Looking at Lexus’ very extensive range of luxury vehicles, it’s hard to spot any gaps there, but the highly regarded Japanese manufacturer has found one and is filling it for 2017 with the new LC500. Don’t look for one at OpenRoad Richmond Lexus just yet though. They’ll be arriving closer to the end of the year for 2017.
The LC500 is described by Lexus as “an alluring, expressively designed luxury coupe that defines a new era for the brand.” What it is, in fact, is a high-performance 2+2 that’s the hottest thing we’ve seen from Lexus since the limited-production LFA sports supercar. It falls into the same class as rivals like the BMW 6-series and the Mercedes-Benz S coupe; so expect it to be fast, agile, superbly equipped and expensive. The new car is part of many upcoming global expansion moves for Lexus and the vehicles will be more intensively marketed in more countries than hitherto.
One look at the car and there are hints of the almost legendary LFA sports supercar, which was only built for two years and kept limited to just 500 units. It was the most expensive Japanese car ever built and cost close to half a million dollars. It was clear at the time that this model would inspire future products from Lexus and the LC500 is undoubtedly a reflection of that thinking. Up front is the now well-known Lexus “spindle” grille, which gives Lexus a huge recognition factor it never enjoyed before. The flowing, almost fluid, lines complement multi-LED front and rear lighting which is very dramatic, though this has been a predictable trend throughout the luxury car business in recent times. Huge 21-inch alloy wheels add to the car’s eager stance.
The car will be the first to use an all-new Lexus platform designed for use with various luxury cars. It is, of course, rear-wheel drive, the only configuration that ever been accepted by serious sporty car enthusiasts. Although the car uses a lot of high-strength steel, it has a carbon fibre roof and aluminium door skins. This mode of design is intended to combine light weight with great rigidity. The power unit is a 5.0-litre V-8 which is expected to develop 467-horsepower. It’s a similar engine to the one used in the Lexus GS F, an example of which drove quite recently. I can confirm that this is an outstanding engine with quite surprising amounts of power and torque. It’s also silky smooth, but has a very robust growl to it under acceleration. Since the GS F is a big sedan, I’d expect even more exciting things from the LC500 with its light body structure and smaller size.
The transmission is a 10-speed (yes, 10-speed!) automatic with manual override via paddle controls. This is the first ever 10-speed in a luxury car, so it’s something of an achievement for the Lexus engineering team. Like any car in this class, the interior is highly developed to be driver-oriented, but still provide a very comfortable environment for other occupants. For 2017, Lexus has a new multimedia package, which will make its debut with the LC500.
In addition to brakes that would shame a racing car, the LC500 has extensive safety systems based on electronic modules around the vehicle. Naturally, the audio system will be one of the best available in the automotive field. As with all Lexus models, the LC500 will be built to very high standards of fit, finish, materials quality and durability. More information will be made available on this exciting new Lexus as 2017 nears and for now, no prices have been announced. For people who’ve waited for the ultimate Lexus and couldn’t quite run to an LFA (or didn’t get their order in fast enough), this will be a car worth waiting for. Later on, Lexus is expected to announce both hybrid and turbocharged versions of the new car.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Two-door sports coupe
ENGINE: 5.0-litre V-8, 467-horsepower
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 4.5-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA