Lexus LC 500: Hands-on review

Posted: 8 February 2019 11:24 am
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Lexus LC 500

Head-turning looks, a brilliant soundtrack and an excellent ride.

The LC 500 is not a supercar and doesn't pretend to be one. It is a "luxury coupe" and a pretty good one at that. Being built in the same factory as the infamous LFA means you'll find many of the same fabrication techniques and materials in the LC.

Price

The starting price for the LC 500 is $190,000. The vehicle we tested was $205,000 as it included the $15,000 enhancement pack. This includes features like a carbon fibre roof, an active rear wing, sports seats and four-wheel steering.

Looks

Personally, I think it looks great. The LC 500 has the appearance of a concept car; it looks low slung and wide, giving it an imposing stance. It features a Lexus Spindle grille with a 3D mesh design and the LED headlights stretching across the front add to this wide body look.

The sloping roof makes it look like it's going fast, even when it's standing still.

No matter where I went, people were stopping to look at it drive by. Kids pointed and adults came and asked questions.

I think this is one of those times where I am going to let the pictures do the talking.

Lexus LC 500 taillights

On the road

There are no traditional door handles to unlock the LC 500. Instead, they "pop" out of the door when unlocked with the key. When you open the door and lower yourself into the vehicle, straight away you feel like you are in a race car.

With a low driving position, sporty gauges and a steering wheel that was tirelessly refined by a Takumi master to ensure that it is the perfect profile when cornering at high Gs, the LC 500 really makes you want to drive.

Pressing the start button, you are met by the rumbling V8 that revs on start. It sounds terrific and only gets better as you drive it.

I was constantly surprised by just how well the LC 500 rides. It was incredibly comfortable and absorbed a lot of the harsh surfaces Sydney threw at it. Coupled with the sports seats of the enhancement pack, the Lexus LC 500 is a great daily driver.

The steering was sharp and precise, and you get the feeling that it would be impossible to unbalance the car. There are a number of contributing factors to this, but we must highlight the multi-link suspension system that helps create a precise steering response through engineering.

When you reach speeds above 80km/h, the rear wing will raise up, giving the car more downforce for "spirited driving". Functionality aside, it also looks pretty cool.

With 351kW and 540 Nm on tap with instant availability thanks to the naturally aspirated, Yamaha-tuned, 5.0 litre V8, you have more than enough power for the roads of Sydney. The 10-speed automatic does a fantastic job of getting the power down with smooth shifts and smart gear selection.

The LC 500 comes with Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ driving modes. Each makes various adjustments to throttle response, suspension and more to produce a different feel. Each does its job well, but if you get behind the wheel of this machine, downshifting with the paddle shifters becomes really addictive.

Although we found ourselves in Comfort mode most of the time, Sports+ was our favourite. It pins you to the seat so strongly, it makes you feel like you're going to end up in the boot the way it accelerates. You're able to stop quickly too, thanks to six-piston brake callipers.

Fuel economy isn't all that bad either. We were seeing 12.7L per 100km with a combination of city and highway driving.

As with all Lexus vehicles, the cabin is premium and a great place to be seated. The vehicle we tested was tastefully appointed with a combination of leather and Alcantara, which added to the racing nature of the car.

The dual-zone climate control was also up to the task of handling the hot Sydney weather.

My favourite in-cabin inclusion though is the "panic handles" for the passenger to grab on to. They added to the personality of the car and they're quite fun to explain to passengers.

The inclusion of a heads-up display means that you can keep your eyes on the road, but depending on what mode you're in, you may prefer to look at the speedo as each comes with its own unique design. The speedo in the Sports+ mode looks like it is out of a race car.

The trackpad infotainment system leaves a bit to be desired though, requiring too much concentration to operate well. While it isn't as bad as some we have tested, it definitely isn't the best.

There are two seats in the back but the legroom is virtually non-existent. I am yet to meet anyone who could fit. At just over 6 foot, there is about just as much headroom. But at $190,000+, you aren't buying the Lexus LC 500 to sit in the back.

And when you get sick of listening to the superb sound of the V8 (which I'm going to assume is never), there is a premium 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

Back of the Lexus LC 500

Safety and tech

What sort of safety features comes with a $190,000+ luxury coupe?

  • Eight airbags
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure alert with lane keep assist
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitors
  • Reversing camera
  • Parking sensors
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high beams

What is the boot like?

There is enough room for a couple of overnight bags or perhaps a thin suitcase. The actual measurement for the boot is 197 litres.

Does the LC 500 have a spare tyre?

No, but the LC 500 features has run-flat tyres, so there is a battery where a spare tyre would traditionally be on just about any other car. There is some science to this though, as it has been done to assist with weight distribution throughout the vehicle.

The verdict

The Lexus LC 500 is a thoroughly enjoyable and surprisingly good daily drive. Its concept-like looks and performance will put a smile on your face as well as those you drive past.

It is one of those cars where you will find yourself taking the long way home or going for a drive "just because".

Lexus is also renowned for its after-sales service.

If you have $190,000 to spend on a luxury coupe, the LC 500 is definitely worth considering. I suggest getting down to your local Lexus dealer and giving one a test drive.

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