With a drop-top, the LC is even better.
Ever since the LFA bowed out of production back in 2012, Lexus has been trying to recapture the magic. With the LC 500, we think the company has succeeded. Though the LC might not have the same performance as the LFA supercar, it comes at a far more reasonable and (somewhat) attainable price, meaning you might actually see one on the road. Now, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible joins the mix, bringing a roofless experience to the Japanese automaker's flagship model.
The LC 500 Convertible starts at $101,000, making it around $8,000 more than the LC Coupe. CarBuzz recently tested the convertible for a week and it quickly became clear that it's a price worth paying. Lexus took what was already among our favorite GT cars, and made the experience even more enjoyable. In fact, we believe the LC 500 Convertible is now the best GT car available. Here's why.
The Lexus spindle grille is far from universally loved. But whether you commend Lexus for taking a bold styling risk or despise its hourglass shape, it's hard to deny that the LC 500 Convertible wears the spindle grille better than any other Lexus. The LC's low, wide stance suits the grille so well, and all of those hard creases around the car appear like they were ripped straight off a concept car. If you don't enjoy receiving attention on the road, the LC might be the wrong car for you. This thing draws attention like a supercar, but without the "look at that rich jerk" vibe.
As with the exterior, the LC's cabin is stunning. All of the materials feel top-notch, with various surfaces coated in leather, Alcantara, or metal. The seats are particularly striking when wrapped in the optional red leather, and offer excellent support for long journeys. In the convertible, those seats aren't just heated and ventilated, but they also offer heating vents in the headrests for top-down driving on cold days.
When it comes to technology, Lexus is outclassed by pretty much every German luxury model at this price point. The LC lacks features like massaging seats, self-parking, or even a 360-degree camera, but the technology it does utilize is all proven to be reliable, and will never cause issues. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now come standard as well, making the Lexus Enform infotainment system easier to tolerate.
The LC 500 is not a sports car; it is a Grand Tourer, which means it must be fun to drive but also comfortable on long trips. Place the car into normal, comfort, or eco mode, and it quiets down to library levels of silence. The three-layer soft top provides excellent insolation, and with a ten-speed transmission, the V8 engine fades into the background without so much as a low rumble on the highway.
Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist come standard to make highway driving a breeze, and if you can resist the temptation to hear the LC's intoxicating exhaust note, you can average around 28 mpg at 70 mph. When it's time to relax, the 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system sounds crisp, though it is best enjoyed using the CD player for the highest quality music.
You can't talk about the LC 500 without mentioning its engine. This 5.0-liter naturally aspirated engine is more than a power source; it's a work of art. Hitting peak power at a sky-high 7,100 rpm, the V8 demands that you wring every last ounce of performance from it whenever possible. Your reward is the best exhaust note of any car offered today, a soulful, melodic roar that will make your spine tingle and your neck hair stand on end. There's nothing fake about how the LC 500 sounds - no trickery from the speakers, no burbling on the downshifts, just eight cylinders turning gasoline into music.
At 4.6 seconds to 60 mph, the LC 500 Convertible is far from the quickest car you can buy for over $100,000. But to focus on the raw numbers is to miss the point of this car. The LC 500 is not equipped to tear up a race track or burn supercars at a set of lights. Lexus built this car for comfort, serenity, and when the mood strikes, an emotional jaunt up a curvy road accompanied by the ultimate V8 soundtrack.
There is nothing disingenuous about how the LC 500 drives. The steering is natural, the ride is compliant, and you don't need to spend hours fiddling with the settings to make it drive well. Modern cars, even sports cars and supercars, sometimes feel soulless due to the bewildering array of technology. These features are all added to help the car go faster and more efficiently, but they sap the emotional connection. Lexus hasn't tried to copy BMW or AMG with turbochargers, launch control, and thousands of drive mode settings. The LC 500 Convertible is old school in all of the best ways, meaning it still feels like it has a soul.
As a small nitpick, the LC 500 Convertible suffers from a few practicality woes. The rear seats are tiny, so you are unlikely to fit anyone besides small children back there for a prolonged period. Likewise, the trunk barely offers enough space for two pieces of luggage, meaning it might be tricky to travel with a plus one and their stuff. We'd like to see Lexus eliminate the rear seats to make way for a larger trunk, but the company tells us customers prefer having the option of putting two people in the back, and the weight savings don't justify ditching them.