We're boots on the ground at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and Lexus is one of the first auto makers to roll out its concept hardware for the show. The company had a few machines to unveil, but the highlight is definitely the curvaceous LF-CC. It is, alas, just a concept that is intended more to show the future design direction of the company than give a clue into an actual production model to come, but more interesting is the clues this is hinting about both interior design and electrification on the powertrain front. Join us after the break for more details -- and more pictures.
The LF-CC's interior makes use of a number of large, bright displays to present all information to the driver. Behind the steering wheel is a digital dashboard -- nothing too uncommon there -- but in the center of the car is a large multi-function unit that shows typical vehicle information and telematics. Mainly, navigation and the like. Below that is an even larger panel that gracefully sweeps down between the seats. This is fully touch-sensitive and replaces the clumsy, button-heavy center consoles found in many luxury cars. Think of it as a more organic evolution of the 17-inch touchscreen wedged in the center of the Tesla Model S. Finally, there's a smartphone-sized touch display integrated into the armrest.
Driving the thing is an evolution of the a current Lexus powertrain, a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder paired up with Toyota's traditional parallel hybrid system, here tuned to deliver power as well as efficiency. Lexus officials didn't quote any power figures but based on the generously proportioned rear fenders, and a tradition of ballsy sedans from the company, we're guessing it won't be slow. And, with the hybrid system bolted on there, it should be reasonably eco-conscious, too.
Again, it's just a concept at this point so don't get your hopes up too high, but with any luck cars of the not-too-distant future will be wrapping their drivers and passengers in this kind of display technology.
Steve Dent contributed to this report.
WORLD PREMIERE OF THE LEXUS LF-CC CONCEPT CAR AT THE 2012 PARIS MOTOR SHOW
LF-CC displays the latest evolution of the L-finesse design language and signature spindle grille, to be reflected in future Lexus D-Segment vehicles
Announces the market launch of a mid-size coupe in the near future
Features a new 2.5 litre full hybrid powertrain with class-leading CO2 emissions, which will be introduced soon in the Lexus model range
Brussels, Belgium - Following the unveiling of Lexus' award-winning hybrid 2+2 sports coupe concept, the LF-LC at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show and its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show, a new, mid-sized coupe concept, the LF-CC makes its World Premiere at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
The more compact, rear-wheel drive, full hybrid LF-CC already integrates various design cues from the LF-LC; a first illustration of how concept cars are truly influencing future Lexus models and, in this instance, future D-Segment derivatives.
Announcing the launch of a premium mid-sized coupe in the more accessible D-segment in the near future, the LF-CC reinforces Lexus' commitment to create more engaging, inspirational vehicles through attractive design, a superior driving experience and advanced technologies.
The LF-CC showcases the latest evolution of the company's unique L-finesse design language, with the boldest yet interpretation of the signature Lexus 'spindle' grille. Framed by the bonnet lip, deep lower spoiler and powerfully projecting front fender tips, the grille mesh is encased in a deep, metal-finish surround and takes on a pronounced, 3D form.
A unique, 3 LED-projector headlamp design is housed in the narrow gap between the lower and upper fender surfaces, without a conventional, one-piece cover. Independent Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are fully integrated into the upper bumper surface to complete this unique new design.
The broad lower fenders are aerodynamically sculpted to manage the flow of air to the engine bay and front brakes, whilst reinforcing the powerful, dynamic road presence of the new Lexus signature frontal design.
In profile, the powerful convex curve of the bonnet flows seamlessly through a steeply raked windscreen into a roofline which deliberately peaks towards the rear of the cabin to emphasise the traction available from the vehicle's rear-wheel drive powertrain.
The bodywork is stretched tight between the front and rear fenders, and the rear fender is less pronounced than that of the front, reinforcing the concentration of vehicle weight over the driven wheels for maximum traction.
Further developing a design form initiated on the LF-LC concept and the high-performance LFA, the sharply sculpted form of an airflow regulating fin flows from underneath the side of the car and upwards through the rear wheel arch. This aerodynamic detail is designed to increase downforce over the driven wheels, further improving traction.
The airflow regulating fin merges with the falling roofline in a pronounced rear spoiler integrated within the boot lid, seamlessly fusing design and aerodynamic elements to give the vehicle its distinctive, coupe proportions.
To the rear, the full width bumper flows into the rear wheel arches to emphasise the LF-CC's broad, powerful stance. Lexus-characteristic L-shaped combination lamps feature a layered, strongly three-dimensional design, and the lower, concave bumper section incorporates a full width spoiler to further enhance rear-wheel drive traction. The rear stop lamp is nicely integrated into the shark antenna.
The LF-CC is finished in a new, 'Fluid Titanium' exterior colour, a metallic finish with exceptionally high brilliance which combines sharp, bright highlighting with dark shaded surfaces to reinforce the powerful forms of the bodywork's sculpted surfaces.
The LF-CC's interior hints at the progressive luxury of a future Lexus model cabin layout, and represents a further development of the company's HMI (Human Machine Interface) design philosophy.
The dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper, Display Zone, with a multi-display screen located at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, and a lower, Operation Zone, which allows access to the uniquely designed shift lever and an innovative touch tracer display for remote system control.
This clear division of zones creates a unique fusion of an airy, spacious cabin and a sporting cockpit which places the emphasis on a snug, highly focused driving environment. All functional driving components are consolidated in the driver's seat surroundings, combining outstanding ergonomics with advanced HMI technologies.
The driver benefits from a low, highly focused driving position with a sporting, wide grip steering wheel, optimum pedal placement and high-visibility instrument dials. The touch tracer display for remote system control is located directly behind the shift lever for maximum comfort and ease of operation.
Coordinating with the 'Fluid Titanium' exterior colour, the seats, door panels and instrument binnacle hood are trimmed in a warm, elegant amber leather finish. The extensive use of metallic finishes and soft touch materials throughout reinforces the premium quality of the environment. The contrast between the exterior and interior colour schemes gives the car an elegant yet simultaneously sporting image.
ALL-NEW 2.5 LITRE FULL HYBRID POWERTRAIN
Representing a new Lexus powertrain for future production, the LF-CC is equipped with an all-new, highly efficient, 2.5 litre full hybrid powertrain delivering a combination of the engaging performance appropriate to a sporting, D-segment coupe and low CO2 emissions, targeted below 100 g/km. This powertrain will achieve class-leading energy efficiency, with more than 2 hp produced per gram of CO2.
This Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain features an all-new, ultra-smooth running, 2.5 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor.
In addition to the petrol engine and electric motor, the LF-CC hybrid drive system further comprises a generator, a high-performance battery, a power split device which, via planetary reduction gears, combines and re-allocates power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements, and a compact power control unit to govern the high speed interaction of the system components.
Adapted specifically for the hybrid powertrain, the all-new 2.5 litre, DOHC, 4-cylinder petrol engine benefits from several technical improvements. It adopts the Atkinson cycle and D-4S direct injection technology to optimise both the power and fuel-efficiency benefits of Lexus Hybrid Drive.
Lexus will introduce this new hybrid powertrain into its model range in the near future.
LEXUS AT THE 2012 PARIS MOTOR SHOW
Besides the world premiere of the new LF-CC, Lexus will also display the all-new LS 600h F SPORT in Western European premiere. The new LS flagship sedan reflects the bolder Lexus exterior and interior design direction, and brings enhanced driving dynamics, world-leading refinement, luxury and innovative advanced technology.
Introduced by Paul Van der Burgh, Director Lexus Europe, the Lexus Press Conference will be held at 8.45 AM CET on September 27 (hall 4, stand 120).