Lexus hybrid sports coupé set for Geneva debut

Toyota's luxury marque, Lexus will be taking the wraps off a production-ready hybrid version of its flagship LC 500 that promises greater enjoyment as well as lower emissions.

AFP Relaxnews| Last Updated: Feb 17, 2016, 14:03 PM IST
Lexus hybrid sports coupé set for Geneva debut

Toyota's luxury marque, Lexus will be taking the wraps off a production-ready hybrid version of its flagship LC 500 that promises greater enjoyment as well as lower emissions.

It will be badged the LC500h to avoid any confusion and will use the company's new multi-stage hybrid system so that it offers more than simply greater fuel efficiency. Lexus says that the powertrain will also up the performance, but by how much it won't reveal until the Geneva show itself, on March 1.

The LC500 was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January and very quickly established itself as one of the absolute stars of the show as well as the marque's new sporting flagship. Boasting a 2+2 layout, a 5-liter, 467bhp naturally aspirated V8 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission, the car can go from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

But the performance figures are almost secondary because the LC500 is the best-looking car to come from Lexus in a decade.

"The LC 500 has been an important product for Lexus and me personally," said Akio Toyoda, Chief Branding Officer and Master Driver for Lexus when he unveiled the car in Detroit. "A few years ago, we decided to guide the future of the brand with products that had more passion and distinction in the luxury market. This flagship luxury coupe's proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brand's emotional direction and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally."

Lexus and its parent company, Toyota, can claim to have been at the forefront of popularizing hybrid technology as a means of reducing fuel consumption. The Toyota Prius is the world's most popular hybrid.

However, the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 have all proved that as well as reducing environmental impact, the right type of hybrid powertrain technology can actually increase driving pleasure. Battery power can provide extra acceleration when a boost is needed and can compensate for the lag between burying the right foot in the carpet and the turbos spooling up.

Despite the huge premium that such cars carry, every one of the aforementioned McLarens and Porsches that will ever be built has been snapped up and BMW will be celebrating 5400+ i8 sales to date at this year's Geneva show.

All of which makes the event the perfect launchpad for the company that popularized the hybrid to get in on the hybrid performance act. All that remains to be seen is exactly how much performance the LC 500h will offer.