• Based on the LF-LC Concept, it's unique in its class
  • Featuring sharp lines and powerful looks
  • It even gets the best interpretation of Lexus' Spindle Grill
  • and can be had with 21-inch wheels
  • Pointed LED running lights keep things visible up front
  • And the LED Tailights dominate the rear
  • Not as much as that sloped rear end, though
  • Don't forget the Michelin rubbers..
  • They look incredibly wide thanks to those massive rear fenders
  • The 2+2 Interior is absolute gorgeous
  • Featuring a digital instrument cluster
  • And that 10.25-inch infotainment system
  • Back up Camera is available
  • As is a navigation system
  • The dashboard is oriented toward the driver
  • And the trim panels are impressively sculpted
  • Gaps between panels are minimal
  • And you have to love the big moonroof
  • and the Head-up Distplay
  • The back seats, on the other hand
  • are pretty cramped, though
  • The trunk looks huge, but the floor is shallow
  • Be that as it may...
  • The interior is still quite impressive
  • Under the hood there's a 5.0-liter V-8
  • With 471 HP & 398 LB-FT
  • Rear-wheel drive is standard
  • As is thte 10-speed auotmatic transmission
  • A Torsen LSD is available for the rear end
  • And it's quite fast...
  • 60 mph in 4.4 seconds
  • Topspeed? 169 MPH
  • Fuel Economy is decent too:
  • EPA estimated @ 16/26/19 mpg

Lexus’ halo coupe is a grand touring marvel

It was in 2012 when Lexus pulled the covers off its LF-LC concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept boasted curvy lines, massive rear haunches, a big Spindle Grille, those signature fishhook LED daytime running lights, and a nose almost as long as Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. Somehow Lexus managed to keep the concept’s sultry lines almost completely intact for production. The final result is this, the 2018 Lexus LC500.

I spent a week behind its wheel, doing everything from blasting down the Interstate to picking up the kiddos in the carpool line. It fetched groceries and drew crowds in nearly equal amounts. It also fostered a love/hate relationship in my view. I’ll explain below.

Continue reading for more information.

  • 2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    471 @ 7100
  • Torque @ RPM:
    398 @ 4800
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.4 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    168 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    9.2/10

Exterior

- * Based on LF-LC Concept from 2012
- * Front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 coupe
- * 21-inch wheels
- * Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Exterior
- image 767634
Featuring sharp lines and powerful looks
The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions

Just look at it… The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions. The long, sloping hood runs from the high A-pillars down to the tall Spindle Grille while the roof slopes almost as quickly down the LC’s backside. Like any good coupe, its highest point is above the front seats. The rear tires, despite only being 275-series, look as if they’re incredibly wide thanks to the massive rear fenders and narrowing greenhouse. Its overall shape is simply stunning. But it doesn’t stop there.

The LC500 packs plenty of visual yumminess into its details. Up front, the LED headlights are arranged in a pod of three, accented by the LED daytime running light and the vertical amber turn signals. The optional 21-inch wheels on my tester look nearly identical to those on the 2012 LF-LC concept car.

The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents. The chrome repeats on along the sloping C-pillars, on the badges, and on the dual exhaust finishers. It’s just enough brightwork to keep things interesting, but not so much it looks tacky.

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
- image 767631
Rear-wheel drive is standard
The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents

Getting into the LC500 is done with Jaguar F-Type style push/pull door handles. The passive entry allows the key fob to remain in a pocket or bag. Sadly, the same isn’t true front the trunk. For some reason, Lexus didn’t include a trunk release button, so the only way to open the truck is with the key fob or by the button on the dashboard near the steering wheel. Yeah… Otherwise, the LC’s exterior is a sensuous exercise in form and function.

Interior

- * Beautifully crafted cabin
- * Driver-centric dashboard
- * Digital gauge cluster
- * 10.25-inch infotainment system
- * Lexus’ Enform infotainment software

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Interior
- image 767653
The dashboard is oriented toward the driver
That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior

That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior. Lexus has put form very much ahead of function within the LC.

