When Lexus unveiled the new LC 500 coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month Toyota President Akio Toyoda said it was a preview of the brand’s future direction, with an emphasis on “passion and distinction.”
The new coupe’s 467-horsepower certainly fits that bill, but how about the Lexus LC 500h set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month? It likely wouldn’t if Lexus were simply offering up another mileage miser. But it’s hinting that this hybrid will be another matter entirely.
In a teaser release, Lexus promises the new Multi State Hybrid System debuting in the LC 500h will deliver “enhanced driving pleasure, more performance, and greater efficiency” than the current gas-electric technology used by the Lexus line – which is little more than a glorified version of what Toyota offers in the Prius model.
As the brand’s new halo car, Lexus plans a number of variants with the LC line, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported last month. That includes a convertible model, and a variety of engine options. Along with the “base” V-8, Toyota’s luxury brand is working up a new F-Sport model that could push the pony count up into the 600 hp range.
(For more on the V-8 LC 500, Click Here.)
During his presentation, Pres. Toyoda said he hoped the debut of the LC would mark the point at which “you will never use the words ‘Lexus’ and ‘boring’ in the same sentence again.”
But considering the less than thrilling nature of the current fleet of Lexus hybrids, such as the CT 200h, but what about the LC 500h?
(For more on the LC variants to come, Click Here.)
Where Lexus has gotten a reputation for building high-mileage but – there’s that word – boring gas-electric models, it’s meant to deliver both fuel economy and performance, in line with what some of key German luxury competitors are trying to accomplish.
We’ll have to wait until Geneva to get more details on the new Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System, but we’re expecting the LC 500h will deliver nearly the same level of performance as the V-8 coupe, while also getting a big jump in mileage. That shouldn’t come as a shock. The reality is that electric motors reach maximum wheel-spinning torque the moment they’re turned on – as Tesla shows with the Model S in Ludicrous Mode. The challenge is simply to deliver enough current to the motor.
In fact, we’re expecting to see a lot more battery-based performance cars in the near future. Cadillac promises the plug-in version of its new CT6 will match the performance of the sedan’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 package. Porsche promises 4-second 0 to 60 launches from the Mission E battery-electric vehicle it’s working up.
(Lexus may put hydrogen-powered LF-FC concept into production by 2020. Click Here for the full story.)
Visually, we’ll see some modest tweaks to the Lexus LC 500h when compared to the V-8 model, largely to improve the coupe’s already good aerodynamics.
The LC 500h was one of the hits of this year’s Detroit Auto Show, collecting two trophies in the EyesOn Design awards for Production Car and Best Designed Interior.
The Lexus LC 500h will make its debut at Geneva’s PALExpo convention center on March 1st.