Inspiration not just a flight of fantasy

Riley Riley

Like many great sports cars from the past the latest Lexus LC Inspiration Series draws inspiration from aviation.

The exclusive centrepiece is a fixed rear wing made of hollow carbon construction with an intricate appearance, high rigidity and low mass.

The latest special-edition LC is the second Inspiration Series following a model designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Lexus in 2020.

It is available strictly on an order-only basis with fewer than five units expected to arrive in Australia, priced from $219,393 for the LC 500 or $219,553 for the LC 500h.

LC 500 is powered by a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 that develops 351kW of power and 540Nm of torque, with power to the rear wheels and a standard limited-slip diff.

The hybrid petrol-electric LC 500h offers a combined 264kW — with a 220kW/348Nm 3.5-litre V6 and 132kW/300Nm electric motor.

The V8 does the dash from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, while the hybrid is good for 5.0 seconds.

The aviation theme for the latest Inspiration series grew out of talks with race pilot Yoshihide Muroya in 2017.

It enabled engineers to obtain knowledge about the relationship between aerodynamic drag and wing-tip vortices (trailing vortices) through the aerodynamic design of aircraft winglets (a wing-tip shape designed to reduce air resistance).

While the aim of a rear wing is typically to increase downforce for enhanced straight-line stability during high-speed driving and enhanced traction during cornering, the rear wing of the LC Inspiration Series targets another specific approach.

Trailing vortices generated by the tips of the rear wing are used to control the airflow along the vehicle sides, while the main part of the wing contributes to the formation of trailing vortices at the wing tips.

This specific design controls the airflow from the vehicle sides, ensuring that smooth vehicle posture changes can be made by the driver and provide a more nimble driving experience through winding roads – crucially, without changing the front-to-rear aerodynamic balance.

Rectifying the airflow behind the vehicle further contributes to reducing drag and enhancing ride comfort.

The Inspiration Series is distinguished by a a more aggressive 21-inch forged alloy design that enhancing aerodynamic performance.

Wide gaps between five, thin twin-spokes express an agile feel while lifting brake cooling performance.

Gloss black paint has been used on the new wheels to give the underbody a more taut impression.

Black ornamentation continues across the front radiator grille and bumper garnish, headlight surround, side rocker molding and rear combination lamp bracket.

To provide subtle texture differentiation, jet-black plating is used for the front radiator grille surround and rear combination light cover.

The coupe comes in three exterior colours: White Nova, Sonic Silver and Onyx, the latter providing a moody all-dark appearance.

Inside Lexus has targeted the tactility of high touch-point areas that contribute to an exclusive, high-performance feel befitting an aviation-inspired special edition coupe.

Unique carbon scuff plates, black leather-accented front seats combine with saddle tan accents to create a unique interplay of tones, while Alcantara inserts further creates a luxury texture with a velvety, smooth feel.

Alcantara is also used on the steering wheel, gear shifter, across the doors and centre console to further lift tactility for occupants, gelling with saddle tan used as centre console and door armrest highlight strips – and as the seat belt colour.

The Inspiration Series also adopts deep-hung front seat design that debuted in the new LS in January.

The upholstery is drawn deeply into the pad side to provide extra clearance while boosting the grip of the seat by 18 per cent.

The Inspiration Series gets you entry to the Lexus Encore Platinum benefits program, with valet parking, loan vehicles via Lexus on Demand, as well as exclusive dining and accommodation offers, and money-can’t-buy experiences with Lexus ambassadors.


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