Detroit, Michigan – The launch this week of the highly anticipated Lexus LC500 luxury sports coupe at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit also marks the debut of Group Michelin’s most advanced run-flat UHP tire, the Pilot Super Sport ZP (Zero Pressure).
The LC500 – from Toyota Motor Co.’s Lexus division – is a low-slung, rear-wheel-drive coupe powered by a 467-hp 5-liter V-8 engine based on the LF-LC concept coupe that Lexus has been teasing auto show visitors with for years. The vehicle debuted at the NAIAS on a custom-designed and –developed iteration of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, size 245/40R21 front and 275/35R21 rear.
The LC500 will be the Lexus brand’s halo model, with a targeted 0-60 mph acceleration time of less than 4.5 seconds. It’s expected to go on sale in the US and Japan in the spring of 2017, at just a tick under $100,000.
Michelin and Lexus engineers worked together on the tires, Michelin said, using the tire maker’s testing facilities in Greenville, South Carolina – where Michelin North America Inc. is based – and in Ladoux, France, as well as at its Higashifuji proving ground and the Japanese Automobile Research Institute in Shirosato, Japan. The company estimates the project encompassed more than 1,200 prototype tires.
The new tires feature a hybrid sidewall technology that allows the tire to maintain its run-flat capabilities and “superior handling performance” while also reducing the tire’s overall mass and rolling resistance. The tires also feature “premium touch” sidewall styling that incorporates elements of the Lexus “brand design language” as visual enhancements, the company said. This requires a proprietary mould-engraving technology to produce superior aesthetic contrast and premium velvet texture.