The 2021 Lexus LC turns every driveway into a fashion runway. Lexus has set a few benchmarks in its short life, the first being the original 1990 Lexus LS and the original SC coupe. It’s a shame we’ve forgotten those since the Lexus LC came along since they were so amazing. With the LC, Lexus has wiped the slate. It’s produced a car that has legitimate Aston Martin and Benz SL undertones, though it’s distinctive all on its own. As a plush LC 500 grand tourer, a mildly greener LC 500h hybrid, or as the new-for-2021 LC 500 convertible, the LC has restored the one thing missing from a generation of Lexus vehicles: passion.
More LFA than SC, the Lexus LC finds the sweet spot between a familiar two-door silhouette and unfamiliar details that it wears like exquisite jewelry. It’s the kind of shape that will be studied for a generation. It starts with the most believable hourglass grille yet carved into a Lexus nose and the momentum sweeps up and away, down the roofline. Lexus frames the grille with hatpin-style LED headlights and picks up their angularity in hockey-stick inlets at the haunches. The taillights echo the same shapes as the LC body tapers into a Lexus badge that’s sized right, not blown up to ridiculous proportions. This is a car parked perfectly between the sightlines of avant-garde and attainable.
The adventure continues inside, where Lexus cans tradition and cants the dash toward the driver in a wall of leather and high-definition screens. The low-set controls get walled off from the passenger by a vertical rib, but door panels stitched in long waves cocoon the front passengers. Wrapped in semi-aniline nut-brown leather or set ablaze with red hides, the LC cabin finds a way to be both soothing and stunning.
The LC is canted more toward leisurely grand touring than to apex-snipping precision, but the 2021 LC does a lot of both—whether it’s strapped with a sewing-machine-y V-6 hybrid or a rippling V-8. With as much as 471 horsepower and 10 forward speeds, the LC cracks off 60-mph runs in as little as 4.4 seconds. It’d take less if it weighed less than the convertible’s 4,540 pounds Either way, it’s still a visceral driving experience that trades some raw edge for refinement. Kudos to the steering, the best direction-taking from Lexus yet, and to a controlled ride that doesn’t hammer the highway even when it’s shod with 21-inch wheels and tires.
The LC soars in comfort and quality for the front two passengers, then falls flat for those in the back and for anything you can squeeze into its meager little trunk. Not the people who ride in sport buckets, wrapped in organic waves of stitching on the LC’s door panels, seated behind a low wall of leather and wide swaths of high-definition screens. The cockpit apes no other brand’s look—and neither does the LC’s inspiring shape, a sort of greatest-hits of coupe and convertible silhouettes made specifically Lexus with exquisitely pointy LED headlights and taillights and an hourglass grille that reminds us that time is indeed precious.
The LC costs about $100,000, and it lacks very little. It comes with leather upholstery, automatic emergency braking, a 10.3-inch infotainment display (saddled with a terrible user interface, which Apple CarPlay can mitigate), and blind-spot monitors. Whether it’s the convertible, the coupe, or the hybrid coupe, you’d get little argument from us no matter which Lexus LC coupe you drove. My personal favorite is the convertible with the sonorous V8.
The 2021 Lexus LC gets one our highest recommendations for being a sublime vehicle in every regard, a true world-class GT. If you’re in the market for a luxury GT, then look no further than the Lexus LC since it does everything well. On top of offering stunning styling and adrenaline inducing performance, it also offers one quality other rivals can’t match; the Lexus experience and unbeatable reliability.