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Lexus unveils all-new LC 500 in Detroit

Lexus has revealed its all-new LC 500 coupe at the Detroit Auto Show.

The luxury 2+2 follows a ‘direct, inspirational bloodline’ from the LF-LC Concept that broke cover at the same event four years ago. The production model shares many of the concept car’s key design elements, proportions and visual dynamism. It features an ‘athletic’, aerodynamic shape with a flowing, carbon fibre roof option (a glass roof is standard). At the front a ‘powerful interpretation’ of Lexus’s signature spindle grille, with a chrome border on three sides and a new 3D mesh design is flanked by L-shaped daytime running lights, sitting below new triple-LED headlamp units. At the rear, slim, multi-layered lamps with a lighting effect presents a sequential L motif. A rear diffuser and optional rear spoiler help manage airflow when driving at high speed. The wheels are 20-inch machined cast aluminium or optional 21-inch forged aluminium - The Detroit show car is fitted with Michelin Sport tyres: 245/40RF21 at the front and 275/35RF21 at the rear.

Power delivery to the rear wheels is handled by a new, high-revving 5.0-litre V8 borrowed from the RC F and GS F. This naturally aspirated, all-aluminium unit was selected for its ‘smooth, linear throttle response and stirring engine note’. The output target is 467hp with 527Nm of torque. Sound control valves in the exhaust system are activated during start-up, creating a robust growl when the engine comes to life. Under acceleration, a sound generator enhances the engine’s ‘raucous note into an aural thunder’. Target 0-60mph time is ‘less than 4.5 seconds’.

Power is directed to the rear wheels using a new 10-speed automatic transmission – the first of its kind to be featured in luxury car says Lexus – with shift times that rival a dual-clutch transmission. The unit is smaller and lighter than some current eight-speed transmissions. The transmission is matched to a new electric control system with software that helps anticipate the driver’s inputs by monitoring acceleration, braking and lateral G-forces.

On the inside, the driving position was calculated to ‘invite spirited, sporting driving and help build confidence with a more intuitive layout for the controls’ says Lexus. The driver’s hip-point was engineered to be as close as possible to the car’s centre of gravity, where feedback from the car is strongest. Other features include magnesium alloy paddle shifts, supple leather and Alcantara seat upholsteries while the door panels, centre console and dashboard structures display Lexus’s takumi craftsmanship in their fine detailing and finish.

The LC 500 is the first model to use Lexus’s new rear-wheel drive platform, part of a new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). The car’s underpinnings will provide the template for Lexus’s future front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles and places the mass, including the engine and vehicle occupants, lower and in a more central position in the chassis, improving the centre of gravity.

Akio Toyoda, Chief Branding Officer and Master Driver for Lexus, said: “The LC 500 has been an important product for Lexus and for me personally. A few years ago we decided to guide the future of Lexus with products that brought more passion and distinction to the luxury market. The new LC 500 coupe’s proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brand’s emotional direction and will increase Lexus’s global luxury appeal.”