• 2018 Lexus LC 500

LISTEN 23:03

The Lexus LF-LC originally debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and since then, Lexus debuted the LF-LC Concept 2. Later in 2015, we got our hands on some spy photos of the LF-LC testing under camo in production form. It has been few years of constant teasing, but Lexus has finally unveiled the Lexus LC500 – the production variant of the LF-LC that we’ve been waiting for.

As you can see from a quick look, the LC500 isn’t all that different from the previous LF-LC concepts that we’ve seen. It is still the same low-sitting, dramatically styled coupe that will probably prove to be the best thing to come out of Lexus in a long time. With its unveiling, we’ve learned a lot about the 2+2 coupe that promises to be the future of Lexus, and to be honest, I can’t wait to see it on the street.

Akio Toyoda, a Master Driver and Chief Brand Officer for Lexus, said, “The LC 500 has been an important product for Lexus and me personally. A few years ago, we decided to guide the future of the brand with products that had more passion and distinction in the luxury market. This flagship luxury coupe’s proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brand’s emotional direction and will grow the Lexus luxury appeal globally.”

Of course, it’s not like you’ll see one at every corner. We’re not aware of pricing yet, but given the dramatic design and the details at hand, the car is sure to be reserved for those of the wealthier population. With that said, let’s take a look at Lexus’ new flagship luxury coupe and all the greatness that is Lexus LC500.

Update 3/20/2017: Lexus has announced pricing for the Lexus LC 500 and LC 500H. Check out our prices section below for all of the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Lexus LF-LC.

  • 2018 Lexus LC 500
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    471 @ 7100
  • Torque @ RPM:
    389 @ 4800
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.4 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    158 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    92000
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661474

The LC500 is the result of engineering and design teams working together to bring as much of the concept to the production model as possible, and as you can tell from the images, they did a very good job. It’s not very often the production model looks as good and as stylish as the concept, but the LC500 is an exception.

Up front, the car has that huge, signature Lexus grille, with a 3-D mesh design. Even the headlights look similar to that of the LF-LC concept, except they are a little more dramatic, which is odd for a production model. Below the headlights sit the vertical LED running lights, and below those are two small air vents that surely help aerodynamically. Thanks to the design of the front end, the hood can sit low, and latch below the top of the headlights without a massive overhang. That hood, by the way, looks sporty and muscular, and surely hides a monster of an engine.

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661472
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661473
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661471
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661475
Thanks to the design of the front end, the hood can sit low, and latch below the top of the headlights without a massive overhang.

To the sides, the fenders seem to travel really high on the body, actually mating to the A-pillars several inches higher than where the side view mirrors mount to the doors. A very mild body line travels from the side of the door all the way to the rear, just over the rear wheel arches. The side skirts below the door add a muscular look to the side, and sit rather high at the rear quarters, providing an air dam that feeds air to the rear wheels.

That dramatically sloped roof line feeds down to an elevated trunk lid with a built in a protrusion that acts like that of a small fin. Sitting just below the deck lid are the unique, multi-layered tail lamps that have a sequential L motif. The rear fascia has even more dramatic body lines, carrying a similar shape as the front grille. Below the fascia sits a rather bland diffuser with twin, dual exhaust pipes surrounded by rectangular chrome trim. Needless to say, this is going to be one of the craziest looking coupes on the road, at least for now anyway.

Competing Designs

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
- image 567826
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
- image 567824

The Lexus LC500 looks much like a modern-day Supra and competes among an elite group of models commonly reserved for those with deep egos and deep pockets. AS such, it competes with models like the Mercedes-AMG GT (above) and the Porsche 911 Carrera (below.) It’s hard to be a sports car these days, but the AMG GT does it with grace and elegance. From the aggressive front fascia and prominent AMG nose to the smooth and sculpted lines that make up its design, the AMG GT is the definition of German beauty in a sleek and aerodynamic package. Its long hood is accented by the long, sloping roof that ultimately leads to a rounded rear with well-defined rear quarters. The body lines on the side profile are in all the right places, with the most aggressive being down below and that rear diffuser just begs you to try to pass, at which point you’ll probably be let down. It’s not anywhere near as aggressive as the LC500 in most areas, but the simplistic nature of the body is what makes it so beautiful

2017 Porsche 911
- image 701926
2017 Porsche 911
- image 701927

Porsche updated the 911 for 2017, but as is the usual case, changes were far and few between, outside of a few nips and tucks. But, you don’t fix something if it isn’t broke and the 911 is the sheer definition of that concept. It’s got the traditional and prominent Porsche headlights up front to go with a low-sitting nose and aggressive corner air intakes. The site profile is defined by a pair of mild body lines that gives the side a bit of a concave look between the doors and the rear wheel arches. Like the AMG GT, the roof line slopes downward generously and continues until it meets the tip of the rear deck. The 911 is a bubble butt as well, with large, rounded corners that house the taillights. Down below, the center exhaust outlets remind you that the 911 is dominating in this segment while also making way for a unique diffuser setup that is ultimately the most aggressive part of the whole car.

Mercedes-AMG GT Porsche 911 Carrera S Lexus LC500
Wheelbase (Inches) 103.5 96.5 113.0
Length (Inches) 179 177.1 187.4
Width (Inches) 76.3 71.2 75.6
Height (Inches) 50.7 51 53.0
Track Width Front/Rear (Inches) 66.1/65 60.7/59.8 64.2/64.4

Interior

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Interior
- image 697810

One look at the inside and all I can say is “wow.” The entire cabin is wrapped in sewn leather and Alcantara, including the steering wheel, center console, and dashboard – that amazing Takumi craftsmanship is unmistakable, even from a distance. The instrument cluster is rather simplistic, with a single gauge in the middle that functions as a tachometer. To the left of the tach is a digital representation of oil temperature. Above the digital fuel gauge on the right is a digital display of the engines coolant temperature. Current time is displayed on the top right, and the outside temperature on the top left. Current speed is displayed digitally in the middle of the tachometer.

What really makes the LC500 unique is that the car was actually designed with the driver sitting as close to the center of gravity as possible. This allows the driver to feel as much feedback from the car during maneuvering as possible. The center console has a sports shifter, and there is even an extra grab handle for passengers to hang onto as you rip around a corner at 70 mph. Naturally, that center mounted handle is obtrusive to the passenger, making it more difficult to play with the infotainment system. See, Lexus gets it: never mess with a man’s radio when he’s driving.

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Interior
- image 697852
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Interior
- image 697853
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Interior
- image 697855
2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Interior
- image 697856
What really makes the LC500 unique is that the car was actually designed with the driver sitting as close to the center of gravity as possible.

We don’t have a very clear view of the rear seats, but from the look of things, those seats are just as comfortable as the front. Of course, it is a 2+2, so I wouldn’t expect as much foot room, but headroom doesn’t look too bad. As long as Lexus didn’t go overboard with a rear center divider, hip room should be sufficient as well.

You’ve really got to give Lexus credit here. For a cabin that is rather void of accenting of any kind, it looks visually pleasing. A lack of accenting inserts allowed for spectacular designs in the upholstery and console materials. Look at the door trims for instance. Those four unique lines give the detailed interior class without sacrificing quality. Plus, with the way the seats are designed, it looks like the seats were built piece by piece. Surely, they will be a pleasure to sit in.

Headroom front/rear (Inches) 37.2/32.2
Legroom front/rear (Inches) 42.0/32.5
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 56.5/48.9
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 54.1/43.7
Passenger volume (cu ft) 85.9
Cargo Volume (cu ft) 5.4

Competing Comfort and Tech

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Interior
- image 567802

When you’re talking about $100,000 sports cars, the lines that differentiate them tends to get a little blurry from time to time. For instance, all three offer the same general technology, and you can bet that you’ll get the best materials, fit and finish, and design cues available outside of the supercar niche. And, these two competitors are no different, but the difference in design between models like the AMG GT (above) and Porsche 911 Carrera (below) is what really makes you question your brand loyalty and what you want out of your next sports car.

