Looking as if it drove straight off the rotating pedestal from the nearest international auto show, the concept-like Lexus LC brings drama, performance, and excitement to Lexus’s range. This is the brand’s long-awaited flagship, and the spiritual successor to the SC, which ended production back in 2010.
Lexus will offer the LC in two forms, a gas-powered LC 500 and hybrid version dubbed LC 500h, which is covered in depth in a separate report.
The LC rides on a brand new platform that was designed specifically for rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles, and uses generous amounts of high-strength steel and aluminum in its construction. Lexus claims that the LC is the most rigid vehicle it has ever produced, though, with looks as daring as these, most consumers aren’t likely to care. Those who care about driving should take note of Lexus’s newfound enthusiasm towards steering feel and chassis balance. While not an outright sports car, the LC is a genuinely engaging driving machine, and in many ways is Japan’s leading grand turismo.
The LC 500 uses the high-performance 5.0-litre V8 engine featured in the RC F and GS F models. In an era where so many vehicles rely on forced aspiration, it’s refreshing to see Lexus carry on without turbos or superchargers. The motor makes 471 high-revving horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, and is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. With 1,935 kilos to push, the V8 can accelerate to 100 km/h in less than 4.5 seconds.
The LC 500’s interior design is both futuristic and lavish, offering supportive leather-clad thrones up front and a pair of tiny jump seats for rear-seat riders. The dashboard and door panels are curvy and organic with flowing lines; there’s more brushed metal trim than plastic inside, which is fitting given that no LC sells for less than $100,000.
Lexus offers the LC 500 in one trim that can be upgraded with an optional Performance Package.
Standard equipment on the LC 500 includes 20-inch forged alloy wheels, extended leather upholstery, 10-way power adjustable seats with memory, heated and ventilated front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering column, dual-zone climate control, 10.3-inch navigation display system with Lexus Enform App Suite, USB port for smartphone integration, proximity key with push-button start, 12-speaker Pioneer audio system, reverse camera, adaptive suspension, adaptive steering, full-speed radar cruise control, pre-collision warning and emergency autonomous brakes, lane departure alert, lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams.
Buyers can upgrade the LC 500 with the Performance Package which adds 21-inch forged alloy wheels, limited-slip differential, rear-wheel steering, Lexus Variable Gear Ratio Steering, sports seats, Mark Levinson premium audio system, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, head-up display, parking sensors, carbon fibre roof trim, carbon fibre reinforced scuff plates, active rear spoiler, and Alcantara interior trim and headliner.
Pricing for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 starts at $101,600, with the LC 500 with Performance Package selling for $115,100.
The latest crop of supercars to appear on the market demonstrate that electrical assistance is no bad thing. Premier models like the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 all use electrical assistance, as do the likes of the Acura NSX and BMW i8. Now Lexus joins this league of green high-performance machines with the stunning, futuristic LC 500h.
The LC 500h may not be a supercar like the above-mentioned models, but, it's no shrinking violet in the departments of performance and looks. Underneath its jaw-dropping styling and show-car proportions is a brand new lightweight chassis made from aluminum and steel. Beyond being the most advanced and rigid platform Lexus has ever produced, it was designed from scratch to accommodate hybrid running gear.
While the LC 500h shares its numerical designation with the standard gas-powered LC 500, it uses a unique powertrain. You won't find a V8 engine under the hood; instead, the LC 500h relies on a lean-burning Atkinson cycle V6, similar to what the GS 450h uses. It's been tweaked for performance, though, and gets an upgraded lithium-ion battery pack instead of the standard-issue nickel metal hydride pack. The total output of the system is 354 hp, which is more than the GS 450h, but less than the standard LC 500.
Where all prior Lexus hybrid models used a CVT, the LC 500h uses a - pardon the pun - hybrid transmission, comprised of a pair of electric motors and gear sets and a four-speed automatic. This complicated-sounding setup allows the LC 500h to feel like a car with a traditional automatic transmission while providing the driver with 10 artificial ratios to jog through via the car's steering wheel-mounted paddles. The system allows the LC 500h to be driven on electric power for short distances and at speeds of up to 140 km/h. Impressively, Lexus claims the LC 500h consumes just 8.9 L/100 km city and just 7.0 on the highway, while still being able to accelerate to 100 km/h in less than five seconds.
Matching its high-tech powertrain and sophisticated exterior styling is a futuristic and lavish cabin. The driver faces an organically curvy dashboard that's surprisingly minimalistic in design. Instead of buttons, several key controls move to a pair of stalks sprouting from the reconfigurable instrument cluster. Most surfaces come trimmed in leather or suede-like material, with genuine metal accents throughout. The LC might look like a two-seater, but behind the driver and passenger are a pair of small jump seats which are best left to youngsters.
Lexus offers the LC 500h in one fully-loaded form. Its equipment level is equal to that of the LC 500 with the Performance Package.
Standard equipment on includes 21-inch forged alloy wheels, carbon fibre roof trim, carbon fibre reinforced scuff plates, electronically controlled rear spoiler, limited-slip rear differential, rear-wheel steering, Lexus Variable Gear Ratio Steering, extended leather upholstery, 10-way power adjustable sports seats with memory, heated and ventilated front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering column, Alcantara headliner, dual-zone climate control, 10.3-inch navigation display system with Lexus Enform App suite, USB port for smartphone integration, proximity key with push-button start, head-up display, Mark Levinson premium audio system, reverse camera, adaptive suspension, adaptive steering, full-speed radar cruise control, pre-collision warning and emergency autonomous brakes, parking sensors, lane departure alert, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
Pricing for the 2018 Lexus LC 500h starts at $118,100.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed