2018 Lexus LC 500

A performance coupe: Not for everyone, but maybe you!
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
April 1, 2017 Updated: April 1, 2017

Since Lexus’s new LC 500 premiered last year, both customers and the industry have wondered what the price would be.

Well, the performance of the 5.0-liter V8 mated to the 10-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission, delivering 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque to blaze a 0-to-60 mph sprint in 4.4 seconds, will set you back $92,000.

Meanwhile, the LC 500h, powered by Multistage Hybrid Drive, which produces a total system output of 354 horses when the 3.5 L V6 hits 6,600 rpm, will start at $96,510. The hybrid powertrain does 0-to-60 mph sprint in 4.7 seconds, while delivering a manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy of 26/35/30 mpg.

The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe that jelled because of the great coordinative cooperation between the design and engineering teams. The new luxury platform is designed for a new generation of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive luxury models.

There is a whole array of extraordinary standard features. These include a glass roof, ultra-compact triple-projector LED headlamps, and arrowhead-shaped daytime running lights (DRLs). The distinctive DRLs combine with the triple-projector headlamps to create the next-generation Lexus fascia.

All LCs are equipped as standard with the Lexus Safety System. This suite of active safety features includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Intelligent High Beam headlights.

The cockpit is molded more like a fighter plane than an automobile.

You have some options on the LC 500 and LC 500h models. You may choose between 20-inch and 21-inch forged wheels, the Mark Levinson Audio System, Torsen Limited Slip Differential (LSD), Blind Spot Monitor, Intuitive Park Assist, Heads Up Display, and Cold Area Package. The last feature package includes heated steering wheel and windshield de-ice.

My test LC 500 had the Mark Levinson Premium Surround System featuring an AM/FM tuner, in-dash six-CD/DVD changer, and 13 speakers driven by an advanced discrete amplifier design capable of 835 watts maximum power. This exotic audio system boasts a lower than 0.1 percent Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) from 20 to 20,000 Hz.

The LC 500 handles like a sports car with a high degree of ride comfort while maintaining the low hood height. The design and construction of the chassis keep the heavy elements close to the ground for a low center of gravity.

Another new construction technique is using lightweight yet strong materials with high tensile steel. The chassis is a fusion of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Depending on the model and options, carbon fiber is used for the roof and door inner structure.

Aluminum provides the wrapping for the hood, doors, front fenders, and the trunk. Especially noteworthy is the use of stiff aluminum front suspension towers. This helps to reduce weight in key areas while maintaining overall structural strength. The use of self-piercing riveting allows these different materials to join securely where traditional welding methods are unsuitable.

Hallmark Lexus interior of the LC 500. (Courtesy of Lexus)
Hallmark Lexus interior of the LC 500. (Courtesy of Lexus)

The cockpit is molded more like a fighter plane than an automobile. It integrates the latest audio, navigation, and connectivity technologies, making them easily accessible.

The new 2017 Lexus Multimedia package provides an enhanced user interface to make for a great experience, whether it’s communications, safety, or entertainment.

Interior upholstery, trim material, and detailing reflect the “Takumi” craftsmanship and the brand’s attention to detail. This detail can be found in the stitching of the leather-wrapped gearshift lever and Alcantara panel trims.

Even though the LC 500 sedan has a sporty heart, it is quite comfortable. The front provides 37.2 inches of headroom and 32.0 inches of front legroom. Even the 6.07 cubic feet of cargo storage is above standard for this kind of vehicle.

Steering the LC 500 is easy with electric power-assisted coaxial rack-and-pinion steering. Stopping power is provided by six-piston front brake calipers and four-piston rear calipers, aided by an anti-lock brake system.

The LC hangs in the curve with perfect balance as it maneuvers through the turning path. The cabin is so quiet that only the growl-purrs from the engine and the rhythm of the road tell you of the magic feeling coming from the driving experience.

The LC is a global luxury sports car. Lexus products can be purchased in more than 90 countries. In the United States, the LC will be sold in 237 Lexus dealerships. Both the LC 500 and LC 500h will arrive in early 2017.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net