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.
Some cars are like Balenciaga sneakers -- covered in near-infinite amounts of garish, overwrought details that remind the world of one's means by metaphorically shoving that money through everyone's eye sockets. The Lexus LC occupies the other side of the fashion spectrum, though; its design is on the subtle side of artful, drawing looks through attention to detail. And, as far as wheeled works of art go, it's not too bad for a spin around town, either.
Lexus offers the LC in two flavors -- the wields a traditional V8, while the LC 500h makes do with a V6 and gas-electric hybrid setup. We reviewed the eight-cylinder variant late last year, and now it's time to talk about the hybrid.
Thanks largely to its comically oversized grilles, Lexus hasn't exactly been at the forefront of vehicle design lately, but everything coalesces near perfectly on the LC. The hood is long and low, exuding lots of grand-tourer appeal as the bonnet and fenders converge on a pretty set of headlights and a grille that's almost appropriately sized. Sharp creases are rare, the sides of the car instead opting for subtle curves that give way to flared rear fenders and a few interesting lines out back. The taillights have an "infinity mirror" look to them when lit, and they're some of my favorite lights across the whole industry. Even though I'm not necessarily a fan of the chrome finish on my tester's 20-inch wheels, it works well with the shiny bits sparsely scattered about the body.
The Good The 2019 Lexus LC 500h is quiet, comfortable and, above all else, gorgeous.
The Bad The hybrid's transmission leaves a lot to be desired, and its infotainment interface is the literal worst.
The Bottom Line The Lexus LC looks like a million bucks without feeling the need to shout about it.
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