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The Lexus LC convertible 'embodies' experience amazing

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With qualities befitting a flagship range, and representing the best in Lexus design, engineering and Takumi craftsmanship, the Lexus LC Convertible is the ultimate representation of experience amazing.

The new LC Convertible shares the Lexus LC Coupe’s brave design and exhilarating dynamic performance, while adding the specific rewards associated with top-down driving. Where the Coupe’s focus is an "ultimate beauty" design and performance imbued with the heritage of the Lexus LFA supercar, the Convertible enriches the sensory experience. Driving with the top down makes the driver feel even more closely connected to their car, the road and the world around them.

The LC Convertible’s design preserves all the principal lines of the Coupe, while introducing an all-new retracting soft top. Lexus ingenuity has produced a folding mechanism that stows the roof within a small space without compromising the car’s elegant styling.

With plenty of power from the naturally aspirated V8 engine, matched to a 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission, the LC Convertible is a quick sports car offering the comfort of a Grand Tourer which would thrive on New Zealand highways.

Lexus New Zealand General Manager, Andrew Davis says the new LC Convertible is undoubtedly the flagship model from Lexus and epitomises everything that Lexus stands for - from crafted luxury to brave design coupled with an amazing driving experience.

"It is a bravely designed, and exhilarating to drive car. From the overall curvaceous and dynamic profile to the fine details of the extraordinary front and rear lights, the LC Convertible is a stunner. Top up or top down, this car draws your attention."

"The flagship LC Convertible is unrivalled to combine a stunning exterior with perfect Takumi craftsmanship and interior luxury, mixed with an incredible V8 sound and engaging rear-wheel drive handling - now with the emotion and precision of a Lexus convertible roof design."

The luxury lifestyle brand made engineering specification enhancements for the LC Convertible, ensuring the design and dynamic character of the LC Coupe is retained while leveraging the emotional appeal of driving a V8-powered sports car.

Limited stock of the LC Convertible will be brought to New Zealand. This included one vehicle of a special Launch Edition with a stunning and innovative Structural Blue exterior colour complemented by a nautical-themed white-and-blue semi-aniline leather-accented interior and a matching Marine Blue four-layer fabric top. This unit is now sold.

Sumptuous interior

Everything within the LC Convertible Interior has been carefully considered, with a focus on ensuring continuity from the exterior design. The interior A-pillar trim is coordinated with the colour of the roof lining in a rare quality design feature but one that Lexus applies throughout the LC range. A bravely designed effect in the LC Convertible, as the pillars are in clear view whenever the roof is lowered. The colour co-ordination catches the eye and further accentuates the luxurious quality of the interior.

The front seats offer excellent support and comfort, with semi-aniline leather accented front seats and synthetic leather rear seats. When driving with the top down on a cold day, a stream of warm air can be directed onto the driver and front passengers’ necks through integrated headrest neck heaters.

Special attention has also been paid to the detailing on the seat upholstery, with a unique quilting pattern applied to the shoulder section of the front seats, adding both elegance and tactile quality. Perforations with three different hole diameters are organised in graduated pattern in which they appear to progressively fade away.

Much like the Coupe, the LC Convertible comes with an impressive 10.3-inch high-definition split-screen multimedia display to provide immediate, simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems, including the navigation system. The LC Convertible features Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlay®. The display screen is recessed and shaded from the bright South Pacific sunlight when the soft top is down.

As expected from a flagship convertible by Lexus, customers will be able to tailor their luxury vehicle to match their personal taste thanks to 44 exterior colour, interior trim, and roof colour combinations available. Apart from Structural Blue, there are 11 exterior colour options, two roof colour options - beige and black, and three interior upholstery colour options - black, ochre and flare red.

First soft top from Lexus

Lexus has never made a soft-top car before, but it has spared no effort in coming up with the perfect roof for the new LC Convertible. Not only does it give the car the same sleek and smart silhouette as the LC coupe, but clever engineering means it operates quietly and quickly, and does not take too much valuable space when it is stowed.

