Lexus LC 500: Rear-Drive LC Coupe Offers Supercar Tenor
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The 2018 LC 500 is a gorgeous coupe whose visual shock value is exceeded only by the equally surprising fact that – it is manufactured by Lexus.
Whether it’s the Mercedes-Benz SL or the Porsche 911, track-inspired and comfort-engineered sport coupes certainly have a place in the luxury car world. And now Lexus has earned a place in the spotlight with the all-new LC 500.
Nothing looks quite like the LC 500. Its silhouette dramatically plays up the rear taper aft of the B-pillar. It’s impossible to ignore the exotic nose, piercing daytime running lamps, distinct dual-trapezoid wire grille and extreme haunches that define this Lexus as being capable of extreme fun and culpable for everything that could happen.
The vertical air intakes that flank the grille are barely visible, but like the active rear spoiler, some high-level function is never actually seen by the driver. While the rear is only seen by those being blown away on the road, what a view it is as the chiseled definition harkens the same shapes of the front end. Even the dual exhaust tips flank outward to stay in step with the theme.
The LC 500 is not the fastest sports coupe, it was never intended to perform like one, but it sure looks the part as well as anything else in the segment. Being a Lexus, you would expect a quiet cabin and exceptionally well-appointed interior décor, which you get in spades. What I didn’t expect during my week-long test was that the LC 500 was really a grand touring coupe that makes you want to keep driving longer and longer, until the tank runs dry (unless you opt for the hybrid version 500h).
Price & Personality
I don’t typically lead with price, but when it comes to the LC 500, you ought to know exactly what you are getting into (or possibly missing). Pricing starts at $92,995, which includes destination, though my tester featured an add-on Performance Package with Carbon and a color head-up display that landed at a notable $103,895.
If you can possibly afford it, there are so many reasons to buy the Lexus LC 500, the least of which is a perpetual smile on your face every time you get into, out of, and walk anywhere near it. Here’s a couple reasons not to buy it: If you don’t want to be stared at every moment you are on the road; if you hate thinking that people might be jealous of you because of your ride; if you simply cannot imagine getting compliments from complete strangers.
• Carbon-fiber roof
• Active rear spoiler
• Carbon-fiber door panels
• Composite trunk floor
• Engine set behind front axle
Powerful Fun Factor
My tester featured the all-aluminum
471-horsepower naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. This is a fearless, quick-revving engine whose 10-speed automatic transmission delivers butter smooth shifts and instantaneous smiles at the same time.
The exhilaration from the power on demand is exceeded only by the audible rush of an emboldened exhaust note that is tuned to give a signature calling during upshifts with wide-open throttle.
While Lexus is renowned for its luxury, you cannot have a sports coupe that looks like the LC 500 and not be judged by what your peers are capable of doing. The LC 500 dives into corners with reckless abandon, holds the edges with seemingly little effort and remains flat while being all-out aggressive.
I found the steering on the LC 500 to offer excellent feedback and a feeling of being completely connected to the road, no matter what surface I was riding on – no matter what speed. I found myself keeping the LC 500 locked in Sport Plus mode, this setting firmed up the suspension, changed the exhaust note to really ‘grumpy,’ altered shift points, and honed the steering to a super-tight responsiveness.
In the end, not many of us can manage the LC 500’s steep price tag. However, with the holidays around the corner, isn’t it worth holding out hope you might look out your window on a snowy morning and find one sitting in your driveway?