Home   News   Kent Motors news   Article

Lexus LC 500

Lexus LC 500

Lexus’ coupe, the LC, is a bit of a head-turner, even dressed in something as understated as the white pearlescent finish my review car arrived in.

The luxury arm of Toyota has, for some time, been building cars that could either be described as challenging on the eye, or eye candy, depending on point of view. The cars that have been rolling off the production lines for the best part of the last decade have been increasingly ambitious, constantly pushing boundaries and dividing opinion.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

The LC feels like an amalgamation of all those ideas and ambitions. Everything that makes a Lexus a Lexus is present and correct but turn up a notch, or several. It’s a car that doesn’t just shout look at me, it positively screams it.

Those among you with memories that stretch back far enough will recall the Lexus of 25 years ago as a sensible, understated brand quietly going about its stated aim of taking on, and beating, the German triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. That changed with the appointment of a former chief designer as the brand’s head honcho, the introduction of an all-new front-engine, rear-wheel architecture and the decision to turn the LF-LC concept car, which was shown off to the world iway back in 2012, into something real.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

The styling, an interpretation of the firm’s “seduction and technology” theme lends the LC evocative lines that manage to look both luxurious and athletic.

That athleticism is characterised by the car’s sweeping roofline, which tapers towards the back, creating a distinctive silhouette. Chrome inlays on the roof emphasise the coupe’s lines, their rear edges shaped to echo the lines of a traditional Japanese sword.

The roof and rear pillars are blacked out to create a floating effect that visually separates the roof from the rear deck.

You can spec Sport and Sport + packages to add a few more sporting touches. Sport adds a carbon fibre reinforced plastic composite roof, while Sport + also feature and active rear spoiler.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

Broad wings that house wide, large-diameter wheels, are separated by a taut waist, further emphasising the LC’s sporting ambitions.

The bold spindle grille – nothing shouts Lexus like that gaping mouth – is finished in chrome with a exclusive new mesh design that display a shifting visual tension across its surface.

The LC sports a unique front lighting arrangement that includes independent ‘arrowhead’ daytime running lights and compact triple LED headlamp units. The slim vertical indicators extend down into the front bumper, flanking a pair of small air inlets. The slim headlight design was crucial in helping to achieve the designers’ aims of a short front overhang and low bonnet line.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

At the back the spindle shape of the grille is replicated, with creases pressed into the panels between the light clusters and the bumper. The rear lights are slender and extend both horizontally - into the flanks - and vertically. Detailing includes the use of a variety of materials in the lenses and bezels as well as incorporating mirrors to create a multi-reflection, three-dimensional sequence of L-shaped graphics.

To ensure that the LC handles as good as it looks, there’s plenty of function to accompany its fine form. The aim was to achieve unbroken air flow, front to back, both over and under the car (The underside is almost flat). There are tiny aero stabilising fins on the front pillars whose importance bely their size.

Ducts in the front and rear wheel arches improve high-speed stability and a rear diffuser and active rear spoiler – supplied with the Sport + Package – manage the airflow during high performance driving.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

It has a broad remit, with a lot of established players in its sights including the BMW 6 Series and Mercedes SL, and was designed from the outset to be both fun to drive but driveable every day; a sports when you wanted, and a GT cruiser when you didn’t.

Its sporting credentials are further enhanced when you climb into the low-slung sports seats that have been designed to create a horizontal like from your hip to your heels, putting the driver right at the heart of the car with your fingers – and feet – on the pulse.

Engineers have been obsessive about managing the distribution of mass in the LC. The low seating position goes some way to achieving the desired low centre of gravity, as does the extensive use of carbon fibre composites and aluminium, while details such as omitting a spare wheel, sticking the battery in the boot and pushing the engine mounting as far back as possible helps achieve the perfect 52:48 front to rear weight distribution.

Lexus LC500 interior
Lexus LC500 interior

To further ensure that driving the LC quickly is as effortless as it is fun Lexus has added a variably geared steering unit that weights up according to speed, rear-wheel steering to ‘virtually’ shorten the wheelbase and improve turn-in and a limited-slip differential.

