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No, thats not another version of the LF-LC its the all-new Lexus LC500 Coupe, which looks a heck of a lot like the showcar that preceded it way back in 2012. Thats not to suggest that the styling has aged well let you make up your own minds on that but at the 2016 Detroit autoshow where the car was revealed in near-production guise ahead of its showroom debut in some markets in 2017, there were plenty of jaws left agape.
There is a stunning resemblance between the concept version and the production car. But it's important to note that this is fully a Lexus project, one that was developed in-house without the assistance of any other company (so, it's not a Lexus version of the long-rumoured BMW/Toyota joint-venture model, aka the Supra). With a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine sending power towards the rear wheels through an industry-first 10-speed automatic gearbox, the LC500 Coupe is good for about 350kW of power (no torque figure has been made available, only a target of 530Nm), and a claimed 0-60 mile per hour (0-96km/h) time of under 4.5 seconds.
Its the same engine as is used in the RC F performance coupe, and that new gearbox should theoretically be able to make good use of the power on offer. Lexus claims the transmission has shift times "rivalling those of a dual-clutch transmission" and,further, says the gearbox is smaller and lighter than some current eight-speed units. Toyota Motor Corporation president and Lexus chief branding manager, Akio Toyoda, made it clear that he wanted this model to be "exhilarating in every way - inside, outside, and under the hood".And as such, the Lexus LC500 has, as Lexus claims, a "fantastic sound". It features an active exhaust system that opens the baffles in Sport mode to make it sound aggressive from start-up. In Normal mode the car still opens the baffles above 3500rpm, and there's a sound generator system that pumps noise into the cabin, too."We dont want to make cars to simply fill a category -we want to make cars to fill people's hearts," Toyoda said."When we designed the LF-LC concept it was to showcase the future Lexus design. We had no intention of turning it into a production car, but your positive reaction - as well as the reaction of our customers -changed our minds.
"We listened - and we made it real," he said, describing the car as"the result of the combined passion of our engineers and designers who worked together to turn the LF-LC into reality".The production coupe spans 4760 millimetres in length, 1920mm wide (yeah, and it looks it!) and just 1345mm tall, all while riding on a wheelbase of 2870mm.Lexus claims the LC500 has had "all of its dynamic control elements such as power application, braking, and steering tuned to operate rhythmically in sport driving conditions". And stopping shouldn't be an issue, either, with six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers.
While the steering wheel in the show car is on the left, the car will be built in Japan, and, as such, will be made in right-hand drive. And Australia has confirmed the car will be sold here, but timing is still to be confirmed.In a release from the company, recently appointed Lexus Australia chief executive Peter McGregor said he was delighted that it would be made available to our market."The LC500 epitomises the new spirit of Lexus and will act as a lighthouse model for our expanding range," McGregor said.The cockpit is perhaps not as outlandishly stylised as the exterior may suggest, but as the lead designer for the Lexus LC500, Todai Mori, told CarAdvice, there are some big advances in the cabin over the current crop of Lexus cars.
"This is kind of a new direction for Lexus," Mori said. "The drivers side has a very nice cockpit area. On the passenger side you have a more open comfortable feeling. We didn't want to make a sacrifice for passengers. Both seats need to have a very nice, comfortable, welcoming space."The car, according to Mori, was designed from the start as a 2+2 seater, and he said that while the vehicle may look similar to the concept car, it was a complete rework to turn it into a reality."The car is kind of a joint-venture. The original concept is from CALTY design in the United States and we worked closely, and also we kind of handed over this design. But we had to do everything from scratch, because the concept is just a concept car," he said."So weve got to start from platforms and suspension design, but we wanted to make it as low to the ground as possible. We asked our engineers: please, please make this suspension system. They worked so hard to fit it.
"This is an original Lexus design and engineering.The motor is carried over from the RC F, thats it," he said.
See more pics on CarAdvice
Its hard to understand why Lexus has been so often overlooked by those in the market for a quality prestige drive, but with the launch of the latest Lexus GS 350 F Sport, the Japanese carmaker seems primed to put itself squarely back in the spotlight.
This is a car that surely deserves your undivided attention, with fresh styling, even more kit and vastly improved handling and ride performance.
Mind, steeping into the ring with the likes of Audis latest A6, BMWs 5 Series, Mercedes-Benzs E-Class and Jaguars XF was never going to be a walkover for the Japanese carmaker, even one in pursuit of perfection. To succeed against this formidable Euro onslaught, Lexus knew it had to punch well above its weight if it was to convince discerning buyers to make the switch.
Performance, styling, and most of all, cachet, have always belonged to the German and Brit marques theyve been honing those qualities for near on a century. Lexus, on the other hand, has been building cars for less than three decades.
Despite the relatively short run, Lexus has made remarkable progress and nowhere is this more evident than with the recently-refreshed GS model. Its the culmination of 27 years of evolution in Lexus design and showcases the companys bold new corporate face that looks to be every bit as striking, as it is polarising.
The centrepiece to this newfound identity is the latest rendition of Lexus so-called spindle grille, which comes to life for the very first time on the new GS. It not only gives the car one of the most striking front-end designs in the brands current line-up, but in the entire luxury midsize segment.
That new face is further enhanced by swoosh-style DRLs (Daylight Running Lights), which not only provide the finishing touch, but also serve as a distinctive light signature amongst a set of exceptionally well-lit rivals.
Lexus seems to have found its mojo again, something it has struggled to rekindle ever since the company launched its groundbreaking LS 400 in 1989. There was a car that was universally praised for its quietness, refinement and superior build quality, although it was criticised by some for derivative styling.
Theres real character and desirability to this new look GS line, and if youre anything like me it definitely grows on you, especially after a week behind the wheel. I truly believe Lexus is at a turning point with their design language, where it is able to mount a genuine challenge against the best Europe has to offer in the sports-sedan segment.
Adding even more flair to our GS 350 tester is the popular F-Sport package, which has already become the default trim choice across the entire Lexus model range.
Lexus claims over 60 per cent of all Lexus customers choose the performance-focused F Sport spec over the entry-level Luxury trim and top-shelf Sports Luxury versions, regardless of the model.
Its an entirely understandable choice too, particularly with the GS, adding larger, more assertive 19-inch wheels (up from 18), unique exterior body kit including new front and rear bumpers, adaptive suspension, rear-wheel steering and variable ratio steering - all of which go hand-in-hand with the cars deservedly sporty character.
Inside, Lexus has pulled off a similar coup. This is a genuinely exciting place to spend some time. Whether youre carving up the corners, or just crawling along in traffic, theres plenty to like.
Materials are mostly a cut above most of those in European luxury rivals. Youd be hard pressed to find more supple leather than that used to upholster the entire GS 350 F Sport cabin. The front buckets offer such extraordinary comfort as to rival your favourite TV armchair; such is the degree of padding and anatomical design invested in them.
Even the leather padding on the armrests of each door feels extra thick and comfy, while the floor mats resemble shag pile rather than the standard half-millimetre material used in other makes.
Like any Lexus, the GS 350 F-Sport is equipped with a huge array of electronic gadgetry, though highlights include a high-end 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, Head-Up Display (HUD) and a super-size 12.3-inch infotainment screen (now with full-screen navigation), which controls all of the cars infotainment functions and Bluetooth telephony.
But the only way to move about the screen is via Lexus mouse-style Remote Touch Interface toggle, which despite various functional updates along the way, it remains an inherently fiddly device thats far from ideal, especially if youre on the move.
Although the 2016 GS will accommodate five, rear seat space is more suited to two adults of standard build and height. Taller folks will find rear leg and headroom less appealing. At around 520 litres capacity, boot space is on par with the segment, though the rear seats dont fold forward in order to expand that space further.
Perhaps the biggest gains for the new GS, outside of the design and comfort aspects, have been made in the ride and handling department. Its here where Lexus have finally produced a luxury sedan capable of putting a smile on your face, while matching its key competitors in the dynamic arena.
New to the 2016 Lexus GS range is the $75,000 entry-level GS 200t, which replaces V6-powered GS 250 and joins the updated GS 300h priced from $78,000, GS 350 from $94,000 and GS 450h priced from $106,000.
Whereas the new GS 200t uses the zesty new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (from the NX, IS and RX) that produces 180kW and 350Nm of torque, the GS 350 F Sport sticks with Lexus decade-old, naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, producing 232kW and 380Nm.
Despite its long service, its still a thoroughly modern engine with direct injection, quad cams and four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing. Its also smooth, free revving and one of the most refined powertrains in the business, especially when mated to an intelligent eight-speed auto transmission.
Mind, peak torque doesnt come on-song until 4800rpm, but it pulls well from around 3000rpm, though youll want to dial up Sport or Sport Plus modes for more potent engine response and quicker shift mapping.
Give it the beans from a standing start and it doesnt hang about, claiming 6.0 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. Top speed is 235km/h.
That said, drive it like a snail and you might achieve Lexus claim of 9.3L/100km for the GS 350 F-Sport, but drive it normally and youre more likely to see 12.8L/100km, as I returned over a week.
Lexus has got the electric power steering just about right on the GS 350 F Sport. This is one EPAS system that doesnt feel contrived. Combine this with adaptive suspension, active rear-wheel steering and superb weight balance and this is a car that rewards an enthusiastic driver with crisp, predictable handling.
The tightly damped body control means theres no discernable body roll on turn-in, even when forcibly hurried. You can honestly feel that rear axle steering at work, as is dials in up to 2 per cent of opposing steering angle to the front wheels.
While it might lack the full-blooded punch of the hard-core V8-powered GS F we drove late last year in Spain, the GS 350 F-Sport feels reassuringly familiar.
This is a proper sports sedan capable of delivering the same level of dynamic reward as any of its euro rivals with only a small sacrifice in ride comfort.
See loads more incredible pics of the GS350F on CarAdvice
Well before SUV was an acronym by a hundred years, give or take people began adapting sensible four- and five-door horseless carriages into two-door derivatives for little more reason than it looked cool.
And ever since, the expression of sportiness the coupe format presents for the sheer sake of it has swooned car buyers unbound by purely practical decision-making, if often limited by 'everyman' budget. The history of great-looking, modestly powered, reasonably priced coupes such as the 2016 Lexus RC 200t is roughly as long as motoring history itself.
Far more recently, though, the classic coupe idea became somewhat corrupted by heightened expectations of power and performance. Buyers expect excess, perhaps for the sake of it.
Lexus's maiden attempt at a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder RC, however, makes do with 180kW and 350Nm. You dont have to rewind too many decades to find supercars with such outputs, but by today's measures, they're fairly humble numbers even for a entry-level sporty coupe. Indeed, the 200t looks anaemicin the shadow of the V8-powered RC Fproducing, at 351kW, roughly twice the power.
At $133,110 plus on-road costs, the RC Fiswell beyond modest buyer budgets, but from $64,000 (for the entry Luxury), the RC 200t presents all of the F'sdramatic looksat half the price. It's pegged squarely at those buyers happy to forsake sheer performance for street presence, and so it should be judged.
Theres a dark cloud of precedence hanging over the RC 200t. Its doubly excessive and potent F stablemate scored a lowly 6.5 from ten after its week in the CarAdvice garage, where its sporting and performance credentials came under heavy scrutiny. Credentials of which the RC 200t presents with markedly more modesty
Even before it turns a wheel, it would be easy tempting, even to tar the RC 200t with a prejudicial brush, and consider it a performance pretender. To write of personal high hopes for the RC 200t would be quite the porky pie.
But when considered for what its trying to be, a big vibe coupe in a classic feel-good vein for modestly heeled buyers who care little for head-ripping performance, theres a lot to like. And after a week behind the wheel, old petrolhead here liked the RC 200t more than expected.
Our F Sport variant ups the entry price to $73,000 plus on roads. While essentially the same powertrain as the base ($64,000 list) Luxury, this mid-spec version adds variable adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels, larger 357mm two-piece front brakes, a rear limited-slip differential, an F Sport paddleshift wheel and driving focused seating as heightened sporting credentials. A 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, high-spec LED headlights, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert assists, and an engine note enhancing Acceleration Sound Control electronic aura exciter also weigh in this versions $9000 premium over the already nicely specified Luxury. For a complete rundown of range pricing and specs, see here.
What the RC 200t isnt lacking for is impact. Bonnet bulge apart, it takes trainspotting to pick one from the twice-pricey RC F. However, that the two-litre version packs nearly 100 per cent of the drama from fifty paces could be viewed as a tank half empty or full depending on opinion: a question of whether it should have the show if it cant deliver the go to match.It's hard to imagine buyers preferring a meeker design more suitably matched to packaged performance than what the brazen F Sport provides.
Its not quick. Even with 350Nm clocking on at just 1650rpm, while skipping over Sport drive mode straight to Sport+ (from a default Normal) and loading up the engine under brakes for a step-off launch, the 2.0-litre turbo four struggles to break the fat 265mm-wide rear Bridgestone Potenza tyres traction. Acceleration is hardly leisurely, but the powertrain strains under hauling 1700kg-odd towards the horizon, an no amount of sonic trickery from the Acceleration Sound Control which has skimmed some cream off the top of the LFA supercars exhaust note makes it feel any quicker than its makers 7.5s 0-100km/h claim.
Peak power arrives at 5800rpm, in a rather polite and fizz-free manner, and theres little hope of seeing the farthest reaches of the 6200-7000rpm redline spread as the eight-speed auto upshifts before red is ever reached, regardless of drive mode or if Manual mode is fully engaged frustrating, as attempts to paddleshift near the low-set rev-limiter can cause inadvertent double-upshifts. The transmission, with torque convertor lock-up in second through to eighth gear, is oh-so-Lexus smooth, but without much fire in its belly the powertrain feels as if it mightve been lifted from an SUV. Which it is, given the engine premiered in the 175kW/350Nm NX 200t.
Sport+ does inject some urgency but its fangs dont dig terribly deep and it creates enough belligerence in the otherwise tempered driveline that youll be reaching for Normal mode the moment you begin to slow.
While it doesnt shine its brightest when hustled, RC 200t is wholly more enjoyable through the balance of driving, from boulevard cruising to spirited back country touring. Despite very low-profile rubber, the ride comfort isnt overly firm for the sake of it, with impressive compliance that settles quickly over big bumps, smooths out small bumps and doesnt adversely affect the coupes nice, flat stance in corners. Its completely pleasant around town, yet blends in enough engagement to deliver a ride and handling balance thats more finely struck than some fancied European rivals.
Lexus claims 7.3L/100kms combined consumption, but around town the RC 200t averaged well into double figures, only dropping into the eights after a fair hike up the motorway. Interesting, the auto had a tendency to avoid seventh and eight gears until many kilometres of settling in under cruise control.
Push on the curves and its considerable heft weighs in, though its sizeable rubber footprint proves strident grip and theres nice clarity to the surprisingly sharp front end. The steering is excellent: linear in response and amply assistant without feeling either leaden or airy, it loads up naturally when you point it towards an apex while maintaining genuine connection between the driver and road surface. Resist the urge to treat it like a race car and its a satisfying machine to punt.
Much of the sporty satisfaction can be attributed to the cabin space. While its fussy styling mightnt be to all tastes, much effort has gone into both overall presentation and finer details, and it certainly not shy on making a generally positive impression.
