Lexus has admitted to quite nakedly trying to sex its image up with the launch of its new RC (Radical Coupe) at the Tokyo motor show.
In a slightly coquettish manner, Lexus admits the RC — which will go on sale in the fourth quarter of next year in Japan, and as soon after that as possible in Australia — is the first time it has used ‘sexy’ as a design catchphrase.
Chief engineer Junichi Furuyama said RC was intended to hit potential owners on an emotional level.
“We dared to use ‘sexy’ as our design catchphrase because the various images the word brings to mind represent a frank expression of the new frontiers the RC opens for the Lexus brand,” Mr Furuyama said.
“Motoring enthusiasts have always aspired to own coupes for one reason: coupes look cool – sexy even. We developed RC to deliver extra response that exhilarates rather than overwhelms drivers, in keeping with the true spirit of Japanese hospitality, or omotenashi.”
The RC will be offered with either a 2.5-litre 105kW four-cylinder hybrid engine, or a significantly more sporty dual injection 3.5-litre V6, which, with 234kW and 380Nm, gives it a specific output per litre second only to the LFA supercar in the Lexus range.
The car will be rear-wheel drive in most markets, and all-wheel-drive will be available in more snowbound regions.
The V6 gets an eight-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission, with paddles, adapted from the IS F, capable of downchanges in just 0.2 seconds.
The hybrid will make do with a CVT with six step gears in a sequential shift-matic feature.
The RC design features deeply contoured lines, some of which might not make it to production, as well as a wider and lower version of the Lexus signature spindle grille.
The coupe is as short as an IS but as wide as a GS, giving it a sporting stance. RC is 30mm wider than IS, 35mm lower and has a 70mm shorter wheelbase.
Lexus International executive vice president Mark Templin said growing the emotional appeal of Lexus will allow the brand to engage with a broader audience. “Our focus is to strengthen the brand’s emotional appeal through our products and RC is another demonstration of this focus,” Mr Templin said. “The emotional attachment of a coupe is found in its purity of design and its engaging driving experience, and with RC the engineers have achieved the balance."