When the Lexus LF-LC Concept debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show it wowed onlookers with its dramatic style, repeating the shock and awe when it reappeared at the Australian International Motor Show later that same year.
Persistent rumours that a production version would appear came true with the emergence of the production-preview Lexus LC 500 Coupe at this year’s Detroit Show.
Both chief engineer Koji Sato and chief designer Tadao Mori have offered an insight into the behind the scenes work being carried out to bring the LC to life in a form as close as possible to the dramatic concept.
“You might think the LC project simply involved turning the LF-LC concept into a road car, but in fact it was far more complex than that,” engineer Sato said. “As an engineer, I wanted the car to have great performance, while my chief designer colleague, Tadao Mori, wanted a great look. Despite our different disciplines, we essentially had the same goal and worked together to achieve some amazingly imaginative solutions.”
Among the challenges for designer Mori, achieving the ideal packaging outcome within the LC’s minimalist form was the most challenging.
“Everything presented a challenge, but it was the packaging – how we made use of space in the car – that was the most demanding aspect,” Mr Mori said. “In fact, to create the low bonnet, our suspension engineers had to rework the components many times before we achieved the effect we wanted.” “This took months of hard work, but the engineers were so excited about the LC’s design, they were prepared to do what was needed to make it happen.”
To help maintain the concept’s short overhangs, innovative solutions, like the world’s slimmest headlight units, utilising LED technology, have been used along with twin-mirror LED tail lights to create an infinite reflection pattern.
The car will be constructed from a variety of high tech materials, including carbon fibre and aluminium, such as in the aluminium front suspension, which save 10kg of weight compared to conventional steel, Mr Sato said.
Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation has also exerted his driver-focussed influence on the development of the LC, with the interior of “a genuine driver’s car” developed at Mr Toyoda’s request.
The production LC range will ride on a newly-developed chassis. Dubbed GA-L, the engineering team was able to shorten development of the new platform by 12 months compared to the usual timeframe.
When the LC range goes on sale in Australia in the first half of 2017 both a petrol V8 LC 500 and V6 hybrid LC 500h model will be available, the former with 351kW and a ten-speed automatic, while output from the latter is still unknown, but it will drive through a newly-developed four-speed automatic in place of a traditional CVT.
Final pricing, features, and specifications of the Lexus LC range will be announced closer to launch; TMR will bring you all the information as it comes to hand.