The first Lexus LC 500s arrive in NZ, and they look spectacular
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The first of the new Lexus LC coupes land in New Zealand
Some cars shoot well and some don't. The Aston Martin DB11 is a good example. It tends to look a bit 'heavier' in photos than it does in the flesh — a car with which the camera really does add 10 pounds.
Current-day Lexuses, on the other hand, are the opposite. They shoot magnificently, sometimes looking better on a screen than they do in person. These days, the premium Japanese marque have their design language down pat. You either like it or you hate it. And, the new LC coupe is no exception.
Lexus are currently touring the country with two of these new coupes — one the 5.0-litre V8 (the LC 500), the other the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid (the LC 500h). Starting in Auckland, they're off to Hawke's Bay later today, sure to break necks, drop jaws, or cause nausea on the way, depending on your persuasion.
While these machines haven't yet been introduced to New Zealand's crack team of lead-footed car journos, there's nothing stopping us from laying our filthy fingers on them for a visual analysis in the meantime.
So, where to start? Well, if you like it in photos know that you'll love it in person. Sharing the space of the North Shore Lexus showroom with an RC-F, the LCs have a far more lean, toned appearance. While the RC-F's sharp and complicated lines dominated its silhouette, the LC looks lighter and sharper. The sides are almost completly smooth, save for a vent in front of the rear wheels.
Flush door handles are part of this — fading into the bodywork while the car's parked or on the move. The strongest character lines are those leaping from the gaping grill; cutting across the bonnet and into the A pillar.
Instead of piling details and swooshes onto the bodywork, Lexus instead went ballistic with the front and rear fascias. The headlights are probably the most complex of any car on the market. But instead of lingering on those like most others tend to, let's peer into the taillights, because they're kinda special.
They sort of go forever. Peering into them you can see a three-dimensional layered 'hockey stick' LED shape repeated over and over into the abyss. They look like they go on forever. Like the headlines, the taillights also drip down the sides of the car.
The Deep Blue LC500h hides a lot of these elements, while this Infrared V8 shouts about them from the rooftops.
It's important to note that the next-generation Toyota Camry features similar design elements on its taillights. With Toyota's C-HR compact crossover utilizing a similar taillight LED ethos, this could be the future design direction of a lot of Lexuses and Toyotas.
Happy days if you're a fan. Cause for concern if you're not. I count myself in that former camp.
The interior is a big step forward for Lexus as a whole. In the war against Germany, Lexuses interiors have always been somewhere in the shadows — mired by carry-over Toyota tech or curious material choices. The IS200 F-Sport we road tested in April was a good example of this.
But on the surface, everything inside the LC looks and feels more definitively premium ... even though they're still persevering with a touch-pad interface.
The pair of hand grips on the passenger side are perhaps one of the more interesting elements. Everything else in this interior points to the LC being a luxury grand tourer. But the grips sort of say the opposite. Regardless, they're an interesting design feature.
Local pricing starts at $215,000 for either the six or the right, with Lexus throwing in an unlimited kilometre four-year warranty for good measure. But for just another five grand, you can get the sports-tuned model. It comes with a carbon-fibre roof, four-wheel steering, variable gear ratio steering, and a retractable rear spoiler.
That's probably the one to have. Until they bang out an 'F' version anyway ... We can't wait to drive it.