The Lexus LC 500 Hybrid, arriving in New Zealand mid-2017, delivers a breakthrough that recasts the entire concept of hybrid performance with a combined 10-speed transmission Multi-Stage Hybrid System.
The flagship performance coupe will provide a glimpse of what is technically possible by presenting a world first Multi-Stage Hybrid System that marries the elements of a traditional full hybrid powertrain; including the normal CVT type transmission, to an additional integrated 4-speed automatic gearbox.
Instead of keeping in suit with traditional hybrids which focus on optimised fuel economy, the LC 500h was engineered to take advantage of the immediate torque that only an electric motor can deliver. The revolutionary Multi-Stage Hybrid transmission introduces physical gears adjusting engine revs to match the driver's needs and produce immediate response from acceleration.
"This 'Multi-Stage' Hybrid eradicates the perception that hybrids are developed solely for fuel economy; which means the LC 500h will deliver an engaging and exhilarating driving experience," says Spencer Morris, Lexus New Zealand's General Manager of Product.
"I would expect this to provide an interesting dilemma for customers when faced with the choice of a hybrid or a V8."
The system also features an 'M' Mode — the first driver-initiated gear shifts offered on a Lexus full hybrid powertrain, allowing the driver to direct responsive gear shifts for the most authoritative and engaging drive yet.
An amazing feat of engineering, the new transmission system weighs the same as the current hybrid powertrain thanks to a new lightweight and compact electric motor and a lithium-ion battery to offset the weight of the additional automatic transmission.
The LC 500h operates like a conventional hybrid using just the CVT in its 'economy' and 'normal' modes. But when the driver selects "Sport" or "Sport+" modes, the transmission computer comes fully into play engaging the four speed automatic and providing ten gears to fully optimise the driver experience,
The LC 500 will also be available with a five litre V8 engine delivering 351kWs matched to a new 10 speed conventional automatic transmission with paddle shifting.