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Lexus takes covers off LF-LC at Detroit

Lexus has unveiled the LF-LC at Detroit - a new design concept for a hybrid 2+2 sport coupe the company says is a driver-focused vehicle that displays a possible future design direction for the premium manufacturer.

Introducing the concept, Karl Schlicht, General Manager, Lexus Product and Marketing Planning Division in North America, said: "We are in the middle of the biggest change in Lexus's history, inspired by a new generation of distinctive design.

"The new GS embodies this with its sculpted spindle grille as our symbol of change. And now, the next chapter of Lexus evolves with this coupe design concept. With its striking looks, this concept hybrid 2+2 hints at the design cues that are coming in a wave of new Lexus models over the next two years."

The new concept was designed by Lexus' Calty design studio in Newport Beach, California.

Kevin Hunter, Calty President, said: "Our entire studio worked to develop this interpretation of Lexus originality. The LF-LC concept embodies our vision of what a premium sport coupe could be."

The LF-LC displays the new Lexus design language in its interpretation of the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture. Framed by a deep aluminium surround, the mesh pattern of the spindle grille takes on a 3D form.

The concept car's glass roof has a lightweight, cantilevered pillar with a glass-to-glass juncture Lexus says is inspired by modern architecture. The "greenhouse" design is not all about style, however: Lexus is keen to stress the improvement in visibility this offers for the driver.

On the insdie, the driver is surrounded by deeply scooped side panels and a high, curved console, which is intended to create a focus both on the controls and the road ahead.

The LF-LC features a remote touch-screen system that allows the driver to operate controls without shifting position or altering line-of-sight.

Twin 12.3-inch LCD screens provide information and navigation displays. A touch-screen in the centre console is used to control the audio system, climate controls and navigation, with a pop-up touch-screen keyboard for more complex commands. Similar touch-screen surfaces on each door are used to operate the windows, mirrors, seat positions and personal entertainment settings.

Multi-level meters set directly in front of the driver layer analogue and LCD technologies. The bottom layer displays temperature, fuel and the background for the Eco meter; the middle layer is the tachometer's mechanical ring; and the topmost layer provides indicators for the tachometer, speedometer and Eco meter.

Surfaces throughout the cabin are finished in a combination of smooth leather and suede, with brushed metal trim and wood accents, while the front occupants get racing-style seats and the driver a matched racing-style steering wheel with integrated controls and a start button.

No word yet from Lexus on whether the LF-LC will become a reality, but with Toyota Corp President Akio Toyoda calling for the company to rediscover the its fun side, the 2+2 hybrid sports car tallies well with Toyoda's vision.

Posted on 11.01.2012
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