If you crave attention and a satisfying experience from your next car, look no further than the all-new Lexus LC500. From within, the LC delivers a satisfying grand touring experience. But from the outside, the LC picks up where the LFA supercar left off. You cannot take the LC500 anywhere without capturing attention with its concept-car looks.
The LC500 looks great from every angle. While photographing the car, people flocked to the car praising its design. We agreed with them wholeheartedly. The front is low and imposing, with the trademark spindle grille fitting right into the rest of the design. The rear, with its wide hips and excellent 3D-style taillights really show off some interesting points and design cues.
The inside of the LC500 is just as nice as you’d expect as well. Leather, alcantara and real metal trim are all on display. Every touch-point feels expensive and the Rioja Red seats are incredibly comfortable and a fine hue. Lexus’ infotainment system and the mouse-like touchpad have not improved, however. But the dramatic and sweeping exterior design carries into the cabin with a driver-centric layout.
The way the LC500 drives is almost as exceptional as its design. Starting with the 471 horsepower 5.0L naturally aspirated V8, the LC500 exudes character that you don’t typically find in a grand touring car. Of course, we’ve sampled this V8 before, but it has never been quite as vocal as it was in the LC. The addition of a sport exhaust system definitely added to the experience, and is something that the GS F and RC F could benefit from. The sound permeates the cabin nicely without detracting from the Lexus qualities we have come to expect. With the windows down and the V8 echoing off nearby buildings, there’s more than a hint of muscle car soundtrack.
We spent a full week with the LC500, but also experienced a few days with the LC500h earlier in the summer. The rear wheel drive Lexus handles phenomenally with decent feel through the steering. Of course it is not a sports car, but it traversed the backroads of upstate New York very well. Switching through the various drive modes, we found the sweet spot to be Sport S with its milder suspension stiffness and increased throttle pedal sensitivity. Sport S+ was a little too harsh and unforgiving overall. The 10 speed automatic transmission is excellent and offers upshifts almost as seamless as the best dual-clutches, but downshifts are a little slower and sometimes are denied if ordered in rapid succession. The LC’s unique shift lever also takes some getting used to. We typically spent most of our time in 3rd-6th gears when cruising backroads. The suspension soaks up bumps well, but the 21″ wheels seemed to transmit just a little too much of the broken road surface into the cabin, and definitely did not help with the road noise, either. Overall though, the car feels planted and can be hustled around like something much smaller. It’s a shining example of the duality of a modern grand touring vehicle.
Unlike other Lexus models, where the hybrid version sits atop the lineup, the LC500h gets the same badge numbering as its gasoline V8 counterpart. However, the powertrain combines a 3.5L V6 and two electric motor/generators. An all-new compact lithium-ion battery fills the space immediately behind the rear seats. Power feeds into not one, but two transmissions. A CVT combines output from the engine and motors and routes it through a four speed automatic transmission. This combination aids both performance and efficiency at the cost of complexity. The result is a pairing that lets the car act like a CVT around town, but simulate a 10 speed transmission with a combination of virtual gears when in Sport S or Sport S+ modes. Total output is rated at 354 horsepower, but the electric motors help the LC500h feel much punchier off the line.
Since the LF-LC concept debuted at the Detroit Auto Show a few years back, we’ve been excited to see what would become of Lexus’ big coupe. But it’s safe to say nobody expected the final result to look so much like the concept. The LC’s wild styling is certainly its main attraction, and it comes at an as-tested price well below the typical supercar you’d have to buy to garner this level of attention. Now that we have driven the LC500 and LC500h, we can confirm that the incredible design, excellent drivability, and high class interior certainly make the LC500 worthy of all the attention it receives.
|2018 Lexus LC500
|Rioja Red Leather||$0|
|Sport Package w/ Carbon Roof||$2,960|
|21-inch forged alloy wheels w/ polished finish and Gloss Black accents||$2,650|
|Color Heads-Up Display||$1900|
|Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential||$390|
|As Tested MSRP||$100,895|