Lexus Manila unveils another definite head-turner


The heart of the LC 500 is derived from a high-revving 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine

Photos by Tessa R. Salazar

The Lexus marque has gone a long way since it first came out as a “performance project” from automotive giant Toyota via the LS 400 in 1989. That “F1” or “Flagship One” project, which resulted in the creation of the LS 400, though still viewed as “conservative” or “bland” in design by automotive experts, signaled the start of a succession of premium and performance car rollouts.

Now, nearly three decades later, Lexus has been on a roll with one exciting-looking performance car after another. Those head-turners started coming out with the arrival of the LF-A, a true super car in limited edition, wherein only 500 were produced worldwide, and fortunately, Lexus Manila was able to secure a unit to stand proud in its BGC showroom. Then, in November 2014 the RC-F was launched (Inquirer Motoring cited three years ago that since the legendary LF-A super car is not within easy reach even for Lexus regulars, the new Lexus RC F coupe could be a viable option for high-performance car enthusiasts).

And on Aug. 10, the LC 500 was unveiled at the Lexus Manila showroom in Bonifacio Global City. As soon as the veil hit the floor, tongues were wagging, that beauty pretty much looks like the best since the LF-A.

Social media reflected the admiration. “I will dream about you tonight!” – Angelo Carlo Edjec Buscato (TessDrive FB page), “The dream of my life is to own this car.” – Hieu Nguyen (Lexus LC 500 Club FB page), and then “The LC 500 is the best car Lexus has made since the legendary LFA” – Business Insider website.

“Lexus shifts from just a luxury automotive brand, to a luxury lifestyle brand.”

Lexus Manila described the LC 500: “Its sensual curves, emotional forms, and wide, low stance make for a highly functional and passionate package. The LC’s front fascia features a powerful interpretation of Lexus’ signature spindle grille, with a radical new 3D mesh design. The ‘L’-shaped daytime running lights rest below a new Triple LED headlamp unit specially designed to include one of the industry’s thinnest projectors. The car’s athletic profile is further characterized by its fast, sloped roofline, its wind-cutting silhouette, and its long 2,870 mm wheelbase. It creates seductive curves and flowing lines that maintain a consistent tension through the rear end of the coupe, which features slimly designed, multi-layered tail lamps with a unique lighting effect that helps convey a sequential L motif.”

Lexus’ famed Takumi craftsmanship is complemented with supple leather and Alcantara seating surfaces

What makes the LC 500 virtually a super car? Its drivetrain, among others. Lexus Manila says it all: “The heart of the LC 500 is derived from a high-revving 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine, which was selected for its smooth, linear throttle response and emotional engine sound. The 32-valve V8’s output targets 477hp and 389 lb.- ft. of torque, using a dual intake inlet that helps improve breathing and allows the engine to produce its fantastic sound.

“This naturally aspirated engine makes an ideal pairing to a balanced sports coupe with its linear power delivery that allows easier control and exhilaration behind the wheel. On top of that, The LC’s special exhaust sound-control valves activate during start-up, helping to provide a robust growl when coming to life. Helping power transfer to the wheels is a key design feature of the LC: Its all-new, Aisin-developed 10-speed automatic transmission, the first ever in a luxury automobile, features heat-treated, lightweight aluminum gears, and the most compact torque converter ever used on a Lexus model in an effort to help improve transmission efficiency.”

TMP president Satoru Suzuki

The following remark puts the cherry on top of the official statement on the LC 500: “The LC is an archetype of concept-to-reality. But beyond that, the LC is a symbol of change. A change that we hope is palpable as Lexus shifts from just a luxury automotive brand, to a luxury lifestyle brand,” says Satoru Suzuki, Toyota Motor Philippines president.

Lexus’ signature spindle grille, with a radical new 3D mesh design.

Jose Ariel T. Arias, TMP SVP, adds his own take on the LC. “The LC represents the four brand values that we believe set Lexus apart from the rest: Brave design, Takumi craftsmanship, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance.”

Arias added, “This halo coupe offers multi-sensory HD experience with its 174 x 48mm full-color TFT backlit heads-up display, while treating its passengers to an exceptional audio experience with the Mark Levinson 13-speaker sound system that is capable of producing rich, lower octaves and higher frequencies. Renowned for its safety, Lexus also provides a Lexus-first feature called the Pop-Up Hood System.”

The best since LF-A

Lexus Manila, however, has not confirmed if the hybrid version of the LC 500 (available in other markets) will be offered in the country. The author hopes it would, complete with faux leather options and other parts with no animal by-products. Who knows, Lexus has been known to throw pleasant surprises every now and then.

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