As far as form goes, the interior is simply stunning. The designers did an amazing job sculpting the panels and creating something that’s unique to anything seen before. What’s more, they executed the design with nary a flaw. Panel gaps incredibly small, the intricate detailing with the different colors and materials, and the overall ergonomics of the driving position are all impeccably done.

However, as for function, the LC500 proves that beauty doesn’t always translate into practicality. For example, the rear seats are very cramped with almost no legroom unless the front seats are slid more than halfway up their tracks. And as petty as it might sound, the two cup holders are better left unfilled. The trunk presents a problem for those with lots of luggage. The opening is rather wide, but the floor is so shallow that anything larger than a carry-on bag won’t fit.

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Interior
- image 767662
As is a navigation system
The Entune infotainment system suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages

Then there’s the issue of the Entune infotainment system. It suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages. For example, the heat and vent controls for the front seats are buried under the Climate tab and requires at least three scroll and taps before being able to adjust the temperature. It also requires a close eye to watch the cursor’s trek across the screen. By this time, the driver has watched the screen for far too long.

Admittedly, though, Lexus has given the Enform system a respectable makeover in terms of aesthetics. It no longer looks as dated as it has.

Beyond those frustrations, the interior is impeccably wonderful and makes for a great place to spend time.

Drivetrain

- * 5.0-liter V-8
- * Naturally Aspirated
- * 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm
- * 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm
- * 10-speed automatic transmission
- * Available Torsen limited-slip rear differential
- * 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds
- * Top Speed 168 mph
- * EPA estimated fuel economy: 16/26/19 mpg

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Drivetrain
- image 767650
With 471 HP & 398 LB-FT
The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm

The Lexus LC500 comes with the familiar 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. While that’s low by supercar standards, the power is more than enough to get the LC500 moving very quickly.

Lexus says the LC500 will hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and will reach a top speed of 168 mph.

Perhaps the LC’s biggest hindrance is its weight. At 4,280 pounds, the coupe is a bit on the porky side, especially considering Lexus’ use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics on the doors and trunk lid. Those panels also have aluminum skin to keep weight down. Nevertheless, the LC500 works best as a grand touring coupe, like I mention here.

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Interior
- image 767668
Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission

Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox delivers smooth shifts during easy driving and fires off shifts like a dual-clutch when driven hard. Much the transmission’s duality comes from the LC’s drive modes. Select Eco, Comfort, or Normal, and the car drives like a cloud. Sport and Sport+ modes transform the car into a back road bomber. Downshifts are equally satisfying, too, with the revs happily shooting toward the 7,300 redline and the engine blatting and snarling like a proper engine should.

A Torsen limited-slip differential is an option on the LC500 and it keeps the rear wheels from misbehaving. Of course, turning traction control off results in massive burnouts from its 275/35R21 rear tires.

Hauling things to a stop are massive brakes. The front rotors are two-piece, vented rotors measuring 15.7 inches in diameter. They are clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers. The rear brakes have 14.1-inch vented rotors and four-piston monoblock calipers. And as for the front tires, those measure in at 245/40R21. Perhaps most impressively, Lexus actually specs respectable rubber. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
- image 767640
Don’t forget the Michelin rubbers..
The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes

The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes. Eco, Comfort, and Normal have the coupe soaking up bumper rather well, making for enjoyable long-distance drives. Sport and Sport+ modes drastically firm the dampers’ ride, giving the LC500 a sportier feel and a nearly flat turn-in.

As for fuel economy, the EPA estimates the LC500 at 16 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. I averaged around 18 mpg combined over a few hundred miles of mixed driving with a somewhat heavy foot. Add to that the need for premium unleaded. Of course, the price of fuel is hardly a concern with a $100,000 car. If it’s the “save the planet” argument, then for $4,510 Lexus will sell you the LC500h – a gasoline hybrid version with the familiar 3.5-liter V-6.

Pricing

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
- image 767638

There’s no getting around the LC500’s cost. It’s expensive. However, the car does offer a lot for the money. Here’s how things break down.

