“2018 Lexus LC500 Performance Coupe”
Flagship model serves up elite international Grand Touring Coupe
If you happened to be a fan of the expensive limited production Lexus LFA supercar, then you’re going to love the new 2018 Lexus LC500 series International Grand Touring Sport Coupe, which is based on the LF-LC concept car. There are actually two versions, the Lexus LC500 powered by a V8 engine, and the Lexus LC500h, a V6 powered Hybrid, both based on a new GA-L platform architecture. The base MSRP for the Lexus LC 500 is $92,000., while the sticker for the Lexus LC 500h 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.
We’ll deal here with the Lexus LC500. It’s propulsion is delivered by a 5.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valve, normally aspirated, Dual VVT-I and EFI/D-4S longitudinally front mounted V8 engine that generates 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm while also developing 396 pound feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. EPA mileage estimates are 16-mpg city/ 26-mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
The transmission for the LC500 is a Ten-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with steering wheel mounted magnesium paddle shifters and manual mode.
Visually, the Lexus LC500 and the Lexus LC500h share the same exterior design and styling cues, the only difference being the specific Hybrid badging. The Hybrid even carries the same split rectangular dual exhaust tips. The overall design is boldly expressive and is literally drop dead gorgeous from virtually every viewing angle. It might well be referred to as seductively wrapped technology.
Up front is the traditional Lexus Spindle grille, but in a modified and enhanced form that blends with the dramatically sculpted hood, and is flanked by the Polaric Ellipsoid System compact lens LED 3-projector 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 and a roofline that appears to float free from the body, which sits low over the wheels. Both the shoulder and rocker lines sweep gracefully inward, reminiscent of early Coca Cola bottles.
In the rear, the bold new three-dimensional tail lamps accentuate the car’s low and wide stance, flowing around to the sides. There is an integrated spoiler lip just ahead of an active rear spoiler.
Inside the cabin is a cockpit-like driver zone with dual “Oh s—t” grab handles for the front passenger for stabilization during spirited maneuvers. Controls and switchgear are optimally placed for ease of use. Even the non-sport seats are highly supportive and comfortable, and the driver’s seating position is ideally located to achieve a properly centered operational point.
In terms of body rigidity, the new LC 500 serves up the stiffest Lexus built to date, including the LFA.
Several performance enhancement Packages are available as are a host of stand alone optional features. Connectivity and Infotainment are provided through Lexus Enform.
Takumi (translated as Master) craftsmanship is evident through out both new Lexus LC 500s.
During the national press launch program, I was afforded the opportunity to pilot an LC500 over selected drive loops on the big island. The exterior was sprayed Infrared metallic, while the interior was executed in Black interior. It was a preproduction unit and as a result had no official Monroneys for final pricing. The LC 500 came to an estimated total of $99,995 after adding known Package pricing and Destination charges. Optional equipment on the LC 500 included 21” forged alloy wheels, a Mark Levinson audio System, Limited Slip Differential, Blind Spot Monitor, Intuitive Park Assist, Head-Up-Display, and a Cold Area Package that included a heated steering wheel and windshield de-icer. The list of equipment and features that come as standard is considerable, but too lengthy to include here.
I was later able to enjoy essentially the same model, but an official production version with actual option pricing on my home turf. The base sticker read $92,000., which rose to $102,890 after factoring in the following options: the Convenience Package with Intuitive Park Assist, and Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert; 21-inch Forged and polished alloy wheels; Head Up Display; Limited Slip Differential; Mark Levinson Premium Surround Audio System with 13 speakers, 915 watt Reference Surround Sound System, DVD,CD,MP3 player and ClariFi; Premium paint; Sport Package with Carbon fiber roof and 8-way power front sport seats with Alcanatara inserts; Key Gloves; Carpet trunk mat and cargo spider net; [plus Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.
SUMMARY: As already stated, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a flagship status 2+2 performance coupe based on the GL-A global platform architecture, with a stunningly beautiful, futuristic design appeal.
In terms of the performance attributes, the V8 power of the LC 500, unquestionably moves it to the top rung of the performance ladder, although, it‘s only three tenths of a second quicker from 0-60 mph than its LC 500h hybrid stable mate, and its top speed capability is only 13 mph faster. Despite these factors, many colleagues found the performance of the LC 500h to be inferior – an analysis that I personally don’t agree with. I do feel however, that the extra cost of the hybrid may be difficult to justify. The top speed on the big island is 55 mph, which I’m sure was exceeded on more than one occasion by more than one participating journalist. Hey, the LC 500 just wants to go fast. And utilizing the paddle shifters delivers a pleasingly raucous note, blipping the throttle during downshifts, when set in the sport + setting of the Drive mode Select knob.
The interior ambience showcases not only a smoothly flowing elegance, but 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 driving dynamics are superb, providing a solid, planted feel, with spot-on steering responsiveness and road-holding grip. The Active Rear Steering is effective and comes as part of the $10,000 Sport Performance Package with Carbon that also includes a Variable Gear Ratio System, an Active Rear Spoiler, Alcantara headliner and Carbon Fiber scuff plates.
In the bottom line analysis, the 2018 model Lexus LC 500 2+2 performance sport coupe provides entry into an exclusive class of luxury super sports cars. Buyers will be able to “Experience Amazing” enveloped in seductive technology – that according to Lexus insiders. Kudos to Toyota/Lexus chief Akio Toyoda for his meaningful vision and guidance in bringing this super car to fruition.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus LC500
Base Price: $92,000.
Price as Tested: $102,890.
Engine Type and Size: 5.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valve, Dual VVT-I and EFI/D-4S
Horsepower (bhp): 471 @ 7,100 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 396 @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Ten-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shifters and manual mode.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive with available Limited Slip Differential.
Suspension: Front – Multi-link.
Rear – Multi-Link
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 RF 21 front / 275/35 RF21 mounted on 5-“V”–spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 113.0 inches
Length Overall: 187.4 inches
Width: 75.6 inches – w/o mirrors.
Height: 53.0 inches – unloaded.
Curb Weight: 4,280 lbs.
Turning Circle: 17.7 ft. (17.4 w/Active Rear Steering).
Fuel Capacity: 21.7 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 16 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.33
0 – 60 mph: 4.4 seconds –Top track speed 168 mph
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 and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.