(© Rick Wait)

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept

With recent offerings such as the LF-A and the 2013 GS, Lexus has infused some passion into the company's traditionally staid luxury-car lineup. The LF-A is an honest-to-goodness supercar, with razor-sharp handling and pavement-ripping power, and the new GS raises the bar for handling in the luxury sedan market, outperforming even Germany's best. Despite those accomplishments, neither car features truly awe-inspiring styling.

Enter the LF-LC Concept, unveiled Tuesday at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This sports coupe is stunning. It might only be a design exercise, but if the LF-LC points to a possible new design language for Lexus, we applaud the effort.

View Pictures:  Lexus LF-LC Concept

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Lexus LF-LC Concept

Click to enlarge pictureLexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept (© Rick Wait)

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept

Click to enlarge pictureLexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept (© Rick Wait)

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept

Click to enlarge pictureLexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept (© Rick Wait)

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept

Click to enlarge pictureLexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept (© Rick Wait)

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sport Coupe Concept

What is it? A hybrid sports coupe built as a design study. Lexus says it marks the beginning of a new phase in the company's history, one with more emotion and inspiration.

What's hot? The LF-LC is definitely one of the hottest cars in Detroit, if not the hottest. The car's organic flowing lines, low stance and swept-back silhouette show that Lexus is indeed aiming to design more passionate products. Designed in California, the LF-LC is labeled a hybrid, but no mention was made of the powertrain. One Lexus insider told us there is talk of 500 horsepower, if the car were to be produced.

Inside, the LF-LC blends new technology with the traditional luxury of wood and leather. It features two 12.3-inch LCD screens, one in the instrument panel and one on the center console to control the infotainment system. Lexus says information can be swapped between the two. A touch-screen "tech board" on the center console would allow drivers to control the information on the LCD screens.

What's not? The LF-LC suggests a halo car that would be more visible and accessible than the LF-A, and a replacement for the unloved SC400. But it could be a tease.

How much and when? If public response is positive, and we expect it to be, Lexus could build a sports car costing anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000. We won't even guess about when, though.

MSN Autos' verdict: Lexus appears to be committed to a sportier future, and both the design and sports car suggested by the LF-LC would fill that role. Though the car may never see production, the passion with which it is designed could find its way into numerous Lexus products. Let's hope a sports car comes out it, though.

Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of ScaleAuto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.