The Lexus LC is modelled after the LF-LC concept that originated back in 2012. It had its public introduction in 2016 before finally entering production in March 2017. Part of the Lexus brand, which operates as Toyota's luxury division, the Lexus LC is designed as a grand tourer (GT) car, combining luxury with performance. This two-door four-seat fastback coupe has a front-engine, rear-wheel drivetrain.
It is the first Lexus underpinned with Toyota's new GA-L platform, which was also incorporated by the fifth-generation Lexus LS that same year. Lexus had previously been catering to the GT market segment with its highly popular SC make, which had entered production in 1991 and remained in supply till 2010.
History of the Lexus LC
In many ways, the Lexus LC is a brand-new car that represents the future as envisioned by Lexus. Its origin, however, goes as far back as 1955 when the Toyota Crown first went into production in Japan. The Crown later inspired the creation of many other Toyota vehicles, including the Toyota Mark II (aka the Cressida) and the Toyota Soarer, which replaced the two-door coupe Mark II in 1981.
At the launch of the third-generation Soarer in 1991, Toyota had already established the Lexus division. It introduced the Lexus SC, a car very similar to the Soarer, in markets outside Japan. For years, Toyota simultaneously developed the Lexus SC and subsequent generations of the Soarer. In 2006, the automaker managed to integrate the production synergies of the two marques fully. That's when it decided to discontinue the Soarer and focus entirely on the Lexus SC, finally bringing Lexus into Japan.
Toyota Soarer (1981-2006)
Toyota had already ventured into GT cars before launching its Lexus division, with the launch of the Toyota Soarer back in 1981. The first generation Soarer, called the Z10 series, remained in production from 1981 till 1985.
The Soarer won the Car of the Year Award in Japan upon its launch, partially due to its technologically advanced features including the Electro Multi Vision Display, cruise control, ABS, and audio warning system. The conclusion of the Soarer in 2005 coincided with the introduction of the Lexus SC 430.
Lexus SC (1991-2010)
In 1991, Toyota commissioned the start of the third-generation Toyota Soarer, called the Z30. Around this time, a similarly-built Lexus SC 400 had its debut, marking the entry of Toyota's Lexus division in the grand tourer luxury car segment. The first-generation Lexus SC remained in production till the year 2000 and ended around the same time as the Soarer Z30.
The SC 400's 1UZ-FE V8 engine had a capacity of 4.0L, and till 1995 it boasted 186 kW power and 353 N∙m torque. Then, in 1996, these engines received an upgrade, delivering 194 kW in power. Another variant of the Lexus SC, called the SC 300, was also launched back in 1992, with a 2JZ-GE I6 engine delivering 168 kW power and 285 N∙m torque.
Both the SC 300 and SC 400 came with a 4-speed automatic transmission, with a 5-speed manual transmission option available in the SC 300 variant up until 1997, which is the year that both the car models received VVT-I upgrades. This improved ratings for both the SC 300 and the SC 400, raising them to 216 kW and 407 N∙m for the SC 400, and 168 kW with 198 N∙m for the SC 300.
The second-generation Lexus SC, called the SC 430, came in the year 2000. Fitted with a 4.3L 3UZ-FE V8 engine equipped with VVT-I technology and combined with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the SC 430 entered the market as a 2-door coupe convertible. It redefined luxury in the automobile sector and firmly established Lexus as a global luxury car brand capable of competing with luxury cars originating from different parts of Europe. In 2005, the SC 430 also entered Japan, formally replacing the Toyota Soarer brand.
The Lexus LC
After production for the Lexus SC 430 concluded in 2010, it was time for an upgraded version to enter the market. However, Toyota was in no rush to produce the next-generation SC and decided to work on a newer version of the coupe instead.
The company began work on the Lexus LC in 2011, giving birth to the Lexus Future-Luxury Coupe (LF-LC) concept car. In 2012, this concept previewed the upcoming Lexus LC at the North American International Auto Show.
Four years later, Lexus showcased the production version of the LC, called the LC 500 at the same venue. It boasted a 5.0L 2UR-GSE V8 engine delivering 351 kW power with 540 N∙m torque and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Meanwhile, its hybrid sibling, the LC 500h, took its debut in Geneva the following month. This hybrid Lexus SC combines a 3.5L 8GR-FXS V6 engine with a 44-kW lithium-ion battery to deliver a total system output 264 kW and 348 N∙m.
The naturally-aspirated V8 engine consumes 11.6L/100km of combined driving, while the hybrid system boasts of more efficient fuel consumption of 6.7L/100km.
The exterior of both models features sweptback slopes and sharp-edged lines. The fascia highlights include the signature spindle grille of Lexus and stylised compact LED headlights. Gorgeous taillight treatments, aerodynamic front and side air ducts, and 21-inch alloy wheels complete the look of the LC models.
Intuitive interior features make the LC a driver's car. It has heated front seats equipped with power lumbar support and a tilt-able leather steering wheel with a rim that can vary in thickness and shape. Both models have a sunroof, smart key, and a 13-speaker sound system.
Passive safety features include a complete airbag package (dual front, knees, curtain, side, side rear), load limiter seatbelts for the front seats, and driver's pretensioner seatbelt. Both models include a host of active safety systems mostly offered to premium models. The most notable features are hill descent control, active/intelligent cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a rollover mitigation system.