) with the car’s design,” Tadao Mori, LC 500 chief designer, says.

Designers wanted the driver’s eyes to focus on details such as the size and angle of the steering wheel and feel and positioning of the magnesium-alloy paddle shifters.

Interior materials include Alcantara faux suede seating as well as leather.

The LC 500 debuts a new generation of Lexus multimedia, with a promised “more inviting graphic user interface” and faster, more flexible software.

Pioneer and LC 500 body and cabin designers collaborated on the car’s standard audio system. An upgrade audio system by Lexus’s longtime partner, Mark Levinson, is available.

Available safety technologies appear to carry over from other Lexus models, although the brand notes its all-speed dynamic radar cruise control “relieves stop-and-go traffic stress,” an acknowledgement of the semi-autonomous features that are sweeping the industry.

At today's press conference, Akio Toyoda says the LC 500 will go on sale next year. No word on its expected pricing.

What surely will be a top rival, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, begins at $121,550 for ’16.

[email protected]

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like