After starring in Detroit, Lexus Australia has confirmed the swoopy V8-powered LC 500 flagship will be sold in Australia.
The four-seat coupe is set for global release in 2017, though Lexus Australia’s new CEO Peter McGregor was not sure of exact timing.
“The LC 500 epitomises the new spirit of Lexus and will act as a lighthouse model for our expanding range,” Mr McGregor said.
Although the 351kW/530Nm naturally-aspirated quad-cam V8 is familiar, the LC 500 rides on a new ‘global’ architecture. Said to the be most torsionally rigid ever produced by Lexus, it will showcase the premium Japanese company’s new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus says this new GA-L platform will underpin all future Lexus front engine, rear drive models.
The LC 500’s development phase was highlighted by increased collaboration between design and engineering groups, using the radical LF-LC concept vehicle as design inspiration. This is evidenced by several key design elements including the available carbon fibre roof (glass is standard). Functional exterior venting and triple LED headlamp units are other highlights and forged aluminium alloy road wheels will be offered, in 20- or 21-inch diameter.
Engineering also influenced the interior design of the LC 500 with the aim of placing the driver’s hip point as close to the centre of gravity as possible. There’s a choice of leather or alcantara trim packages and the front seats are said to offer a high level of comfort and support. Performance-minded drivers will no doubt opt for the heavily-bolstered sport seat option.
It has also been suggested that the LC 500 will use the latest in Lexus multimedia with a fresh interface, something the brand has been crying out for.
Lexus says its mission for the LC 500 was to ‘offer a dynamic driving experience and character unlike any Lexus vehicle before it’.
Fundamentally the new platform has placed the heavy engine and cabin sections into more centralised positions. They also sit lower to improve both weight distribution and the LC 500’s centre of gravity. The battery has been relocated to the rear in further pursuit of effective weight distribution, which is claimed at 52:48 front to rear.
Controversially (in our eyes, at least) Lexus has decided to equip its new performance flagship with run-flat tyres. They say it improves packaging and reduces overall weight by not carrying a spare… but the dilution of response usually felt via such rubber could be a deal breaker.
Engine compartment braces are adopted and aluminium suspension towers used to increase stiffness and response further.
Suspension-wise there’s double ball joints for both upper and lower control arms, which are made out of forged aluminium, and braking power is headlined by six-piston calipers.
Perhaps disappointingly there’s no change to the engine, though it will score better efficiency and acceleration thanks to its 10-speed gearbox, shifted via magnesium paddles should you choose to swap cogs yourself. Target 0-100km/h acceleration is 4.5sec.
Oddly, a sound generator is adopted to pipe noise into the cabin. We’d rather hear the natural high-revving roar of one of the best street V8s on the market. What do you think?
Specifications (may differ by market)
|Power||351kW @ 7100rpm|
|Torque||530Nm @ 4800rpm|
|Transmission||10 speed automatic|
|Driven Wheels||Rear wheel drive|
|Fr/Rr Overhang||Fr: 920mm, Rr: 970mm|
(front and rear)
|1. 21 inches
2. 20 inches
3. 20 inches
|Tyre size||1. Fr: 245/40 RF21, Rr: 275/35RF 21
2. Fr: 245/45 RF20, Rr: 275/40RF 20 Fr: 245/45 RF20, Rr:275/40 RF20
|0 – 100km/h||Under 4.5 seconds|