Bold. Brash. Beautiful. The Lexus LC 500 is a head-turner alright. It is emotionally engaging with the all-round performance to match. A real Grand Tourer from an unlikely part of the world. It may also be the biggest statement Lexus has made since the LFA. And we got to live with one for the week.
You have some idea of the LC 500’s drawing power when the school principal asks you to park the car rather than using the drop-off point because you are stopping the morning carpark flow. And you are left without doubt you when you come out of the supermarket with bags in tow to find a line-up of people taking a selfie with the car in the pouring rain.
Yes, the Lexus LC 500 is hard to miss. Cue the sporting phrases – sweeping lines, bulging arches, beautiful angles and arresting design. The LC 500 is all that and more. Even that spindle front Lexus grille that can be an acquired taste in other models suits this car, integrating beautifully into the front and adding to the overall appeal.
It is low enough to feel sporty but not so low that you are scraping every driveway and speed bump around.
The LC 500 is beautiful on the inside too, unmistakably so. The craftsmanship of the handmade interior is there to see in the choice of luxurious materials and their impeccable fit and finish. It seems that no effort has been spared in creating a space that is remarkable to be in, and you, like us, may find yourself just sitting in it quietly to enjoy the effort.
That quality is echoed in the buttons and switchgear although their placement and usefulness can be questioned.
The LC 500 is equipped with the features needed to enhance the overall experience including leather accented upholstery, touch sensitive interior lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled power adjustable front seats, Mark Levinson premium audio system, 10.3-inch infotainment display with sat nav, head-up display, glass panoramic roof and LED exterior lighting.
Slip into the front seats and you will find one of the best sporting cushions around, with equal measures comfort and support and the ability to really hold you in when you get a tad excited around the corners.
The confined accommodation in the back seat almost soured the kids’ excitement about being in a Supercar (their words). They were happy enough to sit with their legs tucked to the chin, but your passengers may be less inclined.
Incidental storage is usable but expect an unusually small boot. You will be able to cram a couple of school bags or half a week’s of groceries in there – just not at the same time.
The 10.3-inch infotainment screen is nicely integrated into the top of the console, set back enough to prevent glare but not too much that it hinders the view.
To be honest Lexus’s infotainment platform is one of the few negatives in this car. The touchpad is hypersensitive and hard enough to navigate at a standstill even if you are ambidextrous like me.
The graphics, could be better and so could the colour and don’t even get me started on the sat nav. For the life of me couldn’t cancel the destination set by the previous driver no matter how Iong I persisted. Soon it became a battle of wills with the sat nav continually trying to send me to a coffee shop 200km from my house and me continuing to ignore it. Yes, I could have changed the destination … but I wanted to cancel it, dammit.
On the plus side, it is easy to pair your phone and the Bluetooth connectivity is on song with voice commands and reception finding their mark.
Under the LC 500’s beautiful bonnet is a glorious 5.0-litre V8 engine with 351kW of power and 540Nm of torque at its disposal. It works harmoniously with a 10-speed automatic transmission which crackles and pops in tune with the V8’s symphony.
It is reassuring when a car that is part muscle is suitably equipped with modern safety gear and the LC 500 is not short in that respect. Eight airbags, vehicle swerve control, pre-collision safety system, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and pop-up pedestrian protection bonnet are some of the features.
Push the start button on the LC 500 and you are immediately rewarded with that resonating V8 growl. The satisfaction starts deep in your tummy and curls up slowly to a smile on your face.
While the V8 card may be the initial pull, the LC 500 is no one-trick pony.
This Lexus LC 500 is melodious and dramatic, powerful yet refined, sporty and muscular and undeniably fun.
This car is amazingly well balanced and Lexus’s engineers have done an incredible job with the suspension which is firm when needed yet surprisingly supple over bumps and irregularities.
It doesn’t seem to suffer for its heft (1950kg) either, you can feel it slightly around corners but not so much that it detracts from the enjoyment.
Switch it into Sport or Sport + mode, and watch it bloom. It is flat and keen into the twisties and needs little urging to demonstrate its prowess, roaring out of corners if given its head and showing fleetness of foot for good measure. The steering paddles allow you to control the cackle and pop to a larger extent, but the 10-speeder will do well enough on its own.
It is as fast as competitors? No. But it doesn’t need to be. Because in the LC 500, Lexus has that illusive Grand Tourer with the heart of a bad boy.
Fuel usage in our test week hovered around 12.7L/100km, understandable given the enthusiasm with which it was driven.
Should you hand over the $200,000 that it will cost to own one, Lexus will spoil you with one of the better after-sales experiences around. The LC 500 comes with a 4 year or 100,000km warranty with free roadside assistance for the same period and the Lexus Encore Program.
Lexus has really delivered with this LC 500. This car is bold and beautiful, an exciting mix between the inspirational and the aspirational. It is a sign that the true Grand Tourer may no longer be the preserve of the Europeans. It may also be a sign that the LFA spirit still burns strongly at Lexus.
AT A GLANCE
PRICING AND SPECIFICATIONS:
Price: from $190,000 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 5.0-litre V8 petrol
Output: 315kW and 540Nm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel: 11.6L/100km (ADR Combined)
Co2: 267g/km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Four years /100,000 kilometres
Safety Rating: Five star ANCAP
WHAT WE LIKED:
Fit and finish
WHAT WE DIDN’T: