In the galaxy of Lexus, the LFA is a new exotic two-seater, produced in limited quantity. Starring in Lexus’s presentation at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is another car with an “LF” prefix, but it’s a different sort of coupe. Making its premiere appearance, the Lexus LF-LC Hybrid 2+2 Sport Coupe Design Concept was created at Calty design studio in California, to explore and showcase the future of Lexus design.
The LF-LC concept “continues the Lexus design revolution started with the CT and GS,” says Mark Templin, Lexus group vice-president and general manager, adding that the hybrid 2+2 “liberates the idea of a sport coupe.” In Japan, the Lexus Center had issued a challenge to the American design studio, to develop a design for a future hybrid sport coupe concept. Kevin Hunter, president of Calty, refers to “this beautiful interpretation of Lexus originality.”
Expansive use of glass is one of the styling highlights. Lexus points out the interior’s “organic” shapes and materials, emphasizing “driver-focused” design. The LF-LC’s goal was “emotive, avant-garde beauty,” accompanied by advanced technology.
An interpretation of the “signature” Lexus spindle grille gives the mesh pattern what Lexus calls a 3-D sculpture form, framed by a deep aluminum surround. Functional air intakes occupy the bottom corners of the grille. Daytime running lights are L-shaped, while vertical foglamps employ a fading dot matrix pattern, intended to suggest movement. Patterns of the rear foglamps also echo those used in front.
The glass roof of the LF-FC has a lightweight, cantilevered pillar with a glass-to-glass juncture said to be inspired by modern architecture. The rear deck echoes the spindle-grille theme used up front. Taillamps are said to be inspired by the appearance of a jet’s afterburner at take-off, with inner lighting meant to create a sense of depth.
Inside, the driver is said to be “enveloped by deeply scooped side panels and a high, curved console.” The interior is trimmed in leather and suede, with brushed metal and wood accents. Lightweight, race-inspired front seats complement the racing-style steering wheel, which contains the start button.
A remote touch-screen device allows the driver to operate controls with shifting position or altering line-of-sight. Twin 12.3-inch LCD screens provide an information and navigation display, with a touch-screen control board at the center console. Multi-level meters ahead of the driver display temperature, fuel and the background for an Eco meter on the bottom layer. At the top are indicators for the tachometer, speedometer, and Eco meter.
Although the LF-LC concept has rear-wheel drive with Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, it’s not intended to foretell a forthcoming model. Templin simply calls it “thought-provoking” as well as “a stunning expression of creativity.”
Also at the Detroit show, Lexus is introducing the modestly revamped 2013 LX 570 luxury utility vehicle. Changes for 2013 are mostly in details, inside and out, including a “new look” at both front and rear. Turn signals have been added to the side mirrors, mahogany wood now accents the cabin, and the driver’s seat gets a new Easy Access system.