As far as the Mercedes-AMG GT is concerned, you better be a fan of aviation, as its entire cockpit was designed with that theme in mind. It has a wing-like dashboard, central spotlight-style vents, and concave-shaped door panels that fit nicely with the low seating position and (almost excessively) tall center console. In the end, sitting inside almost gives you the feeling of fitting in a fighter jet. And, despite being a fairly small cockpit, it is suitable for those of the larger variety in height and width, as long as your body style isn’t extreme. As far as technology goes, you get a semi-digital instrument cluster with a TFT display in the middle, and a large, 8.4-inch infotainment display floats above the center stack, serving has the focal point of things like the navigation and entertainment system. The AMG Drive unit allows the selection of various drive modes, while the touchpad controller serves as the primary controller for the infotainment display.

2017 Porsche 911 High Resolution Interior
- image 644875

Open the door to the Porsche 911 Carrera, and you’ll find a completely different styling, plenty of the leather goodness that traditionally fills the cabin of sports cars in this niche. The most significant differences can be seen almost immediately as Porsche has a widely different layout. The seating isn’t quite as low while the center console doesn’t sit quite as high in comparison to the GT or LC500. The center console is much thinner, with room for little more than a shifter and a few buttons. The interior does take on a two-tone color scheme, and the dash is fairly flat on top with trim inserts down below to add character. On the technology front, the 911 gets a gauge cluster that is staggered. By this, I mean that there’s the centrally located tachometer with two gauges on either side, each recessed into the cluster just a little more than the last. It’s a unique look, but it doesn’t compare to the digitalized units found in the LC500 or AMG GT. The infotainment display is a seven-inch unit that operates with multi-touch gestures and can recognize handwritten inputs. Phone connectivity is available via Apple CarPlay of WiFi. The system can display real-time traffic information and maps from Google Earth and Google Streetview. The 911 has a drive mode system that pairs three different driving modes with an “individual setting that allows the driver to design their own drive mode. All told, it’s not a bad place to be, but the Mercedes and Lexus may just trump it when it comes to interior design and layout.

Cargo Volume (cu ft)
Lexus LC 500 5.4
Mercedes-AMG GT 10.0
Porsche 911 5.1

Drivetrain

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 697860

This is where the car really gets fun. Lurking under that hood is based on the 5.0-liter V-8 from the Lexus RC-F and GS-F. The most exciting part is that the V-8 pumps out a naturally aspirated and emotional 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission. At first, this might seem like a downfall to a car of this caliber, but with a new electronic control system the can anticipate the driver’s next move, the transmission can shift fast enough to rival the dual-clutch transmission.

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 697861
Power is sent to the rear wheels through a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission.

On top of a dual intake inlet that helps the engine breathe and create a superior sound, the car also has an active exhaust system. In sport mode, the exhaust baffles open to give a more aggressive exhaust noise, even at start up. In normal mode, the baffles remain closed until the engine hits 3,500 rpm, at which point they open to provide better exhaust flow and the same aggressive sound.

With this 467 horsepower engine, 10-speed transmission, and active exhaust, the LC500 can hit 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Lexus hasn’t announced the car’s top speed or other performance figures, but as soon as those become available, we’ll be sure to update you.

Competing Performance

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Drivetrain
- image 571502

AMG-GT engine.

