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Paris show: Lexus goes coupe crazy

Bringing emotion: The Lexus LF-CC will attract customers who buy with their heart, as well as their head.

Slick Lexus LF-CC concept is one of two coupes on production fast track

Lexus logo28 Sep 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

JAPANESE luxury car-maker Lexus plans to bring not one but two mid-sized coupes to market as a matter of priority to enhance the brand.

Lexus International president Kiyotaka Ise said Lexus lacked such emotional models in its current range and planned to rectify that by producing new models based on two sports concepts shown at international motor shows this year.

One would be modelled on the LF-LC concept shown at the Detroit motor show in January – thought to be a Porsche 911 competitor – and the other on the LF-CC coupe – a two-door precursor to the next IS range due next year – revealed yesterday at the Paris motor show.

Mr Ise said Lexus had replaced most of its model range this year, with new or revised GS, ES, LS and RX models coming into showrooms with aggressive new styling based on Lexus’ L-finesse design language with the distinctive spindle grille.

He said one main goal of the makeover was to attract younger buyers to the Lexus brand.

Asked if Lexus regarded a compact luxury SUV as a priority addition to the range, Mr Ise said: “What we don’t have is a coupe like the LF-CC you saw here (at the Paris motor show) today – an emotional car.

31 center imageFrom top: Lexus International president Kiyotaka Ise Lexus LF-LC concept.



“We will have such cars in the near future.” Mr Ise said Lexus had no firm plans to build a mass-production version of the LF-LC when it was shown in Detroit, but now was looking at creating such a model line after receiving high praise for the design.

“LF-LC we plan to launch as a coupe in the near future,” he said.

GoAuto understands that the latest version of that concept is heading to Sydney to make its global debut at the Australian International Motor Show next month.

Mr Ise declined to say when the new coupes would arrive in showrooms, saying: “That is the one thing I can’t tell you.” The mid-sized rear-drive IS – Lexus’s BMW 3 Series rival – is commonly believed to be up for renewal some time next year.

The LF-CC is almost certainly the design study for the next IS, which would most likely kick off with a sedan, with the new coupe and convertible following later.

Journalists covering the Paris show were universally high in their praise for the LF-CC concept, which looked close to production ready.

The concept is powered by a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, mating a revised version of the Camry Hybrid 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, driving the rear wheels.

Mr Ise indicated the powertrain – with additional technology such as D-4S dual injection – would be introduced in Lexus models “in the near future”.

He said one application could be in the Lexus GS, especially in China where the locals preferred smaller, more fuel-efficient engines.

While hybrids are high on the agenda at Lexus, Mr Ise said the company still planned high-performance ‘F’ variants in the Lexus range.

“We could want to increase those,” he said.

Mr Ise said Lexus had delayed the introduction of some models since 2010 after the company experienced some quality problems, resulting in recalls.

He said the company had concentrated on ensuring all of its cars were built to meet customer expectation, even if it meant forgoing some growth.

“We want to strengthen the brand and have a steady increase,” he said.

Mr Ise was critical of some other luxury brands that set ambitious sales targets and then worked to meet them.

“Our targets are to strengthen our models, not to chase figures,” he said.

The quality of the Lexus LF-CC concept on the Paris show stand was not in doubt, glistening under the spotlights in its Fluid Titanium metallic paint finish.

Alongside the LF-CC was the new flagship Lexus LS600h F-Sport that will make its Australian debut at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.

The LS600h combines a 290kW V8 petrol engine with a 165kW electric motor for combined total power of 327kW.

The big limo can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and yet can achieve combined-cycle fuel economy of 8.6 litres per 100km.

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