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LA show: Lexus faces up to a new audience

Golden glow: The Lexus LF-C2 puts on an aggressive face for the next-generation convertible from Japan’s leading luxury car company.

Distinctive Lexus LF-C2 roadster concept shapes the future for drop-top buyers


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20 Nov 2014

LEXUS designers have taken their corporate “spindle grille” design theme to extremes in the LF-C2 concept roadster unveiled today at the Los Angeles motor show.

Wider, deeper and more pronounced than ever before, the big black Darth Vader face on the 2+2 convertible – based on the new RC coupe – is another indication that Toyota’s luxury car arm is determined to tread its own path after being accused of derivative styling in its early years.

Even if the design is toned down for production as an expected replacement for the ageing IS250C, the car is clearly shaped to lure younger buyers to the brand, joining the new breed of Lexus vehicles such as the NX compact SUV for the young at heart.

Officially, the LF-C2 – standing for Lexus Finesse Convertible Second Generation – is a design study for a roadster, exploring “key themes involved in the Lexus brand’s future bolder styling direction”.

Said Lexus group vice-president and general manager Jeff Bracken: “This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus’ devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience.” No powertrain or other mechanical details were given for the drop-top four seater, but it is likely to get similar engines, transmissions and chassis items to the IS-based RC coupe that lobs in Australian showrooms next week.

At 4795mm long, the LF-C2 is 20mm longer than the RC coupe, perhaps due to the pronounced lower lip of the grille that features a braided black appearance in a metallic surround.

Lexus says the grille changes its appearance when viewed from different angles and in different lighting conditions.

The LF-C2 width is an identical 1840mm, while the roof height of the convertible is said to be 10mm lower, at 1385mm, although Lexus was at pains to point out that the concept has no roof.

That roof is likely to be a folding metal unit, similar to that of the IS250C that will continue in showrooms until the production version of the LF-C2 replaces it.

The concept sits on distinctive 20-inch alloy wheels and has LED headlights and boomerang-shaped daytime-running lights – a theme that is carried over to the LED tail-lights.

At the back, a black diffuser houses quad exhaust tips stacked in pairs – a hint of a hot V8 ‘F’ version to take on the BMW M4 and Audi RS5 Cabriolet at some point.

A stand-out feature of the show car is its yellow metallic paint that Lexus says is the result of multiple layers starting with primer, a coat of silver, then clear, then yellow and a final top coat. The yellow coats are said to reflect off the silver to give a brilliant lustre.

Inside, the dash follows the latest Lexus trends, and is similar to that of the latest IS. The centre console runs the length of the cabin – a design that is unlikely to make it into production in the interests of freeing up rear-seat space.

LED mood lighting also runs the length of the cabin below the windows.

Lexus dealers could sorely use the new convertible, having sold the first-generation mid-sized IS250C since 2009.

The current IS250C comes in three levels – $76,130 Prestige, $82,130 F Sport and $94,130 Sports Luxury.

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