Lexus is known for making high quality luxury cars – but they’ve never really been called sexy or exciting, with the exception of the LFA supercar. When Lexus unveiled the LF-LC concept in 2012 the world took notice, since the concept was easily one of the sexiest concept cars we’d ever seen with a Lexus badge. The best part was that it was confirmed for production shortly after its debut and within a few years the production model, called the Lexus LC started rolling off the production line.
Unlike nearly every concept car, the production model hardly ever resembles the concept version. Well that isn’t the case with the Lexus LC, which is so significant that we should all applaud Lexus. Not only did Lexus introduce a sexy coupe that is somewhat attainable, but it also managed to figure out how to make the production version look almost identical to the sexy concept.
The Lexus LC was introduced for the 2017 model year with two versions, the V8 powered LC 500 and the hybrid LC 500h. Now in its second model year, the 2018 Lexus LC still manages to grab everyone’s attention as it drives down the road. During my week with the 2018 Lexus LC 500, the LC proved that Lexus does have some excitement under its skin. Not only is the LC one of the best looking large coupes on the market, but the sound of its exhaust will easily make you giggle with joy.
Who needs a turbocharged engine?
While nearly every automaker has made the transition to smaller turbocharged engines, Lexus hasn’t completely given up hope on the naturally-aspirated engine. The LC 500 is powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8 that generates 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 sends its power to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. The LC 500 will reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds onto a top speed of 168 mph.
Push the start button and the sound of the V8 coming to life will wash away all the stress from your day. There’s no way that you can’t muster even the smallest smile once the music of the V8 reaches your ears. It’s loud and raspy, just like cars are supposed to sound.
Thumbs up, stares, praise
As I already mentioned, the 2018 LC 500 looks so close to the LF-LC concept, that it actually still looks like a concept car driving down the road. You can’t help but just stop and stare at it as it drives down the road. I wish I kept a tab of how many people literally stopped to look at the LC 500 as I drove by. One of my favorite moments was a lady driving her ES 350 in Beverly Hills, who turned and stared at the LC 500 as she passed me in the intersection, it’s a good thing that no one was in front of her.
Again I applaud Lexus for being bold and making a coupe that easily stands out from its competition.
The styling doesn’t stop once you get inside
Lexus could have easily decided to just design a more conventional interior, but even the interior feels like a concept car. From the stylish door handles that reminded me of classic luxury cars from the past, to the position of the drive mode selector, everything about the LC 500’s interior says style over function, in a good way.
Even though the LC is the most powerful sports car in the Lexus lineup, the interior is actually comfortable as an everyday cruiser, well at least for the front two passengers. The rear seats are better suited for luggage, a pet or a friend that’s under five feet tall.
I only had two issues with the interior, the infotainment system and the gear selector. The infotainment system is controlled via a Remote Touch Interface touchpad controller, which is essentially a mousepad. It takes way too much attention to select a station or phone number. Plus the system reduces the number of functions you can do once the car is moving down the road. I get it, safety first, but what if the front passenger wants to help out?
The gear selector, looks a little futuristic, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was selecting the gear in a Toyota Prius every time I got behind the wheel. Lexus it would be great if the gear selector felt a little less artificial and more like a real sports car.
A grand tourer with an amazing soundtrack
If you’re looking for a Lexus that you can wring out on the track, the LC 500 will likely disappoint, since it’s a bit too heavy and not quite as engaging to drive as a true sports car. But where the Lexus LC 500 shines is the fact that it combines so many great things that we love about big coupes into a stunning package. The sound of the V8, its concept car looks and comfortable interior make it the perfect coupe for a road trip out to Palm Springs or to have a little fun on a back country road.
Would I buy the LC 500 over its rivals?
Well lets see what the LC 500 competes against. With a starting price at $92,000, the LC competes against a small list of coupes, that includes the BMW 6 Series and Porsche 911. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe costs about $30k more and it could compete against the Jaguar F-Type, but only if you really only need two seats.
With an as tested price of $105,960, the 2018 LC 500 packs more options than you’d get on the 911 at the same price and LC 500 also has 121 more horsepower than a non-S 911 Carrera. The top-spec Jaguar F-Type is priced about the same as the LC 500 and also comes with a 5.0L V8, but again, you only get two seats with the F-Type. The LC 500 is hard to beat not only from a value perspective, but once you factor in its looks with the expected Lexus reliability.
I didn’t want to give it back
From the beast like sound of the V8, to the concept car looks and nearly perfect driving dynamics I fell in love with the Lexus LC. What I can’t wait for next is the upcoming Lexus LC F, which is expected to have around 600 horsepower. Could Lexus have a rival to the Nissan GT-R?