The Lexus LC Hybrid Sounds A Lot Weirder Than Its Gasoline Counterpart


We still don't understand why this car has a CVT.

When Lexus first revealed the LC500, we knew that it may have stumbled upon the perfect recipe for a grand touring car. The LC500 is powered by the same 467-hp 5.0-liter V8 that's found in the GS F and RC F, but is tuned to deliver a different growl more befitting of a luxury cruiser. There isn't much that we'd change about the LC500, but Lexus made the strange decision of offering the car as a hybrid. Many people didn't even know that Lexus offers the LC500h, and we'd be hard pressed to understand what Lexus was thinking with this variant.

For starters, the LC500h uses a 3.5-liter V6 instead of the lovely V8. This engine is mated to a hybrid system for a combined output of 354 hp. Not only is this much less than the gas- powered LC500, but power is routed to the rear wheels through an odd combination of a CVT and second, four-speed automatic transmission.

You Might Also Like
Expensive Car Options For The Super Rich
Expensive Car Options For The Super Rich
10 Best Engines For 2019
10 Best Engines For 2019

As we have learned from cars with CVT transmissions, it is hard to mimic actual gear changes without sounding fake. Even the nearly $100,000 LC500h struggles to run through its simulated gear ratios without sounding terrible. Just compare the LC500h's acceleration to the wonderful sound of the standard LC500 and its traditional 10-speed automatic.

Lexus knew that it couldn't get away with just offering a CVT on such an expensive car. CVT transmissions are good at being smooth, but fall short when asked to aid in a bit of sporty driving. We don't know why Lexus continues to only offer hybrid models with CVT transmissions instead of finding a way to use an automatic or dual-clutch as Porsche and even Kia have done. The LC500h just sounds strange during acceleration, and eventually starts to sound normal when it uses the secondary four-speed transmission at higher speeds. Overall, we can't see why Lexus went to all the trouble here when a normal automatic could have made the LC500h much better.