The LF-C (Lexus Future Coupe) concept is our first glimpse of the design language that will define the next-generation IS, which surfaces in early 2006. With only a sedan and a crossover wagon, the current IS300 has had a tough time competing with the many BMW 3-series models, and Lexus aims to rectify that shortcoming next time around. "If we have more variants-two-door models, four-doors, multiple engines, all-wheel drive-we can sell more than the 1000 a month we're doing now," says U.S. Lexus chief Denny Clements. To that end, the curvaceous LF-C is a multifunctional four-seater that starts as a coupe and, as its hard top retracts, morphs into a targa, a speedster, and a fully open convertible. The IS will follow the new GS as part of Toyota's long-range plan to remake Lexus's design image in a sexier, more sculptural direction. Like the GS, the IS will jettison its current inline six-cylinder engine in favor of a new, 245-hp V-6, and the corporate 4.3-liter V-8 also will be offered. Will the LF-C's trick roof actually make it to production? "We certainly hope so," says Clements. That would put us in a position of leading the segment, not following."
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