A grand tourer that’s fine with commuting… mostly

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a stunningly beautiful coupe that looks more like a concept car than a production model. That visual appeal, combined with its sultry interior and angry V-8, solidly confirm its place as an aspirational vehicle. It would be right at home on a bedroom poster next to high-end sports cars from Ferrari or Lamborghini. Yet this 2+2 coupe isn’t a true sports car, but a grand tourer with comfort and luxury as its main objective with a go-fast nature coming in second.

It’s this aim at luxury that makes the LC500 a pleasure to daily drive. Of course, the 471-horsepower V-8, 10-speed automatic, and rear-wheel drive that turn the pleasure into outright giddy fun.

Continue reading for driving impressions of the Lexus LC500.

Behind the Wheel

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 Interior
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Open the push/pull-style door handles and swing the LC’s wide door open and you’re greeted with Lexus’ fanciest interior to date

Open the push/pull-style door handles and swing the LC’s wide door open and you’re greeted with Lexus’ fanciest interior to date. Sit down and the front bucket seats will hug you like family. The eight-way power adjustments and power tilt and telescoping steering column offer plenty of control to get comfortable. Grip the thick, perforated leather steering wheel with your left hand and press the ignition button with your right. The 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 growls to life with a bark and then settles down into a low, rumbling idle.

The sensory experience continues when moving. The steering is nicely weighted and has zero play anywhere in its short lock-to-lock range. Twist the drive mode selector into Sport mode and the throttle becomes itchy, ready to send the V-8 towards 7,000 rpm where its peak horsepower lies.

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500
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Massive 15.7-inch rotors clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers pull the car to a halt, aided by the rear brakes with their 14.1-inch rotors and four-piston calipers

The brakes are equally impressive. Massive 15.7-inch rotors clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers pull the car to a halt, aided by the rear brakes with their 14.1-inch rotors and four-piston calipers. And thanks to the sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires sized at 245/40R21 up front and 275/35R21 out back, the LC500 has plenty of grip to stop. Accelerating and turning aren’t an issue, either.

The car feels extremely tight and shows no signs of shakes or rattles. The chassis feels extremely rigid, too. To help save weight and reduce the center of gravity, the doors and trunk lid are constructed with carbon fiber reinforced plastic and use aluminum for the skin. Despite the high-tech materials, the LC500 tips the scales at 4,280 pounds. That’s part of why the LC is defined as a grand tourer.

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500
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The sprint to 60 mph happens in 4.4 seconds and it will continue accelerating up to 168 mph

Still, the car feels plenty fast. The sprint to 60 mph happens in 4.4 seconds and it will continue accelerating up to 168 mph. The V-8 is definitely happier revving than churning at lower speeds. As mentioned, all 471 horsepower doesn’t arrive until 7,100 rpm and peak torque comes on at 4,800 rpm. And speaking of torque – there’s only 398 pound-feet of it – far less than what might be expected. Nevertheless, the 10-speed automatic does a great job at squeezing the most out of the engine. The car never felt like it needed more power while driving on the street. Perhaps on a long straight at a racetrack, that wouldn’t be the case, but for everyday driving, the LC500 feels plenty powerful.

Daily Life

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 Exterior
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While the LC500 might be extremely fun to drive, it still has to be good at transporting people

While the LC500 might be extremely fun to drive, it still has to be good at transporting people. Not surprisingly, the LC has high points and low points.

As for the lows, the interior might be beautiful, but it lacks storage space. There are technically two cup holders, but the main one is too close to the HVAC controls and larger cups hit the buttons, while the second one is located in the center armrest under the console lid and lacks any real support for cups.

The rear seats are also extremely tight with almost no legroom. Even my six-year-old daughter had to rest her feet on the transmission tunnel since she didn’t have enough room behind my preferred driving position. Also tight is the trunk space. While it does have a wide opening, the floor is so shallow that anything larger than a carry-on bag won’t fit.

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 Interior
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Last but not least, Lexus’ Enform system is still tedious to use

Last but not least, Lexus’ Enform system is still tedious to use. Lexus did upgrade the system and it now looks far more modern and clean, but the trackpad and handful of shortcut buttons are the only way to control the system. The handsome 10.25-inch screen offers a high resolution and great color generation, but the software’s small buttons and endless menu pages make it hard to navigate. Lexus even hides the controls for the front seats’ heating and venting under the climate tab. That requires several swipes and clicks before getting to the control page. By this time, the driver has had his eyes off the road for far too long.

Thankfully, the highs do counter some of the negativity. The interior is well put together and the quality is extremely high. For someone who doesn’t carry many items in the car or constantly fiddle with the infotainment system, the LC’s interior should prove completely livable. What’s more, the digital gauge cluster is a pleasure to look at and offers plenty of information. An optional full-color head-up display brings the important information onto the windshield.

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500
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All told, the LC500 is a pleasure to pilot and even more fun to look at

All told, the LC500 is a pleasure to pilot and even more fun to look at. What’s more, its peppy V-8 and solid chassis provide all the excitement anyone would ever need on public roads. But still, there are a few issues that keep it from being a great all-around daily driver. Perhaps the LC500 might be best left as a weekend toy or the lone-wolf ride to the office.

References

Lexus LC

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 Exterior
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Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500
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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 Drivetrain
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What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood

What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500 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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