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Exclusive Update: Lexus to Add LC 500 Convertible, Other Variants

Higher-performance LC F in works, fuel-efficient LC hybrid may shatter perceptions.

by on Jan.13, 2016

The new Lexus LC 500 is just the beginning of a significant design change for the brand, according to Akio Toyoda, Toyota president.

It’s being billed as “the strongest statement yet about Lexus’ future product direction,” but the slick LC 500 sports coupe the Japanese luxury maker revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week is only part of the story.

Expect to see “a number of additional variants,” according to a senior executive at Lexus, something backed up in conversations with several other officials at Lexus and its parent, Toyota. They’re all getting the blessing of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who is intent on shedding the brand’s plain vanilla image.

Among the other versions of the Lexus LC 500 under development, a convertible is expected to follow about a year behind the coupe’s debut. An even higher-performance LC F is still under development, as is a hybrid version that may shatter perceptions, suggested one source, by proving that gas-electric vehicles aren’t only about saving fuel.

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“A few years ago, we decided to guide the future of the brand with products that had more passion and distinction in the luxury market,” explained Toyoda – the grandson of Toyota’s founder – during a Cobo Hall news conference. His goal, he said, is to make sure “that the words, ‘Lexus,’ and ‘boring,’ never appear in the same sentence again. (more…)

Lexus Set to Reveal New LC 500 Coupe at Detroit Show

Production take on LF-LC concept will replace unloved SC coupe.

by on Dec.07, 2015

Lexus officials are expected to unveil the production version of the LF-LC concept shown in Tokyo last month in Detroit in January.

Driven by a mandate from Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, Lexus officials have been trying to pump more “passion” into the brand with recent designs like the 2016 RX, and the all-new NX. But there’s only so far a company go with a two-box utility vehicle.

To push the design envelope to its limits, Lexus is expected to unveil the long-awaited production version of its LF-LC Concept coupe, the latest version of which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show barely a month ago. Dubbed the Lexus LC 500, the 2017 model should be ready to take the stage at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show – part of a flood of concepts and production models Toyota is set to be readying for the show.

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“Look at this (concept) and you’ll get a real good idea of where we’re going with the styling direction of the brand,” the LS in particular, Mark Templin, a managing officer at Toyota and executive vice president of Lexus International, told after the latest take on the LF-LC concept was revealed in Tokyo. (more…)

Return of the Lexus SC?

Based on LF-LC concept, new supercar could nudge above 600-hp.

by on Jun.30, 2015

The Lexus LF-LC concept shown in Australia.

The Lexus SC nameplate has gone through a number of major iterations over the years, from the original sporty coupe to a quirky hardtop convertible and, if new reports prove accurate, it’s about to change again, this time becoming the production version of the LF-LC supercar concept.

Expected to reach showrooms sometime late next year, the next-generation Lexus SC would also serve as a long-awaited replacement for the brand’s first, limited-volume halo car, the Lexus LFA. Some sources suggest the new model will be offered in several different versions, including one that would push somewhere north of 600 horsepower.

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The revival of the SC as a new, high-performance flagship would fit in with the mandate of Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, who has commanded that there be more “passion” in the luxury brand. How much you’d have to pay is a question generating plenty of debate, with some guesstimating it will nudge into $150,000 territory.


Lexus Teases LF-C2 Concept Coming to LA Auto Show

Convertible likely to join expanding line-up at Japanese luxury brand.

by on Nov.12, 2014

Is the LF-C2 a convertible version of the Lexus LF-LC or a new take on the Lexus RC Coupe?

This teaser image from Lexus begs a few puns, and it’s easy to suggest that the concept coming to the Los Angeles Auto Show next week is likely to eclipse the old SC430 convertible that the Japanese maker pulled from production a few years back.

A terse press release says that, “On November 19, at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Lexus LF-C2 Concept will make its global debut. This exciting new open-air concept will be revealed at a press conference scheduled for 1:40 p.m. in the brand’s display located in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.”

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So, what are we likely to discover next week, and will it leave us howling at the moon?  Two very different possibilities emerge.


Lexus Updates LF-LC Concept

Opal blue hybrid supercar debuts at Australian auto show.

by on Oct.22, 2012

Lexus updates the LF-LC hybrid supercar concept for the 2012 Australian Motor Show.

Lexus officials continue to suggest that the LF-LC concept won’t simply disappear like the typical show car – and the latest hint comes from “Down Under,” an updated version of the hybrid supercar making its debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

Inspired by the native semi-precious stone found in Outback, the updated LF-LC has been painted an “Opal Blue,” while the interior also gets a few new updates for its latest appearance, including a new touchscreen system that replaces the earlier joystick-operated infotainment system.

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The luxury arm of Toyota has also revealed specifics about the underlying powertrain – which it dubs the Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive.  We’ve been hearing about a new gas-electric driveline that would overcome limits of the original Lexus system – basically the same hybrid technology that first appeared in the original Toyota Prius a dozen years ago.


