2013 North American International Autoshow wrap-up

Dario & George

While @thegarageblog on Twitter has been crazy active over the past week or so, things have been pretty quiet here in The Garage Blog. Why? Well, truth be told, I am so busy with my real job that I don’t have time to keep up with The Garage. For those of you who don’t know, my real job isn’t really a job at all. Instead, I am a freelancer with a daily and weekly gig over at the Toronto Star’s Wheels.ca, so when I’m done writing (I’m never really done) I really don’t have the energy to come here and write more.

So, my own coverage of the 2013 NAIAS is going to be limited to a shit load of pictures.

I will tell you that the absolute highlight of the show for me was turning a corner and seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy, in all its glory, standing out in the open, waiting for me to drool on it. Rather than just the usual gearhead drool, this was a chance for me to truly experience a bit of family history that I have never actually been close enough to embrace. Seeing my Grandfather’s Cousin’s name and face on the trophy was quite the moment for me. You can read more about my connection to George Robson here.

Now, head past the jump to see all sorts of stuff from the show.

Edsel’s toy

Click on the image to open the full size and then right click to save as your desktop background. Simple as that!

Hyundai makes dreams come true in Detroit with launch of Veloster Turbo

I can’t remember a car that has been so universally loved as the Hyundai Veloster and yet causes auto writers to squabble over whether it was underpowered or people were just missing the point. The point is that the Veloster was not marketed as a sports car, rather as a sporty urban runabout. The problem is that it is so damn cool, not to mention so well balanced, that it practically screams out for more power. There is a reason that AJAC members voted the Veloster as a top contender in its class for the Canadian Car of the Year scoring though, as it is just that good.

The rumours have been coming so hard and fast about the launch of a Veloster Turbo that it had to be a case not of if. It had to be a case of when. The when turned out to be earlier this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, when the company announced that the 2013 Veloster would indeed be available with a 201 horsepower, turbocharged 1,600cc four cylinder.

All is right in the World when one of the best cars on the road receives the one thing it needed most!

Check out our gallery and the Hyundai press release with all the deets after the break.

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DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2012 – Hyundai Motor America today introduced the all-new 2013 Veloster Turbo armed with 201 horsepower in a world debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Veloster Turbo is one bookend to Hyundai’s turbocharged sports coupe line-up, paired with the refreshed 274 horsepower, rear-wheel drive 2013 Genesis Coupe 2.0T (Turbo) also debuting at the show today.

“The Turbo further broadens Veloster’s hero role in the Hyundai line-up to attract our next generation of buyers,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product and corporate planning, Hyundai Motor America. “It’s powerful, high-tech and fuel-efficient, attributes which we think make Veloster Turbo the ultimate innovation in the sport coupe segment.”

The 2013 Veloster Turbo arrives in the Summer of 2012, facing off against worthy competitors such as the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic Si and Mini Cooper/Clubman S with a better power-to-weight ratio than all of them, and a unique sport-tuned steering and suspension hardware set.

HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2013 Veloster Turbo (Exclusive Turbo features)
* Powered by a new 1.6-liter Turbocharged-Gasoline Direct Injection (T-GDI) engine and in-house six-speed automatic or manual transmission
* Horsepower: 201 at 6000 RPM
* Best-in-class highway fuel economy estimated at 38 mpg (M/T)
* Best-in-class specific output at 125.6 horsepower per liter
* Best-in-class weight to power ratio of 14 lbs/hp
* Sport-tuned engine intake and exhaust note
* Sport-tuned steering
* Unique front fascia, foglights and ground effects
* Hyundai-first Matte Gray paint
* Unique 18-inch alloy wheels with chrome inserts
* Projection headlights with unique LED headlight accents
* Side mirrors with turn signal indicators
* Unique LED taillights
* Supervision cluster
* Leather seating surfaces with driver’s lumbar support
* Heated front seats
* Turbo exclusive Graphite Black interior with Blue accents and headliner graphics

Veloster Turbo is the first vehicle in Hyundai’s 7/11 product initiative (seven new or redesigned models in the next 11 months). Hyundai just completed its 24/7 version 2.0 product initiative (seven new or redesigned models in 24 months), with the debut of the 2012 Hyundai Azera.

