Lexus LF-CC concept: The next step in Lexus’ transformation

In case you haven’t noticed, Lexus has a new look. An hourglass-shaped grille, part of the luxury brand’s “L-finesse” design theme, is cropping up on all of the company’s sedans, as well as concept cars like the LF-LC hybrid sports coupe. If that wasn’t enough, Lexus is bringing another concept, the LF-CC to the Paris Motor Show, and it could be the template for the next IS.

The LF-CC is a midsize luxury hybrid coupe that Lexus says previews a future D-segment model. That means this rear-wheel drive car could slot in where the current IS sedan and convertible in the Lexus lineup.

Like nearly every Lexus concept in recent memory, the LF-CC is all about angles. The lower portion of the grille (Lexus says it’s a spindle) opens up into a giant mouth, flanked by two equally massive intakes. The proportions definitely connote power and performance.

Moving along, things start to fall apart. In profile view, the LF-CC pairs a fairly traditional coupe shape and flat sides with slit-like lights and, of course, that front end. This is a car that definitely looks best head on.

To spice things up a bit, and remind people that this is a performance car, Lexus added an airflow regulating fin (the triangular piece in front of the rear wheel), a cue borrowed from the LF-LC and Lexus’ LFA supercar. In an interesting touch, the fin curves up to meet the lower edge of the taillight.

Speaking of taillights, the LF-CC’s rear end picks up the aggressive look of the front. All of the surfaces are highly sculpted; the bottom of the rear bumper somewhat resembles a diffuser.

The interior gets its own styling theme, called “Human Machine Interface (HMI).” Lexus says the dashboard was divided into two zones: and upper “Display Zone” with a screen for viewing secondary functions, and a lower “Operation Zone” with all the controls, including a touch pad.

Most concept cars are non-functional, but Lexus decided to stuff the LF-CC with a hybrid powertrain. A 2.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine running on the Atkinson cycle is paired with a water-cooled electric motor.

According to Lexus, a version of the LF-CC’s powertrain will see production in a future model. Lexus already offers hybrid versions of its ES, GS, and LS sedans, so it seems like a logical move to complete the set. Such a car would also be a natural competitor for the BMW ActiveHybrid 3.

Lexus will release more details about the LF-CC at the Paris Motor Show later this month. The future model it foreshadows will complete the transformation of Lexus’ car line, but it will need to have some substance under its skin to pry luxury car buyers away from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

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