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Lexus LC 500 Coupe: All-new flagship coupe breathes enthusiasm into brand

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The all-new 2018 Lexus LC 500 is the brand’s exciting new flagship model. The LC is a compelling grand-touring luxury-performance coupe.

With a starting price of $92,000, the LC is much more attainable than the once offered limited-production LFA supercar that fetched around $400,000. The LC’s origin dates back to the 2012 North American International Auto Show when Lexus debuted the LF-LC concept car.

U.S. Designed

Designed at the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., the fascinating LF-LC concept was not originally planned for production. That changed when the LF-LC concept garnered unprecedented attention and won the EyesOn Design award for Concept Car.

An entirely new platform was developed for the new LC and the production version first debuted at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. The production LC retains much of the concept’s stimulating and dramatic styling. The all-new LC demonstrates Lexus’ new design direction and it is the best-looking Lexus to date.

Exterior Command

With an elegant and muscular physique, short overhangs, an exciting new take on Lexus’ bold spindle grille, delicious curves and a planted look, the LC is appealing and destined to have heads turning everywhere it goes.

For 2018, the LC is available in three styles; LC 500 ($92,000), LC 500h ($96,510) and LC Inspiration Series ($108,180).

Performance

Powering the LC 500 and LC Inspiration Series (limited to just 100 vehicles in the U.S.) is a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 engine rated at 471 horsepower. It delivers four additional horsepower over the versions utilized by the GS F and RC F, and it is mated to an exclusive and impressive 10-speed automatic transmission.

Yes, that’s a 10-speed. LC’s 10-speed automatic transmission delivers impressive performance in automatic mode, or for those who prefer, it can be shifted manually via steering wheel mounted magnesium paddle shifters.

This powertrain combination is powerful and responsive. The 0-60 mph happens in just 4.4 seconds and it offers a top track speed of 168 mph. Fuel economy is a bit low, with a rating of 16/26 city/highway mpg.

If you are looking for greater efficiency, the LC 500h features a hybrid powertrain good for 354 total system horsepower, 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a 26/35 city/highway fuel economy rating.

Choose the LC 500 if you want to be heard. Its standard active exhaust system can belt out a delightfully throaty roar that will have heads turning as you fly by. Handling is great, too. The LC 500’s standard adaptive variable suspension delivers outstanding track-ready sports car handling and agility, while still offering an impressive level of comfort for touring.

The LC 500’s 2+2 cabin is plush, luxurious, sporty and comfortable (for two people). It offers plenty of leg room up front, but no leg room in the back.

The driver and front passenger have well-defined and separate space. I found its front seats to be supportive and comfortable. I enjoyed my LC 500’s LFA-inspired instrumentation. The 8-inch digital adaptive meter includes a moveable interface with vital information and it changes with the selected drive mode.

The standard and available audio systems are impressive, but I was disappointed with the 10.3-inch infotainment display. It is not a touchscreen. It is controlled by voice commands or a touchpad that I found frustrating.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed my week behind the wheel of the Lexus LC 500. It is a very entertaining car. Its drivers will relish its level of comfort for touring, and its eagerness for fun on the track.