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Lexus LC600h in the blocks

Tentatively called the LC600h, a tag that makes an obvious hybrid connection to the existing LS600h luxury sedan.

Production of the SC ended in August and only 690 were sold during nearly a decade in Australian showrooms.

There were some positives to the SC430 - its smooth 4.3-litre V8 engine, the folding hardtop roof and brilliant Mark Levinson sound system - but Lexus has much bigger ambitions for the new LC two-door.

The exclusive Carsguide sketches show a car with a rakish body that takes its cues from the Lexus LF-A supercar, with far more space and grace than the dumpy SC.

It is tentatively called the LC600h, a tag that makes an obvious hybrid connection to the existing LS600h luxury sedan.

The LC will reportedly employ a shortened version of the next- generation LS chassis, as well as an updated version of the 5.0-litre V-8 hybrid system from the LS600h L and the same car's all-wheel drive system.

Like the outgoing SC, Japanese sources say LC is also being developed as a convertible with a retractable metal roof.

Expected to out-perform its European competitors, the LC600h will reportedly generate some 370 kilowatts and will sprint from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds.

According to a Lexus insider, the company sees the new LC as the car that most captures the essence of what Lexus is all about _ performance, luxury and the environment _ more so than any Lexus model to date.

It's an upscale configuration that should elevate the car a status rivalling the Mercedes SL, something the SC was never able to accomplish.

The LC is currently being developing in the shadows of the next LS, and our Lexus insider tells us not to expect the LC before its four- door LS brother hits showrooms in 2014.

"If we don't get anymore nasty surprises on the economic front, then anytime after 2015 might be the right time for the LC," he says.

While work is well advanced on the LC600h, Toyota is still struggling for traction with a revival of its thuggish Supra coupe.

But it's not giving up and a Japanese insider says Toyota recently applied for a patent on the Supra name in the USA, a move that fuels stories about the possible re-launch of the model, which was killed in 2002.

Toyota has reportedly tried to kick-start a Supra rebirth several times over during the past five years. The FT-HS hybrid sports, an edgy coupe concept that starred at the 2007 Detroit Motor Show, was the latest failed attempt.

No-one at Toyota will confirm a Supra program, but there are hints that the name could be used for a future hybrid sports car or perhaps a special grade model.