“2018 Lexus LC 500h Coupe”
Flagship international Grand Touring Hybrid Coupe
There’s a sexy new player in the hybrid arena now, and if you were a fan of the expensive limited production Lexus LFA supercar, you’re sure to be enamored with the new Lexus Coupe series – the 2018 International Grand Touring V6 powered Lexus LC 500h hybrid coupe, which is actually based on the LF-LC concept vehicle. The hybrid version will share the spotlight with the conventional V8 powered LC Coupe. In fact, both Lexus LC500 Grand Touring Coupes. Both are based on a new GA-L platform architecture.
Visually, the Lexus LC 500h and the Lexus LC 500 share the same 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, and attracts admiring glances and positive comments everywhere.
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 LC500h 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 Coke 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.
The base MSRP for the Lexus LC 500h is $96,510., while the sticker for the Lexus LC 500 starts at $92,000., Destination and handling for each is $995. Yes Virginia, that’s still expensive, but certainly more reasonable than the going rate for the LFA. Only you however, can decide whether or not the extra $4,510. is worth it.
We’ll deal here with the Lexus LC 500h, which draws it motive force from a Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric Motors. The gas engine is a 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVT-iW, EFI and D- 4S – also longitudinally mounted up front, that produces 295 horses at 6,500 rpm along with 256.7 pound feet of torque at 4,900 rpm. The electric power comes from two Water-cooled Permanent magnet synchronous motors: MG-1- functions as Primary generator, engine starter and controls engine speed; MG-2 – Drives the rear wheels and provides regenerative braking. Total system power is 354 horsepower. Electricity is generated by an 84 cell Lithium Battery Pack – 310.8 V nominal voltage / 650 V System voltage. LC 500h EPA mileage estimates are 26-mpg city / 35-mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.
The LC500h gears energy to its driving wheels via a Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission (another name for CVT) with steering wheel mounted magnesium paddle shifters. There is a Torsen® high-capacity, torque-sensing Limited Slip Differential.
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. Takumi (translated as Master) craftsmanship is evident throughout.
Several performance enhancement Packages are available as are a host of stand alone optional features. Connectivity and Infotainment are provided through Lexus Enform.
My test 2018 Lexus LC 500h sported an Ultra White metallic exterior finish, with the interior executed in Beige tones of leather and suede, featuring exotic patterns and distinctive trim elements. Added to the base sticker price was: the Convenience Package with Intuitive Park Assist and Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert; Head Up Display; the Touring Package with Semi-Analine leather –trimmed front seats, Alcantara headliner, Mark Levinson 13-speaker, 915-watt Reference Surround Sound Audio System, DVD/CD/ MP3 player and Claify; Cargo Net-Spider; Key Glove; Carpet Trunk Mat; and Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.
Summary: As already stated, the 2018 Lexus LC 500h is a flagship status 2+2 performance coupe that is based on the GL-A global platform architecture while displaying 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. Utilizing the paddle shifters delivers a pleasing ,note, blipping the throttle during downshifts, when 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 on 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.
In the final analysis, the 2018 model Lexus LC 500h 2+2 performance sport grand touring 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 LC 500h Coupe
Base Price: $96,510.
Price as Tested: $101,385.
Engine Type and Size: Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric motors.
3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVT-iW, EFI and D-4S
Horsepower (bhp): 295 @ 6,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 256.7 @ 4,900 rpm
Total system power – 354 horsepower.
Water-cooled Permanent magnet synchronous motors.
MG-1- Primary generator, engine starter, controls engine speed.
MG-2 – Drives rear wheels; regenerative braking.
Lithium Battery Pack / 84 cells- 310.8 V nominal voltage / 650 V System voltage.
Transmission: Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission with paddle shifters.
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: Staggered Bridgestone Turanza 245/45 R20 99Y front / 275/40 R20 102Y rear mounted on 5-“V”—spoke polished alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 113.0 inches
Length Overall: 187.4 inches
Width: 75.6 inches – w/o mirrors.
Height: 53.0 inches
Curb weight: 4,435 lbs
Turning Circle: 17.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 22.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.33
0 – 60 mph: 4.7 seconds – 155 mph top speed.
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.