The emotional designs and high-performance models issued by Lexus in the last few years prefaced a new chapter for the brand, one that begins now with the arrival of the all-new 2018 Lexus LC flagship performance coupe. Available now in Lexus dealerships across the GCC and Levant, the LC combines stunning design, scintillating performance, long-distance comfort and premium craftsmanship to join an elite group of international grand touring coupes.
The Lexus LC is a powerful, emotionally stirring realization of the vision of Lexus master driver Akio Toyoda for a flagship production coupe that echoes the spirit of the hand-built Lexus LFA supercar and delivers the visual impact of the Lexus LF-LC concept.
Koji Sato, Chief Engineer of the Lexus LC, said: “While maximizing the fundamental taste of the LF-LC, we applied completely different specifications to create a design that goes beyond the concept – a design that will captivate you as soon as you see it. In my view, pursuing beautiful design and elaborating superior performance are two very similar aspects. Beauty is the identity of Lexus’ design. Every feature of the LC is the result of an integrated approach to design and engineering. The entire team has worked together, including engineers and designers, to create such a great car.”
“The all-new Lexus LC is a flagship coupe which represents the evolution of Lexus as a lifestyle brand that will surprise and delight customers. The car symbolizes the beginning of a new phase for Lexus, which is all about creating greater synergy between engineering and design,” said Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative of Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation. “The LC makes the strongest statement yet about the brand’s future direction, and is the result of painstaking craftsmanship, attention to detail and an advanced, future-oriented approach to engineering. It’s a car that offers a pleasurable driving experience which enhances the user’s lifestyle.”
Yoshitsugu added, “We are grateful to our customers in the GCC and Levant for their constant support and encouragement for our efforts to push the boundaries of automobile design and engineering, thus inspiring us to strive harder in creating ‘ever-better cars’. And we are confident the strong emotional appeal of the all-new Lexus LC will strike a chord with audiences in the region.”
Provocative, elegant and purely Lexus
Based on the groundbreaking design of the LF-LC concept car which was shown at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the Lexus LC debuted as a production model at the 2016 edition of NAIAS.
Turning the LF-LC concept into a production model while remaining faithful to its visual excitement required nothing less than a new development process, combining design and engineering disciplines as never before at Lexus. The production LC preserves the concept’s adventurous appearance, and the design itself helped achieve performance targets, especially with regard to the low center of gravity, aerodynamics and high-speed stability. Just like its concept predecessor, which won the EyesOn Design award for Concept Car in 2012, the production LC is also a trophy winner, having claimed two awards at the 2016 EyesOn Design Awards–in the Production Car and Interior Design categories.
Emotional design that reinforces the Lexus identity
Tadao Mori, Chief Designer of the Lexus LC, said: “This was one of the first times for Lexus that designers were closely involved in the dynamic engineering development, so we could understand the driving goals and support them with the car’s design. The 2012 LF-LC concept model was the starting point, not our final goal. This means we didn’t just duplicate LF-LC’s surfaces and lines onto the production platform. Even though we decided to maintain LF-LC’s design language and theme, we added more emotion. I’d like to thank very much all the colleagues who were involved in the car’s development at Lexus International.”
Immediately identifiable as a Lexus thanks to its hallmark spindle grille and dynamic character lines, the 2018 LC represents the most passionate expression of the brand’s design direction. The grille itself features a unique mesh texture that changes visual tension as it spreads across the front of the car. Independent L-shaped daytime running lights beneath new ultra-compact triple LED headlamps create the distinctive LC front lighting signature. The combination of a large glass panel and blacked-out rear pillars creates a floating roof appearance, and chrome-plated moldings along the edges, which echo the lines of a traditional Japanese sword, amplify the effect.
The body’s substantial, “planted” look stems from prominent quarter panels that flare away from the center of the car and door panels that are pulled inward. The flowing lines maintain a consistent tension in the body panels through to the rear, where very slim tail lamps use mirrors to create a three-dimensional sequence of L-shaped graphics. The sweeping roofline tapers rearward between muscular, sloping fender tops, underscoring the car’s wide and stable stance, and the Lexus spindle shape is repeated in the rear fascia. Large ducts feed air into the rear wheel arches, the airstream exiting smoothly across the tire sidewall to bolster straight-line stability and steering responsiveness.
The all-new Lexus LC is available in eleven vibrant colors including a newly-developed Naples Yellow Contrast Layering, which accentuates the car's sportiness with the realization of a high intensity yellow for the exterior panels.
High-output V8 with sound and fury
Powered by a high-performance V8 engine, the all-new Lexus LC 500 exhales through the variable Active Exhaust upon startup, with the 5-liter naturally aspirated V8 issuing a clarion call to driving enthusiasts. The LC 500 can sprint from zero to 100 km in less than 4.7 seconds. It’s a well-proven performance engine, with a low-mass reciprocating assembly using lightweight forged connecting rods, along with titanium intake and exhaust valves to allow a 7,300-rpm redline. The 32-valve cylinder heads, equipped with performance-tuned VVT-iE (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent by electric motor), take full advantage of the engine’s low internal friction and aggressive valvetrain specs.
The D-4S injection system uses direct fuel injection that allows a high compression ratio augmented by port fuel injectors to enhance low-speed response. Under acceleration, the LC 500 reveals its character in a continuously rising power curve, with the 471 hp developed at 7,100 rpm and the torque peak of 55.0 kg-m at 4,800 rpm.
The fast-revving V8 issues a stunning soundtrack amplified by a special resonance tube connecting the intake to the firewall, plus a standard Active Exhaust that rumbles and roars like a high-performance GT should. Lexus considers the sound of the engine to be an important contributor to delivering a genuinely multi-sensory driving pleasure. And in the new LC 500, the company has taken great steps to achieve truly emotional engine sound, where Lexus engineers have worked to combine the sounds produced both by the air intake system at the front and the exhaust system at the rear to create what they describe as a “concert hall” effect inside the cabin, both as the car gains speed and slows down. The sound has been developed specifically for the LC, to reflect the coupe’s specific performance qualities. The driver can adjust the natural exhaust sound level via the Drive Mode Select system.
The Lexus LC debuts the first 10-speed automatic transmission for a luxury automobile. Smaller and lighter than some 8-speed units, this new transmission executes shifts at speeds rivaling dual-clutch transmissions, yet with the seamless performance and smoothness of a torque converter automatic. The LC allows manual shifting via magnesium paddles.
Even drivers who pride themselves on making expertly timed shifts, however, will find the advanced electronic control system– which anticipates the driver’s inputs by monitoring acceleration, braking and lateral-g forces – always chooses the ideal ratio. Torque converter lock-up engages in all ranges except when starting off to provide a direct feel and also aid fuel efficiency.
The Drive Mode Select feature provides integrated control of multiple systems, offering enhanced driving pleasure by allowing the driver to select drive modes suitable for the situation, or to match their preferred driving style. In addition to the five drive modes set in advance, a Custom Mode has been provided, enabling the user to freely combine each mode. SPORT S+ extracts the most from the powertrain and transmission shifts and also fully opens the baffles in the Active Exhaust under acceleration.
The V8 is a good citizen, too, switching to the Atkinson cycle to enhance fuel efficiency at cruising speeds and Otto cycle for higher performance levels when accelerating, thus providing the perfect mix of power and efficiency.
The next-generation hybrid
Lexus, which introduced the world’s first luxury hybrid 13 years ago, developed a new Multi Stage Hybrid System specifically for the LC 500h. Like other Lexus hybrid configurations, the Multi Stage Hybrid System teams the gasoline engine with two electric motors/generators, but similarities end there. The Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components allow a 6,600-rpm redline, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range.
