On top of the highly skilled process of freezing the car to -18 degrees Celsius in a precisely controlled manner, our team also had to capture the entire experience. The crucial moments when luxury convertible fired back to life and emerged into the daylight were especially important.
We called upon professional driver Paul Swift to take on this unique challenge. Firstly, Paul had to safely drive the frozen Lexus LC out from the freezing climatic chamber with zero visibility. And then, ice still dropping from the LC Convertible, he put the open-top Lexus through its paces around a challenging test circuit.
Discover Paul’s impressions from the driver’s seat – both of the LC Convertible’s awesome V8 power and its luxurious Climate Concierge system – in our short film.
It was a frosty start to the day – inside the car at least. “This morning I got in the freezer and sat inside the car which was quite crispy,” explains Paul. “The steering wheel was freezing, and it was all completely dark.”
“This morning I… sat inside the car which was quite crispy” – Professional driver Paul Swift on our frozen Lexus LC Convertible
Darkness wasn’t the only challenge inside the chamber. The frozen Lexus LC had a coating of ice on the windscreen, just as with a normal vehicle defrost test. Combine that with an instant cloud of condensing cold air around the car once the chamber opened and Paul was driving blind. “It’s quite unnerving not being able to see anything,” he continues. “The screen was completely frozen up, so I was guided by the team over the radio for the first part… You could hear the crispness of the tires on the ground as I was turning the wheel. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”
With the car running, the situation in the sculpted leather driver’s seat rapidly improved. Our LC Convertible’s Climate Concierge includes a heated steering wheel, heated seats and the optional neck heater. These features would be welcome on any chilly day, especially if you enjoy open-top motoring no matter the temperature. For Paul, they were a blessing in the conditions: “[I] started the engine and immediately I could feel the steering wheel warming up and [heat] coming through from the seat… There’s even some vents behind your neck to keep that warm.” His verdict on Climate Concierge? “Considering it was minus 18, immediately I felt quite comfortable in the car.”
“Considering it was minus 18, immediately I felt quite comfortable in the car.” – Professional driver Paul Swift on Lexus Climate Concierge
The windscreen completely defrosted within minutes so Paul and the team could head out onto Millbrook’s famous Alpine Test Track. Paul highlights the challenges from a driver and vehicle perspective: “The Alpine Route’s quite testing because it undulates quite a lot. It’s got some quite fast-flowing corners into some tight hairpins, so you can feel the chassis. You’re really asking a lot of the car as you’re dipping into these corners and then turning in.”
How would our luxury soft-top respond to this test? “It does everything you want from a performance point of view, but also it’s comfortable,” Paul relates. “There was no problem with understeer, the gear change is effortless, and it has the blipper as you’re going down so you get that little [blip of revs] which is quite appealing.” And as well as looking stunning from every angle – roof up or roof down – the LC Convertible sounds the part: “It’s a 5.0-litre V8 engine,” he explains, “You can give it full power and…you can hear the exhaust opens up and you could hear the full V8.”
So, what was Paul’s verdict after experiencing the frozen Lexus? “I’ve never really experienced anything as dramatic as this where you’re going from such extreme cold back to sort of normal temperatures for the UK in May,” he reveals. “In regular UK May temperatures, it’s still not St. Tropez [but] I felt comfortable in the car, so it does exactly what it’s meant to do: keeps you up to temperature.” Paul continues: “It does everything you want from a performance point of view, but also it’s comfortable. I’d like to keep it…”