GT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE: LEXUS MAY BE PLANNING TWO NEW COUPES

Written by: 
Mike McGlovin
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GT Channel sources have unveiled an exclusive scoop called Project 777L, Toyota’s codename for the next-generation SC. But we've discovered more: There may be two new sport luxury coupes in the works. You read us right, Lexus will go from zero sport coupes to two distinctly different versions of coupe models slated to be introduced in the summer of 2014 for the 2015 model year. Our sources in Nagoya, Japan, tell us that Toyota may be planning to re-enter the coupe market with a high-end and a mid-range model.

Most Lexus enthusiast are already familiar with the LF-LC concept car. This model has been making the rounds on the auto show circuit the last couple of years. Toyota is finalizing plans on a luxury coupe that may go by the name LC 550 (Luxury Coupe), based on many elements from the LF-LC concept. This exotic premium AWD will most likely share the LS chassis and price category. Drivers will have a choice between a 4.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine or a hybrid version utilizing the LC 600h. This coupe is expected to produce about 500 bhp and go zero-to-60 mph in under 5 seconds. Pricing is expected to be in the $100,000-plus neighborhood.

When Lexus announced the start of the LF-LC project in May 2010 and the very next month in June decided to discontinue the production of the SC430, most speculated that the LF-LC concept would eventually become the next SC model. Ah, but not so fast my friends…Would you believe that Toyota has plans for introducing a second coupe? Our sources indicate that this is a possibility.

Look for the third generation of the SC (Sport Coupe) to be built on the GS platform in a V-8 powered model and V-6 Hybrid. The two-door version of this 2+2 will most likely go by the name of SC 450. This vehicle will fill the void left by the disappointing SC 430, which was recently named by Top Gear as one of the “Worst Cars in the History of the World.”

The duo of Jeremy Clarkson and James May sighted poor exterior design, terrible ride quality, high price and higher expectations from Toyota as a few of the reasons the SC 430 made their list. We can expect the updated version of the SC to break those stereotypes by borrowing from the invigorating styling and technology associated with the popular GS model.

The latest GS sedan lineup is Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda’s centerpiece to restore the passion of the Lexus brand. You can reason that Toyota plans to have the SC fill that same niche in the coupe market. Expect the SC 450 to come in at a modestly priced range starting around $50,000.

If both these vehicles actually make it to market, we can expect Toyota to position itself to go head-to-head with the best that the German automakers have to offer and help the Japanese gain back valuable market share in the United States. The LC 550 will compete with the top class of the BMW 6 Series and Mercedes-Benz SL. The SC 430 is poised to do battle against the BMW 640i, Mercedes-Benz CL and Audi S5.