They both produce unique sounds.
How do you make a luxury grand tourer with a stellar engine even better? Chop the roof off to bring drivers closer to the noise. This was the exact philosophy used with the 2021 Lexus LC Convertible, a new drop-top version of the wonderful LC. Though we haven't had the chance to drive the car just yet, CarBuzz did have the chance to speak with Lexus about its decision making while building the LC Convertible.
For example, you may wonder why there is no hybrid version of this new model and how Lexus continues to keep a naturally aspirated V8 in its lineup while other manufacturers downsize with turbochargers. "There's nothing like the feel of a normally aspirated engine compared to turbos," Joel Fukumoto, Consultant Product Manager, Lexus Product Planning, explained. "Some incredible progress has been made to reduce the turbo lag but it is still not the same, in our opinion."
"We are trying to position Lexus as an emotional brand. There's no substitute for the sound of that motor," Fukumoto continued. Having driven the LC Coupe on numerous occasions, we agree that the V8 engine easily the best feature of the car. With 471 horsepower on tap, it produces adequate power, though we wouldn't say no to a high-performance LC F model should Lexus decide to build one (though Lexus has reportedly scrapped that project).
The LC F was rumored to produce around 600 hp from a twin-turbocharged V8, which would have put the car on better footing against its German rivals. At least for right now, Lexus seems content to keep the LC as-is.
The same reason why Lexus persists with the naturally aspirated engine is, incidentally, why the LC Convertible still has a CD player in the dashboard. There is no replacement for fine sound quality.
"A lot of audiophiles refer to CDs as having the highest quality," Carlos Trevino, Senior Analyst, Lexus Product Marketing, explained. "With streaming audio and MP3, there's a lot of compression. You don't get the true audio quality that you get with a CD player. There's a lot of effort that went into our base Pioneer and our Mark Levinson system that we want to bring out the best quality."
"As a product planner, I would love to get rid of the CD player," Fukumoto chimed in. "But as an audiophile, there is no better signal, currently, for pure digital reproduction than a CD. We are anxiously waiting for a standard to exist for lossless audio. Until we get to that point to appeal to the audiophiles and deliver the sound quality we want to out of our Mark Levinson audio system, we'll probably hold on to that CD player."