This beast is a beauty

Lat­est Lexus V8 block has taxi op­er­a­tors and 4x4 fans study­ing the form sheet

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ALWYN VILJOEN

DUBBED the loveli­est Lexus yet and priced at R1 729 600, it is not the price or the lines of the LC 500’s that in­trigue me­chan­ics, but the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 petrol en­gine that lurks un­der­neath its hood.

Bear in mind that pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Lexus V8 en­gines power many a Siyaya taxi in South Africa, as well as a lot of Land Cruiser and Hilux bakkies, sev­eral Mit­subishi Pa­jero mod­els and even one Mahin­dra bakkie that Wheels is aware of.

Calvyn Ham­man, sales and mar­ket­ing se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Lexus South Africa, said while avail­able in both petrol and hy­brid in other global mar­kets, only the V8-pow­ered petrol de­riv­a­tive is con­firmed for South Africa.

The me­chan­ics who shoe­horn Lexus V8 blocks into other ve­hi­cles are all in­trigued about the new mon­ster from Lexus, which comes with a fouryears or 100 000 km ser­vice plan.

Gary Pea­cock in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg pre­dicted the new block will make a great con­ver­sion for hot rods and 4x4 alike.

Al­lan Baart­man, who has a Lexus-pow­ered BMW by way of ad­ver­tis­ing his be­lief that any ve­hi­cle de­serves a V8, looks for­ward to the 10-speed au­to­matic gear­box.

10-Speed Trans­mis­sion

The Lexus LC 500 de­buts the first 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion for a lux­ury au­to­mo­bile.

Smaller and lighter than some eight-speed units, this new trans­mis­sion ex­e­cutes shifts at speeds ri­val­ing dual-clutch trans­mis­sions, yet with the seam­less per­for­mance and smooth­ness of a torque con­verter au­to­matic.

The trans­mis­sion ben­e­fits from a new torque con­verter with full range lock-up con­trol to sup­port the de­liv­ery of a pleas­ingly di­rect feel and elim­i­nat­ing un­nec­es­sary revving of the en­gine.

Thanks to in­tel­li­gent de­sign and pack­ag­ing and ex­haus­tive weight-sav­ing mea­sures, the com­plete unit is com­pa­ra­ble in size and weight to Lexus’ cur­rent eight-speed au­to­matic.

Low-fric­tion ma­te­ri­als have been used where pos­si­ble to sup­port fuel econ­omy and the num­ber of in­ter­nal parts has been kept to a min­i­mum.

Very quick down­shifts.

The LC 500 al­lows man­ual shift­ing via mag­ne­sium pad­dles.

Lexus stated “even driv­ers who pride them­selves on mak­ing ex­pertly timed shifts, how­ever, will find the ad­vanced elec­tronic con­trol sys­tem, which an­tic­i­pates the driver’s in­puts by mon­i­tor­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion, brak­ing and lat­eral-g forces, al­ways chooses the ideal ra­tio”.

In an­other world-first for Lexus, the trans­mis­sion uses an AISHIFT con­trol with a drive mode switch­ing func­tion.

This se­lects the op­ti­mum gear ac­cord­ing to its es­ti­ma­tion of the driver’s pref­er­ences and in­ten­tions, based not just on ve­hi­cle speed and use of the ac­cel­er­a­tor, but also from past driv­ing history. The sys­tem will au­to­mat­i­cally adapt gear ra­tios to suit.

High-revving V8

Upon startup, ex­hal­ing through the sound-tuned vari­able Ac­tive Ex­haust, the five-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 draws closer any driv­ing en­thu­si­asts.

Based on the en­gine in the Lexus RC F high-per­for­mance mod­els, the LC 500 ver­sion raises the out­put to 351 kW and 450 Nm of peak torque. The LC 500 can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in less than 4,7 sec­onds. This fivelitre V8 is a well-proven per­for­mance en­gine, with a low-mass re­cip­ro­cat­ing assem­bly us­ing light­weight forged con­nect­ing rods, along with ti­ta­nium in­take and ex­haust valves to al­low a 7 300-rpm red­line.

Un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion, the LC 500 V8 de­liv­ers a con­tin­u­ously ris­ing power curve, with the max­i­mum power of 351 kW de­vel­oped at a scream­ing 7 100 rpm while the torque peak of 540 Nm comes it at a low 4 800 rpm.

The beast un­der the hood of the beau­ti­ful Lexus LC 500 (in­sert) is al­ready caus­ing stir­rings among retrofitters. PHO­TOS: LEXUS

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