The Multi Stage Hybrid System is a world's first construction that combines the Lexus hybrid system with variable gears. By controlling the output of both the higher rpm 3.5-liter V6 engine and the electric motor, it achieves powerful performance from low speeds through to high range driving. In addition, operating points were selected for high system efficiency from low through to high speeds and the sphere of Electric Vehicle (EV) performance has been enlarged. Altogether, these helped to deliver an emotive driving experience, superior fuel efficiency, and comfortable cruising. The Multi Stage Hybrid System also allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds, and it enables the LC 500h to operate with the gasoline engine off at speeds of up to 140 km/h.
The combined system output is 354 hp, yet that figure does not fully indicate the LC 500h’s performance potential. The LC uses an advanced Driver's Mind Index (DMI) control to understand the driver's intentions which helps to optimize gear selection. The power generated from the engine and the motor is rapidly and accurately sent to the tires, providing for a high-performance engine rpm and acceleration in accordance with the driver's intentions. When driving along winding roads, the car changes to a lower gear, and proceeds to actively downshift when braking. On the other hand, during more challenging sports driving, the battery provides additional output so as to achieve a greater torque sensation, thus providing an emotional driving experience that will change the way hybrids have been perceived.
Thanks to the Multi Stage Hybrid System’s design, the driver is also able to take advantage of an M mode to select and hold gears manually, using paddle shifts mounted behind the steering wheel. The coordinated control of the Power Split Device and the gear shifting mechanism ensures the gear shift will start instantaneously with the computer receiving the signal from the paddle shift, giving an exceptionally quick response.
Chief Engineer Koji Sato explained: “In the past, people only associated hybrid with ‘eco’. We wanted to broaden that perception and create a true high-performance powertrain.”
The LC is the first Lexus hybrid to use a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The battery pack fits neatly between the rear seats and the luggage compartment and has a high-power density, with its 84 cells producing 310.8 volts.
A chassis with sports car moves
Built on the new Lexus Global Architecture – Luxury (GA-L) platform, the LC harmonizes driving performance, design and craftsmanship in unprecedented ways to achieve a new sense of ingenuity.
Achieving sports car handling with a high degree of ride comfort, while maintaining the low hood height, was a particularly demanding challenge. The solution was a double ball joint front suspension that allows for control of the smallest movements from driver inputs and the road surface, yielding more precise steering response with better initial effort. The LC driver will feel the effectiveness of the suspension design in the immediate response at initial turn-in, controlled body motion and precise, linear response that create a rhythmical and smooth driving experience. The LC’s electric power steering (EPS) gives a natural feel, while yielding high handling precision.
The LC exhibits razor-sharp reflexes, exceptional handling balance and rock-solid stability. Rock solid could also describe the stiffest unibody Lexus has ever produced. The strategic use of lightweight, high-strength steels yields a structure that is resistant to twisting forces. The combination of high-strength steels, aluminum and CFRP, along with deleting a spare tire in favor of run-flat tires and moving the 12v battery to the trunk area, helps yield 52:48 weight distribution (LC 500h). The LC engineers followed an ‘inertia spec’ to locate as much mass as possible toward the center and lower in the chassis to improve the center of gravity. The low center of gravity also enabled Lexus to reduce the LC’s roll angle without making the suspension too stiff, which would hurt ride comfort.
The increased lateral stiffness of the run-flat tires complements the LC’s highly rigid suspension, while reduced vertical stiffness aids ride comfort. The high-performance braking system employs 6-piston front brake calipers and 4-piston rear calipers. The LC is available with 21-inch forged alloy wheels that offer a lightweight design, black-and-chrome coating and a polished finish.
To produce the optional carbon fiber roof with its twill weave effect, Lexus employs a new, high-speed resin transfer molding process, developed at the Motomachi factory from a technique originally used in the production of the LFA supercar. Another new technique is used for combining aluminum with steel to help save weight in key areas, notably the front suspension towers.
A new benchmark for GT cabins
The dynamic luxury theme of the exterior is carried through into the LC’s cabin, which brings together elegance, quality and sophistication with a driver-focused cockpit. The ideal grand touring coupe cabin must strike a balance between function and comfort, sporting intent and luxury. The Lexus LC hits that note with an intuitive layout and an optimal seating position that set the stage for spirited driving. The design places the driver’s hip point as close as possible to the car’s center of gravity, where feedback from the car is the most communicative to the driver.
