This beast is a beauty

2017-06-29 06:01
The beast under the hood of the Lexus LC 500 (below) is already causing stirrings among retrofitters. PHOTOS: Lexus

The beast under the hood of the Lexus LC 500 (below) is already causing stirrings among retrofitters. PHOTOS: Lexus

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DUBBED the loveliest Lexus yet and priced at R1 729 600, it is not the price or the lines of the LC 500’s that intrigue mechanics, but the naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine that lurks underneath its hood.

Bear in mind that previous generation Lexus V8 engines power many a Siyaya taxi in South Africa, as well as a lot of Land Cruiser and Hilux bakkies, several Mitsubishi Pajero models and even one Mahindra bakkie that Wheels is aware of.

Calvyn Hamman, sales and marketing senior vice president of Lexus South Africa, said while available in both petrol and hybrid in other global markets, only the V8-powered petrol derivative is confirmed for South Africa.

The mechanics who shoe-horn Lexus V8 blocks into other vehicles are all intrigued about the new monster from Lexus, which comes with a fouryears or 100 000 km service plan.

Gary Peacock in Pietermaritzburg predicted the new block will make a great conversion for hot rods and 4x4 alike.

Allan Baartman, who has a Lexus-powered BMW by way of advertising his belief that any vehicle deserves a V8, looks forward to the 10-speed automatic gearbox.

10-Speed transmission

The Lexus LC 500 debuts the first 10-speed automatic transmission for a luxury automobile.

Smaller and lighter than some eight-speed units, this new transmission executes shifts at speeds rivaling dual-clutch transmissions, yet with the seamless performance and smoothness of a torque converter automatic.

The transmission benefits from a new torque converter with full range lock-up control to support the delivery of a pleasingly direct feel and eliminating unnecessary revving of the engine.

Thanks to intelligent design and packaging and exhaustive weight-saving measures, the complete unit is comparable in size and weight to Lexus’ current eight-speed automatic.

Low-friction materials have been used where possible to support fuel economy and the number of internal parts has been kept to a minimum.

Very quick downshifts.

The LC 500 allows manual shifting via magnesium paddles.

Lexus stated “even drivers who pride themselves on making expertly timed shifts, however, will find the advanced electronic control system, which anticipates the driver’s inputs by monitoring acceleration, braking and lateral-g forces, always chooses the ideal ratio”.

In another world-first for Lexus, the transmission uses an AI-SHIFT control with a drive mode switching function.

This selects the optimum gear according to its estimation of the driver’s preferences and intentions, based not just on vehicle speed and use of the accelerator, but also from past driving history. The system will automatically adapt gear ratios to suit.

High-revving V8

Upon startup, exhaling through the sound-tuned variable Active Exhaust, the five-litre naturally aspirated V8 draws closer any driving enthusiasts.

Based on the engine in the Lexus RC F high-performance models, the LC 500 version raises the output to 351 kW and 450 Nm of peak torque. The LC 500 can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in less than 4,7 seconds. This five-litre V8 is a well-proven performance engine, with a low-mass reciprocating assembly using lightweight forged connecting rods, along with titanium intake and exhaust valves to allow a 7 300-rpm redline.

Under acceleration, the LC 500 V8 delivers a continuously rising power curve, with the maximum power of 351 kW developed at a screaming 7 100 rpm while the torque peak of 540 Nm comes it at a low 4 800 rpm.

- Supplied.

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