by John Tallodi
The Lexus LC is all new for 2018 and in a sea of cautiously styled competitors, it has descended on the luxury sport coupe sector like a wedge of futuristic automotive art. It offers cutting-edge technology and safety features although it shuns the downsized turbocharging trend and employs a satisfyingly characterful old-school V8 under its sculpted hood.
That edgy exterior styling continues to flow through the interior too, the quality of the materials used is excellent too. The front seats, separated by a wide transmission tunnel, are comfortable and the dashboard looks modern and minimalistic. Leather and suede cover the seats and door trims adding to the premium feel.
While the front occupants will be enjoying their surroundings, the two vestigial rear seats really are best reserved for shopping bags or very naughty children. Cargo space too is compromised compared to the competition although you should be able to get enough in there for a weekend trip for two.
The LC 500 may feature advanced construction methods yet it is still no lightweight, despite this it is capable of delivering a very entertaining driving experience. Set in comfort mode and driven gently, the standard adaptive suspension soaks up the bumps and it burbles along with imperceptible gear changes in true GT style.
Set it to the aggressive sport+ mode and it rises to the occasion, shifts are quick and brutal and the suspension stiffens up to minimize body roll in corners. The LC is never an outright hooligan in but it offers a broad range of abilities that go well beyond the usual Lexus levels of sportiness.
The Lexus LC 500 is fitted with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque and a 10-speed automatic sends the power to the rear wheels. The big V8 feels linear and responsive throughout the rev-range, quite unlike some turbocharged alternatives which deliver all the goods in the mid-range and feel a bit breathless when you rev them out.
The 0-60 mph sprint is completed in a claimed 4.4-seconds, not class-leading but competitive nonetheless and the LC500 never leaves you yearning for more power. Those 10 ratios keep the engine operating in its sweet spot and while the combined fuel economy figure of 19mpg won’t win any awards it is competitive for this class.
The LC500 is offered in one trim level which offers a comprehensive list of standard features with a number of optional equipment available to choose from. There is also a hybrid 500h model that is not covered in this review.
Notable interior standard features on the LC500 include a custom drive mode, 10.3-inch touchscreen display integrating navigation, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, 12-speaker audio system, 8-inch driver information screen, leather seating and ambient interior lighting.
LED exterior lights, 20-inch wheels and automatic high beam control are also standard and safety and convenience items include adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming mirrors, rearview camera, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and autonomous brake assist.
Those wanting even more can opt for a Performance Package which includes active rear steering, speed-activated rear wing, variable ratio steering, carbon fiber roof and upgraded power seats.
The Convenience Package adds to the existing safety features with intuitive park assist and a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
A Sport Package offers upgraded power front seats with alcantara inserts and either a glass or carbon fiber roof.
Individual options such as a Mark Levinson audio system, color head-up display and either 20 or 21-inch alloy wheels as well as a limited-slip rear differential are also available.
While the luxury grand touring coupe market is packed with many talented offerings, the Lexus LC 500 offers a broad range of abilities that make it a characterful and very capable option
It over-delivers on looks, handling, luxury and comfort while trailing the pack on cargo space and rear seating. In this segment that is the kind of compromise most shoppers are happy to live with.