The Lexus LC500 is a stunning-looking thing, a concept car come to life, that’s been around since 2018. It looks as good today as it did when it first went on sale.
It takes much of its design inspiration from the ultra-exotic Lexus LFA supercar, which is not a bad place to start. The LFA was the type of money-is-no-object vehicle that was painstakingly created by the best engineers and designers on Lexus’ roster.
The LC 500 is a fraction of the price that the LFAs were sold for but parked in my dimly lit underground parking lot, a lot of what makes you weak in the knees about that supercar is present here, especially in the eye-popping colour of Flare Yellow. It’s low and wide, and the large spindle grille works better here than on any other Lexus to date. It’s one of those cars that looks fast sitting still, taunting you to get in and drive. It’s a good thing then that I had the keys.
Lexus’ meticulous attention to detail continues when you step inside. The finely stitched leather, beautifully sculpted door cards, real metal trim, and the thought that went into nearly every touch point is a rarity in the industry and certainly at the pricepoint the LC sits at. It’s not a cheap car by any means, but at $105,200 to start it represents a lot of value for what you’re getting. That’s the last time I’m going to mention value here because that’s not what the LC is about. It’s about the experience you get from behind the wheel, which is getting harder to find these days.
Under the hood, you find Toyota’s marvelous V8. A 5-litre 471 hp naturally aspirated wonder that imbues the LC 500 with a snarling, burbling character befitting its exotic shape. It’s not the most powerful engine; neither does it get the deep well of low-end torque most turbocharged motors get today. This turbo-free Yamaha-tuned engine makes its power by revving the snot out of it and it makes its presence known the second you push the start button with an unreasonably loud roar that oh-so satisfying.
If you want comfort in your sports car, the LC 500 is your ticket because there are few hard edges here once you begin to drive. The ride is silky and composed and never gets harsh even on really bad roads. The steering is light and precise. The seats are epically comfortable but also supportive enough to handle bouts of spirited driving. Everything gets stiffer in Sport Plus mode but it always remains a civilized experience.
Compared to something like a Porsche 911
, the Lexus feels more luxury cruiser than track tool. Even a BMW M850i
is stiffer, louder, and more powerful. If you start to compare performance numbers the LC will land somewhere near the bottom of the pile but again, that’s not what this car is about. While Porsche is happy to provide you with countless spreadsheets of lap data and torque curves the Lexus is more laid back and not as serious but will still carve up a back road with shocking competence.
A performance package, one of the few options available, adds a carbon-fibre roof, carbon scuff plates, an active sport rear differential, Yamaha performance dampers, 4-wheel steering, a power retractable rear spoiler, and 21-inch forged wheels. It’s an expensive package at $18,450 but it’s a worthwhile upgrade if you want to squeeze more out of the chassis.
If there’s anything that lets down the driving experience it’s steering that’s a bit too light and vague, although the rear-wheel steering system adds a nice dose of agility. The 10-speed transmission can be slow to respond and is indecisive at lower speeds, but the paddles are still satisfying to use, just don’t expect instantaneous shifts. Its biggest sin, however, is the trackpad-based infotainment system that’s been binned in many Lexus vehicles already but not here. It should be pushed down a long flight of stairs and the only solace is that they’ve finally scrapped it for the 2024 model year.
The LC is at its best when driven spiritedly. And although it would probably do well on a track it doesn't belong there. It’s far better suited to serpentine backroads or a challenging mountain pass. The big V8 upfront is vocal, dripping with character, and absolutely relishes the higher regions of the tachometer. With just 398 lb-ft of torque at 4800 rpm you’ll need to rev it to get the most out of it, but bouncing the needle off the 7300 rpm redline is more satisfying here than in almost any other car I can think of.
The LC 500, then, is a grand touring car of the highest order. Its trunk will carry a set of golf clubs or overnight luggage and although the back seats aren’t suitable for most adults, they double as storage for anything else you might like to bring along on your journey.
Where so many high-end sports cars tend to feel the same by chasing obscene horsepower and torque numbers and the highest cornering grip levels, the LC 500 is laid back, and refreshing. It’s not trying to one-up the competition with the fastest Nurburgring lap time but it will offer you an unforgettable grand touring experience and a ton of old-school character that’s getting harder and harder to find in showrooms today.
2023 Lexus LC 500
BODY STYLE:- 2+2 , sports car
CONFIGURATION: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
ENGINE: 5.0-L V8; Power: 471 hp @7100 rpm; 398 lb-ft @4800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium Gasoline in L/100 km):15.1 city; 9.6 highway; 12.6 combined
CARGO CAPACITY: 153 litres
PRICE: $105,2 00 (base); $125,983 (as-tested)
WEBSITE: Lexus Canada