The Lexus LC 500: Something to be Excited About

A few years ago, Lexus debuted a concept car called the LF-LC. It looked like the Lexus sports car of the future, packed with aggressive styling, a mean-looking stance, and some seriously cool tail lights. It's a concept car I really wanted to see on the road, and, after not hearing about the car for three years, it's back. Now known as the LC 500, Lexus has finally debuted the road-going version of their striking coupe concept.

2012's LF-LC Concept

2012's LF-LC Concept

The LF-LC concept was originally powered by a hybrid drivetrain, but Lexus has ditched that in favor of their now-familiar 5 liter V8. The naturally aspirated engine produces 467 horsepower and 389 lb ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through a ten-speed, single-clutch automatic transmission. No performance stats have been confirmed yet, but a 0-60 time of around 4 seconds is likely.

The new LC 500

The new LC 500

Thankfully, one thing about the LC 500 that hasn't changed much since concept form is its design. It retains a lot of the aggressive styling and angularity of the concept, all with a touch of production-focused adjustments (such as the revised headlights). The classic long hood, fluid lines and short back end make the 500 look like a proper sports car, and an attractive one at that.

Lexus isn't known for making the lightest, most agile sports cars in the world, but they have given us reason to believe that the LC 500 could be pretty good in the corners. Take a look at the LFA, for example. The last flagship model from Lexus benefitted from an extensive use of carbon fiber, allowing the V10 rocketship to do well on race tracks (especially in "Nurburgring Edition" guise). Now take into consideration that the LC 500's chassis is, unbelievably, more rigid than the aforementioned LFA. The designers also focused on keeping weight distribution low down in the LC, providing a lower center of gravity. This provides some hope that, despite the LC 500's (unconfirmed, yet not improbable) considerable curb weight, the car will be able to perform with the enthusiasm its styling suggests.

Lexus, according to Chief Branding Officer Akio Toyoda, is determined to become "a more emotional brand," and I think this is a fantastic idea. They want to make sure "Lexus" and "boring" stop appearing in the same sentence, and the LC 500 is off to a good start in that regard. This car is poised to reinvigorate the brand and provide a very welcomed bit of drama. For more on Lexus, as well as other news from this year's North American International Auto Show, make sure to stay tuned to Oh So Lofty.