For those of us attuned to such things, one sign that a Toyota or Lexus sports car is production-bound is when it spawns not just one but several concept cars ahead of the release of the final version. The Lexus LFA, for instance, was first previewed by a Leonardo Fioravanti-influenced LF-A concept that debuted at the January 2005 Detroit Auto Show. Two years later, the so-called LF-A II concept appeared at Detroit and, a year after that, it lost its top as the LF-A Roadster Concept before appearing in its final production guise at the October 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.
Similarly, the Toyota GT 86 / Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ triplets were foretold by the original “monkey-ass-red” Toyota FT-86 Concept premiering at the October 2009 Tokyo Motor Show; the tuner-modded FT-86 G Sports Concept that appeared at the January 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon; the black FT-86 II Concept from the March 2011 Geneva Motor Show; the Scion-branded FR-S concept that appeared a month later in New York; and (let’s catch a breath here) the Subaru BRZ Concept STI from the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Now it appears that Lexus’ newest concept car, the award-winning LF-LC is similarly headed for a second concept car iteration. An official Lexus Australia press release shows the taillight teaser shot at the top of our story while touting “a global first at the Australian International Motor Show (in Sydney) this October with a hybrid coupe concept”, as Lexus Australia Chief Executive Tony Cramb proudly proclaims that “we’ve pulled out all stops this year to secure a world first for Australia”. Yet, even as Kevin Watts of the Lexus Enthusiast correctly notes that “despite being blue, there doesn’t appear to be any design differences compared to the original (red) LF-LC concept” shown above left, the most obvious admission that this is, in essence, LF-LC II comes in the Australian press release’s fourth sentence/paragraph, which states that “the concept is a further development of a vehicle shown at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year”.
Perhaps the evolution will be more mechanical than aesthetic. Lexus was quite coy on the original LF-LC’s intended powertrain, only noting in passing that it was a rear-wheel drive hybrid. That Australian press release opens the veil of secrecy just a tad for LF-LC II, including a significant change to all-wheel-drive. We also get an estimate of its power output: 370+ kilowatts (496+ horsepower), which puts it almost exactly midway between the 438 total system power of the Lexus LS 600h’s 2UR-FSE 5-liter V8 hybrid powertrain and the LFA’s non-hybrid 552 hp 1LR-GUE 4.8-liter V10. Australia’s GoAuto adds that
The original LF-LC was designed for a V8 engine/electric motor combination, but Lexus global product planning general manager Karl Schlich told GoAuto earlier this year that a V6-based hybrid was also under consideration, and it could be that this will feature on the AIMS concept.
Color us skeptical, though, that a V6 hybrid would produce that much power (the current Lexus GS 450h’s 2GR-FXE 3.5-liter V6 produces 338 total system power) unless Lexus is hybridizing the rumored next IS F’s twin-turbo V6. Hmmm…nah…we’re still expecting at least a V8.
Commentary from another Australian site, Car Advice is focused on the final bit of teaser information released by Lexus Australia: “(the) coupe will provide a glimpse into the future of supercars and their use of advanced materials”. Citing a Lexus insider, Car Advice suggests that the concept would also focus on construction processes that could be applied to the production LF-LC, including carbon fiber. “It would be silly of us not to use what we learned from building the LFA for other models”, he tantalizingly suggests.