The low instrument panel position, together with the low hood line and narrow A pillars, give the low-seated driver a commanding view of the road. All driving controls are easy to reach without altering one’s posture. Lexus positioned the information displays at the same height, to reduce the degree of eye movement required to read them. The instrument binnacle houses the latest version of the TFT display technology introduced in the Lexus LFA supercar, including a moving central ring.
Comfort and luxury are no less thorough. The LC’s exclusive seats feel as good as they look, with a new two-part construction technique where the main part of the seatback drapes over the shoulder area and then wraps around the seatback. Bolsters in the shoulder area help hold the driver securely in cornering maneuvers, and the optional sports seats feature even more substantial bolsters.
The steering wheel cross section changes around its circumference to allow for variations in grip and twisting of the wrist, and large, substantial feeling magnesium alloy paddle shifters are easily hooked by the fingertips. The front passenger has not been ignored; the side of the center console rises to form an integrated grab handle. With function, there is also beauty and impeccable craftsmanship. The flowing lines of the door panels serve as an extension of an exterior line that flows from the hood and through the windshield to build a sense of continuity between the exterior and interior.
The Lexus LC comes in four distinctive interior color schemes that include new Breezy Blue and Ochre, together with Dark Rose and Black seen in other Lexus models. The quality and finish of the upholstery, trim materials and detailing reflect the Takumi craftsmanship and fine attention to detail for which Lexus is renowned. It can be seen and felt in the hand stitching of the leather-wrapped gearshift lever and the draping treatment of the Alcantara door panel trim, among numerous other details.
The Lexus LC cockpit artfully integrates the brand’s latest audio, navigation and connectivity technologies, making them easily accessible. The new Lexus multimedia package combines an inviting graphic user interface with software that enables future enhancements, and the center console features the latest-generation Remote Touch Interface touchpad control, with quick and intuitive operation.
As thrilling as the LC sounds from the outside, Lexus also ensured that sounds inside the cabin would delight those with a fine ear for musical detail. Lexus has enjoyed an auto industry-exclusive partnership with Mark Levinson since 2001, giving its customers the benefit of bespoke audio systems of the highest quality in its vehicles. The new LC follows in this tradition, offering Mark Levinson audio systems with exclusive equipment from their top-of-the-range Reference Product. The 13-speaker audio system uses innovative technologies to deliver concert hall quality sound.
The LC’s Mark Levinson audio system also features Clari-Fi music restoration technology that enhances music playback by automatically analyzing and improving the quality of all types of compressed, digitized music sources. It identifies music signals that have been compressed and restores them in real time during playback to achieve an accurate and full listening experience.
Comprehensive suite of safety technologies
Both versions of the LC are equipped as standard with Lexus Safety System+, an array of active safety features that can help the driver avoid an accident, or help lessen the consequences of a collision. The system uses a camera and millimeter-wave radar to monitor the road ahead for potential hazards and collision risks.
The package includes advanced driver assistance functions such as Pre-Crash System (PCS), a combination of collision detection and collision preparation systems; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System (DRCC), which supplements the conventional system with a vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode that helps maintain a suitable distance from the preceding vehicle; Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA), which uses a camera sensor located in the upper windshield area to detect lane markings while driving and then provides the driver with information and steering assistance in accordance with road and driving conditions; and Automatic High Beam (AHB), which detects nearby light sources such as the headlights or tail lights of vehicles ahead and automatically switches between high beams and low beams to ensure optimum nighttime visibility.
Other safety features on the LC include Lexus Parking Assist (LPA), which makes use of a sensor to notify the driver by display and buzzer of the approximate distance between the vehicle and an obstacle; Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system, designed to help prevent potential danger in parking situations; Blind Spot Monitor, which detects and warns the driver of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes; Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), which helps prevent side skids and also to stabilize the vehicle while turning on a curve; as well as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).