The 2018 Lexus LC – A Feeling of Possibilities
I have to be honest. I’ve never regarded Lexus to be much more than Toyotas in formal wear. I drove an IS300, an old LS 430 and ES 300 and it felt lacking compared to their European counterparts. Something was missing. It was like dating a beautiful girl, someone out of your league. But only to find, she was boring. Unexciting even. But you just want to stare at her, and not much else. The drive was extremely comfortable, but if you were to give it a boot full, there was not much to expect. No surge in acceleration, no stability in the corners.
Comparably, the previous coupe which Lexus made was the SC 430. And it was ghastly. The design put me to sleep, and the fact that it was a 4.3 litre V8 which put out only 288Bhp, meant it was only aimed at being boring. The ride felt like I was driving a boat in a marina, and the upholstery still had fake wood. But the worst thing was that it still had a built in cassette player. For a car that was built between the years of 2005 to 2010, WHY?!
Lexus SC 430 (Photo Source: MoiBibki.com)
It all drew to a conclusion that Lexus was behind time, behind trends and behind boredom.
However, in 2006 when Lexus Filed to patent an “F” emblem, things started to get interesting. The first F car debuted and it was a 5 litre V10 Lexus IS. Shortly after in 2009, Lexus confirmed the production of the LFA. Till today, still one of the best performing supercars in the market, beating the likes of the Lamborghini Murcielago , Ferrari 599 and Audi R8.
Lexus LFA (Photo Source: Autocar Magazine)
A new era was born.
The F series cars were created to compete with current in-house tuning companies such as Mercedes’ AMG division, BMW’s M cars and Audi’s S/RS models, and boy were they a hit. They looked great as well in my opinion, however, something was still lacking. Was it performance? Was it styling? No. it was the provoked emotion. Lexus have now changed their strategy to suit the customers’ emotions.
Enter the new Lexus LC.
Surprisingly, since the release of the LF-LC Concept in 2012 at the Detroit Auto Show, not much has changed from the exterior. During the launch at the pop-up showcase at Wisma Atria last week, it was more of a statement. With their presentation saying “NO” to many assumptions about the old Lexus brand direction and public perception, Lexus is driving the point home; They want to make cars which suit today’s breed of distinguished driving enthusiasts. People who enjoy luxury as much as the passion to drive. And they have done so with the new LC 500 and 500h.
LEXUS x MARVEL – Look out for the LEXUS LC in the upcoming 2018 Black Panther movie
“LC’s aggressive styling, high performance and agile handling are a perfect fit for the Black Panther’s quick, cat-like reflexes and superhuman feats.”, quipped General Manager for Lexus Marketing (US), Brian Bolain.
Much has changed over the years since the F department of Lexus started cracking down to work. The cars looked better, they sounded better and they definitely performed better. The question is, where do they go from here? What was it they needed to captivate the emotion of driving as well as the serenity of luxury all at once? The winning formula, a large engine with a stylish coupe body.
“My biggest challenge is to develop Lexus’ own unique driving emotion so that we can create our own position. From the human input to the vehicle response, all of these have been calibrated to give as much excitement as there is luxury.”
– Koji Sato, Lexus’ Chief Engineer, in a Q and A that,Chief Engineer for Lexus)
At first glance, there were a few design similarities to the LFA, but the low slung body did look rather magnificent. With a width of almost 2 meters and a length of almost 5, the Lexus LC is 10 square meters of collar-heating seduction. With angled trim and lights, a mesh grille that looks like Samurai armour and huge 21 inch rims, there is nothing else that I could say. Welcome to the luxury coupe club, Lexus LC. It is about time.
The interior did not disappoint either. It was a sea of Napa leather and Alcantara. But the best part of all, there was hardly any plastic. The console was LFA inspired, which I felt was going in the right direction. And the steering and paddle shifters just made it feel so right. When I wrapped my fingers around the wheel, it felt like holding performance, and being hugged by riches.
I remember in a video I saw about the LC, Tadao Mori, Lexus’ Chief Designer for the LC, and Koji Sato collaborated very closely to create the concept. The key words they used were “SEDUCTION” and “TECHNOLOGY”. Tadao Mori explains,” Even though the two words are opposing, Seduction being warm, nice and elegant but Technology was cold, but we put the keywords together and ended up with something very organic. For the interior, we used materials like carbon fibre, steels and layers of leathers. For the exterior, we made very nice details for the lights as well as the body work to create a flow of design which gives a space-age look but elegant feel.”
Unfortunately, I have yet to drive this car, although the performance figures look promising. Lexus chose to give the LC 500 a 5 litre V8 powerplant which puts out 470bhp at 7,000 Rpm and a maximum torque of 540 Nm at 4,800 Rpm. This translated using a 10 speed gearbox, means it will do 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds. The hybrid does not exactly lag that far behind either, doing the 0-100km/h sprint in only 5 seconds. Having seen their prototypes being tested in renowned race tracks like Laguna Seca and the Streets of Willow Springs Raceway, I can almost promise you, even without ever turning the wheel of this car, that it will handle brilliantly.
It has really been a long time since I have really loved any of Lexus’ cars. My previous favourite was an IS300 from 2006, and even then I found it difficult to look at, but a great pleasure to drive. With the LC, to me it is a great triumph for Lexus. A milestone which they should recognise. A new era of high style combined with high performance, speed and seduction.
The Lexus LC. Tu es arrivé.