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Detroit show: Lexus raises the roof with LC Convertible

Roofless Lexus LC Convertible concept previews expected production model

Lexus logo11 Jan 2019

LEXUS has lifted the lid on its LC Convertible concept at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIS) in Detroit, which, given its near-production design, could hit showrooms as early as next year.

 

Though not yet confirmed for the road, the styling of the four-seat LC Convertible largely mirrors its coupe sibling that debuted at the same event in 2017 with one obvious exception.

 
Wearing Lexus’ signature spindle grille up front, a long bonnet and sleek headlights, the coupe and drop-top are nearly identical from the A-pillar forward, however, the removable top means no B-pillars for the LC Convertible, while the rear decklid has been reworked to accommodate the folding and stowage of the roof.
 
The LC Convertible concept also features 22-inch wheels that will likely be shrunk to 21 inches to match the coupe’s hoops and maintain a more pleasant ride comfort if the show car makes it to production.
 
Meanwhile, the interior also appears to carry over from coupe to convertible, with what appears to be the same 10.3-inch infotainment system, 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, leather appointments and plush first-row sports seats, the latter of which are finished in white for the drop-top concept.
 
Measuring 4770mm long, 1920mm wide and with a 2870mm wheelbase, the LC Convertible matches its coupe sibling in all dimensions barring height, where it sits 5mm lower at 1340mm.
 
However, the folding roof mechanism will likely add kilos to LC coupe’s already hefty two-tonne weight, which should also slightly dull performance from either the 351kW/540Nm 5.0-litre petrol V8 or 264kW/348Nm 3.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
 
For reference, both automatic versions send drive to the rear wheels, with the bent-eight coupe able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds thanks to its 10-speed torque-converter unit, while the more environmentally friendly LC500h hits the landmark triple digits in 5.0s via its four-speed torque-convertor and six-step continuously variable transmissions.
 
Fuel consumption will also likely take a penalty in the open-air LC. The V8 coupe returns a 11.6 litres per 100km and the fixed-roof hybrid sips 6.7L/100km.
 
Pricing for the road-going LC Convertible is also expected to be higher than the coupe, which wears an $189,629 and $190,000 before on-road costs pricetag for the free-breathing LC500 and petrol-electric LC500h respectively.
 
Lexus LC chief designer Tadao Mori said the LC grand tourer loses none of its aesthetic appeal in its transition from coupe to convertible.
 
“This concept takes the unmistakable design of the LC coupe and reimagines it as a future convertible,” he said. “It blends all the best aspects of the original coupe with the dynamic design of an open-air convertible.”
 
Since launching in Australia in mid-2017, Lexus has sold just 182 examples of its flagship LC two-door.
 
Last year saw 90 new registrations of the LC, placing it well off the pace of $80,000-sub sportscar segment leaders such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe and convertible (1520), Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe and convertible (751), BMW 4 Series coupe and convertible (645) and Audi A5 (594).

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