Lexus Trademarks LC 500 and LC 500h
Lexus has completed the trademark of the LC 500 and LC 500h names in the U.S., Canada and Australia, providing us with the latest hint that the company’s range-topping sports coupe is inching close and closer to reality. This surprising development comes after an Autocar report from November 2014 stating Lexus was planning to resurrect the SC badge for use on its halo car. However, these new trademarks throw a sizable monkey wrench in those plans.
It’s a trade fact that Lexus attributes the number in the model name to the displacement of its engine. Take for example the RX 350. The "350" in its name signifies the 3.5-liter engine it uses. The same is true with the Lexus GX 460 and its 4.6-liter engine. Following that convention, it’s likely that the LC 500 will get a 5.0-liter engine, likely the same one found beneath the hood of the 2015 RC F.
Meanwhile, the LC 500h is going to be a hybrid, given the “h” affixed to its name, but it’s unknown if this will be of the fuel-saving variety or the face-twisting-performance variety. But again, if we follow Lexus’ naming strategy on hybrids, the names of its models offer some hints on the size of the engine. In the case of hybrids, Lexus usually tacks a one-liter hike on the numerical part of its name relative to its engine displacement, with the only exception being the CT 200h and its 1.8-liter engine. If you look at Lexus’ bigger hybrids like the GS 450h and the RX 450h, both models have 3.5-liter engines so with that logic, it’s reasonable to expect the LC 500h to receive a 4.0-liter engine and an electric motor.
All this is still speculation, but one that’s grounded in common knowledge within the industry about Lexus’ naming strategy. What we do know is that there’s still a lot of time left before Lexus reveals all the details on its new halo car. It isn’t expected to launch until 2016 but at least we now have an idea of its name, which also gives us a chance to speculate on its drivetrain.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus LF-Lc.
Why it matters
Anytime an automaker trademarks a name — two names in this case — you know it has some big plans in the works. Granted, Lexus hasn’t specifically come out and said that its new halo car will be called the LC 500, but if you read between the lines the signs are clear.
The evolution of Lexus as a premium brand that could compete against its European rivals may have begun with the development of the LF-A supercar. But the company really put its rivals on notice at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show when it unveiled the LF-Lc Concept, a two-door sports car that was labelled as the eventual successor to the LF-A.
We’re close to hitting three years since the LF-Lc Concept burst onto the scene, but now that there’s been some progress in the development of the production LF-Lc, it will only be a matter of time before the sports car arrives. At least we hope that’s the case. It really doesn’t matter if it’s called the SC or the LC 500; what’s important is that Lexus is pushing forward with its development with an eye towards launching the model in 2016.
Details about the LF-Lc’s powertrain have largely been kept under wraps, but like we said, if Lexus does end up using the LC 500 name, the hint of a possible 5.0-liter V-8 engine that has more power than the 467-horsepower output of the RC F Coupe could become a reality.