The F Sport-spec seats, fully electric with memory functionality, are fantastic. Theyre completely trimmed in a mix of real and synthetic leather front, sides and back, are ornately stitched and have a high watermark for form-fitting shapeliness. Their positioning, which feels ultra low-slung thanks to the high set centre console, provides an excellent relationship to the wheel, pedals and instrument cluster featuring a central roundel that reconfigures the digital display if you choose Sport/Sport+ from Eco/Normal drive modes.
The feel-good premium accoutrements extend to the dark, low-lustre plastics, satin titanium-look and knurled metal look (door switch plates, glovebox lid) highlights and suede-like headlining. The impossibly lengthy, leather appointed door trims look a million bucks. Devils in details include electric wheel adjustment, a neat frameless rear-view mirror and a floor-hinged accelerator pedal. The analogue clock is certainly a nod Mercedes-Benzs way.
The haptic trackpad infotainment interface rather than the 'joystick' input as used in other models allows a reasonably intuitive sync with the on-screen selections, though the system itself can be slow to react and it's still clunkier than some slicker Euro rivals designs. Further, much of the functionality (Local Search, Destination Download, Fuel Finder) adopts the Lexus Enform format that relies on phone data rather than inbuilt resources.
If theres an area letting the team down in the cabin, its the lacklustre square buttons that festoon the central stack, and that Lexus still persists in such a sport-themed model with a foot operated parking brake.
Rear seating is typical two-plus-two in format and space for a coupe this size forget getting adults behind the drivers seat until the first row is jammed forward. There are Isofix and top tether facilities for child seats in the outboard positions in a car best suited for transporting small kids in the rear, which also features air-con vents in the rear of the centre console. The boot, at 423 litres, is actually quite roomy, its generous depth allowing space for golf bags and other lengthy objects.
As a package, the RC 200t delivers handsomely in style, presence and panache, while offering an impressively convincing all-round driving experience, in compensation for being a bit undersized in the trouser department. Its a fine fit for those coupe buyers who care nought about setting the pace.
Consider one thing though:the RC 350 range. Despite recently hiking all three variants prices, the V6-powered coupes can be had for just $3000 above equivalent 200t versions, the natural nemesis here being the RC 350 F Sport at $76,000 (against $73,000 list price for the 200t F Sport). And the 350 version adds active cruise, rear-wheel steering and variable ratio (front) steeringthough the jury is out as to whether this adds or subtracts from the enjoyment of the driving experience.
Tellingly, weve rated the RC 350 in review as the smarter choice compared with the mighty RC F. With a more fulsome 233kW, fatter 378Nm torque band and richer (though also electronically enhanced) sonic character, the RC 350 F Sport offers a thick veneer of sporting mojo perhaps the key missing ingredient thats absent in the RC 200t. And with its more strident 6.1sec march to 100km/h from a standstill, itll offer more bite underfoot on those occasions you need or want it.
Even prospective coupe buyers who care little for performance might be foohardy not to cross-shop the six-cylinder if the turbo four-cylinder version blips bright and loud on the coupe-buying radar.
See many more pics and info on CarAdvice
Lexus GS F launching in Australia in February
Spains former Grand Prix Circuit, Jarama, just outside Madrid, has played host to the international dynamic launch of the all-new 2016 Lexus GS F, which will arrive in Australia in February.Its the second full-strength high-performance F model to be launched in 12 months, after the RC F coupe arrived in Lexus showrooms at the start of this year.The GS F makes its presence known with an unmistakeably tougher stance with more attitude than its less powerful siblings. Theres a huge front grille that stretches from the bonnet to the extra-low carbonfibre splitter with additional air intakes feeding the massive Brembo brakes.Aerodynamics are also said to play a key role in the GS Fs overall shape. Its longer, wider and sits 15mm lower to the ground than regular GS models. The more aggressive look is highlighted by flared guards and a tasty set of forged alloy wheels shod with low-profile Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (255/35-front, 275/35 rear). Around back, theres a carbonfibre rear spoiler and the F brands trademark quad exhaust tips.
