2018 Lexus LC 500 & LC 500h Explained – Video
The emotional designs and high-performance models issued by Lexus in the last few years prefaced a new chapter for the brand, one that begins now with the arrival of the 2018 LC flagship performance coupe. A concept car come to life, the Lexus LC combines stunning design, scintillating performance, long-distance comfort and premium craftsmanship to join an elite group of international grand touring coupes.
The Lexus LC 500 makes the strongest statement yet about the brand’s future direction. Previewed by the LF-LC concept in 2012, the Lexus LC debuted as a production model at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This spring it arrives in Lexus dealerships as the V8-powered LC 500 with an MSRP of $92,000 and the LC 500h with a new Multi Stage Hybrid powertrain at an MSRP of $96,510. Toyota Motor Corporation president, Akio Toyoda, who is also Chief Branding Officer and master driver for Lexus, inspired development of the LC. Focused on offering more emotional and exciting vehicles for global markets, he called for a flagship production coupe echoing the spirit of the hand-built Lexus LFA supercar and delivering the visual impact of the Lexus LF-LC concept.
The Lexus LC offers a choice no other premium coupe does: the LC 500 with a high-performance V8 or LC 500h with a new-generation Multi Stage Hybrid powertrain. In both, the focus is driving excitement, with the LC 500h offering higher fuel efficiency associated with the world’s luxury hybrid leader. Upon startup, exhaling through the variable Active Exhaust, the 5-liter naturally aspirated V8 issues a clarion call to driving enthusiasts. Based on the engine in the Lexus GS F an RC F high-performance models, the LC 500 version raises the output to 471 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The LC 500 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. It’s 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. The 32-valve cylinder heads, equipped with performance-tuned Variable Valve Timing (VVT-iE), take full advantage of the engine’s low internal friction and aggressive valvetrain specs. The D-4S injection system uses direct fuel injection that allows a high compression ratio (12.3:1), augmented by port fuel injectors to enhance low-speed response. Under acceleration, the LC 500 V8 reveals its character in a continuously rising power curve, with the 471 hp developed at 7,100 rpm and the torque peak sustained from 4,800-5,600 rpm. The fast-revving V8 issues a stunning soundtrack amplified by a special resonance tube connecting the intake to the firewall, plus a standard Active Exhaust that rumbles and roars like a high-performance GT should. The driver can adjust the natural exhaust sound level via the Drive Mode Select system. The V8 is a good citizen, too, switching to the Atkinson cycle to enhance fuel efficiency at cruising speeds and Otto cycle for higher performance levels when accelerating.
Lexus, which introduced the world’s first luxury hybrid 13 years ago, developed a new Multi Stage Hybrid System specifically for the LC 500h. Like other Lexus hybrid configurations, the Multi Stage Hybrid System teams the gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators, but similarities end there. The Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components allow a 6,600-rpm redline, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. The new system keeps the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range. In M mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LC 500h a highly engaging driving feel and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. In automatic mode, AI shift control matches gear selection to driving conditions and driver inputs. The Multi Stage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds, and it enables the LC 500h to operate with the gasoline engine off at speeds of up to 87 mph.