Lexus makes style state­ment with coupe


WITH the new LC coupe, Lexus has brought a dar­ing con­cept car de­sign to life. Many show cars lose their flair by the time they make it show­rooms but stayed true orig­i­nal for­mula.

To re­peat a cliche, looks fast even when it’s parked. How­ever, de­spite Lexus promis­ing the “pin­na­cle” of per­for­mance, LC faster than it ac­tu­ally is, whether in 5.0-litre V8 guise or 3.5-litre V6 hy­brid.

Look be­yond V8’s im­pres­sive out­put of 351kW. Its 540Nm torque (the real en­ergy that gets you mov­ing) is in the same ter­ri­tory as a Ford Mus­tang (530Nm) or Holden Com­modore SS (570Nm).

How­ever, low-slung Lexus is be­ing asked to shift more weight than the hum­ble Holden and Ford, tip­ping scales at about two tonnes, so per­for­mance muted rel­a­tive to Ger­man peers. Not that

is a key fac­tor, as Lexus reck­ons it will at­tract buy­ers on looks alone.

“Cars are their ob­ses­sion, they want ex­clu­siv­ity in pur­chase,” says Aus­tralia boss Peter McGre­gor.

“Even when they’re blown away by the looks, it all comes down to sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing car, adrenalin rush, cred­i­bil­ity. The way a car makes them feel un­der­pins whole pur­chase.”

Be­yond the hype, Lexus has re­al­is­tic sales ex­pec­ta­tions of about 100 ex­am­ples a year — mostly V8s mak­ing LC more, er, ex­clu­sive than Porsche, Fer­rari or Lam­borgh­ini.


Does it live up to the hype? Yes and no. The LC is im­pres­sively com­fort­able over bumpy back roads de­spite rid­ing on mas­sive 21-inch wheels wrapped in Miche­lin run-flat tyres.

bal­ance of the body and the way car feels cor­ners is up there with best, although op­tional “sports” steer­ing too sharp for our rip­pled roads.

The brakes are among the largest ever fit­ted to a pro­duc­tion car — front discs 400mm in di­am­e­ter and in­cred­i­bly re­spon­sive

fade re­sis­tant. Lexus says the V8 does the 0-100km/h dash 4.7 sec­onds;

V6 hy­brid isn’t far be­hind with 5.0 sec­onds. How­ever us­ing our satel­lite based tim­ing equip­ment (un­der su­per­vi­sion) the best we could ex­tract from V8 was 5.1 secs, hy­brid 5.3. Aided by a 10-speed auto, these are re­spectable times (marginally quicker than the Mus­tang and Com­modore SS)

once would have been re­garded as quick.

But the Lexus twins, each cost­ing $190,000 plus on-roads, are not in same league as Ger­man sports cars with sim­i­lar price tags and sub 4.0-sec­ond sprint times.

An un­usual beast, the LC500h is the first Lexus hy­brid that can spin rear wheels. Its V6 (re­lated to engine in the Toy­ota Kluger) is paired to a trans­mis­sion houses two elec­tric mo­tors (one for drive and one for re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing) along­side a four-speed torque con­verter auto.

But it has in ef­fect 10 ra­tios (by us­ing an ad­ja­cent plan­e­tary gear set) and slurs gear changes much like a con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion. As Lexus ex­plains it: “The multi-stage shift de­vice changes the out­put in four stages (but in drive it has) sim­u­lated shift con­trol pat­tern that repli­cates feel of driv­ing with a 10-speed.”

The hy­brid ac­cel­er­ates to 60km/h as quickly as the V8 (2.7 sec­onds) but loses a lit­tle ground to 100km/h.

The high-revving V8 (red­line 7300rpm) sounds like a NASCAR engine. It’s awe­some, a high­light of the car.

Also im­pres­sive is cabin’s qual­ity, fit and fin­ish, from leather stitch­ing to real al­loy knobs cabin switches.

The hi-tech dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play (in­spired by the LF-A sports car) is up there with best in the busi­ness.

Down­sides? Lexus cabin con­troller — a touch­pad

is still in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing and bor­der­line dan­ger­ous to op­er­ate on the move. needs to scrap this flawed de­sign start again.

And, as in a Porsche 911, the two tiny rear seats are for brief­cases and hand­bags. There’s no way you’re get­ting a hu­man there. If you want four-seater, look else­where.


This is the Lexus brand’s style state­ment and opin­ion changer. With its fu­tur­is­tic de­sign, it looks faster than goes. Buy­ers won’t mind. It sounds the part

like art.

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