New trademarks spark speculation on hybrid Lexus LC 500h

It’s official: Lexus has completed registering U.S., Australian, and Canadian trademarks for the LC 500 and LC 500h names, making the production appearance of the automaker’s cutting-edge sports coupe more a question of “when” than “if.” While there’s still very little to know about the LC 500 and LC 500h, savvy followers of the Lexus brand have made some assumptions based on the way the company has labeled its vehicles in the past.

Lexus traditionally assigns the number in a car’s model name to the displacement in its engine. The RX 350 has a 3.5-liter engine, the GX 460 has a 4.6-liter engine, and so on. If the LC 500 follows the existing trend line, Lexus could be set to unveil a 5.0-liter sports coupe that most likely includes the very same monster engine powering the 2015 RC F.

The Hybrid designation raises some questions. The “h” designation clearly indicates that the LC 500h will be a hybrid of some sort, but what’s not clear is how that hybrid technology will be applied. Lexus also has a naming tradition when it comes to hybrids; the model number receives a one-liter boost in comparison to its engine displacement. For instance, the GS 450h and RX 450h hybrids both have 3.5-liter engines. Following this particular convention, the LC 500h might well boast a 4.0-liter engine backed by an electric motor.

None of this is even remotely close to confirmed. The LC 500 and LC 500h aren’t expected to launch until 2016 and Lexus has yet to unveil the details related to either model. But in drawing conclusions from accepted Lexus naming conventions, we now know just a little more about Lexus’s new hybrid than we knew before.