After a series of leaks and early teasers, the wraps have finally come off the new Lexus LF-LC hybrid sports car concept here in Detroit.
It's a glamorous 2+2, showing how Toyota's Calty design studio in California imagines a new sports car for the brand. However, all the indications at the 2012 NAIAS show are that it's more an ideas car - and a hint of future styling trends - more than a model bound for a Lexus showroom near you.
Lexus LF-LC concept car: the lowdown
Lexus remains a curio brand: admired for its technical prowess, hybrid know-how and peerless customer service, but still lacking the magic sparkle in design and dynamics that make the German hegemony an attractive choice for many buyers.
The new LF-LC is an attempt to inject more character into its product line-up. Hence the choice of a 2+2 sports coupe with a never-ending bonnet for this concept car.
We just hope some of its classy details and sporting allure make it into production; too often we've seen Lexus tempt us with lush design concepts, only for the resulting production cars defaulting to the wrong side of sensible/dowdy (delete according to your preference).
Just check out that new Lexus grille!
Yes, that shark-nosed front end is by the far the most dramatic element of the Lexus LF-LC. It's a new take on the Lexus spindle grille and the designers talk up the 'engaging interplay of lines, shadows and corners'.
The mesh within the aluminium surround is designed to give the nose a three-dimensional quality.
There's plentiful playful use of glass in this car. Check out also the L-shaped - for Lexus, geddit? - day-running lights and a massive glass roof . On second thoughts, isn't that front lamp treatment a bit like the Nike swoosh?
Inside the cabin there's a BMW-esque concentration on the driver. Most functions are controlled by a pair of massive 12.3-inch touchscreens. If you're a Blackberry user, or just prefer buttons, you might not like this: a third touchscreen pops up from the dash for more complex instructions and further touchpads are set in each door to use windows, mirrors and seat adjustments. Perhaps they should also provide a finger-cleansing station.
Lexus top brass on the LF-LC
Karl Schlicht, general manager of product planning for Lexus in North America, said: 'We are in the middle of the biggest change in Lexus’s history, inspired by a new generation of distinctive design.
'The new GS embodies this with its sculpted spindle grille as our symbol of change. And now, the next chapter of Lexus evolves with this coupe design concept. With its striking looks, this concept hybrid 2+2 hints at the design cues that are coming in a wave of new Lexus models over the next two years.'
The Lexus LF-LC is front-engined and rear-wheel drive, and powered by a Lexus hybrid system. Kinda like a Ferrari 599 from Japan.