• 2018 Lexus LC500: Great Visual Drama, Weighs More than NX Crossover [Review]


    2018 Lexus LC500
    [Photo: Arv Voss]
    If you were a fan of the expensive limited production Lexus LFA supercar, you’ll love the new 2018 Lexus LC500 sports coupe, which is based on the LF-LC concept car. There are actually two versions the LC500 powered by a V8 engine, and the LC500h, a V6 powered Hybrid. Both are based on a new GA-L platform architecture. The base MSRP for the Lexus LC500 is $92,000., while the sticker for the Lexus LC500h starts at $96,510. Destination and handling for each is $995. Okay, that’s still expensive, but certainly more reasonable than the going rate for the LFA.

    WHAT’S NEW

    The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a flagship 2+2 performance coupe based on the GL-A global platform architecture, with a stunningly beautiful, futuristic design appeal.

    Visually, the LC500 and the LC 500h share the same exterior design and styling cues. The only difference between the two is the “Hybrid” badging. The Hybrid even carries the same split rectangular dual exhaust tips. The overall design is boldly expressive. With sleek lines and flowing curves, the LC500 is gorgeous from nearly every viewing angle. Up front is the traditional Lexus Spindle grille. However, it comes in a modified and enhanced form that blends with the dramatically sculpted hood. The grille is flanked by the Polaric Ellipsoid System 3-projector LED headlamps and lower air intakes. The grille features a progressively graduated mesh pattern, enlarged from top to bottom, with a bright surround trim without a top bar, and the headlamp assemblies form light rows that point to the grille.

    In profile, the LC500 displays short front and rear overhangs. Both the shoulder and rocker lines sweep gracefully inward, reminiscent of early Coca Cola bottles. Around the rear, the bold new three-dimensional tail lamps accentuate the car’s low and wide stance, flowing around to the sides. Lexus also integrated an active rear spoiler.

    2018 Lexus LC500
    [Photo: Lexus]

    COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

    Takumi (translated as Master) craftsmanship is evident throughout the 2018 Lexus LC500. Inside the cabin is a cockpit-like driver compartment, with controls and switchgear optimally placed for ease of use. Even the non-sport seats are highly supportive and comfortable. The driver’s seating position is perfectly located to get down to the job of spirited driving.

    In terms of body rigidity, the new LC500 serves up the stiffest Lexus built to date, including the LFA. Several performance enhancement Packages are available as are a host of standalone optional features. Connectivity and infotainment are provided through Lexus Enform.

    The interior ambience showcases not only a smoothly flowing elegance. It also delivers a comfortable and most supportive ride quality during highly spirited maneuvers. Despite its 2+2 designation, don’t plan lounging leisurely in the minimal rear seat, especially behind tall front seat occupants.

    The base sticker read $92,000, which some might already consider expensive. However, it didn’t end there. The price rose to $102,890 after factoring in several options packages. First, the Convenience Package with Intuitive Park Assist, and Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert. I also had 21-inch Forged and polished alloy wheels, a Heads-Up Display, and a limited slip differential. This 2018 Lexus LC500 also had the 915-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system with 13 speakers and ClariFi. Then there’s the premium paint and a Sport Performance Package. That package added a carbon fiber roof, 8-way power front sport seats, Active Rear Steering and an active rear spoiler. Finally, there were the key gloves, a carpeted trunk mat and a cargo net, plus destination charges.

    2018 Lexus LC500
    [Photo: Lexus]

    PERFORMANCE

    The 2018 Lexus LC500 is powered by a 5.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V8. You would expect a fair amount of grunt, then, and you get it here. That engine generates 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 396 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The big V8 comes mated to a ten-speed automatic with Sport Direct Shift and magnesium paddle shifters.

    In terms of how its performance felt, the LC 500’s V8 power moves it toward the front of the pack. However, its serious heft blunts performance against its competition. Even with the LC’s weight advantage over its hybrid twin, it’s not that much faster. The 2018 Lexus LC500 is 0.3 seconds quicker to 60 than its hybrid stablemate. Its top speed is only 13 mph faster (168 MPH versus 155). As a result, many of my colleagues were underwhelmed with the performance. Personally, I don’t agree with that analysis. However, I do feel the extra cost of the hybrid may be difficult to justify due to the performance similarities. Utilizing the paddle shifters does deliver a pleasingly raucous note. Blipping the throttle during downshifts while in Sport Plus mode was also a thoroughly pleasant experience.

    Overall, the driving dynamics are superb, despite its heft. The LC500 provides a solid, planted feel, with spot-on steering responsiveness and tremendous grip. The Active Rear Steering is certainly effective and does tighten the car’s turning circle a bit. You’d expect it to work, though, as it comes as part of the $10,000 Sport Performance Package. Cresting 4,000 pounds, however, the LC500 isn’t the fastest sports car out there. It could benefit from a serious diet, even with all the carbon fiber bits.

    TFLCAR’S TAKE

    The 2018 Lexus LC500 2+2 performance sport coupe provides entry into an exclusive class of luxury sports coupes. Buyers will be able to “Experience Amazing” enveloped in seductive technology – at least according to Lexus insiders. Kudos to Toyota/Lexus chief Akio Toyoda for his meaningful vision and guidance in bringing this super car to fruition. Check out the video below of the LC500 against its chief competitor – the Mercedes-AMG GT C. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for the latest videos on your favorite new models.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus LC 500

    On Sale: Now
    Base MSRP: $92,000
    Price as Tested: $102,890
    Engine: 5.0-liter DOHC, 32-valve V8 w/ Dual VVT-I
    Drivetrain (Layout): Longitudinally-mounted front engine, rear-wheel drive w/ available LSD
    Horsepower: 471 hp @ 7,100 rpm
    Torque: 396 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
    Transmission: Ten-speed automatic w/ paddle shifters and manual mode
    0-60 Acceleration: 4.4 seconds
    Top Speed: 168 MPH
    Suspension: Multi-link (front and rear)
    Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs w/ ABS, EBD, BA
    Tires: Front: Bridgestone Potenza P245/40 R21

    Rear: Bridgestone Potenza P275/35 R21

    Fuel capacity: 21.7 gallons
    Fuel economy (EPA): 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined MPG
    Drag Coefficient: 0.33

    Dimensions:

    Wheelbase: 113.0 inches
    Length:  187.4 inches
    Width: 75.6 inches (excluding mirrors)
    Height:  53.0 inches
    Turning Circle: 35.4 feet (34.8 feet w/Active Rear Steering)
    Curb Weight: 4,280 pounds

     

     

     

    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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