Two years after its debut at the North American International Auto Show, the Lexus LC is here in all its athletic glory. The LC was designed to meet the needs of the next generation of Lexus owners, who focus on performance and creature comforts. It works, but how well?
For this review, I drove the 2018 Lexus LC 500, which came in at $100,815. The base price is $92,000 then Lexus added the All Weather Package (heated steering wheel, windshield de-ice, and PTC heater) for $250, the Convenience Package (Intuitive Park Assist ad Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert) for $1,000, 21-inch forged wheels ($2,650), a head up display ($900), limited slip differential ($390), Mark Levinson premium sound system with 13 speakers and Clari-Fi for $1,220, the Sport Package with Glass Roof (8-way power front seats with Alcantara inserts), and key gloves ($10). Destination and delivery charges were $995.
The exterior of the LC is a shapely combination of typical Lexus design and sharp design choices that will inevitably carry over into new Lexus models. At the front is the signature Lexus spindle grille, which is flanked by two angular headlamps that lead down to teardrop-lie vents at the corners. A long hood leads up to the windscreen. Dynamic but not heavily creased doors draw the eye rearward to the car’s stubby tail. Squinty tail lights complete the look on the pert backside.
The Lexus LC 500 is built on the company’s rear-wheel drive platform and powered by a beefy 5.0-liter V8 engine. The engine is mated to a 10-speed direct shift automatic transmission that seems to have trouble searching for the proper gear when you’re cruising and decelerating but is spot-on smooth while accelerating. All that machinery yields a robust 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque, which is more than sufficient for the average LC customer.
The car’s handling is spot on. It precisely goes where you want it, when you want it. The LC is easy to maneuver around parking lots, parallel park, and take through the twisties on rural roads.
Braking is strong and I found myself confident in their abilities even after an hour of heavy use on the track.
The LC’s seats are generally comfortable on short trips and do a great job of holding you in place whether you’re driving to the store to enjoying a track day. I only tried out the driver’s and front passenger’s seat, opting to not do the gymnastics to get myself in the back. That being said, I convinced the smaller tween in our house to try it out. She wasn’t thrilled with the compact space and barely made it out of the neighborhood before she asked to get out and move up front.
The interior of the LC is heavily covered in Alcantara, a faux suede, with a dashboard and center stack design reminiscent of early 90s CD players. It’s design-heavy and though easy to use, lacks the type of tactile practicality Lexus and Toyota models have become known for.
I’m still no big fan of the Lexus remote touchpad and its placement in the LC means that drivers miss out on a designated second cup holder. Granted, there are two cupholder-like square small storage containers hidden in the center arm rest that can be utilized in a pinch, but they don’t hold a large drink and using them eliminates your ability to use the center arm rest.
The Lexus Enform system, based in a 10.3-inch display screen, isn’t the easiest to use and when paired with the trackpad, sometimes it can be downright frustrating. This isn’t strictly an LC problem, and the system is just as frustrating in the RX, RC, and LX that I’ve driven recently. However, the next-generation of the remote touchpad does make it slightly easier to use than previous iterations did.
The trunk of the LC is about the same size as the one in the Mazda MX-5 Miata, offering around 5 cubic feet of space. That’s enough for a carry-on and a purse or two paper grocery bags. There’s not much in-cabin storage. If you like to carry a big purse or a diaper bag, plan on using the back seat to store it if you have a first-row passenger.
The LC comes equipped with a strong list of safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Intelligent High Beam. All work as advertised.
The Lexus LC is competitively priced with other sports coupes of its level of performance. Other cars that offer better performance have less desirable interiors and far inferior safety technologies. Luxury sports coupes with nicer interiors…well, there aren’t many.
For everyday driving situations, I still prefer the Mercedes-Benz SL but for acceleration and handling, the Lexus LC wins every day.