Examining the Lexus LF-LC Concept

Twelve hours after Road & Track leaked a low-resolution video revealing the LF-LC concept set to debut at January’s Detroit Auto Show, Lexus has released a much clearer photo of the 2+2 coupe (click for a larger version):

Lexus LF-LF Top View

From this unique angle, the concept’s resemblance to the LFA is undeniable, so much so that a comparison is in order — unfortunately, there’s no LFA photo that I’ve found that works exactly, so let’s just go with a side view:

Lexus LF-LC vs Lexus LFA

The most obvious shared design is in the lower rear intake, which is cribbed directly from the LFA, but even the general profile is similar, despite the fact that the LF-LC has two rear seats. The silver edges that highlight the front and rear are also reminiscent of the Lexus supercar.

Despite their similarities, there’s still plenty about this new concept that’s unique — the roof deserves some special attention:

Lexus LF-LC Roof

There’s an element of the roof design seen on the 2007 Toyota FT-HS concept, but in the case of the LF-LC, the all-glass roof appears to be in the traditional targa-style, with the top-most panel removed rather than folded in. Appearances, of course, are very deceiving.

Alongside the hybrid badge, there’s also a second mystery badge that’s indecipherable no matter how much photoshopping I do:

Lexus LF-LC Mystery Badge

As excited as I am about the LF-LC as a concept, I’ve already started to consider how this will transfer to a production model — but first, here’s a quote from the Lexus press release:

“Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The clean lines of the vehicle emphasize motion, creating a distinctive look for this futuristic sport coupe.”

Conceived as a design exercise to explore the future of Lexus design, the LF-LC was created at the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif.

My eyes immediately caught on the words “design exercise”, which would suggest there’s no immediate production plans — however, a quick read over the LF-Gh press release shows the same sort of phrasing, describing the GS concept as an “exercise” in design, even though it was released as production model just four months later.

So what is the LF-LC, and what does it mean for the Lexus lineup? It’s difficult to say, especially when there’s only one leaked video and three teaser images — however, if this concept is directly related to an upcoming production model, we could be looking at a car that can truly bridge the gap between the LFA and the rest of the lineup.

Very, very exciting — the Detroit Auto Show can’t come soon enough.