TWIN-SCROLL TURBOCHARGER AND GDI TECHNOLOGY
The 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine in the 2013 Veloster Turbo produces 201 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1750 – 4500 rpm with regular fuel. The Veloster Turbo is estimated to deliver 27 mpg city and best-in-class 38 mpg highway for manual transmission models. Hyundai’s 1.6-liter Gamma turbocharged engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger that when combined with the GDI system, results in instantaneous power delivery. Twin-scroll turbochargers have traditionally been used on more expensive high performance engines, but Hyundai has brought this technology down its line-up from the Sonata 2.0T.

Twin-scroll turbocharger designs have two exhaust gas inlets divided by split walls inside the turbine housing, with both gas passages controlled by a waste-gate. A twin-scroll turbo recovers even more energy from the exhaust than a single-scroll turbocharger, thanks to a divided manifold. The twin-scroll design separates the cylinders whose exhaust gas pulses interfere with each other, resulting in improved pressure distribution in the exhaust ports and a more efficient delivery of exhaust gas energy to the turbocharger’s turbine.

For example, at the start of the intake stroke of cylinder one and when both the intake and exhaust valves of cylinder one are open (valve overlap period), cylinder three already starts its exhaust stroke with the exhaust valve open. If the exhaust passages of cylinder one and three were connected, the exhaust gas pulse from cylinder three would increase the back pressure of cylinder one. This would reduce the induction of the fresh air and increase the amount of hot residual gases inside the cylinder. However, with the twin-scroll turbocharger setup, this interference is minimized.

The result of this superior scavenging effect from a twin-scroll design leads to better pressure distribution in the exhaust ports and a more efficient delivery of exhaust gas energy to the turbocharger’s turbine. This in turn allows greater valve overlap, resulting in an improved quality and quantity of the air charge entering each cylinder. In fact, with more valve overlap, the scavenging effect of the exhaust flow can literally draw more air in on the intake side. At the same time, drawing out the last of the low-pressure exhaust gases help pack each cylinder with a denser and purer air charge. Maximum boost from the turbocharger is 18 psi.
The twin-scroll turbocharger design has several other advantages over traditional, single-scroll turbocharging systems, including:
* Improved combustion efficiency
* Low engine-speed efficiency
* Kinetic exhaust gas energy is not wasted or trapped
* Cooler cylinder temperatures
* Lower exhaust temperatures
* Leaner air/fuel ratio
* Better pressure distribution in the exhaust ports and more efficient delivery of exhaust gas energy to the turbocharger’s turbine

Veloster’s twin-scroll turbo has superior handling of exhaust gas separation at the turbine leading to improved low-end torque and faster transient torque response.

Two key features of Hyundai’s twin-scroll turbocharger setup are:
* The stainless steel exhaust manifold and the twin-scroll turbine housing are cast in a patent pending one-piece design
* The waste-gate for the turbocharger uses a motor-driven electrical controller instead of being mechanically controlled

Thanks to the integrated stainless-steel turbine housing with the exhaust manifold, not only is the weight and cost of the casting dramatically reduced, the durability of the turbine housing is also improved. In addition, heat energy recovery and thus turbo efficiency is significantly improved based on the fact that a traditional two-piece design effectively insulates some of the heat energy at the joint/gasket area.
By adapting the motor-driven electrical waste-gate, the boost pressure is precisely controlled. The back pressure is reduced when turbo boost is not necessary by opening the waste-gate, which improves fuel efficiency. During cold starts, the waste-gate remains open, which results in faster catalyst light-off for reduced exhaust emissions.

A GDI fuel delivery system contributes to improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. This shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery allows for greater control of the fuel mixture at the optimum moment, thus improving efficiency. The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2175 psi. Direct injection also utilizes a higher-than-normal 9.5 compression ratio, while achieving a best-in-class 125.6 horsepower-per-liter. The piston heads are “dished” to increase combustion efficiency in the cylinder.

CUSTOM TWO-WHEEL TUNER INSPIRATION
Veloster Turbo’s unique design takes inspiration from a custom high-performance sport bike. One of the most popular sport bike upgrades is to modify the exhaust. Hyundai designers have removed the Veloster’s trapezoidal center exhaust and replaced it with two larger free flowing circular pipes. These new pipes and the new intake manifold also allowed engineers to give the engine a more robust sound, which will delight enthusiasts.
From a bigger, bolder hexagonal front grille, through the sculpted side skirts and new dynamic rear bumper with prominent diffuser vents in the lower fascia, Veloster Turbo’s design adds aggression and aerodynamic stability compared to the base model. Drivers following Veloster will also notice the Veloster Turbo will be available in a Hyundai first Matte Gray paint. A set of 18-inch gray wheels with chrome inserts completes the Veloster Turbo’s recognized style. Veloster Turbo’s face also has signature eight individual headlight LED accents.

SPORT-TUNED
Working in harmony with the aggressive appearance is the finely tuned suspension setup of the Veloster. Only key components in the steering were upgraded for the Veloster Turbo. Veloster Turbo features a quicker ratio steering rack and a revised steering calibration to match, which both give drivers precise cornering, feedback and control. All Veloster Turbo’s ride on Kumho Solus KH25 215/40R18 85V tires designed to extract the best performance out of the car without compromising the ride.

All Velosters are fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 24 mm diameter front stabilizer. The rear suspension is a light-weight V-torsion beam, a Hyundai-first with an integrated 23 mm stabilizer bar to allow bracing of the arms for greater stiffness and to further control body roll. The rear suspension also uses monotube shock absorbers for ride comfort.
All Velosters feature electric power steering that adjusts assistance instantly to changing driving conditions while improving fuel economy over a conventional steering system. Veloster’s turning diameter of 34.1 feet is better than Mini’s 35.1 feet and Mini Clubman’s 36.1 feet.

NEW INTERIOR FEATURES
Inside, full leather seats with the word “Turbo” stitched into the seatbacks help deliver a unique look and provide exceptional support and comfort. An exclusive Supervision Cluster offers the driver information in a larger, clearer and more interactive format. This is due to the Supervision Cluster’s two TFT screens located between the tachometer and the speedometer. Heated front seats are also standard on the Turbo version. The center stack and controls also resemble a sport bike fuel tank and incorporate a push-button starter and alloy pedals.

SIX-SPEED MANUAL OR AUTOMATIC
To handle the power enhancements and keep with Hyundai’s commitment to making fuel efficient vehicles, Veloster Turbo is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Both transmissions were developed in house at Hyundai. The manual features a wider gear ratio spread (5.71 vs. 5.25) to handle the additional torque output. The high-revving turbo helps during acceleration, especially at highway speeds.

The Veloster Turbo is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifter and and Shiftronic(r) controls rather than the base Vesloster’s EcoShift DCT. This is due to the increased torque output from the 1.6-liter Turbocharged-GDI engine. The gear ratio spread on the automatic transmission is slightly narrower than the DCT (6.0 vs. 6.38). A narrower spread maintains the engine in the power band when going from one gear to the other. The base Veloster’s EcoShift DCT is tuned for fuel efficiency and not for the performance feel needed for the Veloster Turbo.

WORLD-CLASS WEIGHT EFFICIENCY
World-class weight efficiency is a program target for all Hyundai models. This strategy delivers outstanding fuel economy and performance simultaneously. At just 2,800 pounds, Veloster is 77 pounds lighter than the Honda Civic Si Coupe and 234 pounds lighter than the Volkswagen GTI. This priority on weight efficiency allows the Veloster Turbo to deliver a great combination of agility, performance, and fuel efficiency.

OVERALL DIMENSIONS
The Veloster Turbo has the same a 104.3-inch wheelbase, but the Turbo is 1.2 inches longer (167.3 inches) and .6 inches wider (71.1 inches).

ADVANCED STANDARD SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES: PART OF HYUNDAI’S ASSURANCE COMMITMENT
All Velosters have an exceptional level of standard safety features for the sporty car segment highlighted by a Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, which optimally manages ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the Motor-Driven electric Power Steering (MDPS).
VSM works to control two effects. The first is when a driver accelerates or brakes on a split-mu surface (slippery on one side, dry pavement on the other) and the vehicle wants to pull in one direction. VSM detects this condition and sends a signal to the MDPS to apply steering assist. VSM counters the pull and automatically provides up to eight Newton meters of counter steering. VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering.
All Velosters feature six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags.
Velosters also features a state-of-the-art braking package. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on vehicle loading conditions.

CONNECTIVITY/TECHNOLOGY
In the digital age, everyone wants to be connected to their electronics at all times, so Velosters come standard with a multifunction seven-inch touch-screen display. At engine start-up, the screen comes to life with a Veloster image and a unique sound. There are three interface layouts the user can choose from.
Pandora internet radio is integrated into all Velosters. The display screen has a Pandora icon to stream internet radio from an iPhone or Android. Pandora can also be viewed on the display screen and songs can be given the familiar Pandora thumbs up or thumbs down. (By selecting the thumbs down icon, that particular song will never be played again.)

* Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love anytime, anywhere, through personalized radio stations available on a wide variety of connected devices.
* According to Nielsen, today Pandora is one of the top five most popular apps across all smartphone platforms.
* Pandora gives people music they love through personalized radio stations, created instantly from a single song, artist or composer “seed.”
* Today, tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with Pandora, based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
* Pandora currently has more than 65 million listeners throughout the United States.

Gracenote improves how Veloster drivers access and manage their music, using enhanced voice recognition commands in concert with your iPod(r). Gracenote MediaVOCS(r) technology improves the accuracy of the system’s voice recognition capabilities for music search, letting drivers pinpoint artists, album and genre. For instance, Gracenote MediaVOCS(r) helps the system understand artist names like Beyoncé and AC/DC. Drivers can also use “The Boss” as a voice command to access tracks from Bruce Springsteen. In addition, the song’s album cover art displays on Veloster’s touchscreen.
With video games being an important element of entertainment, Hyundai integrated an RCA cable and an available 115-volt power outlet in Veloster to support gaming consoles for ultimate gaming sessions when parked or watch videos on the seven-inch multimedia touchscreen.

Veloster Turbo features a standard 450-watt Dimension Premium Audio system with eight speakers including an eight-inch subwoofer, external amplifier and iPod(r)/USB/auxiliary input jacks. An XM Satellite Radio interface is also integrated into the head unit and features channel logos and XM Data services, such as XM NavWeather(r), XM Stock Ticker and XM Sports Ticker.
A Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is standard. Onboard navigation is optional. The system also integrates a rear-view camera and backup warning sensors.

HYUNDAI BLUE LINK
“Blue Link combines safety, service and infotainment into a complete package that works to both help simplify Hyundai owners’ lives and reduce distracted driving,” said Barry Ratzlaff, director of customer satisfaction and service business development, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve carefully studied how drivers rely on smart phones and navigation systems as an innovative link to the outside world. Blue Link brings that seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like voice to text messaging, POI web search download, turn-by-turn navigation, and monthly vehicle reporting. Our agent-assisted advanced voice recognition system offers a 21st century solution to performing POI searches in the vehicle. This unique and innovative approach enables Hyundai to deliver fast, accurate searches and downloads of POIs to vehicles without traditional operator-only type systems of our competitors.”
As part of the Blue Link launch, Hyundai also will provide Blue Link Assurance on Blue Link-equipped vehicles, which include core safety services for an introductory period. These key safety services include: Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) and Assistance, SOS Emergency Assistance, and Enhanced Roadside Assistance. After the introductory period, owners of Blue Link-equipped vehicles can choose to extend these and other services as desired.
Blue Link Assurance further expands Hyundai’s industry leadership formerly established by Hyundai Assurance, the industry’s most comprehensive suite of new-vehicle protection. Hyundai Assurance already offers a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and 5-years complimentary Roadside Assistance.

COLOR PALETTE
Veloster Turbo’s aggressive personality means it can be dressed in an exclusive Matte Gray, a Hyundai first. All 2013 Velosters will be available in colors that fit the cars “own-it” attitude and characteristics of a long-distance runner, including Elite White. Interior color choices are Graphite Black or exclusive to the Turbo Graphite Black with Blue accents and headliner graphics for non-panoramic sunroof models.
Click Here to view 2012 Detroit Auto Show Media Kit

Inside the Ford Brain Trust, The Garage in Detroit Part III

Compared to the day before, waking up at 8:00am was a luxury! While media days continued at Cobo Hall, we would be spending the morning inside Ford. After meeting several of the fellow bloggers invited by Ford, all had told me they had never been to an auto show before. Having met bloggers who focus on car design, art, architecture, tech, and the environment, this is the day they were waiting for.

Bags packed, and finally in casual dress, I hopped the bus to Ford’s design studio. A plain, sprawling two story brick building, from the outside it looks like 1950′s corporate America, with no hint of the innovation going on inside its doors. We’re escorted into a large circular showroom, with breakfast on hand. I’m glancing around, and again, I’m thinking how dated this all looks. I later learn there is a reason for that. Since the 1950′s, this is the room Ford execs have been shown prototypes, concept cars from its design team. I am seated where the original 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang was first seen by Ford management, and the room is the same then as it is in 2012. A lesson in respect is learned, dear readers.

The program kicks off an “Innovation through Design” panel discussion. With all due respect to Ford, it was an utter disaster. For over half an hour I listened to topics that beared no relationship to anything going on at Ford, innovation or design. I just sat and suffered through a few guys blowing hot air, generally feeling how impressed they were with their intellectuality. While pontificating about nothing in particular, the audience duly responded by closing their eyes, working their iPads or smartphones.

With the painful panel discussion now behind us, I’m back on the bus to a nearby Ford laboratory. As a car journalist who has a regular rotation of new cars on a constant basis, I confess I give little thought as to what work and research actually goes in to designing a car-I just review the final product. And for those of you out there who still think American automakers are sloppy and lazy, take note. Ford first ushers us to a laboratory that serves one sole function: measuring how you get into a car. Ford has constructed an easily configurable steel cage to replicate how one would enter and exit any sort of car or truck it builds, taking into consideration door size, steering wheel position, and seating. Ford then uses several people of all body sizes who are hooked up to a computer to monitor their movements, and are asked about how easy or difficult it was to get in or out of the car. If that isn’t attention to detail, then I don’t know what is.

Next, we’re shown a different lab, pictured above. This is where people test current Ford technologies such as Sync and MyTouch, where you drive in a virtual world. While voice command for changing songs, making calls or navigation are available now, Ford let us in that they are testing expanding on voice commands to include seating adjustments. Other notable stops were Ford’s use of sustainable materials and Ford’s Sync technology in action.

But what I was hankering for was back at Ford’s world headquarters design studios. And I was granted access to what no one else can see. I enter the clay studio, and there is a silver colored, full-size clay model of the Ford Mondeo. Surrounding the Modeo are tables of smaller clay models. On the walls, artists renderings of concept cars these craftsmen carefully sculpt. And in the corner, my jaw drops. It is a clay model of the next Ford Mustang. I’m able to chisel and scrape as I wish, but more than anything, I am stunned I am getting a firsthand hint at where Ford is taking the Mustang design. And, I am sorry folks, but cameras were banned, and I cannot tell you any detail of what I saw.

If clay modeling is considered old-fashioned, what lay in store for us next will convince you Ford is on the cutting edge of design. What you see above is akin to a small movie theater, but in 1080p HD. The tech Ford has boggles the mind. With no photos involved, Ford showed us a last generation Fusion, fully computerized. Ford had the ability to set this car in any setting, say, in Las Vegas, or the woods, and see how light reflects off the car in any angle. Dealers can see how the car will look in the showroom.

I met with an interior designer. Seated at a Dell with a 42″ HD monitor, on the fly he could change interior colors on whim-seat color, seat material, wood grain finish. The possibilities were endless. Another programmer had software solely meant to view how the new Fusion looked while driving at different speeds and angles. Again, the investment Ford has made in technology blew my mind.

But, all good things must come to an and. We were escorted back to the room we started off in, and treated to lunch. Enjoying one last meal with my new daddy blogger friends, I enjoyed Chilean sea bass  with none other than J Mays, Chief Creative Designer of Ford as a speaker. His speech was brief, and took few questions, but he’s rightfully proud of the new Fusion, and has indicated the focus is now on restoring Lincoln to its former glory, an effort he feels will take at least a decade. On parting with us, J Mays remarked on how positive us bloggers were, unlike the ‘cynical auto press’. Guess he didn’t know there was an auto journo in the crowd.

And that was basically it. Ford herded us onto buses straight to the Detroit airport. I had a couple hours to kill, and I observed film crews and other auto journos make there way back home. Once boarded on my flight, we were stuck on the tarmac for a half hour. Finally underway, our flight was pleasant. I arrived back in Bradley International, which was a ghost town save for a delayed flight to Baltimore.  Sitting in the parking garage was my trusty Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, ready to whisk me back home to my family.

Lexus stuns the crowd with LF-LC concept at Detroit

Every single surface of this machine has the most sensual curves. Without sounding too soppy, the LF-LC is absolutely gorgeous. Do I care that it is a hybrid? Nope, not one bit!

Check out our gallery and the Lexus presser after the break.

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Lexus Unveils Sleek Hybrid 2+2 Sport Coupe Design Concept at North American International Auto Show
Design study created at Calty to explore future of Lexus design
Exterior highlighted by dynamic shapes, intriguing details and expansive use of glass
Interior features high technology set off by organic shapes and materials

DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2012 – Lexus today unveiled a new design concept for a hybrid 2+2 sport coupe at the North American International Auto Show. Showcasing the future design direction for Lexus and emphasis on a driver-focused vehicle, the LF-LC concept will be at the Lexus display through January 22.

“The LF-LC concept showcases the evolution of the Lexus design which started with the popular CT 200h and the bold new GS sedan,” said Larry Hutchinson, Senior Executive Director of Lexus in Canada. “This concept showcases Lexus’ leadership in innovation, technology and performance all while liberating the idea of a sport coupe.“

Challenged by the Lexus Center in Japan to come up with a design for a future hybrid sport coupe concept, the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif. sought to advance the redefinition of Lexus with emotive, avant-garde beauty and advanced technology, yet remain within reach for premium buyers.

“Our entire studio worked to develop this beautiful interpretation of Lexus originality,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty. “The LF-LC concept embodies our vision of what a premium sport coupe could be.”

The LF-LC displays the new Lexus design language in its bold interpretation of the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture. Sumptuous curves blend smoothly into dynamic angles, creating an inviting display of lines, shadows and corners.

Framed by a deep aluminum surround, the mesh pattern of the spindle grille takes 3D sculpture form, and functional air intakes in the bottom corners of the grille show the fusion of distinctive style and engineering functionality.

Daytime running lights are shaped like an “L” while the vertical fog lamps utilize a fading dot matrix pattern to suggest a sense of movement.

The profile of the LF-LC creates a powerful, dynamic silhouette that is unmistakably that of a serious driver’s car. The lines of the vehicle emphasize direction and motion.

The concept car’s glass roof features a lightweight, cantilevered pillar with a glass-to-glass juncture inspired by modern architecture. A rising, kick-up window graphic and polished aluminum trim are unexpected elements. Overall, the greenhouse design enhances driver visibility while adding to the sleek lines of the car.

The dynamic cabin lines are carried through to the rear deck, sculpturally integrating the spindle grille theme to echo the front of the vehicle while creating a unique sense of width. The tail lamps, inspired by the look of a jet afterburner at take-off, use inner lighting to create a remarkable sense of depth. The rear is also fitted with fog lamps, repeating the fading dot matrix pattern of the front fog lamps. Visually, the integrated tail and fog lamps repeat the “L” shape and lead the viewer’s eye down to the powerful Lexus quad exhaust.

The interior of the LF-LC concept vehicle contrasts the cool ambience of advanced technology with soft textures and organic shapes to create a driver-focused synergy of form and function. The cockpit expresses a feeling of both openness and security. The driver is enveloped by deeply scooped side panels and a high, curved console. The effect is to focus the driver zone on the controls and on the road.

Based on Lexus’ commitment to creating an intuitive driving experience, the LF-LC incorporates a remote touch-screen device that allows the driver to comfortably operate controls without shifting position or altering line-of-sight.

Twin 12.3-inch LCD screens provide information and navigation display. Inputs come from a touch-screen control board piercing the swept center console. Used to control the audio system, climate controls and navigation, the interface features a pop-up touch-screen keyboard for more complex entries. Similar touch-screen surfaces on each door operate the windows, mirrors, seat adjustments and personal entertainment settings.

Set directly in front of the driver, multi-level meters layer analog and LCD technologies. The bottom layer displays temperature, fuel and the background for the Eco meter. The middle layer is the tachometer mechanical center ring. The topmost layer provides indicators for the tachometer, speedometer and Eco meter.

Surfaces throughout the cabin are presented in a combination of smooth leather and suede, with brushed metal trim and wood accents. The lightweight, race-inspired front seats are formed of multiple layers and repeat the interlacing curves that define the cabin interior. The racing style steering wheel is also a lightweight design and contains integrated controls and start button. Beautiful stitch details emphasize organic movement throughout the interior.

The front-engine, rear-wheel drive LF-LC features Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, delivering both driving performance and fuel efficiency.

“What started as a design exercise has clearly become a strikingly creative concept,” said Hutchinson. “The LF-LC promises to deliver a dynamic driving experience, while lessening environmental impact with its next-generation hybrid powertrain.