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New Lexus LC 2020 detailed: BMW 8 Series and Mercedes S-Class rival gets performance upgrade

The LC is Lexus’ flagship sports car.

Lexus Australia has confirmed an update for the LC coupe will arrive in June, ahead of its debuting convertible sibling due late this year.

The 351kW 5.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol V8 LC500 and 264kW 3.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid V6 LC500h have returned, but both get revised automatic transmissions.

The former’s 10-speed torque-converter unit has improved shift patterns, with upshifts now taking place at higher engine speeds when the accelerator pedal is 60-70 per cent engaged “for more immediate performance”, according to Lexus.

The latter’s four-speed torque-converter and CVT (continuously variable) combination is now able to downshift to second gear (previously third) when braking in the Sport S and Sport S+ drive modes for improved acceleration out of corners.

The LC’s suspension has also been reworked “to reduce weight, enhance ride comfort and sharpen handling", according to Lexus.

Specifically, the lower front control arm is now 1.65kg lighter and has therefore improved steering feel alongside the stronger instrument-cowl bracing.

The shape of the front control has been tweaked alongside the front rebound spring rate stabiliser bar to reduce the in-cabin road noise.

The front and rear coil springs have been strengthened and the length of the adaptive dampers has been changed, “with new control-software parameters providing linear response and improved control”, according to Lexus.

Rear roll rigidity distribution has also been revised to enhance the driver’s perception of body control through the bends and therefore assist with more accurate cornering.

The rear axle now has tweaked spring rates, a hollow stabiliser bar and new 21-inch alloy wheels that are 700g lighter. Yamaha-developed performance dampers also debut to better absorb twists minimise body vibrations during spirited driving.

Previously part of the LC’s optional Enhancement Pack, Active Cornering Assist (ACA) is now standard, utilising the electronic stability control system (ESC) to subtly brake the inside wheels during hard cornering, which therefore feels more natural and neutral for the driver.

Upgraded Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) replaces ACA in the Enhancement Pack, which also features retuned all-wheel steering for improved high-speed stability and low-speed manoeuvrability.

As part of the update, the LC also gets a heated steering wheel as standard as well as an ‘easy access’ function for its front seats to aid first-row ingress and egress.

Two new full-time paintwork options are available (Carnelian and Khaki Metal) alongside two new upholstery options, with Flare Red combining black with red, and Manhattan Henge mixing black with ‘sunset’.

Pricing and full specification for the BMW 8 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival will be announced closer to its launch. For reference, the coupe currently checks in at $189,792 and $190,350 plus on-road costs in its LC500 and LC500h forms respectively.