- The 2015 Lexus RC 350, a new coupe based on the Lexus LF-CC concept, is expected to debut at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show.
- Automotive News says the RC 350 will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine.
- A high-performance coupe, likely known as the RC-F will debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
DETROIT — The 2015 Lexus RC 350, a new coupe based on the Lexus LF-CC concept, is expected to debut at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show.
Lexus plans to add a sporty rear-wheel-drive coupe to its lineup late next year that draws on styling themes seen on the LF-CC concept that debuted at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.
But rather than expanding the IS range by adding a coupe, as was expected, the automaker now plans to give the new coupe its own identity and nameplate, RC 350, Automotive News reported.
The strategy to separate the coupe from the sedan line follows a similar renaming tactic adopted by two German automakers to separate their sedans from other models.
"Originally it was going to be part of the (Lexus) IS range," an industry source who is familiar with the car told Edmunds. "They may have changed the naming strategy because of what is happening with the (BMW) 3 series.
"The 3 series coupe is now called the 4 series. The (Audi) A4 coupe never happened," it is called the A5 coupe. "The A4 convertible was made the A5. So they may be changing it just because the other two guys changed it."
U.S. sales are slated for the end of next year as a 2015 model, the source said.
The IS line currently offers a four-door sedan and a hardtop convertible, and the coupe was expected to be the third model in the IS lineup. But there is a big question mark on whether the hardtop convertible will be redesigned or eventually dropped from the line, the source said.
"What I heard is that they will do a long hard look as to whether they will replace it or not," the source told Edmunds. "The car is not a big seller, and the top is complicated and expensive. A 2014 model is planned, but after that, it is unclear.
"They do not like doing an old platform and new platform in the same plant if they can help it."
The 2015 Lexus RC will be offered with two engines.
"There will be a V6 and then they will do the high-output 2.0-liter turbo, but probably not at launch," the source said.
The 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that is shared by the IS and GS sedan will be used in the RC 350, Automotive News reported.
A high-performance coupe, likely known as the RC-F, will be unveiled in January at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, the publication said.
That car will be equipped with a 460-hp V8. No timetable was given for sales.
When the LF-CC bowed, Toyota described it as "a first illustration of how concept cars are truly influencing future Lexus models and, in this instance, future D-segment derivatives."
Toyota added: "Announcing the launch of a premium midsized coupe in the more accessible D-segment in the near future, the LF-CC reinforces Lexus' commitment to create more engaging, inspirational vehicles through attractive design, a superior driving experience and advanced technologies."
Edmunds says: Lexus is poised to add another coupe to its stable as it continues to do battle with BMW and Audi.