Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the Detroit Auto Show three years ago, the Lexus LC coupe gave us a reason to take Toyota’s luxury brand seriously again. The stylish, high-end coupe was a major hit at the show and turned out to be pretty good on the road as well. Now Lexus is trying to keep the magic going with a convertible version of the LC, which debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. However, Lexus won’t confirm plans for production just yet.

The Lexus LC convertible concept really is just an LC coupe without a roof, adding more visual drama to what was already a head-turning car. The interior looks pretty similar as well, although Lexus fitted the convertible concept with white leather upholstery that would probably be a nightmare to keep clean in real life.

Lexus didn’t offer any details on the powertrain, but the production LC coupe is available is available with the two very different options. The LC 500 boasts a 5.0-liter V8 producing 471 horsepower, while the LC 500h has a V6 hybrid powertrain with a total system output of 354 hp.

Lexus hasn’t sold a convertible since the IS C went out of production in 2015. The RC coupe was engineered to be turned into a convertible, but Lexus ditched that plan to focus on more profitable crossovers. A production version of the LC convertible concept would essentially take the place of the Lexus SC 430, which went out of production in 2010. Like the LC, the SC was meant to be a flagship for Lexus. But the car wasn’t successful, thanks to a conservative design and lack of tech features (the SC was the last car sold in the United States with a tape deck).

Both the IS C and SC featured retractable hard tops, but Lexus did not say what kind of top it used in the LC convertible concept. We’re betting on a soft top, given the lack of space behind the rear seats. That wouldn’t be a problem, as many other convertibles at the LC’s price point have soft tops. The fact that rivals like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche offer both coupe and convertible versions of their high-end two-doors would seem to make a case for putting the LC convertible into production, but Lexus won’t commit.

“A production version of this concept would be exhilarating in many different ways,” Tadao Mori, the car’s chief designer, said in a statement, without confirming plans for production.

The Lexus LC convertible concept debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. It will share the limelight with, among other things, the Toyota Supra, the highly anticipated sports car from Lexus’ sibling brand.

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