Lexus LF-LC, Ford Fusion Win Auto Show Design Awards

Tough competition as more than 50 models debut.

by on Jan.10, 2012

Lexus unveiled the now award-winning LF-LC concept at the Detroit Auto Show Monday.

The new Ford Fusion and the Lexus LF-LC took honors as the best production and best concept cars in the annual Eyes on Design Awards at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

It wasn’t an easy trophy to take home, more than 50 concept and production vehicles debuting during the show’s two days of media previews.

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Good design has long been a competitive advantage in the auto industry.  But it is becoming increasingly important in today’s automotive market, said Freeman Thomas, an advanced designer with Ford Motor Co.  It is being credited with helping makers as diverse as Ford, Audi and Hyundai gain ground in an industry just recovering from one of its worst recessions in decades.

“It’s the difference between a short-order cook and a great chef,” said Thomas.


Lexus Says Concept Portends Future of Brand

Stunning luxury coupe would seem to have production intent.

by on Jan.10, 2012

Lexus unveiled the stunning LF-LC concept at the Detroit Auto Show Monday.

Lexus has unveiled a dramatic new concept coupe that draws a bit of its inspiration from the LFA supercar — but its power from a hybrid drivetrain.

It’s fairly normal for automaker executives to use a lot of hyperbole when discussing new concepts at the Detroit Auto Show, but Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of Lexus, was obviously excited over the sleek new coupe.

“This is one hot lookin’ car,” Templin said as the Lexus LF-LC was unveiled in the Riverview Ballroom at Detroit’s Cobo Center.

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Drawn by designers at Toyota’s Calty Design in Newport Beach, Calif., the concept is powered by Toyota’s next-generation hybrid powertrain, although it didn’t provide additional details.

Also pointing toward the production possibilities for the concept is that Lexus has discontinued the unloved SC 430, as its once-avant garde styling failed to age gracefully, leaving the brand with no grand touring coupes or convertibles in its lineup.


Now It’s Official: Lexus Releases LF-Lc Pics

by on Dec.21, 2011

Lexus offers up an official image of the LF-Lc concept.

Well, Lexus has made it official.  Pics of the maker’s new concept car inadvertently leaked out as Road & Track magazine got ready to release its new issue.  So the maker decided the rest of us deserved a closer look and sent over the first official shots of the Lexus LF-Lc show car, rather than the close-up teaser that the Toyota luxury division had previously released.

While we’re now able to get a good look at the 2-door 4-seater Lexus still isn’t providing any pertinent details, hoping we’ll still show up at the maker’s Detroit Auto Show news conference next month.

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Nonetheless, a few relevant bits can be gleaned, as reported earlier:

“…insiders offer hints it could be the concept version of an eventual replacement for the slow-selling Lexus SC430.

“As seen here a few specifics can be deduced from the images: the concept apparently opts for a targa top, rather than the folding hardtop of the awkward SC430.  Both vehicles appear to be roughly the same size and the new model maintains the 2-door design of the current hardtop cabrio.  But it appears to add two rear seats.  Functional?  Well, that remains to be seen.


Whoops! Lexus LF-Lc Concept Pics Leak Out

High-performance model to make Road & Track cover.

by on Dec.21, 2011

The Lexus LF-Lc concept was supposed to remain cloaked until its debut in Detroit next month.

Lexus has delivered a little holiday present – though it’s probably as much a surprise to the maker as anyone else.

Seems pics of the Lexus LF-Lc concept have leaked out well ahead of the planned unveiling at next month’s North American International Auto Show.  We found them thanks to our friends at Autoblog who, in turn, discovered them showing up as the cover story on the next issue of Road & Track magazine.

Unfortunately, we’ll still have to wait for full details about the concept vehicle Lexus has been teasing in recent days.  But insiders offer hints it could be the concept version of an eventual replacement for the slow-selling Lexus SC430.

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As seen here a few specifics can be deduced from the images: the concept apparently opts for a targa top, rather than the folding hardtop of the awkward SC430.  Both vehicles appear to be roughly the same size and the new model maintains the 2-door design of the current hardtop cabrio.  But it appears to add two rear seats.  Functional?  Well, that remains to be seen.

The angular and aggressive front end clearly lifts on the latest L-Finesse design theme Lexus has adopted, as first seen on the maker’s new GS line.  According to a teaser release sent out in recent days by Lexus, the LF-Lc embraces “the new design direction embraced by Lexus.”

Like the old SC430, it was penned at the Lexus advanced design studios in Southern California.

At least one report has questioned whether the LF-Lc is borrowing the basic mechanicals and chassis of the new Toyota GT86 – which will be sold in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S.  It’s the product of a closely watched joint venture with Subaru, which will offer its version up as the new BRZ.

There appears to be a hybrid badge on the Lexus LF-Lc, though we’ll have to wait for more details there, as well.  But the maker has promised to offer a gas-electric version of virtually everything in its line-up, so that would be no surprise.