Return of the Lexus SC?

Based on LF-LC concept, new supercar could nudge above 600-hp.

by on Jun.30, 2015

The Lexus LF-LC concept shown in Australia.

The Lexus SC nameplate has gone through a number of major iterations over the years, from the original sporty coupe to a quirky hardtop convertible and, if new reports prove accurate, it’s about to change again, this time becoming the production version of the LF-LC supercar concept.

Expected to reach showrooms sometime late next year, the next-generation Lexus SC would also serve as a long-awaited replacement for the brand’s first, limited-volume halo car, the Lexus LFA. Some sources suggest the new model will be offered in several different versions, including one that would push somewhere north of 600 horsepower.

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The revival of the SC as a new, high-performance flagship would fit in with the mandate of Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, who has commanded that there be more “passion” in the luxury brand. How much you’d have to pay is a question generating plenty of debate, with some guesstimating it will nudge into $150,000 territory.

Lexus has been struggling to meet Toyoda’s mandate over the last couple years with products like the sporty new RC F, as well as its double-spindle grille designs. But in the battle with such performance stalwarts as Mercedes-AMG, Audi RS and BMW M, that’s nowhere near enough.

The original Lexus SC300 coupe.

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The original Lexus LFA generated quite a bit of buzz for both its performance numbers and its extensive use of ultra-light carbon fiber. But there’s been a big gap in the line-up since the last one was built nearly three years ago.

Lexus has been dropping hints of a replacement – and measuring reaction to the concepts it has rolled out over the last several years, with generally positive feedback for the LF-LC.  First shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2012, the name was short for Lexus Future – Luxury Coupe.

If the future really is about to come to pass, word has it the reborn Lexus SC will measure 185 inches in length, 53 inches in height and 75 inches in width.

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The SC badge reappeared in convertible form.

It would feature a “base” 5.0-liter V-8, borrowed from the RC F, making 467 horsepower. In keeping with Lexus tradition, there would also be a hybrid package – but one emphasizing performance as much as fuel efficiency, and making a reported 500 horsepower. Completing the package would be a twin-turbo V-8 pushing the numbers into 600-hp territory.

All that power would be channeled through a first-of-its-kind 10-speed automatic gearbox, and the rear-drive package would borrow the RC F’s torque vectoring system. All-wheel-drive may also be offered, though apparently not at launch.

While the new SC likely wouldn’t feature quite as exotic a body as the $445,000 Lexus LFA, it is expected to hold down mass with a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber. Parent Toyota has been experimenting with new methods to increase the production speed – while also lowering the cost – of composites like carbon fiber.

Another look at the LF-LC concept.

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As to pricing, well, it depends upon whom you ask. The various enthusiast magazines wildly disagree. Car & Driver puts it at $80,000 to start, while Motor Trend sees the Lexus SC more likely to nudge $150,000.

Also uncertain: what sort of volumes Lexus will aim for. Almost certainly it will want to push past the minimal 500 LFAs that were produced between December 2010 and December 2012.

Look for the new Lexus SC to reach showrooms late next year as a 2017 model.

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One Response to “Return of the Lexus SC?”

  1. Jorge says:

    The concept is FUGLY!