Lexus LC

Based on the LF-LC concept that debuted in 2012, the Lexus LC is poised to lead the brand in a new performance direction. With a nod toward the hand-built LFA supercar of 2010, Lexus calls the LC a "concept car come to life," and the flagship coupe marries incredible design and performance with luxurious comfort and the excellent build quality for which Lexus has become synonymous.

The LC is built on the new GA-L platform (for "Global Architecture--Luxury"), which also underpins the 2018 LS sedan, and which Lexus plans to use in forthcoming front engine/rear-drive models. The front end is instantly recognizable as a Lexus thanks to its spindle grille. The rest of the car's dramatic lines flow from there and create stunning look no matter the angle. Meanwhile, the LC's underbody is completely flat and incorporates the rear muffler as a diffuser, all of which aids in aerodynamic stability at speed.

Power for the LC 500 comes from a naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 that can wind all the way up to a 7,300-rpm redline. Output is rated at 471-horsepower, with peak torque of 398 lb-ft. Power is put to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission, with magnesium paddles for manual shifting. Drive Mode Select allows the driver to customize the LC's throttle, transmission, and suspension responsiveness depending on the situation. When navigating the system, drivers can also adjust the exhaust sounds thanks to Active Exhaust.

Lexus claims the LC will hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

In the LC 500h, the Multi Stage Hybrid System pairs a 3.5L V6 gasoline engine with two electric motors, for a combined 354 horsepower. Also paired in the LC 500h is a planetary-type continuously variable transmission as well as a 4-speed automatic. The two units work in harmony to amplify the V6 output over the entire rev range.

The Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h both ride on standard 20-inch wheels and both employ large 6-piston front brake calipers and four-piston rears. An adjustable double-joint multilink suspension and low unsprung weight offer exceptional agility and ultra-quick steering response.

The LC 500 and LC 500h come in one trim each, and standard features include LED head and taillights, automatic high beams, auto-dimming heated mirrors and keyless entry. Inside, the cars feature a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, eight-inch driver information screen, adaptive cruise control, 8-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated leather front seats, navigation and a 12-speaker audio system that includes satellite radio. A lane departure warning, rearview camera, and pre-collision warning system account for the LC's advanced safety features.

Available performance upgrades include 21-inch wheels, a speed-activated rear wing, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. A Touring Package adds upgraded leather upholstery, a faux suede headliner, and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. A Convenience Package brings a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. If the LC isn't sporty enough, a Sport Package adds all the features of the two above packages plus sport seating and the limited-slip differential. Finally, a Performance Package builds on the Sport Package with a carbon fiber roof, adaptive rear spoiler, active rear steering and more.

Editors' Review

Every manufacturer has a halo car, and for Lexus, it's the LC 500. Toyota's premium brand might be best known for making luxurious sedans and staid crossovers, but the LC is something totally different. It's fast and gorgeous, and in addition to the coupe, the LC 500 is now available as a convertible.

Regardless of body style, the LC is a looker. My tester is covered in a luscious shade of red paint, which is probably the most gorgeous rouge this side of Mazda's Soul Red. Lexus' spindle grille doesn't look bad in this application, and I love how the distinct headlight shape is echoed in the taillights. Front to back, the LC is stunning.

There's performance to back up that style, too -- mostly. The LC uses a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine with 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and Lexus says this convertible can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. But when I hit the throttle, all I feel is hesitation. I want the LC 500 to leap off the line, but you've got to give it a second for the engine to rev into the heart of its powerband.

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The Good ~ Excellent design inside and out ~ Silky-smooth V8 engine ~ Quiet for a convertible

The Bad ~ Infotainment is tough to use ~ Very little cargo space ~ Needs more power off the line

The Bottom Line The gorgeous 2021 Lexus LC 500 convertible splits the difference between a bona fide sports car and a comfy grand tourer.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Design 9
  • Media 4

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