While the American automotive market, and increasingly global buyers, can’t seem to get enough SUVs, it’s clear that top-tier brands like Lexus are still putting a lot of faith into the future of the traditional “car”. There can be no other explanation for the amount of effort that they have put into their two new generation flagship models, the LS Sedan and the LC Coupe.
So, we when we began our road test of their 2018 LC 500 Coupe, we focused our senses not on just how good it is as a two-door luxury car, but whether it is good enough to sway well-heeled buyers to pick it over some posh utility.
Fortunately, the LC500 is not just a luxury coupe, but a full-bore, high-performance luxury coupe, which gave us even more to explore.
Remarkably, Lexus was able to keep most of the LF-LC autoshow concept’s dynamic styling in place for production, as the LC looks better in person than we ever imagined. That includes the ultra-slim LED headlights, and the best interpretation yet of Lexus’ controversial spindle grille. From the rear, there are hints of the LFA supercar.
But as modern as the exterior is, the interior is spiced with retro flavor. Lexus designers were allowed to have some fun here, as they’ve managed to infuse it with a mishmash of mid-century automotive Detroit clichés. The very linear dash has a flowing design highlighted by chrome-trimmed controls, horizontal vents, sharp angles, grab handles, and well-integrated infotainment. It all combines for a beautiful, modern space, with a time-warp sense of a bygone era.
Fire up the engine, and there’s a nice powerful burble coming through the dual exhaust tips. That sound comes from a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V8 with 398 lb-ft.of torque. A 10-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission channels all of the goodness to the rear wheels. Plus, it goes like a rocket.
As for handling, well, there’s a lot to love; but there’s no getting around the fact that the LC is a heavy beast. Curb weight is 4,280-lbs. Away from our test track, the Comfort driving mode keeps thing pleasant and inoffensive in every way, for that true Lexus experience.
For our complete road test of the 2018 Lexus LC 500, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3709 that begins airing on November 3, 2017. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
So the 2018 LC 500 does indeed deliver; it’s quite the personal-luxury 2+2 euro-styled grand-touring flagship coupe, that fully encapsulates all that Lexus is about, yet at the same time points to where they’re undoubtedly headed.