The wild Lexus LF-LC coupe concept that wowed visitors at the Detroit auto show is on track for development, signaling a new direction for a brand that has fallen from first to third in the U.S. luxury sales rankings.
Company executives said in January that the flashy 2+2 sports coupe was not planned for production. But several Lexus insiders now say the overwhelming reaction means it almost certainly will come to market.
Lexus dealers recently were sent crystal sculptures with a 3-D laser rendering of the LF-LC etched inside the crystal. Inscribed on the crystal were the words, “2012 GS Challenge … 27,500 Sales.” The underlying message: Hit the sales target for the mid-sized sedan and get the cool coupe.
But the Lexus source said the LF-LC probably would be produced even if dealers don’t hit the GS sales target.
Lexus’ 11-year reign as the best-selling luxury brand in the United States ended last year as it slipped behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Lexus continued to trail BMW and Mercedes in the first half of this year.
Clad in a blazing shade of blood red, the LF-LC suggests a future sports car for the luxury brand. The concept has a 2+2 configuration and a hybrid powertrain. It was designed at the company’s Calty studio in Newport Beach, Calif.
The shots show an angled, angry grille evidenced on the LF-GH concept at the 2011 New York auto show, which closely previewed the 2013 GS sedan.
The LF-LC concept also has blinged-out wheels, futuristic three-bulb headlights and curvy fenders. More details will be revealed on Monday.
The Detroit auto show promises to be a sports-car shootout, as Acura has confirmed that the NSX will bow there and Chevrolet is bringing two athletic design concepts.
The 86 hits a top speed of 142 mph and can do a 0-to-62-mph run in six seconds. But raw speed is not the goal, says chief engineer Tetsuya Tada. The model’s true mission is multifold:
— Achieve a low price point that can lure recent college graduates.
— Strive for fun-to-drive handling with a low center of gravity.
— Deliver a ride that can be easily customized and tuned by car buffs.
Toyota hasn’t disclosed a price or gas-mileage estimates. But the company has said it is targeting a sticker around 2 million yen ($26,000). Tada said the goal is to price the car in a range that would be affordable to recent college graduates.
Previous BRZ-themed concepts didn’t include bodywork, so now you know–kinda sorta–what this highly anticipated coupe will look like.
The engine sits 4.7 inches lower and 9.4 inches further rearward than the engine in an Impreza. All of which suggests that the production BRZ will be pretty fun to drive. But we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find that out.
- Los Angeles: Subaru BRZ Concept STI looks fast, furious (autoblog.com)
- Subaru BRZ Concept STI Breaks Loose From All-Wheel-Drive Template (wheels.blogs.nytimes.com)
At a thumping club-scene reveal in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday night, Scion debuted seven cars that will be on the stand at the SEMA show in Las Vegas next week. We immediately picked a favorite.
To make the iQ MR, fabricator John Kuchta of Specialty Cars in Fullerton, Calif., took an ordinary Scion iQ, removed the stock 1.3-liter four and its accompanying continuously variable transmission, and put in a 1.5-liter four with a manual transmission–both mounted in the back! A rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive screamer with a lively manual transmission instead of the soul-sucking CVT is just what Toyota‘s youth division needs, so we spent the entire evening cornering Scion executives and trying to convince them to let us drive it.
“Cygnet needs to satisfy the demands of emissions and space. It is a car without compromise, just like every other Aston Martin” says Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. The Aston Martin Cygnet is just three metres long, but can seat up to four people and is the ideal size for driving in today’s busy towns and cities. No more tight squeezes, no more missed parking spaces, it’s a car perfect for commuting to work, navigating nimbly through congestion and traversing the city where others cannot. But the Cygnet is more than just a small car. It is a statement of individuality and discernment. We’ve created a highly personal mode of urban transportation, one that you can tailor to your lifestyle and fit to suit your needs and demands. It is both practical and sophisticated with all the elegance, luxury and craftsmanship that has come to be expected with an Aston Martin. Just smaller. “Our customers need a small car for urban and city use, and they want the right tools for the right job, to downsize creatively without compromising intelligence, artistry and personality”, adds Dr Bez.