After the surprise unveil of its new flagship grand tourer in Detroit last month, Lexus will bring the hybrid version of its sinuous coupe to the Geneva Motor Show. The Lexus LC 500h will keep the sleek, concept-esque body of its gas powered predecessor, the LC 500, but wrap it around a new powertrain that should give the eco-conscious slightly fewer sleepless nights.
Although rumors of a production version of the original LF-LC concept had been circulating for some years, there was no shortage of dropped-jaws in Detroit come January when Lexus showed exactly how close to that design its production car would stick.
Sitting at the pinnacle of Lexus’ line-up, the LC 500 was billed part supercar and part luxury grand tourer, with a new level of build quality and materials that, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said in a surprise appearance at the show, would serve as a roadmap for elevating the Lexus brand as a whole.
Under the hood was the 5.0-liter V8 engine Lexus had already used to good effect in the RC F, tuned for 467 HP and 389 lb-ft. of torque. Paired with a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission – that Lexus claim will shift just as quickly as a dual-clutch gearbox, but offer improved smoothness when cruising – the car should do the 0-60 mph run in around 4.5 seconds.
Unsurprisingly given Toyota and Lexus’ commitment to hybridization, though, there’ll be a second version of the LC that throws electric motors into the mix. The LC 500h will get its official reveal in Geneva in just a few weeks time, though Lexus is previewing the hybrid in photos today.
Core to the car will be the company’s next-generation hybrid powertrain, dubbed the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System. Exactly what that means is unclear at this point: on the one hand, the straightest reading of the name could mean the combination of a 5.0-liter engine with an electric drivetrain.
However, whether that would be the same 5.0-liters as in the LC 500 is another good question: Lexus could opt for a more compact V6, for instance. Alternatively the “500h” might be a stylistic flourish altogether, and the car could use a lower-capacity engine and rely on the hybrid components to keep power up.
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The LC 500’s design and engineering team have made no disguise of the fact that the car’s underpinnings have wide-ranging implications across the future Lexus line-up. In an interview with chief engineer Koji Sato, he confirmed that the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout is being considered for future models – and various body-styles – from the IS up.
Still to be confirmed is just how much the LC 500 and LC 500h will cost, though early indications suggest a roughly $95k sticker for the V8 version when it arrives in the US come 2017.