The new Lexus LC 500h coupe announced earlier this week will feature the luxury brand’s next generation hybrid power system, offering an enhanced driving experience with increased performance and efficiency. The LC 500h is the latest addition to the stunning LC premium coupe line first revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month.
The petrol-electric model joins the LC 500, which was unveiled in Detroit and features a high output 5.0-litre V8 engine mated to the world’s first 10-speed automatic transmission in a luxury vehicle. The new Multi Stage Hybrid System of 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.
The advanced hybrid system combines the stunning design, craftsmanship, luxury features and technology of the LC coupe line, which was first revealed to the world with the LC 500 at the Detroit Motor Show in January. The new LC 500h combines the avante garde elegance of LC with dynamic coupe proportions that are true to the key design elements, proportions and visual dynamism of the award-winning LF-LC concept vehicle that inspired it. Its glamorous exterior design represents an evocative, more fluid interpretation of Lexus’ L-finesse design philosophy.
A sweeping roofline that tapers from the central position of the vehicle characterises the athletic profile of the LC 500h, combined with a 2870mm long wheelbase, low bonnet line and compact 920mm front and 970mm rear overhangs. Front and rear wings that house wide, large diameter wheels flare away from the central position of the occupants, while the door sides are pulled inwards to create a powerful, three-dimensional form. The front design features the latest interpretation of the signature spindle grille with chrome trim and a radical new mesh design.
The LC 500h’s unique lighting signature combines independent, arrowhead Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) with a triple LED headlamp unit. The rear design is defined by a sweeping cabin roofline that tapers between broad, muscular rear wheel arches to reinforce its wide stance. The rear lamp signature is also unique, featuring dynamic L-shaped LED lamps that create a three-dimensional impression. Subtle yet functional aerodynamic measures include front and rear wheel arch venting, which improves high speed stability. A rear diffuser and active rear spoiler further manage airflow during performance driving.
The LC 500h will be available with a choice of bespoke 20-inch cast and 20-inch and 21-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels.
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.
The new LC 500h rides on a new platform designed to offer a significantly sharper, 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. The LC 500 and LC 500h ride on the company’s all-new premium rear-wheel-drive platform that is part of a new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). 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.
– aluminium bonnet and fenders
– aluminium door skins mounted on a carbon fibre structure
– carbon and glass composite boot lid
– aluminium front suspension towers
– ultra-compact LED headlamps
– forged alloy wheels, and
– carbon fibre roof
Extensive use of strategically located high-tensile steel body structures reduce weight, improve weight distribution and increase body rigidity to promote consistent, predictable handling behaviour and sharper steering responses. Particular attention was paid to the development of the LC 500h’s multi-link front suspension, which caters for the large diameter wheels while accommodating a low bonnet line. The suspension system features two upper and two lower control arms with double ball joints on each arm.
This arrangement optimises suspension geometry to facilitate precise control from driver inputs and road conditions, creating a sharper steering response. Sprung weight has been reduced as much as possible through extensive use of lightweight, forged aluminium components. The system also demonstrates exceptional rigidity under lateral g loading.
The combination of chassis and suspension development measures offers an entirely natural, non-taxing driving experience incorporating sharp responses, exceptional handling balance and straight-line stability matched with ride comfort appropriate for a Lexus flagship coupe.
LC 500h is fitted as standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+), the newly developed portfolio of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate the severity of collisions across a wide range of traffic situations. Lexus Safety System+ began rolling out on Lexus models in 2015. LSS+ combines a camera and millimetre-wave radar for a high level of detection performance.
The system features Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS) as well as All-speed Active Cruise Control (All speed ACC), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB) headlamp technology. Further details on the LC 500h, including information on local market introduction and specification, will be announced at a later date.
LC 500h specifications
Overall length: 4,760mm
Overall width: 1,920mm
Overall height: 1,345mm
Layout: Front engine/rear wheel drive
F/R overhang: F: 920mm; R: 970mm
Wheel size: 1. 21 inch (forged aluminium available)
- 20 inch (forged aluminium available)
- 20 inch (cast aluminium standard)
Tyre size: 1. F: 245/40 RF21; R: 275/35 RF21
- F: 245/45 RF20; R: 275/40 RF20
- Fr: 245/45 RF20; R: 275/40 RF20
Engine type: 3.5-litre hybrid
Engine capacity (cc): 3,456
Valve mechanism: 24-valve DOHC VVT-i
Bore (mm): 94
Stroke (mm): 83
Engine maximum output (kW): [email protected],600
Engine maximum torque (Nm): [email protected],900
Battery maximum output (kW): 44.6
Battery type: Lithium
Battery voltage (V): 310
Battery weight (kg): 50
Total system output (kW/HP): 264/354
Target 0-100 km/h (sec): sub-5 sec