2018 Lexus LC500 Proves Lexus Isn’t Boring

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onJanuary 11th, 2016

Wow. That was the only word out of my mouth when I first laid eyes on the 2018 Lexus LC500 here at the Detroit North American International Auto Show. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this car, as Lexus has unveiled it as the LF-LC Concept way back in 2012, but I never envisioned Lexus actually putting together a production version that is so close to the concept car’s design and vision.

A concept car is an easy achievement as it is primarily hand built. To mass manufacture such vehicle, Lexus had to design the production version from the ground up, overcoming production obstacles throughout the design process to keep as much of the concept styling intact. The engineering and design teams closely collaborated throughout the process to create a brand new platform that achieves both the styling cues as well as performance targets for the LC500. This all new chassis lays the foundation for future Lexus rear wheel drive luxury performance vehicles.

Handling was a key focus for the new GA-L platform that the LC500 is built on. The track was designed to be as wide as possible, and the engine was placed behind the front axel, making the LC500 a front mid-engine rear wheel drive car, with a 52/48 weight distribution. The last Lexus performance vehicle with such a layout was the Lexus LFA, which the LC500 design team focused on exceeding in the chassis department. Torsional rigidity exceeds the LFA Chassis, while weight is kept in check with carbon fiber used extensively in the chassis, from the optional carbon fibre roof, to the carbon fibre doors, as well as extensive use of aluminum in the suspension components.

Powering the LC500 is the tried and true Yamaha tuned 5.0L V8 found in the RC-F, making 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. An exhaust baffle that opens up at 3500rpm allows the V8 to deliver spine tingling aural sensations. Coupled to this engine is an all new 10 speed automatic transmission that Lexus promises shifts as quick as dual clutch transmissions to deliver driving dynamics similar to its competitors.

As an owner of an RC-F, I am excited to finally see Lexus moving away from safe designs, and really focusing on performance and handling. We’ll update with a review of how well the Lexus engineers succeeded in creating a new level of performance with the LC500 once we get our hands on one. Until then, enjoy these photos from the Detroit NAIAS floor!

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