Brave design inspires and excites people. We saw this first-hand when the new Lexus LC was unveiled. Critics and engineers alike couldn’t believe that the dramatic lines and design ideology of the LF-FC concept had been transferred so comprehensively into a production coupe.
Indeed, the close cooperation between design and engineering teams that made this vehicle possible also sends a statement of intent about the direction of all future Lexus products. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at its exterior design. We will examine some of the important features and innovations that allowed the conceptual design to become a production reality.
Lexus LC: front aspect
The low, sharp design of the front aspect suggests boldness and strength. Meanwhile, the steep rake of the spindle grille after the pinch point underlines the coupe’s speed potential. Vertically arranged front LED indicator units force your focus to the edges of the bodywork, reinforcing the impression of width.
Each of the main headlamps contain a trio of newly developed LED projectors. They adopt an inverted trapezoid shape to achieve one of the most compact car headlamp designs ever seen. Yet the bowls of the units also conceal cornering lamps to improve cornering visibility, while the surrounding trim contains flush-fitting headlamp washer jets. Combined with the distinctive arrowhead DRLs, this headlamp arrangement creates the next-generation Lexus lamp signature that will unite future models.
Despite ever-more stringent pedestrian impact safety laws, the bonnet line of the Lexus LC appears unfeasibly low. In fact, it is a significant 58mm lower than that of the Lexus GS.
In order to achieve this svelte, concept-like profile, the height of the radiator and overall height of the front suspension was reduced without compromising functionality. The scuttle panel was lowered by developing smaller, independent motors for each windscreen wiper. This, in turn, allowed Lexus to delete the traditional connecting linkage and mount bulky brake components lower down the bulkhead.
Most importantly, however, pedestrian impact protection remains uncompromised. Lexus has achieved this by designing a cushioning system that raises the bonnet in all four corners in a split second if an impact is sensed.
Lexus LC: side aspect
The low bonnet line reduces lift and resolves airflow over the vehicle. Front and side aero ducts have also been sculptured to reduce turbulence around the wheels and smooth the transition of airflow along the vehicle’s flanks. Using side ducts in this way marks a world-first for Lexus.
In addition, stabilisers reduce turbulence around the door mirrors, and spats are installed ahead of each wheel to similarly reduce air disturbance. Even the slimline door handles retract into the bodywork when not in use.
All models use chrome-plated mouldings over the sides of the roof panel. These enhance the elegantly flowing silhouette and create a framework for the roof material. The rear edge of this moulding is shaped to mimic that of a traditional Japanese Samurai sword, accentuating the car’s sharp yet high quality image.
Lexus LC: rear aspect
A subtle, three-dimensional spindle theme enhances the rear aspect, echoing the brave design of the front end. The sculpturing cuts back at the inner edge of the rear combination lamps and extends outwards to create the mounting surface for the number plate.
Once again, visual tricks accentuate the impression of width. These include the shape and placement of the exhaust tailpipes, which visually lower the centre of gravity and create a powerful stance, and the vertical section of the rear lamp housing at the vehicle’s outer extremity. Also within the housing is a concealed boot release button.
The combination lamps create their own distinctive illusion. Special reflective optics use the infinity mirror principle to transform each strip of 80 LEDs into a distinctive, diffused light signature that generates an uncanny sense of depth.
Just as the sides of the LC feature retractable door handles, so the rear of some models feature a retractable rear spoiler. This active aerodynamic aid stays flush with the body at speeds below 25mph to avoid adversely affecting the car’s aerodynamic performance. As the speed increases, however, the spoiler rises to optimise downforce, reaching peak effectiveness at speeds above 50mph.
Learn more: Lexus LC named Production Car Design of the Year