Underneath, the GS F gets specially designed undertrays below the engine and midsection of the car, which direct cooling air toward the rear differential.Based on the updated fourth-generation GS that's due to hit Australian shores in December, the GS F is armed with the same 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine found in the RC F, only this version is dynamically balanced after assembly.Lexus claims the GS F will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, while its top speed is listed at 270km/h.Also carried over from the Lexus coupe are the Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive setup with a torque vectoring differential fitted as standard. The system is designed to improve the cars dynamic performance by controlling rear-wheel torque distribution during cornering. Drivers can choose between several settings: Standard, Slalom and Track for optimum performance depending on driving conditions at the time.
Importantly, the engine note has been enhanced for the GS F with the inclusion of the new Active Sound Control (ASC), which electronically synthesises the engine sound and exhaust note in response to throttle pressure and paddleshifts. The sounds are then piped into the cabin through the speakers: front and rear speakers operate together in Sports S+ mode, while the rears operate during Sports S mode. The system is inert when driving in Normal and Eco modes.Additionally, extra baffling is also employed to further enhance the V8 burble, utilising stainless steel wool, as well as glass wool to achieve a deeper exhaust note.The GS Fs chassis tuning is more closely related to the RC F than the standard GS, particularly when it comes to suspension geometry. Torsional rigidity has been increased by around 20 per cent over the regular models through a host of changes including front and rear body bracing and newly developed mounts for the rear suspension.
While there is no adaptive damper option, the GS F employs a sophisticated double wishbone front suspension with lightweight forged upper and lower aluminium control arms, and a multi-link system for the rear.The GS Fs electric power-assisted steering system has been calibrated for more a more dynamic feel than the standard GS model, though the steering ratio remains the same.Inside, the GS F benefits from the regularmodels mid-life revision (the current generation launched in 2012) including a less cluttered design with a more driver-centric cockpit and improved functionality.Taking centre stage is still the ultra-wide 12.3-inch infotainment screen with high-resolution and high-colour definition graphics for all functions. Theres a large TFT tachometer in front of the driver, with speedometer to the right and information display to the left.Theres also an extensive inventory of creature comforts for Australian-delivered GS Fs including a 17-speaker 835-watt Mark Levinson sound system.
Materials are especially high-grade, with Alcantara covering much of the dash (reducing windscreen glare), centre console bin and some door trim.Australian buyers can also choose between carbonfibre and aluminium accents, as well as semi-aniline leather-accented or Alcantara sports seat trim. Interior colour schemes include Flare Red, Moonstone and black.As the range-topping model, the GS F also receives a suite of active and passive safety kit including 10 airbags, active cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist and adaptive high beam.Additionally, theres a tyre pressure warning system, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, back guide monitor and Drive Start Control, which, when sensing an abnormal shift while accelerating will reduce power output, helping to avoid a collision.
Lexus is positioning the GS F well under rivals such as the twin-turbo 423kW/680Nm BMW M5 and 430kW/800Nm Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S and more in-line with models such as the 331kW/550Nm Audi S6.The updated GS model will arrive in December, while the GS F is expected to hit showroom floors in February 2016, with pricing expected to be between $150,000 and $160,000 plus on road costs.
See more info and more pics on CarAdvice
I reckon this looks awesome! Let us know your thoughts in the replies.
Automobileblog.com has posted "Future Japanese Sports Cars: Nissan GT-R, Lexus SC, and Toyota Supra"
They have a little bit of info in the post and rough release dates;
Next GTR: Not before 2018
Lexus SX: Mid- to late 2016 as a 2017 model.
Toyota Supra: Industry rumblings vary, but the Toyota Supra likely arrives either in 2016 as a 2017 model or 2017 as a 2018 model. I think the Supra looks seriously awesome! And, as said in the post on AMB, carries a lot of design principles from earlier cars right up to the 2000GT. Interesting to have 2 x Toyota based vehicles and no Mazdas. My question is; Is this it? Is this the big three from Japan?