Lexus LC500h Platinum
Concept Car Meets Sultry Seductress
Yes. What you’re seeing is a Lexus. I’ll give you a moment to take it all in because I know that it’s hard to believe. And let’s not forget, this is also a hybrid.
The new flagship coupé is exactly what it sounds like it should be, and Lexus knows it. I’ll be the first to admit that I was hooked from the moment I saw the first press release of its launch. I just had to bide my time until I could get my day behind the wheel to see for myself what all the hype was about and if it were true.
The ‘LC’ stands for Luxury Coupé, and if there were ever the need for a dictionary definition of the term, look no further - this is it.
The ‘Eyes’ Have It
From the outside the LC500 looks like a concept car that just rolled off the floor at the latest auto show, and that’s ok because the presence of merely sitting in my driveway was that of an exotic super-car. The sultry red and tantalizing profile garnered compliments from passersby on more than one occasion and more than once I had to polish the hand-prints off the window before taking these photos.
Taking it all in stride, it was what it was and there was nothing I could do to change it. But why would I? The LC500 is built at the same factory where they build the LFA Supercar, this one just happens to be available without the custom order nature.
The LFA’s DNA is obvious. The combination of smooth swooping lines against hard crisp angles makes it one of the most aggressive looking luxury cars I’ve ever driven. The front end looks like it’ll tear anything off the road and with the broad stance from the rear, you know it has the power to do it.
Once eased into the ‘cockpit’, luxury rules the realm. The interior is simple in color and style. The door panels and roof are overlaid with soft suede and leather is wrapped on nearly every other available surface.
The driver’s side does support in terms of a performance machine and you do feel like you’re in a sort of ‘cockpit’, but from the passenger’s side things are spacious and comfortable.
All of the LC500’s gadgets and gizmos are easily accessible and Lexus has done a superb job of making each interface extremely easy to navigate while you’re on the move.
Smell the Leather, Feel the Road
One thing is for sure. You want to get the LC500 out on a quiet winding road and open her up. As so many other top-of-the-line manufactures are implementing electronic steering to reduce the road feel being transmitted through the steering wheel, Lexus has gone the more traditional route and, yes, you can feel the road beneath you. Bringing the ‘car and driver’ connection back from yesteryear.
Corners are no match and straightaways will be crushed when you put your foot to the floor, or at least shattered from the bellowing grumble coming from somewhere behind you. Body roll is at a very minimum thanks to the suspension that seems to suck you closer to the ground the faster you go. Steering is tight but did have a bit of play for this enthusiast that wasn’t able to stop smiling.
The model we had the privilege of driving was also the hybrid. Nothing has been lost in terms of style or substance by adding an electric motor with the intent on being more ecofriendly, except for a few extra dollars from your pocket for the privilege and a small bit of horsepower as you’ll be driving a V6 producing 354 ponies instead of the 471 produced with the industry black sheep V8, also available.
With the steering and braking so well defined, the overall handling is superb. You can still slide it around if you want to have a bit of fun by using just the throttle, but it’s not something I’d recommend. You’ll want to keep it out on the open road rather than the confines of an abandoned parking lot. Perhaps a day at the track would be better suited, at least you’d get to make use of the magnesium paddle shifters.
Minimally Objectionable Gripes
My personal complaints are minimum at best. Are there people out there who will hate this car as much as I love it? Yes, probably a couple here and there and I’m sure they’ll have their reasons.
Was the car absolutely perfect? No, but it was pretty close. I would have liked to have more of a range between the Sport+ Mode and Normal. Going from a gauntlet run through some winding roads to open highway cruising felt about the same in terms of handling and power. It becomes a lament that will quickly disappear because no matter which mode you have it set in, you’ll have a bit of fun and that’s just what this car is about if you’re the driver.
It would have also been nice if the glass roof opened up with a sunroof feature, but perhaps Lexus is just holding out for a convertible version which will again be more than we expected. The backseat as well as the trunk space were nearly nonexistent, but you’re not going to be hauling kids around with this, you’re going to buy it before they’re ever a thought or after they leave for college. And if you’re like me, your golf clubs are already at the country club.
It also didn’t have the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto phone integration, but that didn’t hinder my weekend by any stretch of the imagination since all of the other Infotainment items are so well done and simple to use.
Everything about the new LC500 is true, so believe what you read, hear, and watch. Compared to some of the other luxury coupés out there, the Lexus LC500h is the one that you have fun with and turn a few heads while you’re doing it. This is a car that I really enjoyed as a Grand Tourer and to be honest, my idea of the quintessential sports coupé has been redefined…but I’d still like to see what the V8 can do. Maybe next time.
Price as Tested: $112,980
Engine: 3.5L, V6
Power: 354 horsepower @ 4,900rpm
0-60mph: 5.0 seconds
Top Rivals: BMW 6 Series, Audi S5, Jaguar F-Type
Dave Soucy at A Photographic Memory