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New Lexus LF-LC Concept: A Design Analysis

January 4, 2012 by Matt

Lexus LF-LC LFLC Concept Red

Well, it’s not pretty.

At least, the fascia isn’t, not in the classical sense. Straining so hard for a new theme, like a rock band trying to play the same four chords in a new way after countless bands have done the same, the Lexus LF-LC concept’s nose ends up looking merely different for the sake of being different.

Now, I can’t fault the incredibly rakish proportions, but the traditional distribution of visual masses in the LF-LC’s profile just reinforces the contrived nature of the front end styling. Being a product of Toyota’s California-based design studio, the same crew who penned the original’s Lexus SC coupe’s flawless lines, I had high hopes for the new concept. Let’s just say my expectations weren’t entirely satisfied.

Lexus LF-LC LFLC Concept Red Profile Side View

As mentioned above, the car’s proportions are classically correct and right on the money. They also pay considerable homage to those of the first generation SC coupe, eschewing the second generation’s truncated boulevardier stance entirely in favor of the first-gen’s traditional GT shape. There’s more than a hint of the big-brother LFA as well in the impossibly low greenhouse, rocker panel intakes and straight line across the rear haunches. And I even detect a touch of Ferrari 599 GTB in the way the C-pillars become notable styling elements as they tango with the fenders and rear glass.

That said, I can’t help feeling that it’s a uneven mismash of ideas, holding a kind of uncomfortable tension between the classic and avant-garde. In a way, the LF-LC presents interesting similarities and differences to the recent Jaguar C-X16 concept. As I pointed out in my analysis of that car, its automaker produced a crumpet-collector to nearly rival the original E-Type, but given Jaguar’s recent production-level design decisions, the concept hewed far too closely to the classic Jag shape, trapping the company in the past, visually. Lexus, on the other hand, attempted to push the envelope with the Remington-shaver-meets-funhouse-mirror proboscis of the LF-LC; however, the Japanese automaker has no long and tired association with the classic GT shape or styling cues. Unlike Jaguar, they’re unencumbered by the past and could have created something arresting, showstopping, timeless, free from a concern that critics (like myself) would dismiss it as a retread of old themes—and they almost did, as evidenced by the car’s proportions, but… Then they grafted on the corporate front end, dashing hopes of a completely pleasing shape. So close, Lexus, so close.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Auto Shows, Concept Cars, Lexus, News

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