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

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2UR-GSE. Nope, this isn't some random insurance code or the human gene that causes swollen feet in hot weather. It's the internal designation of an engine built by Toyota. And it's a real dandy. 

Of the V8 configuration with 5.0 liters of piston-swept area, it's the beating heart that powers a range of performance-bred Lexus models, including the brand's high-style LC 500. Looking like a concept car plucked right off an auto show turntable, this sultry coupe is a breathtaking piece of automotive design work with more drama than a live performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet with Patrick Stewart playing the eponymous lead. 

This naturally aspirated engine revs with enthusiasm, delivering an impressive if not awe-inspiring 471 horsepower in the process. Torque clocks in at 2 pound-feet shy of 400. These figures are more than enough to get the job done, though, for instance, the decidedly more workaday Ford Mustang Bullitt delivers 480 ponies and 420 lb-ft of twist from the same displacement, cylinder count and induction format. Perhaps engineers could have pushed for just a little more in the LC 500.

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The Good A stunner with an unimpeachable interior, the LC 500 is fast, pleasing to the ear and just enough fun to drive.

The Bad This two-door is severely lacking in storage space, the transmission sometimes performs irregularly and then there's the infotainment system, which is one of the worst on the market today.

The Bottom Line If looks could kill, this Lexus would be serving consecutive life terms. Too bad the in-car tech ruins an otherwise pleasant experience.

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

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