In the space of just 27 years, Lexus has had a transformative effect on the world’s luxury car market. Engineering excellence has produced generations of powerful, responsive engines and transmissions, while its pioneering hybrid technology has taken efficiency and smoothness to ever-higher levels. Cutting-edge design and a contemporary approach to luxury based on master craftsmanship traditions further emphasise its status as a world- class luxury vehicle manufacturer.
Now Lexus is building on its established strengths and evolving its reputation for vehicle development to explore new opportunities in design and technology that reshape its model range. Lexus has succeeded in turning its LF-LC concept into an uncompromised production car, in less than five years since its unveiling to huge critical and public acclaim. This feat has called for new ways of cooperation between the design and engineering teams throughout the development process.
A FLAGSHIP COUPE
The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe for Lexus’ global model range, not only showcasing the qualities of design, beauty, engineering and advanced technology that define it as a premium vehicle manufacturer, but also symbolising its ambition as a luxury lifestyle brand. The Lexus LC will go on sale in the US in Spring 2017 and will follow in Australia shortly after.
The LC 500h marks a new step in the development of hybrid technology; it is the first model to benefit from Lexus’ Multi Stage Hybrid system.
Adding a multi stage shift device to the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid powertrain helps transform the driving experience, witnessed in greater torque, more usable power across a wider range of engine speeds and rhythmic, linear acceleration that gives the driver the sensation of working with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
The spindle grille itself – a hallmark of Lexus design – is finished in chrome and has an arresting new mesh design with visual tension that changes as it spreads across the front of the car. The unique LC lighting signature is created by independent daytime running lights in an arrowhead configuration and ultra-compact triple LED headlamp units. Achieving this remarkably slim headlight design played an important role in helping the designers achieve the coupe’s low hood and short front overhang.
IMPROVED TORQUE AND ACCELERATION
The success of the Multi Stage Hybrid System is central to the “even sharper” quality Lexus targeted for the LC, providing responsive, direct and rhythmical acceleration with good grip. In fact, such is the level of torque and acceleration when pulling away from a complete stop, the LC 500h tests the limits of tire grip and, according to Sato, is the first Lexus hybrid to spin its rear wheels.
Lexus has succeeded in increasing maximum engine rpm from 6,000 to 6,600 rpm. And thanks to the Multi Stage Hybrid System, the operating range in first, second and third gears has been increased, so that maximum rpm is reached at about 50km/h (31 mph).
TRANSMISSION WITH 10-SPEED FEEL
Although the multi stage shift device changes the output in four stages, the D range has a simulated shift control pattern that replicates the feel of driving with 10 gears. As vehicle speed rises, engine speed increases with a linear, direct and continuous acceleration feel that avoids the “rubber band” effect witnessed in some continuously variable transmissions. In the 10th gear range, the CVT control allows for cruising at lower engine revs for quiet, smooth and more fuel- efficient performance.
LEXUS SAFETY SYSTEM+
All versions of the LC are equipped as standard with Lexus Safety System+. The system uses a camera and a millimetre-wave radar to monitor the road ahead for potential hazards and collision risks.
This provides the LC with a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which is designed to detect vehicles and pedestrians under certain conditions, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, a Sway Warning function, and Intelligent High Beam system (IHB).
LANE DEPARTURE ALERT WITH STEERING Assist and Vehicle Sway Warning
Lane Departure Alert (LDA) uses a camera on the windscreen to track the vehicle’s course between visible lane markings. If it judges that the vehicle is about to move out of its lane without the turn indicator being used, the system lights an indicator on the multi- information display and sounds a warning buzzer. It will also apply appropriate steering control force to help bring the vehicle back within the lane.
The system also includes a Vehicle Sway Warning function. If the system detects unintentional lane departure, it will sound an audible alert and display a visual warning (steaming coffee cup) on the Multi-Information Display (MID). This can adjusted by the driver.