Added Mori, “I was thrilled how we were able to achieve the small overhangs by designing one of the world’s slimmest headlight units, which uses sophisticated lenses to focus the LED beams.” Another breakthrough was with the front suspension towers. Constructing them from aluminium saved more than 10kg compared to conventional steel. Having the LF-LC in place as a design template cemented the final form for the production car at an early stage. Detailing the interior required a different approach. “The concept’s interior was not that of a true driver’s car, so we set to work to create a more welcoming space. We wanted to make the driver and passenger feel comfortable and at home, something you can see in details like the two handgrips placed next to the passenger seat.” The designers spent a great deal of time driving the LFA supercar and other high-performance cars in order to get a deeper understanding of how the engineers’ passion for a great driving experience can be supported by the design of the cabin and the ideal positioning of instruments and controls Under the skin, the team’s ambition to deliver pure driving pleasure on the TOP: LC Chief Designer Tadao Mori with the LC 500h. ABOVE: LC Chief Engineer Koji Sato. BELOW: The LC will be available in SA from early 2017. hybrid model resulted in the use of the revolutionary Multi Stage Hybrid System (MSHS). This new Lexus system combines elements of a traditional full hybrid powertrain – including 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack – to a fourspeed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission. “In the past,” says Sato, “people associated hybrid with eco. With the MSHS, we wanted to change that perception and create a true high-performance package.” “The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was creating a control system for the new drivetrain that delivered on our aim to give the driver an amazingly responsive car, both on winding roads and on a highway. We had to harness the ‘torque on demand’ that is a characteristic of electric motors to secure the right kind of sports driving. The new automatic transmission allows us to do this,” Sato said. The car will do exactly what the driver wants. If they are in a sporty mood, they can take advantage of the instant and linear torque delivery. The decision to configure 10 speeds for the system was based on the ambition to provide the ultimate balance of performance driving.
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