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Future models - Lexus - LF-C2 concept

LA show: Lexus lets the sun shine in

California dreaming: Lexus has chosen sun-soaked Los Angeles to reveal its second-generation convertible.

RC-based Lexus drop-top cruises into California to preview IS250C replacement

Lexus logo12 Nov 2014

LEXUS calls it a concept, but make no mistake – this two-door convertible to be unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show next week will make it into production in modified form within about 12 months as a replacement for the ageing IS250C.

Based on the new rear-drive RC coupe that in turn is based on the latest IS mid-sized sedan, the so-called LF-C2 – standing for Lexus Finesse Convertible Second Generation – was a no-brainer for the annual auto expo in Los Angeles, the world capital of sun-bronzed open-top motoring.

The car will be slowly revealed on the internet over 72 hours leading up to the full reveal at the media preview on November 19.

Lexus typically launches the production version of a new model about 12 months after showing the concept, so we are expecting it to hit American showrooms about this time next year, followed by Australia in the first half of 2016.

Because Lexus is calling the LF-C2 a concept, some changes will be expected to the later production version that will give Toyota’s prestige brand a weapon against the likes of BMW’s 4 Series Convertible and Audi’s A5 Cabriolet.

Powertrains are likely to match those of the RC coupe that will land in Australian showrooms late this year in its base V6 RC350 form before the blistering 348kW 5.0-litre V8 RC F is added in the first quarter of next year.

At some point, the convertible probably will get the new Lexus turbo-charged four-cylinder engine that has just made its global debut in the new 154kW NX crossover.

That engine would give Lexus a price leader to compete against BMW’s 420i and 428i Convertibles that kick off at $87,000 plus on-road costs in Australia.

Being a Lexus, a hybrid is also possible, although Lexus has not breathed a word of that.

Like the current IS250C that has done duty in this market since 2009, the LF-C2 is likely to have four-seats, a folding hardtop roof and a high level of equipment.

The 2.5-litre six-cylinder engine of the IS250C is being put out to pasture in the Lexus range and being progressively replaced by the more efficient, lighter 2.0-litre turbo four that, like German four-cylinder rivals, will come in a variety of tunes.

The bigger 3.5-litre V6 continues on in the RC coupe in which it produces 234kW of power and 380Nm of torque. It is matched with an eight-speed sequential transmission.

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

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