So, the question is, have the company’s ambitions been realised? Has all that effort to create a sports-car-cum-GT borne fruit?

I won’t keep you waiting for an answer which, by the way, is a resounding yes.

From the outside the LC looks like a big car and, driving it around urban areas, that sensation is by and large reinforced. However, hit the tight and twisty stuff and it very rapidly shrinks around you.

There’s a deftness to the steering that inspires confidence and, in unison with the rear-wheel steering, gives the impression that the whole car is functioning as one, that the back end knows exactly what is expected of it, and how to deliver on those expectations.

Lexus LC500 interior
Lexus LC500 interior

There’s more grip than a sane driver could wish for and the diff dispatches unusual cambers, large mid-corner bumps and over-enthusiastic throttle applications with laudable composure. The ride, while firm at low speeds, softens up as forward momentum increases. It stops as well as it goes too and it’s so easy to slip into a enchanting, entrancing rhythm.

The 5.0-litre V8 - all 467bhp and 389lbft of it – is an engine of many talents. There are six driving modes to choose from and, in anything but Sport S and Sport S + - it displays a beguiling subtlety that quietly hints at its potential. While you’re always accompanied by the intoxicating rumble of the naturally-aspirated eight-cylinder motor, its response to throttle inputs is, for the most part, muted.

Sport S is where things start to become particularly interesting, where everything starts to sharpen up and the LC really comes alive. Sport S + is almost certainly best saved for the track.

That intoxicating performance is delivered through a new 10-speed direct-shift gearbox. Yes, you read that correctly: 10-speed.

Lexus LC500
Lexus LC500

In theory it sounds crazy while in reality it’s simply brilliant. It is true that, despite the inclusion of paddle-shifters, taking manual control of gear changes is likely to leave you scratching your head and wondering what to do more often than not but, leave the transmission to do its thing, and it will do it brilliantly.

Changes are swift and decisive and the ‘box does a fantastic job of keeping engine revs in their sweet spot between 4,000 and 5,500 rpm. It uses an AI-SHIFT control with a drive mode switching function. It’s a learning AI that selects gears based not only on speed and throttle use, but also on past driving history.

It’s the first six gears – and ostensibly three to six – that do most of the work. The additional ratios are essentially to bolster refinement and economy at cruising speeds. The gearing is evenly spaced and it is perfectly matched to the ebbs and flows of the chassis and engine, imbuing the driver with the sense that everything is working for them, and nothing against. It’s a highly addictive sensation.

Like the exterior, the cabin is likely to be an acquired taste. There’s no disputing that a huge amount of time, of thought and of craftsmanship has been expended creating what is an immaculately conceived passenger space but the architecture of the flat, broad, two-tiered fascia and bold curves with the door panels is likely to divide opinion.

Material quality, it should be noted, is of the highest standard.

The two LCD displays – the eight-inch TFT housed in the instrument binnacle and the 10.25in screen in the centre of the dash – are both stunning. Lexus have stuck with the clickable touchpad to navigate through multimedia settings which does take a little getting used to but, fortunately, there are some shortcut buttons nearby.

There are two seats in the back, but they are really only suitable for small children or people you don’t really want to offer a lift to, but feel obliged.

It’s worth noting that the LC is also available as a plug-in hybrid (coupe only) and as an equally stunning convertible.

You’ll either love or hate the LC, and you’ll have made up your mind on that score long before you’ve read a word of any review, so any shortcomings that have been highlighted here – of which there are few – are unlikely to weigh heavily on any potential buyer.

The fact is, the LC is an absolute peach of a machine. Every target that Lexus set for it has been achieved and its breadth of abilities will both surprise and delight regardless of either your enthusiasm or skill behind the wheel.

It’s a car built on passion, and it shows.

Lexus LC500

Price: £

As tested: £

Engine: 5.0-litre V8

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Max power: 457bhp

Max torque: 530Nm @ 4,800rpm

Max speed: 168mph

Acceleration (0-62mph): 4.7sec

Combined: 24.3mpg

Emissions (CO2): 262g/km

For more information click h

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More