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Lexus prices LC against base 911 in US

Grand tourer: The Lexus LC500 tips the scales at more than 1900kg, making it among the heaviest of the luxury sports class.

351kW V8 Lexus flagship coupe on countdown to Australian launch in June

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Lexus logo4 May 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

LEXUS’ all-new large luxury sports coupe, the LC500, could be priced below most of its perceived competitors in Australia if United States pricing is any guide.

Due to be launched here in the first week of June, the Japanese-built 5.0-litre V8 351kW two-door four-seater is priced from $US92,000 in the US, just $900 more than the base Porsche 911 Carrera with its 272kW 3.0-litre naturally aspirated flat six.

In Australia, that rear-wheel-drive Porsche 911 starts at $221,200 plus on-road costs, which could be an indication of the Lexus local target price for its long-awaited grand tourer.

If Lexus Australia does pitch its newcomer at that price level, it would be about $10,000 cheaper than BMW’s 4.4-litre 650i and about $80,000 more affordable than the M6 Coupe, as well as almost $40,000 under Mercedes-AMG’s cheapest GT.

The current most expensive Lexus sportscar is the mid-sized V8 RC F Carbon at $158,837 plus on-road costs.

Australian pricing and final specifications for the LC range will not be announced until the mid-year media launch, but Lexus Australia has confirmed at least two versions, the V8 LC500 and the hybrid-powered LC500h.

In the US, the hybrid version is priced about $3500 or 3.4 per cent above the LC500 – a price premium that is expected to be reflected in the Australian line-up.

Lexus Australia PR manager Nick Raman cautioned that the Australian LC range specification and other factors would affect local pricing, making comparisons with the US pricing a fraught exercise.

However, many of the mechanical features of the Australian version have now been confirmed via the official Australian design rule (ADR) website, including the V8’s 351kW output at 7100rpm and inclusion of a world-first 10-speed automatic transmission.

While the LC500 has a power comparable with the $282,700 Carrera GTS at 331kW, it is considerably heavier, tipping the scales at a hefty 1915kg tare mass, according to the ADR document.

That is more than 500kg more than the official ADR tare mass of the 911 Carrera which starts at 1341kg and rises to 1356kg, depending on variant, as well as about 340kg heavier than Mercedes-AMG’s GT and more than 200kg heavier than the BMW 6 Series.

Lexus says the V8 LC accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, which is more than half a second slower than rivals such as the Carrera GTS, M6 and AMG GT.

However, the LC will be loaded up with luxury fittings, including a hand-stitched leather and Alcantara interior trim and 13-speaker Levinson sound system.

The hybrid version marries a 220kW 3.5-litre V6 with a 132kW electric motor drawing electricity from a lithium-ion battery. Total output is 264kW, which is said to be good for a 0-100km/h sprint time.

The hybrid powertrain includes a world-first four-stage hybrid drive system, although the ADR document classes it as a single-gear continuously variable transmission (CVT).

And although the front brake discs are described as 337mm in global launch materials, the ADR description is a hefty 400mm.

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