Lexus is looking to become a little sportier, and the vehicle it hopes will get there is the new RC coupe. This week, prior to its public world debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show later this month, the luxury marque revealed the sporty, new production 2+2 that will be offered in both V6 and hybrid versions.
Ever since the Lexus LF-LC concept first showed its spindle grille at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, its production has been the subject of speculative reports and suggestive executive sound bites. When we first saw the RC coupe, along with Lexus' description of it as a "concept-to-reality coupe" with influence from the LF-LC, we figured this was the production LF-LC. It turns out, it's not.
We reached out to Lexus for confirmation, and it said that the RC is based on the LF-CC, a less dramatic LF-LC successor revealed at last year's Paris Motor Show. The RC coupe does share some styling elements with the LF-LC, but it's not a production version.
Lexus plans to debut the car in both RC350 3.5-liter V6 and RC300h 2.5-liter hybrid variants at this month's Tokyo show. Because the RC is based on the LF-CC concept, its hybrid powertrain is likely the same 2.5-liter full hybrid powertrain from the concept.
At the time of the LF-CC's debut, Lexus mentioned that concept's gas-electric powertrain was headed for production, but it didn't detail all of the specifications. However, it did reveal that it combined an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor, high performance battery and generator. With the help of a power split device and planetary reduction gears, it balanced engine, motor and generator operation to meet driving conditions and achieve a targeted 100 g/km CO2 emission figure.
The dual-zone driver's area of the RC coupe is also derived from the LF-CC. The upper display zone houses a 7-inch navigation screen and instrument panel, while the lower operational zone has a Lexus-first Remote Touch Interface tucked into the center console. From there, the interior is dressed in contrast trim, upward-emanating lighting and Shimamoku wood accents.
While the LF-LC isn't the basis of the RC coupe, certain styling cues do trickle down. That influence is seen in the RC's triangular, three-lamp LED headlight design and big, bold spindle grille, which makes a transformation from all mesh to a split design. Lexus says that the grille is the widest, lowest, most aggressive interpretation of its signature spindle to date.
Lexus is clear that the RC coupe is aimed at attracting new demographics to the brand. Styling is the centerpiece of the four-seat model, with Lexus qualifying it as injecting "emotional appeal into the Lexus DNA that is synonymous with build quality, refinement and reliability." To set the RC apart from other members of the Lexus fleet, designers have given it "deeply contoured lines never before seen in the Lexus line-up" and used a new, multi-layer painting process for a brighter, richer look. Lexus mentions 10-spoke, 19-inch and five-spoke, 18-inch aluminum wheel options.
Lexus will also bring a turbo version of the LF-NX crossover concept revealed in Frankfurt to Tokyo. We plan to bring back photos and details of these models, along with the other highlights of the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The show gets underway on November 20.
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