• Lexus Says No to an LC F but Yes to Something Even Better

Will we live in a time when Lexus takes on the Mercedes-AMG GT? It seems it’s quite possible, if you can believe that

It’s been a year or so since rumors began to swirl that Lexus was building an LC F - a high-performance take on the LC500 grand tourer. As it turns out, Lexus did actually build a turbocharged concept on the LC platform, but it never passed the evaluation stage, which means that while cars like the LC still have a future at Lexus, the LC F is never going to happen, at least not in the way we all expected it to anyway. There is a noticeable gap within Lexus’ performance lineup, namely the LFA and the IS, and what’s coming to fill that gap might be better than an LC F could have ever been.

The Deal Behind the LC F That Isn’t Happening

Lexus Says No to an LC F but Yes to Something Even Better
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Rumors of an LC F – a car that would essentially sit at the top of the performance lineup with the LFA being discontinued for a decade now – have been well received. So well-received, in fact, that Lexus even built a design concept of sorts behind closed doors that was never pushed past the evaluation process. Rumors said it would be powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 that would have been good for somewhere around 660 horsepower. A new report from Road & Track has put an end to the rumors and given us a good reason why it wouldn’t happen. According to Lexus Motorsports Manage, Jeffery Bal, the LC is a grand tourer with a perfect 50-50 weight distribution, but that’s what it’s designed to be, so it apparently wasn’t a feasible move for the company to build an LC F.

"The LC is a touring car, it's a perfectly balanced, 50/50 weight distribution," Bal said. "Rumors are that there was design and study for the LC F... They looked at it and that's not a feasible study for us."

The principal reason wasn’t actually disclosed, but it’s easy to assume that it either performance wouldn’t meet expectations due to the LC’s weight or the costs to develop a high-performance grand tourer we just too much. Perhaps it’s a combination of both, but either way, Lexus performance is heading in a different direction, and you might like it. The only catch is that it might not be an LC F, either.

Lexus Says No to an LC F but Yes to Something Even Better
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Lexus has every intention of taking its next performance car GT3 racing, and Bal has once again confirmed that the Toyota GR GT3 concept is, at the very least, a hint at what we can expect. This is interesting because it was just back in February 2022 that Car & Driver broke the news that the next-gen RC and RC F would be built with GT3 racing in mind. This means that there won’t be an LC F but, more likely, something along the lines of a new RC F.

"The Tokyo Salon concept. We're pretty well down the road in development and really excited, but not at a point yet where we can share a lot of details. The car you saw is very striking, and what we're seeing is going to be close."

This isn’t to say that this will be a true successor to the LFA, though, either. Not that Lexus doesn’t have something like that in the works too. Just recently we learned that not only was Lexus working on an LFA successor, but that there will be two LFA successors – one electric and one fuel powered. Bal once again confirmed that Lexus needs a successor to the LFA, but also that there’s a big gap for new sports cars too.

Lexus Says No to an LC F but Yes to Something Even Better
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“We had this incredible car that we built 500 of by hand, a unicorn amongst all the other exotics. There is something that we need to have as a successor to that. At the same token, the IS F and the GS F owners who know there is nothing currently planned as a successor to those, there's a gap between the LFA and the IS, GS, RC F platforms that these cars have the potential to take a space in.”

Bal was asked whether or not Lexus intended to build something that could take on the Mercedes AMG GT, for example, with the idea that it would run parallel with the LC500, and he hinted that it was a possibility. “There is something [in the works] closer to [the AMG GT] you described and it might fall into that as we study it closely, but we’re not ready to announce anything yet." So, while we don’t know specifics yet, what we can say with near certainty is that Lexus surely isn’t going to give up on its performance lineup and, in fact, could have a larger performance lineup than ever.

This is even more true when you take into consideration Bal’s explanation that Lexus is also hoping to inject performance into other areas of its lineup as well. That doesn’t mean there will be a GS F, for example, but current cars in the lineup could see some extra performance. What all of this means for the next decade, especially with electrification in the air, is a bit of a mystery, but you should definitely keep an eye on Lexus because it’s gearing up to have an interesting future.

Source: Road & Track

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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