The new Lexus LC 500h coupe announced earlier this week will feature the luxury brand’s next generation hybrid power system, offering an enhanced driving experience with increased performance and efficiency.
The LC 500h is the latest addition to the stunning LC premium coupe line first revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month.
The petrol-electric model joins the LC 500, which was unveiled in Detroit and features a high output 5.0-litre V8 engine mated to the world’s first 10-speed automatic transmission in a luxury vehicle.
The new Multi Stage Hybrid System of LC 500h marries the elements of a traditional full hybrid powertrain – including 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, powerful electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack – to a four-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission.
The electric motor generates superior acceleration compared with a conventional engine, and adding physical gears more closely aligns engine rpm with driver inputs.
The result is an enhanced, direct connection between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration, with 0-100km/h times well into the sub-five second range.
The Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System also features ‘M’ Mode – the first driver-initiated gear shifts ever offered on a Lexus full hybrid powertrain.
‘M’ Mode gives the driver the ability to initiate direct and responsive gear shifts for the most sporting and engaging drive yet from a Lexus hybrid.
A new lightweight and compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery offset the weight of the added automatic transmission, meaning the Multi Stage Hybrid System weighs the same as the current hybrid powertrain.
All-new platform delivers engaging, responsive drive
The new LC 500h rides on a new platform designed to offer a significantly sharper, more refined driving experience.
It combines the superior ride quality befitting of a flagship luxury sports coupe with an engaging, dynamic drive and depth of character unlike that of any previous Lexus vehicle.
The LC 500 and LC 500h ride on the company’s all-new premium rear-wheel-drive platform that is part of a new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L).
The coupe’s underpinnings will become the blueprint for future front-engine/rear-wheel-drive Lexus models.
The platform design is fundamental to dynamic handling characteristics.
From the outset Lexus engineers focused on what they refer to as LC 500h’s ‘inertia specification’, placing most of the vehicle mass, including engine and occupants, as low and centralised as possible within the chassis.
Powertrain mass is located behind the front axle line to create a ‘front mid-ship’ layout, while short and rear overhands push the large diameter tyres to the vehicle’s extremities.
The wheels are shod with run-flat tyres that eliminate the weight and weight distribution penalty of a full-size spare tyre, while hip and heel points have been lowered.
In addition, the centre of gravity has been lowered by the introduction of technical innovations that reduce body weight.
– aluminium bonnet and fenders
– aluminium door skins mounted on a carbon fibre structure
– carbon and glass composite boot lid
– aluminium front suspension towers
– ultra-compact LED headlamps
– forged alloy wheels, and
– carbon fibre roof.
Extensive use of strategically located high-tensile steel body structures reduce weight, improve weight distribution and increase body rigidity to promote consistent, predictable handling behaviour and sharper steering responses.
Particular attention was paid to the development of the LC 500h’s multi-link front suspension, which caters for the large diameter wheels while accommodating a low bonnet line.
The suspension system features two upper and two lower control arms with double ball joints on each arm.
This arrangement optimises suspension geometry to facilitate precise control from driver inputs and road conditions, creating a sharper steering response.
Sprung weight has been reduced as much as possible through extensive use of lightweight, forged aluminium components.
The system also demonstrates exceptional rigidity under lateral g loading.
The combination of chassis and suspension development measures offers an entirely natural, non-taxing driving experience incorporating sharp responses, exceptional handling balance and straight-line stability matched with ride comfort appropriate for a Lexus flagship coupe.
Class-leading safety standards
LC 500h is fitted as standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+), the newly developed portfolio of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate the severity of collisions across a wide range of traffic situations.
Lexus Safety System+ began rolling out on Lexus models in 2015.
LSS+ combines a camera and millimetre-wave radar for a high level of detection performance.
The system features Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS) as well as All-speed Active Cruise Control (All speed ACC), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB) headlamp technology.
Further details on the LC 500h, including information on local market introduction and specification, will be announced at a later date.
LC 500h specifications
Overall length: 4,760mm
Overall width: 1,920mm
Overall height: 1,345mm
Layout: Front engine/rear wheel drive
F/R overhang: F: 920mm; R: 970mm
Wheel size: 1. 21 inch (forged aluminium available)
2. 20 inch (forged aluminium available)
3. 20 inch (cast aluminium standard)
Tyre size: 1. F: 245/40 RF21; R: 275/35 RF21
2. F: 245/45 RF20; R: 275/40 RF20
3. Fr: 245/45 RF20; R: 275/40 RF20
Engine type: 3.5-litre hybrid
Engine capacity (cc): 3,456
Valve mechanism: 24-valve DOHC VVT-i
Bore (mm): 94
Stroke (mm): 83
Engine maximum output (kW): 220@6,600
Engine maximum torque (Nm): 348@4,900
Battery maximum output (kW): 44.6
Battery type: Lithium
Battery voltage (V): 310
Battery weight (kg): 50
Total system output (kW/HP): 264/354
Target 0-100 km/h (sec): sub-5 sec