Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500, Lexus is introducing the new LC 500h, featuring the first Multi Stage Hybrid System, the next-generation of hybrid powertrains specifically designed for performance vehicles. The LC 500h delivers total system output of 264 kW (354 hp), with a targeted 0-100 km/h time of below 5 seconds. below 5
The Multi Stage Hybrid System (MSHS) was developed with opposing goals in mind: to create a hybrid with a more sporting and engaging driving experience by closely aligning engine speed with throttle inputs, and to achieve the best possible balance of power and fuel consumption. The new MSHS combines the elements of a Toyota/Lexus traditional full hybrid powertrain—including a 220 kW, 348 N·m 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack—with a 4-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission.
The electric motor generates better acceleration feel than a conventional engine, and adding physical gears more closely aligns engine rpm with the driver’s inputs. The result is a much more direct connection between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration, and 0-100 km/h times well into the sub-5 second range.
The Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System also features ‘M’ Mode—the first driver-initiated gear shifts offered on a Lexus full hybrid powertrain. ‘M’ Mode gives drivers the ability to initiate direct and responsive gear shifts for the most sporting and engaging drive yet from a Lexus hybrid.
A new lightweight and compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery offset the weight of the added automatic transmission, and so the Multi Stage Hybrid System weighs the same as the current hybrid powertrain.
The LC 500h is the first Lexus to benefit from the company’s all-new, premium rear-wheel drive platform; part of a new corporate global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). The underpinnings of this new coupe will become the blueprint for future front-engine/rear-wheel drive Lexus models.
Platform design is fundamental to dynamic handling characteristics. At the outset, Lexus engineers focused on the LC 500h’s inertia specification, placing most of the vehicle mass, including the engine and occupants, as low and centralized as possible within the chassis.
The powertrain mass is located behind the front axle line creating a front mid-ship layout while very short front and rear overhangs push the large diameter tires to the vehicle extremities. The wheels are shod with run-flat tires that eliminate the weight and weight-distribution penalty of a full-size spare tire, while driver hip and heel points have been substantially lowered.
The center of gravity has been further lowered by the introduction of numerous technical innovations which reduce the body weight of the LC 500h. These include aluminium front hood and fenders; aluminium door skins mounted on a carbon fibre structure; a carbon and glass composite trunk lid; aluminium front suspension towers; ultra-compact LED headlamps; available forged alloy wheels; and carbon fibre roof.
The extensive use of strategically located high-tensile steel body structures reduces weight, improves weight-distribution and increases body rigidity, all of which promote consistent, predictable handling behavior and sharper steering responses.
Particular attention was paid to the development of the LC 500h’s multi-link front suspension system, adopted to allow for the vehicle’s large diameter wheels while at the same time accommodating a very low hood line.
The system features two upper and two lower control arms, with double ball joints on each arm. This arrangement optimizes suspension geometry to facilitate precise control from driver inputs and road conditions, creating a more precise steering response.
Optimizing the sharpness in both steering and suspension movement, sprung weight has been reduced as much as possible through the extensive use of lightweight, forged aluminium componentry. And the system demonstrates exceptional rigidity under lateral g loading.
The new LC 500h is fitted, as standard, with the Lexus Safety System +, a newly developed portfolio of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions across a wide range of traffic situations. Combining a camera and millimetre-wave radar for a high level of detection performance, the Lexus Safety System + features a Pre-Crash safety System (PCS) with a pedestrian detection function, which helps prevent or mitigate the severity of collisions, All-speed Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Keep Assist (LKA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB) headlamp technology.