Lexus LC500h Revealed, Is an RWD Hybrid Coupe with 354 HP

Lexus’s LC500h has been fully revealed before its presentation at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Lexus LC500h 15 photos
Photo: Lexus
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The new hybrid coupe of the Japanese premium brand features a new platform and a multi-stage hybrid system. Thanks to the new powertrain, the Lexus LC features a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a powerful electric motor to assist it. Overall, the hybrid system develops 354 HP. Lexus targets a sub-five second 0-100 km/h (0-62 MPH) time for its LC500h.

The new hybrid coupe from Lexus features a 4,760 mm long body (187.4 in), with a width of 1,920 mm (75.6 in) and a height of just 1,345 mm (52.9 in). The wheelbase of this model is 2,870 mm long (112.9 in) and the model has short overhangs. The front overhang is 920 mm long (36.2 in), while the rear overhang is at 970 mm (36.2 in).

The interior pictures of the Lexus LC500h reveal an attractive design, almost close to that of a concept car. Its dash has a fresh look to it, and the door cards look futuristic.

As for the size of this car, the LC500h will not be an S-Class Coupe rival, but a competitor in the segment of the future E-Class Coupe and the BMW 6 Series Coupe. The S-Class Coupe is bigger both in and out, so there’s no question about a comparison between Mercedes-Benz’s flagship coupe and Lexus’s top-of-the-line hybrid coupe.

From a technological point of view, this model has the Lexus Safety System+ as standard. The name involves a set of active safety technologies to prevent or mitigate collisions, along with a vast array of passive safety systems. Lexus’s new coupe also features all-speed adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, high-beam assistant, and a pre-crash safety system with pedestrian detection function.

Lexus will offer the LC500h with 20-inch cast aluminum rims as standard, but the hybrid coupe would also be available with forged aluminum 20-inch wheels, as well as forged aluminum 21-inch wheels. The body of the new Lexus LC500h boasts the brand’s latest iteration of the L-finesse design philosophy, and we admit it looks great. As we’ve said before, the size of the front grill might be too much for some, but the muscular appearance it provides suits the LC well.

Four-Speed Automatic Transmission

Lexus has made a curious choice for the transmission of the LC500h. The car features a four-speed automatic gearbox fitted at the rear of the hybrid transmission. The idea behind this is to improve acceleration times and throttle response using the powerful electric motor.

Furthermore, this is Lexus’s first full-hybrid model with driver-initiated gear shifts (not like the simulated gears on CVTs or e-CVTs). It will have an “M” (for Manual) mode to provide “direct and responsive gear shifts for the most engaging drive ever provided by a Lexus hybrid system.

Lexus claims its Multi-Stage Hybrid System weighs the same as its current hybrid powertrain even with the added weight of the automatic transmission. The trick the engineers employed to achieve this was to use a lithium-ion battery with a higher cell capacity and an advanced electric motor. Judging by the sketches Lexus provided, the battery is placed somewhere behind the rear seats, which makes us question the car’s handling.

Since the LC500h features a new platform called GA-L, maybe Lexus figured out a way to defeat the laws of physics and fit a massive object in a higher position than in other similar vehicles without affecting handling. For the moment, we can only assume how this car will handle, but we hope they did pull off a magic trick to make it hug the road even with the awkwardly mounted battery.

Curiously, Lexus prides itself on the LC500h’s “inertia specification,” a design solution through which they placed most of the vehicle’s mass as low and centralized as possible on the chassis. This contradicts the company’s renderings found in the photo gallery, where the battery for the hybrid system is positioned just above the rear axle.

However, Lexus does explain that they have eliminated the spare tire in favor of run-flats to improve weight distribution, and that their new short overhangs are essential to this car’s handling. The LC500h features a carbon fiber structure, with carbon and glass composite trunk lid, aluminum body elements, carbon fiber roof, and several other aluminum components. Other body parts are made of high-tensile steel to reduce weight and improve rigidity.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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