04/08/2004 New York, NY – Lexus introduced its third new concept design within a year when it unveiled the LF-C luxury sports coupe concept car at the New York International Auto Show today. The LF series of concept vehicles is designed to define and launch an entirely new direction in styling for the Lexus brand. The LF-C provides a hint of the direction Lexus is considering for the next generation IS 300 sports car.
The surprise is provided by stylists from the Calty Design Research Center in the form of a 4-position retractable hardtop in the LF-C. The unique hardtop design allows the car to transform itself at the touch of a button from a coupe to a convertible, to a targa or to a speedster, depending on the driver’s mood. The powered top stows neatly into the trunk through a surprisingly minimal rear-deck opening.
A large rear wheel drive platform utilizes a high-output, front-mounted V8 engine with a six-speed sequential automatic transmission as the basis and motivating force for the LF-C. With an expanded wheelbase of 5.1 inches, the LF-C is only slightly longer overall than the current IS 300. Significantly, the LF-C sits about 2.0 inches lower and is nearly five inches wider than the current IS 300. The broad stance and short overhangs strike an aggressive pose with ample dimensions to comfortably accommodate four adult passengers.
The interior communicates performance with drive-by-wire steering, paddle shifter and steering wheel with the gauges stacked along the steering column axis, ascending toward the base of the windshield. The gauges are transparent, with needles moving from the ring, rather than the center.
A flowing center console, in a solid tapered form, runs the length of the interior. Displays and controls are hidden beneath this transparent console surface that is multi-layered, which creates a sophisticated, high-tech look and feel. The console is flanked on each side by arched, wing-like instrument panels situated low in front of the driver and passenger to create a feeling of openness.