NAIAS 2012: Lexus concept hybrid coupe highlights unique interior technology

  • 09-Jan-2012 03:20 EST

The Lexus LF-LC hybrid coupe is a concept, but shows technologies beyond just a next-generation hybrid system.

The Lexus LF-LC coupe is a concept hybrid, unveiled Jan. 9 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but it reflects more than the next design language for Toyota's luxury brand. It's a technology showcase, with interior features that are clearly in the thought processes for engineers working on near-future Lexus cars. The concept coupe was created at Toyota's Calty design center in Newport Beach, CA.

Although there are no details on the hybrid powertrain that such a vehicle might use, it would be a derivative of the next generation of the Toyota system. It will not include the small four-cylinder of the Prius and Lexus CT-200H models. And a rear-drive and/or all-wheel-drive version could be in the powertrain mix, as Toyota has been making such hybrid variants for production cars and racing cars for several years.

The interior features are highlighted by two 12.3-in LCD screens, one as an instrument cluster and the other as a navigation/infotainment display, analogous to the one recently introduced on the new Lexus GS series, which has a 12.3-in LCD infotainment screen. So the hardware for this feature is anything but "just concept." The instrument cluster screen has analog and digital gauges, temperature, fuel and an "eco-meter". The center stack touch screen controls the audio, climate control, and navigation. There's also a pop-up touch screen keyboard for complex entries.

The door has 4.0-in (102-mm) touch screens that control the door locks, windows, outside mirrors, seat adjustments, and personal entertainment settings. When the windows are selected, the speed of movement of the fingers regulates the speed at which the windows open or close, a feature that is reminiscent of Apple IPod controls. The engine start button is built into the steering wheel.

The exterior has a never-before-done glass-to-glass roof pillar design, with the pillar cantilevering over the C-pillar to improve rear visibility. It's combined with a sliding glass roof to provide an open impression. The taillamps are shaped like jet afterburners, and the three projectors that make up each headlamp are shaped like camera lenses.

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