Everyone has forgotten about the Lexus LF-CC Concept, and yet it could be the basis for a new Lexus sportscarby Robert Moore, on
Lexus sits in a weird position within the automotive industry. It serves as Toyota’s luxury arm and yet it still offers a total of two coupes – something that’s a bit of a mystery considering SUVs are king and the coupe segment is slowly dying. I’m talking about, of course, the Lexus RC and the Lexus LC, the former of which can be had in RC F form with 472 horsepower, and the latter of which offers as much as 471 horsepower in its range-topping LC5 500 trim level. So, Lexus has, essentially, two performance coupes, and a new rumor hints that a third, more compact sports coupe could be on the way.
The Lexus Urban Coupe, aka Lexus UC
Toyota and Subaru’s partnership has been a good one, with both companies doubling up on that partnership with the release of the second-gen Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR 86 twins. Interestingly enough, the 86 and BRZ seem to be fairly successful – or at least successful enough that it was warranted to usher in a new generation. Nobody thought about a Lexus derivative of the GR86, but a new rumor from Japanese publication Spyder 7 claims that a new compact coupe from Lexus is coming and that it will be underpinned by the same platform found under the GR86 and BRZ, but stretched a bit for a longer wheelbase.
The rumor says that the car will be called the UC or “Urban Coupe” and, going a step further, it will feature some sort of electrification. We’re guessing it could be a mild hybrid as a plug-in powertrain on a compact coupe would add a lot of extra weight and come with little useable electrical range.
This hybridization could be a big deal and would put the Lexus UC at quite the advantage. The GR86 and BRZ deliver just 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque from their 2.4-liter engine. That power is good enough for a car designed to rip corners, but the application of mild hybrid technology would allow Lexus to provide more power and better fuel economy.
Naturally, this car would slot in below the RC, so if these rumors are true, the entry-level model could feature a mid-$30,000 price tag with a higher performance model coming in close to $40,000 but still below the entry-level $42,200 of the RC.
If a range-topping UC F was to happen, it would overlap pricing with the RC a bit, but it wouldn’t breach the $45,000 mark.
The Lexus UC Will Be A Lexus Through and Through
If this rumor turns out to be true, Lexus isn’t just going to rebadge a Toyota GR86 and call it a day. As Toyota’s luxury arm, the UC will have to live up to a different standard. So, along with the stretched wheelbase, better handling, and increased power output, the interior materials will also be of better quality. A lot of technology from the 2022 Lexus NX should carry over into the UC, including the new, widescreen infotainment system.
Expect the seats to be sportier and more supportive like those in the RC F, but like the RC F, there’s little hope for a manual transmission since all new Lexus models come exclusively with automatic transmissions.
There’s a chance Toyota may provide some assistance in this department if there’s actually a demand, but it’s certainly not something I’d hold my breath for.
With this said, the exterior design will also be all Lexus, and once I got to thinking about it, the old LF-CC concept from 2012 makes a lot of sense. The company’s design language hasn’t changed much since that car was revealed and it’s design was used to preview the new Lexus IS sedan at the time. Some minor modifications to this coupe’s design to bring it in line with the brand’s latest design language would seriously cut down on R&D for the external design at the very least.
Even the interior of the LC-FF Concept is a fair representation of what the UC could look like. It was futuristic at the time, but it’s not so far-fetched now. The digital, 3D instrument cluster could easily be possible today, and the infotainment system is pretty close to what Lexus is putting in the new NX. I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope for that all-digital control panel on the center console, but it is possible with today’s available technology. It would be more tablet like as we’re starting to see people copy from Tesla and not as sleek looking as what you see in this picture, but it’s not entirely out of the question.
At this point, the Lexus UC is a very speculative rumor, but it does make a lot of sense, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. The new GR86 and BRZ just recently made their debut and are now on sale, but it would likely be 2023 or 2024 before a new Lexus coupe derived from these models would be revealed. That is, of course, unless Lexus has been quietly working on it for the last year, in which case we could see it as soon as late 2022.