Lexus wowed us with their new LC 500 luxury coupe at the Detroit Auto Show last month. Now they are ready to unleash the LC 500h, which is built with Lexus’ next-generation hybrid powertrain — the Multi Stage Hybrid System.
Details from the Japanese automaker were scarce. We do know the LC 500 non-hybrid version is fitted with a 467 horsepower 5-liter V8 driving the rear wheels and built upon a new chassis design that will serve as the platform for future front engine/rear-wheel drive Lexus models. Unfortunately, there isn’t a hint of what a Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System involves or the scale of the car’s performance.
The Multi Stage Hybrid System was developed with opposing goals in mind: to create a hybrid with a more sporting and engaging driving experience by closely aligning engine speed with throttle inputs, and to achieve the best possible balance of power and fuel consumption.
The new Multi Stage Hybrid System marries the elements of a traditional full hybrid powertrain -including a 3.5 liter V6 petrol engine, a powerful electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack to a 4-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission. The electric motor generates better acceleration feel than a conventional engine, and adding physical gears more closely aligns engine rpm with the driver’s inputs. The result is a much more direct connection between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration, and 0-100 km/h times well into the sub-5 second range
The Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System also features ‘M’ Mode—the first driver-initiated gear shifts offered on a Lexus full hybrid powertrain. ‘M’ Mode gives drivers the ability to initiate direct and responsive gear shifts for the most sporting and engaging drive yet from a Lexus hybrid. A new lightweight and compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery offset the weight of the added automatic transmission, and so the Multi Stage Hybrid System weighs the same as the current hybrid powertrain—an amazing feat of engineering.
Inspired by the acclaimed LF-LC concept that debuted in 2012, the LC represents a shift in Lexus’ engineering processes and design ideologies, and marks the beginning of a new phase for the Lexus brand. Its outstanding visual appeal has been unanimously praised following the Detroit reveal, and recognized by professionals who granted LC EyesOn Design awards for Production Car and Best Designed Interior at the 2016 NAIAS.
Lexus will also display the LF-FC concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. LF-FC (Lexus Future Fuel Cell) is a visionary new vehicle that challenges the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Initially revealed at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, the LF-FC represents Lexus’ future and is expected to be the most autonomous-enabled vehicle that has an “elevated level of traffic environment recognition” according to the company.
Let’s hope more relevant details about the LC 500h are forthcoming at the Lexus Press Conference taking place on March 1 at 11:30 CET.
The LC 500 promises to continue Lexus’ recent push to make more engaging, fun-to-drive vehicles. See how the company is accomplishing that goal in this ‘everything you ever wanted to know’ video of the luxury sports coupe after its reveal at the Detroit auto show.