2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is topless happiness priced from $102,125
This stunningly attractive V8-powered roadster costs a pretty penny more than its coupe cousin, but not without reason.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Beauty finally has a price. Well, that's at least true in the case of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, the stunningly attractive two-door roadster that debuted at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Expected to go on sale later this summer, Lexus' flagship V8 droptop will carry a $102,125 manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), including a $1,025 delivery fee, the company confirmed Tuesday. This equates to a not-insubstantial $8,150 surcharge for the convertible top, as the luxury brand has likewise confirmed that the new model's fixed-roof LC 500 Coupe counterpart will cost $93,975 (including delivery).
While basic specifications of the Convertible and its hard-hatted relative are very similar, it's no surprise the roadster is more expensive. Not only was additional engineering necessary to reinforce the structure and provide the power-folding mechanism, there's also a pair of pyrotechnically deployed safety hoops that rise in the event of an impending rollover. Add in convertible-specific suspension kinematics and unique top-down climate control modes and the pricing premium starts to sound more reasonable.
As with the Coupe, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible uses rear-wheel drive and powered by a sonorous 471-horsepower V8 engine that also generates 398 pound-feet of torque. Matched to a mandatory 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters, Lexus is quoting a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds -- 0.2 seconds slower than the coupe. Despite weighting 200 pounds more in droptop guise, the roadster's electronically limited 168-mph top speed is unchanged from the hardtop.
Unlike the Coupe, a hybrid powertrain will not be available for the Convertible, at least at launch. (Based on Roadshow's testing of the comparatively disappointing LC 500h gas-electric version, this is not necessarily cause for discontent.)
As you'd expect, the Lexus LC Convertible's $102,125 starting price is just the tip of the potential financial iceberg. If you're feeling particularly ritzy, you can opt for the $18,800 Inspiration Series package, which includes model-specific Structural Blue paint matched to Bespoke Amalfi White semi-aniline leather, along with a Torsen limited-slip differential, Yamaha adaptive dampers and 21-inch alloy wheels, among other niceties. The coup de grâcefor this graceful (former) coupe? It also comes with a matching two-piece set of aluminum luggage from Zero Halliburton.
Of course, if you're just looking for the higher-end perforated leather, Mark Levinson Reference Audio and cold-weather-minded features like Upper Body Heating, heated steering wheel and a windshield deicer, there's always the Touring Package, which is a comparative pittance at $5,290.
Our suggestion? Go à la carte. Opt for the limited-slip diff and Yamaha dampers ($460), the head-up display ($900) and splurge for the Mark Levinson setup ($1,220), but leave the other option boxes unchecked -- especially the good-looking-but-sure-to-be-rough-riding 21-inch wheels. Sadly, there is no option to remove Lexus' diabolical Remote Touch infotainment interface (that would be priceless), but at least you can get the Convertible with Nori Green Pearl paint.
In any case, by going lighter on the LC 500 Convertible's options list, you'll have some money left for all that high-octane gas you're going to suck down while composing incredible V8 music, immense grin on your freshly-tanned face. Sounds like a good plan.
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 drops its top and people's jaws at the LA Auto Show