When Lexus introduced the LF-LC Blue last week at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, it wasn’t just the colors that were changed from the original concept — let’s take some quotes from the press release:
New to LF-LC and derived from project LFA, LF-LC leverages Lexus’ extensive in-house experience in marrying carbon fibre and aluminum alloy materials to achieve a light body mass.
There was also this passage about the new hybrid engine powering the LF-LC:
Dubbed Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, the system features a powerful and efficient Atkinson cycle combustion engine which is mated to an advanced high-energy battery pack. The high-energy battery pack is designed to deliver greater power from a smaller battery than those currently used in Lexus’ range of hybrid vehicles. Combined, the LF-LC Blue concept’s petrol/electric hybrid powertrain develops 372kW (500hp) – the most of any Lexus hybrid.
There were rumors of both the LFA carbon fiber technology and the 500hp hybrid engine when this LF-LC II concept was announced in August, but seeing it in an official press release is a whole other story.
When the red LF-LC was first introduced in January, it was described as a “design exercise”, and Lexus officials stressed that there were no plans for manufacture. However, after the strong public reception and two autoshow awards, the model appears to have been green lit for production.
Quoting from a recent (translated) Autoweek.nl interview with Lexus Europe CEO, Paul van der Burgh:
“By all the positive reactions to the LF-LC, we want that car but eager to production. That is not as easy as it seems. The special design of the concept car we want to preserve, but that means the project is a major challenge for the engineers. And that means we need time.”
Van der Burgh continues: “We want the LF-LC production car full with advanced technology. Not only hybrid technology, but also constructed with special materials. So it will take a few years before the project is completed. The fact that we are so committed on this project, automatically means that projects that have less priority will be delayed.”
By emphasizing that the production LF-LC will incorporate the LFA’s advanced materials, Lexus has started to set expectations for the new model — considering the supercar pedigree, carbon fiber and the 500hp hybrid powertrain, the new coupe will not be cheap.
It’s difficult to find a direct competitor — the Mercedes CL, BMW 6-series and Aston Martin Vantage are 2+2 coupes, but are all over the map with size and pricing. It’s possible that Lexus may follow a similar strategy to BMW’s 6-series coupe, with a sub-$100k USD base model and a 500+hp performance model over $100k, but at this point it’s just speculation.
(Pure fantasy, but can you picture an LC F with the LFA V10?)