While not the fastest horse in the paddock, the Lexus LC 500 takes the prize for an affordable exotic with the looks of a concept car and the rumble of a throaty V8. Its designer interior outshines world class cars costing hundreds of thousands more.
Tiny cargo space
The big splash this year is the addition of a power soft top convertible that joins the hardtop and hybrid models. Each rings the register at around $100,000. Our tester soft top ran $112,380 including a $5,290 touring package adding premium sound, semi aniline leather and upper body heating for those cooler nights. Nice touch.
Our independent testing recorded 4.9 ticks in the zero to 60 mile per hour run, trailing some AMG’s, 911’s and the newer mid-engine Vette. None of these compare with the LC’s stylish lines, mammoth hood and its 21-inch alloy wheels with run flat paws, performance brakes with aluminum calipers and adaptive variable suspension.
Sport and Sport Plus modes will not disappoint the senses while throwing you back in your seat. A V8 growl greets at idle followed by a thunderous stretch off the line as rear wheels grip. Stay on the pedal and an outrageous roar takes over.
The LC line is powered by a naturally aspirated V-8 producing 471 horsepower or a V-6 hybrid powertrain. The former is our preference although the hybrid’s 354 hp gas-electric combo is no slouch. Its continuously variable transmission is smooth although we prefer the 10-speed sport direct shift with aluminum paddles for that extra sporty feel.
The 500 LC is a drivers’ car first with full power wrap around seating up front. While a rear seat is included, think of it as a posh, upholstered cargo area that backs up a five-cubic foot trunk. We didn’t tire running the rear-drive LC through its paces. Its responsive nature matches form-fitting seats up front while hugging the pavement with an exhaust note that will please your senses.
The oversize ‘love it or hate it’ spindle grille on so many Lexus models looks right at home here and the rear end is a standout, literally, with wider quarter panels than the rest of its skin including wider tires.
Raising and lowering the convertible top is accomplished in about 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Body panels lift-up and out of the way to make room for the folding soft top.
A full suite of safety features is standard fare in the LC 500 and includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist with steering assist and lane departure alert, intelligent headlamps and blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alert.
We believe LC designers hit a home run designing a multi-generational set of wheels appealing to millennial and boomers alike. It strikingly resembles the company’s Supercar LFA that packs a 3.5 second track time to 60 miles per hour and sells for around $375,000.
What was reviewed:
2021 Lexus LC 500 convertible
Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 471 horsepower, 398 lb.-ft of torque
EPA rated mileage: 15 city, 25 highway, 18 combined.
Assembled: The LC 500 is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing facilities in Japan. U.S./Canadian parts content – 0 percent. Major source of foreign parts, Japan – 100 percent. Country of origin, engine and transmission – Japan.
Crash test ratings: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had not rated the LC 500 as of this writing.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile basic; 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain; first and second scheduled maintenance
Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at email@example.com