Earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show, Lexus unveiled the visually stunning LC 500 as their flagship coupe of the line-up. Inspired by the LF-LC concept which debuted in 2012, the LC displays a movement in Lexus’ engineering as well as design and marks the start of a new phase for the brand. Alongside the V8 engine in the LC 500, Lexus have now announced the Lexus LC 500h, which houses the world’s first Multi Stage Hybrid System.
When developing the new hybrid system, Lexus developed it with two key goals in mind, finding the best balance of power and fuel consumption. This new system combines a traditional hybrid system, consisting of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and an electric motor, to a 4-speed automatic gearbox found at the rear of the hybrid transmission. Adding physical gears to the electric motor more closely aligns engine revs to the driver’s inputs, Lexus claim. The LC 500’s hybrid sibling does also still keep it’s 10-speed automatic gearbox accessed through magnesium paddles behind the wheel. Essentially, this new system creates a greater connection between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration for hybrid drivetrains. The 354 bhp this setup produces is also capable of propelling the LC 500h from 0-62mph in less than 5 seconds, although a precise figure is yet to be announced.
Just like the standard LC 500 unveiled last month, this hybrid variants sculptured body shape and dynamic design features encourage spirited driving. The driver’s hip point is as close to the car’s centre of gravity as possible for maximum feedback and the whole interior is designed to be as comfortable yet focused as possible. More noteworthy design elements include a structure which is stiffer than the highly accredited carbon-cored Lexus LFA.
The Lexus 500h is expected to start from around the £100,000 mark although no exact figure has been confirmed. It looks also to be a very capable machine and shows a lot of promise for Lexus’ brand reinvention for design and engineering. The LC 500h will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in early March.