LEXUS UNLEASHES HYBRID VERSION OF THE AWARD-WINNING LC 500

Barely two months after the alluring LC 500 drew a multitude of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ on debut at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, Lexus continued the onslaught with the reveal of a hybrid model at the Geneva Motor Show. The new Lexus LC 500h coupe features the luxury brand's next generation hybrid power system, offering an enhanced driving experience with increased performance and efficiency.

The LC 500h is the newest addition to the mesmerising LC premium coupe line first revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The luxury performance coupe went on to capture top honours for the best-designed production car and the best interior at the 10th annual EyesOn Design awards in Detroit.

Suffice to say the uber-luxurious coupe has nothing to prove in the design stakes, leaving the door open for Lexus to expand the LC 500 engine line-up. The petrol-electric model joins the high output 5.0-litre V8 engine mated to the world's first 10-speed automatic transmission in a luxury vehicle.

COCOON OF LUXURY

The all-new interior design of the LC 500h reflects the dynamic exterior design with an elegant and sophisticated cabin. The passenger area is shaped to spread out towards the front, creating a comfortable and welcoming space.

The driving position invites spirited input and promotes confidence through an intuitive control layout and ergonomic excellence. The driver's hip point has been engineered to be as close as possible to the coupe's centre of gravity, maximising vehicle feedback.

Seat holding performance has been enhanced through a renewed focus on the cross-section design. The new steering wheel features a change in cross-sectional shape through the rim circumference to accommodate variations in grip and twisting of the wrist during operation.

New, larger magnesium alloy paddle shifters have been shaped for easier reach to provide a more positive action. The new information displays are arranged in order of importance by their proximity to the driver's sight line.

The binnacle houses a variation of the innovative driver's meter with moving centre ring from the LFA supercar, while the console features a next generation touch pad for the Remote Touch Interface (RTI). The 2017 Lexus multimedia package debuts on LC, featuring faster, more flexible software enabling future enhancements and an updated graphic user interface.

Audiophiles will also be treated to an exceptional audio experience thanks to an available Mark Levinson audio system and new premium Pioneer audio system that comes as standard equipment.

The quality and finish of upholstery, hand-stitched leather centre console and dash pad and drape-forming Alcantara door trim reflect a level of Takumi craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Lexus is globally renowned.

NEW GENERATION HYBRID

With Lexus leading the charge in luxury hybrid technology, expect more the LC’s new Multi Stage Hybrid System. The LC 500h marries the elements of a traditional full hybrid powertrain – including 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, powerful electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack – to a four-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission.

The electric motor generates superior acceleration compared with a conventional engine, and adding physical gears more closely aligns engine rpm with driver inputs.

The result is an enhanced, direct connection between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration, with 0-100km/h times well into the sub-five second range.

The Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System also features 'M' Mode – the first driver-initiated gear shifts ever offered on a Lexus full hybrid powertrain. 'M' Mode gives the driver the ability to initiate direct and responsive gear shifts for the most sporting and engaging drive yet from a Lexus hybrid.

A new lightweight and compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery offset the weight of the added automatic transmission, meaning the Multi Stage Hybrid System weighs the same as the current hybrid powertrain.

SHARPER DRIVING DYNAMICS

The LC 500h rides on a new platform designed to offer a significantly sharper and more refined driving experience. It combines the superior ride quality befitting of a flagship luxury sports coupe with an engaging, dynamic drive and depth of character unlike that of any previous Lexus vehicle.

Both the LC 500 and LC 500h ride on Lexus’s all-new premium rear-wheel-drive platform that is part of a new global architecture for the brand’s luxury vehicles. The coupe's underpinnings will become the blueprint for future front-engine/rear-wheel-drive Lexus models.

The platform design is fundamental to dynamic handling characteristics. From the outset Lexus engineers focused on what they refer to as LC 500h's 'inertia specification', placing most of the vehicle mass, including engine and occupants, as low and centralised as possible within the chassis.

Powertrain mass is located behind the front axle line to create a 'front mid-ship' layout, while short and rear overhands push the large diameter tyres to the vehicle's extremities. The wheels are shod with run-flat tyres that eliminate the weight and weight distribution penalty of a full-size spare tyre, while hip and heel points have been lowered.

In addition, the centre of gravity has been lowered by the introduction of technical innovations that reduce body weight.

  • While the LC 500 is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017, the LC 500h has not been confirmed for the SA market just yet.