Lexus has been testing its LC Convertible’s all-weather abilities by subjecting it to a roof-down deep freeze.
It placed its sporty drop-top for 12 hours in an industrial-scale refrigeration unit at the Milbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire to test how its systems would respond and whether or not its heating and ventilation would be able to cope.
Large enough to accommodate two double-decker buses, the facility is often used to test defence equipment as well as off-road vehicles.
With the roof down, the LC’s cabin was exposed to -18 degrees celsius. At this temperature, it’s possible for rubber to freeze.
The car was also sprayed with a mist of water to ensure that a sheet of ice would form over the car’s body.
Greg Fleming, the senior engineer from Millbrook’s Vehicle Component Laboratory overseeing the trial, said: “Exterior surfaces contract in extremely cold conditions and manufacturers need to ensure their vehicles can withstand this without damage to parts and will still be able to start and get moving.
“With the roof down, the interior components will be in an extremely stressed condition and it will not be a nice place for anyone to be – the hope is that the air conditioning system, the heated seats and steering wheel will still operate as they should.”
Thankfully after the 12 hours were up, the car kicked into life for the first time with all gauges and displays operating as they should. The LC’s Climate Concierge heating system also worked correctly and managed to bring the interior back up to a comfortable temperature.
Test driver Russ Swift then took the LC for a testing session along Milbrook’s alpine course.
“I’ve never experienced anything as dramatic as this change from such extreme cold back to normal outdoor temperatures for May in the UK. I didn’t really know what to expect but pressing the start button she started right away. Within three or four minutes the screen was clear and we could continue on to the alpine route,” said Swift.