The Lexus LC isn’t a car for introverts. Its rakish styling gets stares, and its snarling exhaust prompts long glances.
The flagship LC 500 coupe comes as a $92,000 model with a mighty 471 horsepower V-8 or as a $96,510, 354 horsepower gas-electric hybrid. I tested the hybrid and found it generally outstanding. However, this time around I took aim at the V-8 gas-engine model.
If nothing else, the rear-drive LC 500 looks alluring. It features a grille that has a unique mesh texture, sweeping roofline, prominent quarter panels that flare away from the center of the car and door panels that are pulled inward. The combination of a large glass panel and blacked-out rear pillars creates a floating roof appearance.
It’s not just looks that are striking with the Lexus LC 500 either. Steering is nicely weighted and quick, with good road feel. The ride is quite good even in sport-plus mode, with the suspension easily soaking up road imperfections for comfortable long-distance drives. Lexus says the car has the stiffest unibody it has ever produced. The heavy duty brakes are controlled by a pedal with a firm, high engagement.
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 packs a sophisticated, free-revving V-8 that generates 398 pound/feet of torque. That makes for a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and a claimed top speed of 168 mph. The underbody is almost completely smooth for excellent aerodynamics.
The LC 500 V-8 is the brand’s first application of a 10-speed automatic transmission. It operates quickly and smoothly. It also has magnesium paddles for manual shifting. Overall, the speeds at which the car shifts rivals dual-clutch transmissions. It does such a good job that there’s really no need for manual shifts during normal driving. Ten speeds also makes this huge coupe a good cruiser, loafing at around 1,800 RPM at highway speeds.
The LC 500 has sports car moves, although it weighs a hefty 4,280 pounds. The car would weigh more except Lexus used aluminum for the hood, front fenders and door skins. Only the rear fenders are steel. It’s a genuinely fast, docile, high-speed luxury coupe. It has adaptive variable suspension and a new platform designed for a low center of gravity to aid agility and enable more alluring vehicle designs.
Comfort and Convenience
You expect a lot from a top-line Lexus interior, and you get it with the 2018 LC 500. For instance, the super-quiet cabin has a pushbutton start/stop, automatic dual-zone climate control, backup monitor, Lexus premium audio system, cruise control, power windows with one-touch automatic open/close features, and so on.
Standard safety features included a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-keep assist and lane-departure alert, smart stop technology and LED daytime running lights. However, the “fasten-seat-belt” bell is annoying, and pulling the driver sun visor down a lot partly blocks the view through the small rearview mirror. The large outside mirrors provide good rear vision and fold flat against the side glass when the car is parked to prevent parking lot damage.
There’s plenty of interior luxury here, with sumptuous leather, attractive stitching throughout, microsuede and (optional) Alcantara material and carbon fiber door sills. The electroluminescent gauges can be quickly read. But the remote touchpad is rather clumsy, and the secondary dashboard area controls are too small to easily find when driving.
Doors are long and heavy, and door sills are wider than normal. However, one still can slide in and out without making unusual moves, and the doors have a handy grab feature to help close them.. The rear seats look great but are really just suited for small children. The modestly sized trunk has a high opening.
The heated and ventilated leather-trimmed power front seats provide good support. Those seats and the power adjustable steering wheel should help drivers of various sizes find a comfortable driving position. Still, the optional power sport seats are worth the extra money, holding you extremely well and comfortably at the same time.
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 has premium craftsmanship and is so solidly built it feels as if it will last for decades. In the end, it probably will. While it is striking, fast and luxurious, it does carry some coupe drawbacks. The rear seats are small, so forget about passengers in the back on long trips. The touchpad controller is also finicky to use.
My test car had options, on top of the $92,000 base price. Options included a heated steering wheel, Intuitive Park Assist, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, 21-inch forged wheels with run-flat tires, Mark Levinson premium surround system and a carbon fiber roof instead of the standard glass roof, limited-slip differential and active rear steering.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus LC 500
|Price as tested:||$104,245|
|Engine:||5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Longitudinally-mounted front engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||471 hp @ 7,100 RPM|
|Torque:||398 lb-ft @ 4,800 RPM|
|Transmission:||10-speed automatic w/ paddle shifters and manual mode|
|0-60 Acceleration:||4.4 seconds (manufacturer results)|
|Top Speed:||168 mph|
|Suspension:||Front and Rear: Multi-link suspension system|
|Brakes:||Front: 15.7-inch ventilated rotors w/ six-piston aluminum calipers, high-friction brake pads
Rear: 14.1-inch ventilated rotors w/ four-piston aluminum calipers, high-friction brake pads
|Tires:||Front: Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP 245/40RF21 96Y summer
Rear: Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP 275/35RF21 99Y summer
|Fuel capacity:||21.7 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined MPG|
|Width:||75.6 inches (w/o mirrors)|
|Turning Circle:||35.4 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,280 pounds|