Though much of the automotive world has its eyes trained on Los Angeles for our annual hometown auto show, half a world away, Lexus made some big news at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Toyota’s luxury arm debuted a production-ready RC Coupe during Tuesday’s show in Japan. The striking two-door model is all-new for Lexus, and is based on the midsize GS sedan.
“Our focus is to strengthen the brand’s emotional appeal through our products and RC is another demonstration of this focus,” Mark Templin, Lexus International executive vice president, said in a statement.
That Lexus would spin off a coupe distinct from its sedans follows a philosophy numerous luxury brands are trying. BMW’s new 4 Series is essentially the coupe and convertible version of the 3 Series sedan and wagon. Audi has had great success marketing its A5 coupe as something wholly unique, despite it being largely based on the A4 sedan.
Lexus will sell two versions of the RC Coupe. The RC 350 will use a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 314 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission moves this power to the rear wheels, though Lexus says some markets will also get all-wheel-drive as an option.
The RC 300h uses a hybrid drivetrain seen throughout Lexus’ lineup. In this coupe, it draws 217 total horsepower from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 105 kW electric motor. A CVT will be the only transmission available.
The inside of the RC will look familiar to anyone who’s recently spent some time in Lexus’ excellent IS sedan, yet with one key difference. The automaker has done away with the clunky joystick-like controller for the infotainment system that Lexus has been using in its vehicles for several years. In its place is a touch-sensitive pad on the center console between the driver and passenger.
The RC Coupe lineup is scheduled to go on sale in 2014.