Lexus has premiered the all-new LC 500h with Multi Stage Hybrid system in advance of its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Lexus first showed the non-hybrid LC 500 in Detroit at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, but waited until late last week to reveal the hybrid version.
The new hybrid system is unique in that it contains both an automatic transmission and a CVT. The dual gearboxes allow for a broader range of ratios, increased torque to the road, and lower highway rpm.
Toyota's long-used hybrid synergy drive uses what Toyota calls an e-CVT. It doesn't use all of the variability of a standard CVT, but instead provides six virtual ratios. Added to the four in the conventional automatic, the car has a total of ten combined gear ratios. This will allow Lexus to provide greater flexibility for all electric mode, maximum electric speed, and lower highway cruising rpm. The car will have an Eco mode that will start off on electric power, using the extra electric torque to skip the first few gears. Sport and Sport+ will start off using the lowest ratio and the gas engine. The extra gears allow the gas engine to remain off at speeds of up to 140 km/h (versus 100 km/h for a GS 450h using the previous system).
Downsizing the electric motors and switching to a lithium-ion battery pack allowed Lexus to save enough weight to offset the extra transmission. The combined system is stated to generate 354 hp and be able to reach 0-100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
The LC 500h is on an all-new rear-wheel drive platform, expected to be found under the next LS as well. It will be available with 20-inch and 21-inch wheels and LED head and tail lights. Lexus states that the LC will be tuned to maximize driving pleasure. This starts with an engine (a 3.5L V6) mounted behind the front axle line for improved weight distribution as well as paddles to allow the driver to select gears, and chassis tuning focusing on direct and communicative steering to explout that its balance and power.
The LC will debut Lexus' newest multimedia package with faster software that will allow future upgrades. Standard is Pioneer Audio with a Mark Levinson system available. Safety features will include the new Lexus Safety System + which combines radar and cameras for pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping and automatic high beams.
An on-sale date for the Lexus LC 500h has not yet been announced.