What is it?
The Lexus LC 500.
The man whose name essentially is on the building at Toyota admits the company's luxury brand has a reputation for well-built but boring cars. The LC 500 is the company's response "so that boring and Lexus should never be in the same sentence again."
The successor to the late but largely unlamented LC 430, which ceased production in 2010, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, looks anything but boring. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, said it hues as closely as regulations allow to the LF-SC concept shown at Detroit in 2012, a car the company never intended to build until Toyoda, who championed Lexus's shift to more exciting products and prides himself for becoming a master test driver, pushed for it.
The rear-drive LC 500 boasts solid performance, as many Lexus products do, but unlike them, it's potentially more emotionally involving. It features perhaps the best execution of the brand's signature large-mouth grille. The fastback body's sharp creases and flat planes merge well with subtle curves on its flanks. It sports the requisite brake-cooling ducts on the nose and ahead of the rear wheels and a modest rear spoiler. Some might see hints of Jaguar's F-Type; not a bad thing. The 2+2 interior has the usual Lexus attention to detail, with sporty front buckets and the full array of electronic safety features.
Under the hood
The new coupe is powered by the 5.0-litre V-8 found in the Lexus RC F and GS F, an all-aluminum, 32-valve unit, here producing 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. Naturally aspirated, it breathes through a dual-intake inlet and its growly exhaust note sounds like something from a Mercedes AMG, boosted by a sound-generator system to make sure you get the performance message. Estimated 0-60 mph time is less than 4.5 seconds.
What else is new?
The LC 500 uses a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which Lexus touts as a first in a luxury car. It claims its shift times rival dual-clutch units while being lighter than current eight-speed gearboxes. It ups the ante over Mercedes' nine-speed units.
When can we buy it and for how much?
The LC 500 will hit Lexus showrooms in 2017, pricing is unannounced but presumably will depend on the state of the Canadian dollar.
4 stars (out of 5)
Could this make you fall in love with a Lexus?
The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.