With a powertrain that delivers 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, the LC 500 isn’t a slouch in the market by any means, but how does it stack up against the competition? The entry-level AMG GT will compete fairly, but if you want to consider a Porsche, you’ll have to look at the Carrera 911 S. Going with the Mercedes will get you a 4.0-liter V-8 that delivers 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s nine ponies short of the LC 500 but an impressive 54 pound-foot of torque more. The engine makes use of Mercedes NANOSLIDE technology to help keep the cylinder walls from wearing, and forged aluminum pistons with “friction-optimized” rings for strength. The four overhead camshafts are fully variable and are timed to precision with the Piezo direct fuel injection system for optimal power. Power is routed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, AMG SPEEDSHIFT, DCT transmission. All of this gets the GT to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds on the way to a top speed as high as 189 mph. Fuel economy is estimated to sit at 16 mph in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, which isn’t bad for a car with 450+ horsepower on tap, right?

2017 Porsche 911 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 644850

911 Carrera engine.

Moving over the Porsche 911 Carrera S gets you a completely different monster as not only does it have a six-cylinder boxer engine, but that engine is also located in the rear. It might offer up a different driving dynamic, but once you step into vehicles of this caliber, the driving experience is pleasurable regardless. The engine in question is a 3.0-liter mill that is turbocharged and delivers a total of 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties can be handled by a seven-speed manual transmission (big plus for those who like to row their own) or Porsche’s PDK automatic. When equipped with the seven-speed manual, the 911 can hit the 60-mph sprint in 4.1 seconds. But, if you’re willing to give up the shifting on your own, you can get to the same benchmark in as little as 3.9 seconds with the PDK or 3.7 seconds with the PDK and Sport Chrono package. Top speed sits at a respectable 191 mph while fuel economy is estimated to be 20 mph in the city and 28 mpg on the highway – the latter of which is a pretty high figure for a car with that much oomph behind it.

Mercedes-AMG GT Porsche 911 Carrera S Lexus LC 500
Engine 4.0-liter turbocharged V-8 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-6 5.0-liter V-8
Horsepower 456 HP @ 6,000 RPM 420 HP @ 6,500 RPM 471 HP @ 7,100 RPM
Torque 443 LB-FT @ 1,600 RPM 368 LB-FT @ 1,700 RPM 398 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM
Transmission 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Rear Transaxle 6-speed manual 10-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 16/22/18 20/28/23 16/26/19
Weight 3,560 Lbs 3,329 Lbs 4,280 Lbs
0 to 60 mph 3.9 seconds 4.1 seconds 4.4 seconds
Top Speed 189 mph 190 mph 168 mph

Chassis and Suspension

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 661505

Lexus was striving to produce a vehicle that offered an unparalleled driving experience in comparison to any of the brand’s vehicles before it. Basically, Lexus lowered the driver’s position in the car, and pushed the wheels farther to the outside corners than on other models. By doing this, the front axle line is pushed much farther forward, allowing the engine to sit behind the axle line. By dropping the actual height of the engine and passengers in comparison to the chassis, the center of gravity is more centralized and improved.

Lexus lowered the driver’s position in the car, and pushed the wheels farther to the outside corners than on other models.

To help cut weight, a carbon fiber roof is available, and the LC500 has run-flat tires, so there is no need to haul around extra weight in the form of a spare wheel and tire. Aluminum doors skins can be mounted to the inner, carbon fiber structure of the door, and there is an available composite trunk floor.

The car rides on a multilink suspension system with double ball joints on the upper and lower control arms. This allows for more precise steering and feedback through the wheel to the driver. All but one of the car’s control arms are made of lightweight forged aluminum, helping to improve suspension response. As Lexus puts it, the LC 500 exhibits “razor-sharp reflexes, exceptional handling balance, and rock-solid stability.” For more in-depth details on the suspension and chassis, you can read the official press release below.

The Competition

No sports car is complete without a specially designed suspension and chassis system to keep things from getting too squirrely when the pedal is to the metal. As such, the Mercedes-AMG, for instance, was designed with driving dynamics and comfort in mind. It rides on a double-wishbone suspension in the front and rear that is sourced from motorsport (talk about pedigree, right?) The wishbones, steering knuckles, and even the hub carriers are all made from forged aluminum to help reduce unsprung mass and movement. It helps a great deal when it comes to cornering speed, but the big news is that the shocks and hub carriers in the rear have a direct connect which ultimately means a smooth ride and better absorption of vibration and road imperfections. As an option, the GT can be fitted with AMG Ride Control, which brings electronically controlled damping into the fold. The characteristics of the dampers can be altered by selecting the various drive modes in the AMG Drive Unit, or customized with the Individual drive mode.

