Coupe, Luxury, News

Lexus to unveil LC 500h in Geneva

Lexus will debut to the LC 500h luxury coupe at the Geneva Motor Show.
Powered by Lexus's next generation hybrid powertrain, the ‘Multi Stage Hybrid System’ found in the LC 500h coupe will provide ‘higher performance, more driving pleasure and greater efficiency’.

The LC made its debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit as one of Lexus’s flagship models. The LC is built on a new Lexus architecture that ‘promises greater dynamic capabilities’ says the Japanese brand. The coupe, inspired by the LF-LC concept that was revealed in 2012, marks the beginning of a new phase for Lexus with a shift in engineering processes and design ideologies.

Lexus will also display the LF-FC concept at Geneva. Making its first European appearance, the concept vehicle offers a glance towards Lexus’s design and technology direction for a future flagship saloon. First seen at last year’s Tokyo motor show, the LF-FC is powered by a high-output fuel cell system and features advanced, touchless controls and automated driving technologies.

The Geneva Motor Show runs from 3-13 March.

Coupe, Motorshow, News

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.”

4x4, SUV, Quirky, News

Lexus NX runs on ice

Lexus has created a the world’s first set of working wheels and tyres made from ice.

Lexus commissioned a team of ‘ice sculpture’ specialists to explore how ice could be used in place of conventional alloy metal and rubber. After three months’ research, design and testing, the finished wheels were fitted to a Lexus NX for the ultimate ice drive. The car itself was deep-frozen, stored for five days at -30°C before being driven off down a London road.

The use of in-wheel LED lighting added an extra dramatic dimension to the cutting-edge contemporary styling of the NX. The project was undertaken by Hamilton Ice Sculptors, a London-based business established for more than 35 years. For the Lexus commission, genuine NX wheels and tyres were laser scanned and replicated using computer design and numerical control techniques. The result was an 'unprecedented fusing of art and engineering'. Four sculptors worked for 36 hours to produce each wheel. The millimetre-perfect finish was achieved with hand-crafting, using Japanese steel chisels and shaping tools, even the tread patterns on the tyres were faithfully reproduced.

The ice was made from softened water taken from a moving flow to ensure it was perfectly clear when taken from the freezer. Acrylic inserts were added to ensure the wheels could take the load of the NX.

Richard Balshaw, Lexus Director said: “Creating Amazing is what Lexus is about. Projects such as our hoverboard, the origami-inspired cardboard car and now a dazzling set of fully functioning ice wheels, demonstrate how we use advanced technologies and the best craftsmanship traditions to achieve outstanding results. That’s not just for eye-catching one-off projects, but for the cars we deliver to our customers too.”