Luxury combines with power to make driving an enriched experience

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is impossible to miss. Drive it anywhere and people will point, take pictures, and ask questions – both about the car and your best investment advice. The LC500 imparts an air of luxury and sophistication that not many vehicles can match. That’s especially true when, like my tester, the 2+2 coupe is draped in Liquid Platinum paint, fitted with the upgraded 21-inch wheels, and shows hints of its red interior through the windows. The LC simply looks like money.

And given its price tag, looking the part is the least it should do.

Lexus charges a whopping $92,000 for a “base” model LC500. Adding options makes the price rise quicker than Diet Coke out of a Mentos-filled bottle. My tester stickered for $100,920. That’s some serious coin for a vehicle some bill as a “personal luxury coupe.” But is it worth it? And more importantly, what is the LC500?

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

A Hard-Edged Sports Coupe It’s Not

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer
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The LC500 isn’t a Nürburgring champ with gobs of horsepower and a featherweight chassis.

The Lexus LC500 might look like Japan’s hottest sports coupe since Lexus’ own LFA; it might even have a big V-8 under the hood that drives the rear wheels and sounds like a flock of angry pterodactyls spitting fire. Sadly, though, the LC500 isn’t a Nürburgring champ with gobs of horsepower and a featherweight chassis.

Rather, the LC500 tips the scales at 4,280 pounds and its V-8 only musters a meager 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. That gives it a power to weight ratio far less impressive than things like the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or even the Lexus RC F.

What’s more, those who have driven the LC500 hard around a track complain about lifeless steering, understeer at the limit, and of course, that weight holding the performance envelope from being anything noteworthy.

A Grand Touring Coupe It Is

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer
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The LC500 is a properly sorted grand touring car

But Lexus didn’t build the LC500 to be a direct competitor to the Chevy Camaro ZL1 or to set lap time records at the world’s most notorious racetrack. Rather, the LC500 is a properly sorted grand touring car. What’s that, you ask? Well, think of the LC as a coupe perfectly suited for a spirited evening drive down California’s Pacific Coast Highway as the sun dips into the ocean or an afternoon sprint along Tennessee’s U.S. 129, better known as the Tail of the Dragon, during a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It boils down to this: the LC500 is really good, but it’s not intended to be a supercar.

Now, would the average consumer find the LC500 to be plenty powerful, stop quickly enough, turn well enough, and fulfill dreams of being an everyday Mario Andretti? Absolutely.

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer Interior
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The LC500s high-tech vibe is further confirmed by its 10-speed automatic transmission

The car is extremely tight thanks to its steel chassis and carbon fiber reinforced plastic body panels. Though heavy, the LC carries it well and never lacks for power while on public roads. Lexus’s familiar 5.0-liter V-8 still uses dual overhead cams with variable valve timing on all 32 valves. In the LC500, it makes 471 horses at a stratospheric 7,100 rpm and a mild 389 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Best of all, the V-8 exhales through quad exhaust pipes the most outlandishly awesome sound this side of a Jaguar F-Type R – especially when its drive mode is set to Sport Plus and its revs are above 5,000 rpm.

The LC500s high-tech vibe is further confirmed by its 10-speed automatic transmission. Like the exhaust, throttle response, and adaptive dampers, the gearbox changes attitude with the drive modes. Shifts under hard acceleration happen in a blink, letting the V-8’s song snap throughout the cabin. Downshifts are even more impressive, happening quickly and smoothly with a lovely crackle from the exhaust.

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer Interior
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Beyond the performance, the LC500 offers plenty of room for two people and a weekend’s worth of luggage.

Beyond the performance, the LC500 offers plenty of room for two people and a weekend’s worth of luggage. Don’t try fitting four inside unless it’s an emergency. Even my six-year-old doesn’t have enough legroom behind my seat. She ended up propping her feet on the transmission tunnel.

The interior is also a major factor in the LC500’s air of sophistication and prestige. My tester came in the Rioja Red color with the optional Alcantara inserts as part of the “Sport Package with Glass Roof.” The thickly bolstered front seats offer eight-way power adjustments and feel extremely comfortable, even over long drives. They also have three-way heating and venting, too. Dual zone climate controls round off the personal comforts for the front occupants.

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer Interior
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About the only major downfall the LC500 has as a long-distance grand tourer is the lack of storage space, most notably cup holders

About the only major downfall the LC500 has as a long-distance grand tourer is the lack of storage space, most notably cup holders. Yeah, us Americans love our cup holders. The LC has one dedicated cup holder just ahead of the infotainment system’s trackpad. There a second one hidden under the rearward-sliding center armrest, but it doesn’t grip a cup very well. There is also no good place to sit a cell phone. My iPhone 8 Plus was too wide for the cup holder and too tall to rest horizontally in the secondary cup holder area. I found the door pockets to be about the best place to store a phone that’s within easy reach.

Final Thoughts

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer
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The 2018 Lexus LC500 proved itself to be a fantastic grand touring machine with an affinity for eating miles on long stretches of highway and blasting around curves on a mountain road

Small gripes aside, the 2018 Lexus LC500 proved itself to be a fantastic grand touring machine with an affinity for eating miles on long stretches of highway and blasting around curves on a mountain road. While expensive, the LC rewards with stunning, crowd-gathering aesthetics and a jaw-dropping interior that’s well worth the asking price.

Here’s the thing: the LC500 isn’t a supercar or dedicated performance coupe. Rather, it’s a luxury coupe that wafts its passengers with prestige down the road on ultimate comfort while still being able to handle itself up an Interstate onramp or around a twisty country road.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed.com as we explore more about the 2018 Lexus LC500.

References

Lexus LC

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer Drivetrain
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What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer Interior
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The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.

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