As a luxury high-performance flagshgip coupe, the Lexus LC 500 must not only feature enough style to attract attention to the brand; but it also needs to back that up with impressive performance. Both keep buyers happy, and get the automotive press like us excited. So, let’s find out if this all-new luxury missile delivers.
Well, this 2018 Lexus LC 500 certainly has the level of refinement you expect in a top-tier automobile. And remarkably, Lexus was able to keep most of the LF-LC concept’s dynamic lines in place; as the LC looks better in person than we ever imagined.
And 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 from any angle, it’s one slick, ultra-modern looking piece of automotive sculpture, that holds its own against the best in sheet-metal benders like Aston Martin.
Standard wheels are 20-inches, but you’ve come this far, so why not opt for the 21s?
But as modern as the exterior is, the interior is spiced with retro flavor. Lexus designers were allowed to have some fun here, and it shows; as they’ve managed to infuse it with a mishmash of mid-century automotive Detroit clichés. It’s way cool!
The very linear dash has a flowing design highlighted by chrome-trimmed controls, horizontal vents, sharp angles, grab handles, and well-integrated infotainment.
There are mini-stalks behind the wheel for some controls, while audio inputs reside on the console; unfortunately, so does Lexus’ not terrific touchpad controller. It all combines for a beautiful, modern space, with a time warp sense of a bygone era.
Front seats are very luxurious and comfortable, though there’s not much space in the rear for taking along friends. It’s clearly at 2+2. Which makes it perfect for using the space packing for weekend getaways with your significant other, as there’s just 5.4 cubic-ft. of room in the trunk.
Fire up the engine, and there’s a nice powerful burble coming through the dual exhaust tips.
That audio 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. A 3.5-liter V6-based hybrid is coming as well.
But the V8 goes like a rocket, and even feels like one blasting off the line. We leapt to 60 in 5.0-seconds flat, with just a touch of wheel-spin at launch.
The transmission rifles through gears with CVT-like smoothness, and you hear virtually nothing in the cabin except for some fantastic V8 exhaust notes that sound more like a 60’s muscle car than an Asian luxury coupe. The ¼-mile run was 13.3 seconds of utter smoothness at 110 miles-per-hour.
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.
You have to engage Sport+ for it to feel really serious, and even then you mostly notice it in throttle response and steering, as handling stays amazingly flat no matter what mode you’re in.
Steering feel is awesome, something we don’t say often, and certainly not in reference to a big Lexus. It is very quick and direct. There is a slight understeer tendency, but plenty of mid-range torque to overcome it with just a quick stab of the throttle.
We averaged very consistently short 105-foot stops from 60. However, brake pedal feel was very inconsistent. Yet, it didn’t affect the numbers.
Away from the track, Comfort mode keeps thing pleasant and inoffensive in every way, for that true Lexus experience; with barely any noise seeping into the cabin, and all of the serenity of floating through outer space.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 26-Highway, and 19-Combined; which we almost matched exactly at 18.9 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
A $92,995 base price will keep sales limited, but it’s a relative bargain for those who are able to enjoy the finer things in life; fully competitive with cars costing 50-grand more.
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.
Engine: 5.0 liter
Torque: 398 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 110 mph
EPA: 16 mpg city / 26 mpg highway