Lexus Previews the Next-Generation IS with the Sleek LF-CC Concept

Since the Toyota Altezza came to America a dozen years ago wearing a Lexus emblem and an “IS” designation, this refined sport sedan (and, since 2009, hardtop convertible) has earned an enthusiastic following. Its looks have never been of the light-my-fire variety, but spirited performance, peerless refinement, and indefatigable reliability have more than compensated for its mundane style sensibility. At this year’s Paris Motor Show, however, Lexus debuted a scandalously pretty coupe concept that more than hints at the next IS. It’s a knockout.

The LF-CC concept is the latest (and, to these eyes, the most mature) expression of the Lexus L-finesse design language. Of course, some flourishes, like the wildly overstated front end and the dramatic interior, replete with touch-sensitive surfaces, are pure auto-show glitz, but the LF-CC is otherwise ready for its showroom debut. Wider and lower than the current IS, the car has a confident stance and a visual charisma that brings to mind the ever-handsome Audi A5.

Behind the concept’s wildly sculpted spindle grille is a new take on the Lexus Hybrid Drive system. A smooth 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with direct fuel injection meets a small electric motor, a generator, and a high-performance battery pack. A power-split device manages the interaction of the internal combustion and battery-fed energy sources, making use of planetary reduction gears to dole out the torque to the rear wheels depending on speed and load requirements. The result, no surprise, is a seamlessly smooth power train with stellar fuel economy and admirably low carbon dioxide emissions. Look for this new hybrid power train, along with the LF-CC’s artful shape, to make its production debut in short order.

Lexus is tight-lipped on specifics regarding production and pricing. For those who can’t wait for the future, however, the sweet 2013 Lexus IS sedan and convertible start at $36,050 and $43,405, respectively. (www.lexus.com)

Read Next Article >>
g5scanner
A Ferrari fanatic can purchase a copy of the Diamante edition of The Official Ferrari Opus...
Photo by 2014 Mercedes-Benz USA
After halting production in 2012, Daimler has folded the historic brand under its Mercedes wing.
Photo by Christian Martin
Among the lots are 60 historic barn-find cars from the Baillon Collection…
Photo by Snarski
The GT is a more powerful version of the original Panoz Esperante Spyder…
C-Types, D-Types, and E-Types from the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s are among the program’s cars…
The new coupe takes many styling cues from the 1954 A6 GCS-53…
These five two-wheel wonders feature aggressive designs and heart-palpitating performance…
The new Mustang features Ford’s most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever…
Photo by Cordero Studios, corderostudios.com
Although the complete results of Robb Report’s annual Car of the Year competition will not be...
This year’s L.A. Auto Show saw more models introduced than at any other time in its 107-year...