Hint: A V8 can fit under the hood.
There’s a big problem with Lexus’ current lineup, and this time it doesn't have anything to do with terrible infotainment systems. The fact is that the automaker wants to be taken seriously as a luxury contender. It's farther along in that pursuit than any other Japanese brand, but the fact remains that it lacks a convertible in its lineup. That would be unheard of for the Germans, who like to fill every vehicular niche before the competition stakes a first claim. Thankfully, Lexus is no dummy.
During an interview with Australia’s Drive, two executives acknowledged the importance of reviving the convertible. Recent examples of L-badged drop-tops include the SC 430 that went out of production in 2010 and IS C family that was cut off when production of the XE20 IS chassis ended. At current, there aren’t many Lexus coupes around on which to build a convertible. The RC is out of the question since it’s aged and already rides on a complex mashup of three different platforms. The outlook seem grim, at least until you take a look at the new LC’s GA-L platform. Lexus' LC-project assistant chief engineer, Takashi Watanabe, confirmed to Drive that the platform could support a convertible layout in theory.
Theory doesn't exactly mean it’s going to happen, but the important thing to take away is that Lexus is thinking about a drop top. Back in 2014, the automaker debuted the LF-C2 Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The only reason it didn’t make it to production is because dealerships wanted Lexus to spend its cash building more SUVs to fill the gaps in that highly profitable segment. Well, it has that end covered, especially with the small but hot NX and a bite-sized UX on the way. With that weight off, Lexus is pining to go toe to toe with Germany, and the LC’s very existence is proof Lexus is taking aim at the heavy hitters. "We are very aware of the importance of the convertible sector of this market,” said Lexus Australia boss Peter McGregor.
Not wanting to give too many details, he said only that the GA-L platform would underpin any two-door, front-engine, rear-wheel drive Lexus models for the foreseeable future, though he added, "It's been a while between convertibles for us.” No kidding. The uphill battle for Lexus will be justifying the build to the bean counters since any sort of drop-top north of $100,000 won’t exactly sell enthusiastically. Lexus LF-C2 Concept pictured.