It takes just 15 seconds to get topless in the new Lexus LC Convertible that joins the brand as a luxury lifestyle model.
The Lexus design team was briefed the new model had to preserve the essential styling motifs of the LC 500 coupé so the roof was key to their goal, as chief designer Tadao Mori explains: “Few convertibles are stylish and elegant when the roof is open and when it is closed. We put maximum effort into realising the same beautiful roof line for the LC Convertible as for the coupe.”
The cover is set as low as possible, avoiding the familiar flat, platform look typical of many convertibles. The beltline kicks up behind the doors, creating an overall tight and clean profile. The folding roof boasts an extra fold in the soft top to fit in the space between the rear suspension towers, creating a character line running from the front to the back.
Only one model grade is available and it’s priced at R2 345 500.
The LC 500 Convertible combines highly rigid yet lightweight front, centre and rear bracing supports, a rear suspension tower brace and shear panel to ensure tight handling.
The Convertible builds on the engineering evolution of the recently-updated LC Coupé – including lighter forged-aluminium suspension components, a hollow rear stabiliser bar, rear performance damper, optimised Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and new Active Cornering Assist (ACA).
The 5,0-litre normally aspirated V8 petrol engine with direct injection which sees duty in both variants, makes 351 kW of power at 7 100 r/min and 540 Nm of torque at 4 800 r/min in the LC 500 Convertible.
A recently-retuned 10-speed automatic transmission combines with the revised chassis to leverage the best from the highly rigid GA-L rear-wheel drive platform, and enable smooth ride comfort to coexist with excellent dynamics.
The LC 500 Convertible can accelerate from 0-100 in just 4,7 secondsand it has a claimed fuel consumption of 12,7 l/100 km and a C02 emissions figure of 290 g/km.
Full specification includes 21-inch forged-alloy two-tone wheels, pre-crash safety system (PCS), lane keep assist (LKA) with steering assist, blind spot monitor (BSM) with rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), Cruise Control, six SRS crash bags (Side, Knee, Driver and Passenger), vehicle stability control (VSC), LED headlights with cornering lights and washers and automatic high-beam (AHB), LFA-style 8,0-inch digital instrumentation with slide-out meter ring, 10,3-inch multimedia screen with Lexus Remote Touch-pad (LRT) controller, dual-zone climate control air conditioning with Lexus Climate Concierge, 10-way power-operated front seats with driver memory settings and heated and ventilated front seats as some of the items on a very long list.
Even though the LC Convertible has a soft top, Lexus wanted to secure the same kind of cabin quietness as in the LC Coupe. Acoustic simulations were created to find out where dominant noises were entering the space, so the amount and location of soundproofing and sound-absorbing material could be calculated.
The storage area behind the rear seats for the folding roof presented a particular challenge, as it was a route for tyre and exhaust noise to enter the cabin. There was not enough room for sound-proofing material to be added, so the team looked instead at adapting the trim material itself. By allowing air to pass through the structure and using sound-absorbing material on the reverse, the entire surface of the storage space soaks up noise.
The 2021 LC Convertible comes standard with a 7-year/105 000 km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan.
2021 LEXUS LS GETS MINOR CHANGE
The 310 kW 3,5-litre twin turbo-charged V6 engine in the LS 500 benefits from enhancements that deliver greater responsiveness and reduce noise. In the LS 500, the earlier production of engine torque leads to greater acceleration response from lower speeds in particular.
Improved shift timing for the 10-speed automatic transmission, and a wider acceleration range for each gear, results in less-frequent downshifts and improved refinement. Quietness has also been improved by lowering the maximum available engine speed during the take-off phase of acceleration.
The new LS also adopts Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement tuning, while a revised engine-mount interior, alters damping characteristics to further reduce powertrain noise and vibration.
The LS output figures are 310 kW and 600 Nm of torque at 6 000 rpm. The engine’s long stroke and optimised stroke-to-bore ratio contribute to high-speed combustion and the efficiency of the twin turbos, helping the LS post a projected 0-to-100 km/h acceleration time of 5 seconds.
For both the F Sport and Luxury variant, the driver is able to tailor powertrain response and feel by selecting Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport S+ drive modes, with just enough of the exhaust note being audible to enhance the sporty feel.
Lexus has also enhanced the seating of the LS to support the under-skin improvements. The seats in the LS now feature deeper stitch points and low-resilience urethane for the padding, with vibration absorption measures and softer positioning contributing to even greater comfort.
The headlights adopt a BladeScan adaptive high-beam system (first seen on RX). This technology delivers more precise illumination to avoid blinding other drivers while providing a broader distribution of light to illuminate areas that would not normally be visible with a conventional high-beam system.
The F Sport’s more dynamic image is distinguished by the garnish for the sub-radiator grilles wrapping around to the sides and the adoption of a dedicated colour for the spindle grille and 20-inch wheels.
The Lexus LS 500 Luxury retails for R2 204 200, while the LS 500 F Sport has a price tag of R2 397 900. The LS has a 7-year/105 000 km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. The vehicle’s service intervals are at every 15 000 km, alternatively once a year.