Lexus Racing on Thursday posted a shadowy photo on Instagram of what appears to be a winged LC coupe. No context was given, but we have seen evidence of a hotter LC variant under development.
The teaser-style composition of the image, with shadows that obscure all but the outline of the car, make it seem like Lexus is hinting at a new model. But no other details accompanied the post. The caption merely said "highest expression of performance." We'll take that as a hint.
We've seen hints of a Lexus LC F performance model over the past few years, but the clues have been somewhat inconsistent. Lexus trademarked the LC F name in the U.S. in 2017, but declined to file an extension in 2020, seemingly abandoning the trademark. The image could also suggest a slightly hotter LF F-Sport model, but the rear wing seems to imply a hotter LC F.
A prototype with enlarged air intakes and the stacked exhaust tips characteristic of Lexus F models, but without this car's rear spoiler, was spotted testing in 2018. And in 2019, Lexus announced plans for a twin-turbocharged V-8 for future models, including sports cars.
Lexus even planned to enter an LC race car powered by a twin-turbo V-8 in the 2020 24 Hours of Nürburgring but pulled out due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. That led to rumors the engine might be dead as Lexus and parent Toyota focused on downsized engines and electrification to reduce fuel consumption. But in 2021, Toyota filed patent drawings for a twin-turbo V-8 in the U.S.
For now, the standard LC carries on with its naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 and V-6 hybrid powertrains, in coupe and convertible body styles. Lexus kept changes to a minimum for the 2022 model year, the most significant being new suspension tuning for the V-8 LC 500 model. But as the LC ages, Lexus will need to do more to keep buyers interested. An LC F would certainly accomplish that.