Fifteen seconds is all it takes to lower the roof, and the job can be done even when the car is on the move - at speeds up to 50 km/h. Chief Designer Tadao Mori said he was determined to find a way of stowing the roof while giving the car a super-sleek rear end, which was probably the toughest ask.

"Our biggest challenge was always how to keep the trunk line low, while still allowing room for load space and stowing the roof," says Mori. "With other car makers, you’ll often see a high rear line, but we wanted to make this the most beautiful convertible, keeping the best lines whether the roof is up or down. We’re really proud of how we have kept the top of the rear wings so low, keeping the feeling of a low centre of gravity."

Achieving this was no simple task. It meant the roof, constructed of lightweight magnesium and aluminium, had to be folded into a small space behind the rear seats.

"Although there are many convertible models out there, few of them are stylish and elegant both when the roof is open and closed. Particularly when the roof is raised, ridge lines in the uneven surface tend to give an unrefined impression. That’s why for the LC Convertible, we put maximum effort into realising the same beautiful roof line as the coupe," Mori says.

Safety at speed

As with all Lexus models, safety technologies are paramount. The car has the full Lexus Safety System+ safety package including a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Departure Alert and Vehicle Sway Warning, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beam. Front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and a tyre pressure warning system are also standard.

An Active Roll Bar is hidden within the parcel tray, contributing to an elegant design silhouette when the top is down. However, in the event of a vehicle roll, the Active Roll Bar system deploys rapidly upwards, protecting the occupants.

The body structure of the LC Convertible was strengthened to further improve safety performance in the event of a collision and to maintain a comfortable drive free from vibration or flexing. Panel rigidity has been increased with more extensive use of body adhesive and additional spot weld points, minimising vibration, and improving handling.

Speed and balance

Lexus was determined that the LC Convertible should be every bit as fast as the LC 500 Coupe and used both a wind tunnel and test track to verify the same top speed could be achieved, roof up or roof down. The new body shape has not compromised the car’s speed.

The naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine and 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission enable zero to 100 km/h acceleration in 5.0 seconds and a top speed of 270 km/h.

When it comes to handling, the new roof makes a positive contribution to the car’s dynamics. The aluminium and magnesium construction of the hydraulic roof mechanism also minimises the weight increase, resulting in a lower centre of gravity than the LC Coupe.

A more rear-biased weight distribution for the LC Convertible also combines with the addition of highly rigid yet light weight front, centre and rear bracing supports, a rear suspension tower brace and shear panel to ensure tight handling.

Evolved engineering

The LC Convertible builds on the relentless engineering evolution of the recently updated LC Coupe - including lighter forged-aluminium suspension components, hollow stabiliser bars, rear performance damper, optimised Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and new Active Cornering Assist (ACA).

The V8 petrol engine makes 351kW of power at 7100rpm and 540Nm of torque at 4800rpm 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.

Creating the ideal engine note

A continuous, pulsating sound is characteristic of a large-capacity, naturally aspirated V8 engine like the five-litre unit which powers the LC 500 Convertible. Lexus has applied acoustic technologies to combine this with spectral harmony (perfect sound intervals that are pleasing to the ear), stereophonic sound, to create a depth of sound, and formants - acoustic qualities that stir the senses and generate a feel-good factor.

To achieve the maximum effect, the sound of the engine changes in line with the rise and fall in rpm, becoming more powerful and urgent in tune with the driver’s use of the accelerator and the sequence of shifts through the rapid-action 10-speed automatic transmission. The exhaust note, too, heightens the effect. By contrast, in gentle cruising, the sound is subdued, so conversation is easy when the roof is down.

Active Noise Control is also used to "clean" the sound frequencies experienced in the car. This emits anti-pulse sounds through the audio speakers which counteract any unwelcome low frequency booming sound from the engine and drivetrain.

The 2021 LC Convertible is priced at $234,000.

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