Car News:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

Lexus Gives Sneak Peak of Coupe Concept

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author photo by Nick Palermo January 2012
  • LF-LC is a 2-door, 2+2 sport coupe concept
  • Debuts next month at the Detroit Auto Show
  • Styling builds on new, more emotional design language


Though Lexus enjoyed early success with its sporty SC models, the company now builds only two models with 2 doors - the convertible IS C and the only millionaires need apply LF-A supercar. Should a new luxury coupe be among future offerings, it may look like the LF-LC, a concept car Lexus is bringing to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next month.

The sleek, glass-roofed machine in Lexus's teaser photos shows the evolution of the company's new design philosophy, which aims to strike a more emotional chord than the more restrained, safer designs of previous models. The first example of that new direction, which is sportier and more aggressive, can be seen on the upcoming 2013 GS. In the LF-LC, styling is sportier yet, reminiscent of a luxury-touring take on the outrageous LF-A supercar.

Sharp points seem to be a theme of the new look. L-shaped metallic trim makes a sharp angle at each end of the coupe, under the headlight and taillight assemblies. Along with a low roof and raked rear glass, these trim elements make the LF-LC appear longer. An air intake on the lower body just ahead of the rear wheel adds sports car flair. Up front, three beady lamps peek out of squinty headlight clusters. A vertical air intake resides below. While the grille is barely visible in the teaser photos, one close-up suggests Lexus's signature "spindle" grille, similar to the one on the new GS.

While exterior styling reveals the gentle evolution towards a new, more aggressive design philosophy, the inside takes the kind of bold step forward that makes concept vehicles interesting. A daring mix of wood, metal and stitched leather flows together in big, swooping curves. The driver's seat is thin, elegant and modern, swathed in ivory-colored upholstery and trimmed with metal accents. The presentation is simple but appears clean and highly refined. Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager, says the LF-LC is the result of starting the design process from scratch.

"Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine," said Templin. "The clean lines of the vehicle emphasize motion, creating a distinctive look for this futuristic sport coupe."

Futuristic it is, especially inside. We'll find out in Detroit if the LF-LC also employs futuristic bits under the hood, like an electric or hybrid powertrain.

What it means to you: The LF-LC coupe concept provides a look at Lexus's sportier, more angular future - and possibly a new production model.

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Lexus Gives Sneak Peak of Coupe Concept - Autotrader