Sitting front and centre on the Lexus stand at this year’s Paris motor show was the LC 500h - the hybrid version of the Japanese premium brand's new V8-powered LC 500 flagship coupe.
Both cars made their global debuts earlier in the year, but the Paris show has given us another chance to get up close and gawk at the hybrid before it arrives in Australia in 2017.
In a victory over the fun police, the LC 500h - like its V8 brother - stays true to the dramatic LF-LC concept’s design which made us do a double take in 2012. With that big mesh grille flanked by small headlights, the long low bonnet which flows into the heavily raked windscreen and a roofline that swoops down before fanning out to those wide guard, it looks stunning.
Lexus touts that it’s the only hybrid vehicle which will let you do a burnout - pity the constabulary won’t.
Lexus calls the LC 500h the start of a new phase for the premium Japanese brand both in terms of design and engineering. It has Lexus’s new global platform which the company will use for future rear- and front-wheel drive vehicles. Carbon fibre door frames with aluminium doors skins help keep weight down. So does an aluminium bonnet and front guards, plus aluminium alloy wheels. High tensile steel was used for the body structure itself.
The total length of the LC 500h is 4760mm, width is 1920mm, the wheelbase 2870mm and its stands just 1345mm tall which is 125mm shorter than Danny DeVito.
Tyres at the front are 245mm wide and that’s 275mm of rubbery goodness on the rears.
The LC 500h has what Lexus has terms a “Multi-Stage Hybrid” system which involves a regular automatic transmission for the first four gears and a CVT simulating the next six.
0-100km/h in under five seconds is the claim, so if that means 4.9 seconds then it’s “one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus” slower than your typical supercar.
A 3.5-litre V6 sits just behind the front axle and works with two electric motors to send drive to the rear wheels, with Lexus touting that it’s the only hybrid vehicle which will let you do a burnout - pity the constabulary won’t.
It looks fast, but is it? Well, 0-100km/h in under five seconds is the claim, so if that means 4.9 seconds then it’s “one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus” slower than your typical supercar.
According to specifications released by Lexus Australia the maximum output for the V6 is 220kW and 348Nm, while the battery makes 44.6kW. Lexus lists the total combined output as 264kW.
If you were doing a spec-for-spec comparison it looks like there’ll be a degree of rivalry between the LC 500h and the 266kW BMW i8 hybrid. Sure, the outputs are a close match but the Bimmer’s $299,000 price tag is expected to exceed the LC 500h’s by about a hundred grand.
Does the LC 500h tickle your fancy? Twell us what you think in the comments below.