Lexus tries to redeem itself of the RC F with the LC 500

When Lexus released the RC F, most people expected a LF-A with more traditional looks, but what they got was a LS 460 with two doors. Even if it is a beautiful car, it is just too heavy to provide the driving its design promises. Now it seems Lexus wants to redeem itself and to offer its clients a true sports car. And a much finer vision, if we may say so. This is the company’s star at the 2016 NAIAS, the LC 500.

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Featuring the same 5.0 V8 that is under the hood of the RC F, the LC 500 is slightly bigger than its sibling. It is a 4.76 m long, 1.92 m wide and 1.35 m tall coupé with a wheelbase of 2.87 m, while the RC F is 4.70 m long, 1,84 m wide, 1.39 m tall with a wheelbase of 2.73 m. As a four-seater, it will accommodate rear passengers in a better way, but the similar sizes are still confusing us. Would it replace the RC? But it has been presented only two years ago…

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One clue about it is what Lexus has reported about the new car. It is built over a new rear-wheel drive global platform, the GA-L. Lexus deems it as its new blueprint for front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles. In order to give the car proper sports car dynamics, most of the mass has been placed lower and in a more central position. Mass distribution, in the LC 500, is 52% in front and 48% at the back, a proportion Lexus considers to be ideal. Some brands, such as Ferrari, prefer more weight over the rear axle, for traction purposes. Some others, such as BMW, Subaru and Mazda, claim a 50/50 mass distribution is the perfect one.

While the engine is the same 5.0 V8 used by the RC F, able to produce 348 kW at 7,100 rpm and 527 Nm at 4,800 rpm, the transmission is a new 10-speed automatic that Lexus says is faster than a dual-clutch automated gearbox. Let’s wait for the car presentation in order to confirm such claims. Wheels are 21-inch units, with 245/40 RF21 Michelin Sport tires at the front axle and 275/35RF21 at the rear axle.

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The total weight of the car has not been released so far, but Lexus has made a good deal of effort in order to say it will be a light car considering its size. The company claims it has used a lot of light materials in order to lower the mass, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, fiber glass, pompously called G-SMC, and ultra high strength steel. Check how these materials are distributed throughout the body of the coupé. Suspension parts are made of forged aluminum, in order to reduce unsprung mass, and Lexus says the LC 500 has the stiffest unibody the brand has ever created. The rear multilink suspension uses a dual ball joint arrangement both in the upper and lower control arms, what optimizes suspension geometry in order to increase wheel control and provide a better steering response. The front suspension, attached to a subframe, is composed by a double wishbone arms.

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As it is expected of any Lexus, luxury is part of the package. Alcantara seats and magnesium alloy paddle shifters are just the most evident sophisticated materials applied to the car. Check the interior below.

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Sale will probably begin in the USA in a matter of months, since Lexus has not informed when the car will be delivered to dealers. One thing is for sure: when it gets there, it will drive a lot of attention to the brand, as any good image car manages to do.

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.