Moving over to the 911 Carrera, you’ll find that it comes with a lowered ride height, wider rear wheels, and can be optioned with rear-wheel steering. But, it also gets a reconfigured Porsche Active Suspension Management system that comes with new, enhanced shock absorbers and tires that are designed to reduce rolling resistance and offer better grip. But, it’s not all about comfort and driving dynamics. There is an optional electro-hydraulic lift system for the front that integrates a pair of lifting cylinders into the front axle. At the press of a button, you can lift the front end by as much as 1.57 inches, making it easier for this lowrider to tackle steep driveways, speed bumps, and maybe even the pot-hole infused highways of the United States.

Pricing

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 697840

The LC 500 arrives in Lexus showrooms for Spring of 2017 and has a starting price of $92,000 before options, taxes, and destination charges. Its hybridized brethren, the LC 500H will have a sticker price that starts out at $96,510. That’s significantly cheaper than the $100,000 starting price everyone was expecting, nearly $11,000 cheaper than the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and more than $30,000 cheaper than the Mercedes S550 Coupe. Needless to say, Lexus is ready to climb into the ring and throw some punches.

Another Option to Consider

Mercedes S550 4MATIC Coupe

2015 Mercedes S-Class Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 541770
2015 Mercedes S-Class Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 541771

The Porsche 911 may be a little better, at least performance-wise on paper anyway, but the Mercedes S550 4MATIC gets pretty close. The S550 is powered by a 4.7-liter Biturbo V-8 that pumps out 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Granted it is a bit torquier than the LC500, but it hits the 60 mph benchmark in 4.5 seconds. It even has Mercedes’ form of active exhaust, allowing the engine to provide a throaty sound even at startup. It would be a lot of fun to put the LC500 against the S550, but there is one thing the LC500 has that the Merc doesn’t – the soul created by that naturally aspirated engine. It’s just not the same when you go turbo. The S550 starts out around $123,000, which will be right in the range of pricing I expect the LC500 to fall into. If nothing else, the S550 may be a few grand cheaper – at least before you go crazy on options anyway.

Read our full review on the Mercedes S550 4MATIC Coupe here.

Conclusion

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 697828

Where do I even start? I guess I can start off by saying that I better save up a lot of cheddar. I love the look of the LC500 and the fact that it has a naturally aspirated engine. I’m sure the pricing will be somewhere between $130,000 and $150,000, but for something that looks as extreme inside and out, I think that is a rather fair price. My only concern is that the LC500 will probably end up being a limited run, as it would take a lot of creativity to top what Lexus has already done with the car. I can’t see a refresh in the future doing anything but disturbing the art that is the LC500. Hopefully, Lexus can take the motivation it has from this car and use it to improve the rest of its line. If they do, I think the company is going to bring a lot of competition all segments.

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Update History

Updated 10/29/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Lexus LF-LC testing once again, this time on the Nurburgring race track.

Updated 10/27/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Lexus LF-LC testing both near and on the Nurbrugring race track. Rumors suggest that next to the standard version, Lexus will also offer an updated F version with a twin-turbo version of the 5.0 liter V-8 engine.

Updated 07/28/2014: We created a rendering for the production version of the LF-Lc. Click past the jump for details.

Spy Shots

October 29, 2015 - 2018 Lexus LF-Lc caught testing on the track

2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
- image 653440
2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
- image 653445
2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
- image 653449

October 27, 2015 - 2018 Lexus LF-Lc caught testing on the road

2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior Spyshots
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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - Robert.moore@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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