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Mike Stevens | Jan, 10 2012 | 2 Comments

BMW i8, Mercedes SLS-AMG E-Cell, Audi R8 E-tron, Tesla Roadster, Porsche 918 Hybrid and the new Honda NSX. They're all future-thinking cars with super styling, high-performance figures and alternative-energy powerplants.

Let's look at another: the Lexus LF-LC. Hot on the heels of its very hard, very popular, very limited-edition LFA supercar, Lexus has put its V10 engine to one side and introduced a new hybrid-powered sports concept.

The LFA's influence is obvious in the LF-LC's styling, with its traditional coupe profile, subtle character lines, deep vents, and a new evolution of the brand's "L-Finesse" styling language.

Like the original LF-A concept, this new concept features extravagantly-styled and hand-crafted headlights and taillights, a sumptuous leather-wrapped interior and, unique to the LF-LC, a new take on the brand's "Spindle" grille design.

Lexus revealed the LF-LC at this week's Detroit Auto Show, and while it has confirmed that there's a hybrid system buried beneath the svelte red bodywork, it has yet to give up any technical details.

How big is the engine? What do the electric motors contribute? How much power does it make and how quick is it? Your guess is good as ours.

Our guess, though, is that you could expect to find either the new 252kW 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor combo that drives the new GS 450h.

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You might also venture that the 327kW 5.0 litre V8/electric pairing that propels the big LS 600h hybrid could also feature, tuned to produce something closer to 500 horses or, in the new language, 373kW.

It would all be a guess, but it's clear that Lexus has the necessary mojo to make a purpose-built hybrid sports or supercar work.

Speaking with TMR today, Lexus Australia's Tony Cramb said that while others are getting stuck into the concept of an alternatively-powered sports car, Lexus - and its parent Toyota - has something of a headstart.

"We have a commitment to hybrid technology in the Lexus brand, and we're 10 years into the cycle on hybrids," Mr Cramb said.

"If anyone is going to be able to develop that green car that inspires passion, it's going to be us. From an engineering point of view, we're miles ahead."

"I don't know if you would call the LF-LC a supercar, but from a power perspective, it would be expected to be a powerful vehicle."

He added that Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda is pushing both Toyota and Lexus to inject more excitement and style into their line-ups.

"Even at the GS launch, Akio was clear: Lexus is a bold new path, and I think this car shows you that."

Where to for the LF-LC from here? Lexus concepts have appeared in films before, and BMW's i8 recently appeared in the new Mission Impossible film. Is there another big-screen cameo on the cards?

Cramb jokes: "Sure, let's get it into the new James Bond film!"

 
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