The 2018 LC500 starts at $92,000. There are eight color choices, and none cost extra. You can also choose from three interior colors themes without incurring an extra cost, but the swankiest interior theme, “Bespoke White Leather,” requires the $1,000 Convenience Package, the $1,790 Touring Package, and your choice between the $1,210 20-inch or $2,650 21-inch wheels.

Other available packages include the All-Weather Package for $250; the Performance Package for $5,960; the Sport Package with Carbon Fiber roof for $2,960; and the Sport Package with the glass roof for $1,400. Not all can be selected at once, of course.

My tester included the All-Weather Package, the Convenience package with the 21-inch wheels, the Head-up display ($900), the limited-slip differential ($390), the Mark Levinson premium sound system ($1,220), and the Sport Package with the glass roof. Add in the key fob sleeve for $10, the trunk matt for $105, and the destination fee of $995, and my tester’s grand total came to $100,920.

The Competition

The Lexus LC500 has no natural competition that aligns perfectly with its stats. As such, I’m comparing it to something more luxury oriented and another that’s more sport oriented.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 729462

The Mercedes S550 is a much bigger coupe with more room for people and more roof for things in the trunk. The interior caters far more to comfort with massaging seats, dual temperature and fan speed controls, and even an aroma system that wafts pleasant scents through the HVAC system. The digital gauge cluster offers more customization in its view and doesn’t make the tachometer the central focus.

The S550 is rather powerful thanks to a 4.7-liter, biturbo, V-8 making 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels. The sprint to 60 mph happens in only 4.5 seconds.

This level of luxury and performance come at a price. The 2018 S550 4Matic Coupe starts at $122,750. And in typical German fashion, the price skyrockets with added options and packages.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

2018 Jaguar F-Type R

2014 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 533031

The Jaguar F-Type R definitely caters to the sporty side of this comparison. The high-performance coupe offers seating for only two, has a supercharged V-8, has all-wheel drive, and massive brakes. The interior has thinly padded, heavily bolstered leather seats and a very driver-focused dashboard. The trunk has more room than the LC’s but is still only good for a few overnight bags.

So about that power – it’s a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 making an impressive 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 mph happens in a blistering 3.9 seconds thanks to the power, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the added grip from the AWD system. Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the F-Type R’s engine without mentioning its wonderful, world-class variable exhaust system. Push a button near the gearshifter and the entire neighborhood will hear the F-Type coming. It’s glorious!

Naturally, the F-Type R isn’t cheap either. It starts at $99,900 and will exceed $120,000 with options. Jaguar does offer less expensive models with less powerful engines starting at $59,900. There is also the F-Type SVR with even more power and more performance. It starts at $121,900.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar F-Type R

Conclusion

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
- image 767629
Not as much as that sloped rear end, though

The Lexus LC500 is an interesting car. It concentrates on being a good grand touring coupe but offers impressive performance while falling short glory on either extreme. The Mercedes S550 Coupe is a better luxury car and the Jaguar F-Type R is a better sports car. While that might be a downer if only stopping there, this conclusion is good news for those who want to split the difference in both luxury and performance while paying a lower admission price than charged by both Mercedes and Jaguar. That’s a pretty darn good case for the LC500.

On the subjective side, the LC500 is an immensely surprising offering from Lexus. Its performance feels better than the car’s stats suggest and is overall appeal extends past the typical Lexus customer. All told, it’s a serious performance luxury coupe that worth serious consideration from high-end consumers.

  • Leave it
    • Down on power compared to others
    • Gets expensive with options
    • Will it appeal to the right crowd?

References

Lexus LC

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Exterior
- image 767627
It even gets the best interpretation of Lexus’ Spindle Grill

What It’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Exterior
- image 767626
Fuel Economy is decent too:

Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven
- image 767625
60 mph in 4.4 seconds

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Drivetrain
- image 767649
Under the hood there’s a 5.0-liter V-8

What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven Interior
- image 767653
The dashboard is oriented toward the driver

The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 710825

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.

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- image 746643

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