The car that looks like a lion but behaves like a pussy cat
Sensuous lines combine with a V8 growl. There is little subtle or shy when it comes to the Lexus LC500.
The halo model for Lexus is downright gorgeous from every angle. Japanese carmakers typically love their sharp angles and overt lines, yet the LC possesses cohesion and a timeless design which attracts attention everywhere it travels.
Coupe models had previously sat atop the Lexus tree, but a convertible variant has also just arrived as part of a midlife update.
Engineers have tweaked the performance to deliver more aggressive gear changes when pushing the boundaries while suspension upgrades are aimed at improving comfort and cornering.
Little has changed in pricing, with a drive-away cost of $210,500 for the coupe. The convertible costs more than $230k, so sticking with a permanent roof represents a reasonable saving.
Old-school engine muscle combines with a contemporary exterior.
There is an option for a far more sensible V6 hybrid that is cheaper to buy and run, but generates about 90 less kilowatts. The V8 delivers serious bang for buck.
Lexus never skimps on features, with little need for an options list. Given the positioning, it’s not surprising the LC comes with impressive kit headlined by a 10.3-inch colour screen, 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, satnav with live traffic updates, moisturising aircon and plush leather-trimmed seats.
New additions are a steering wheel heater as standard along with electric seats which have an easy entry function to improve access for those getting in the back.
There is a $15,900 performance pack which adds more dynamic rear-wheel steering, alcantara and leather seats, a carbon fibre roof and an active rear wing.
Additional colour options are available inside and out. Khaki and deep red are added to the external hues of white, grey, silver, titanium, black, bright red, yellow and blue. Meanwhile, red with black, along with orange and black join pure black and ochre interior choices.
Warranty coverage remains middle of the road at four years and 100,000km. Some marques are still three years, while the likes of Mercedes-Benz offers five years.
Platinum-level Encore membership is complimentary for three years, and includes a range of benefits like a free loan car when servicing, valet parking at some shopping centres, loan vehicle in case you need extra space for a weekend getaway as well as a range of other hotel and special event benefits.
Servicing is required annually or every 15,000km, capped at a bargain $595 each for the first three. But be prepared for a jump from service four.
There’s no official rating from Australia’s crash test gurus, but the LC comes well equipped in this realm. Key technology you’d expect is included: autonomous emergency braking which helps prevent or lessen the impact of frontal collisions, and radar cruise control to maintain safe preset distances from other vehicles.
Other vital gear includes rear cross traffic alert to warn of impending reversing collisions in carparks, auto dimming high beam along with eight airbags.
Sumptuous and beautifully finished with leathers and suedes, the fit and finish is outstanding. The cabin material experience is as good as the LC looks on the outside.
Things aren’t as positive operationally. The Lexus touchpad operation is clumsy and takes your attention away from the road when undertaking the simplest tasks, like changing radio stations.
Luckily it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which enables the infotainment to essentially mirror your smartphone. Dictating instructions to Siri and Google is simpler and faster.
Another issue was the microphone feedback, which meant users on the other end of phone calls received an echo of their conversation.
Using the aircon is a far simpler toggle scenario. Steering wheel-mounted buttons are also well labelled and easy to use.
Surprisingly, the LC offers four people reasonable accommodation. The back seats are easier to access with the new slide function, while knee and feet room is practical for smaller adults.
Boot space is limited to less than 200 litres. That’s par for the course in this genre.
Engine notes generated by the V8 are an auditory delight. Hit the start button and the LC immediately showcases its heartbeat with a blip of the throttle.
Lexus often mutes any noise, yet luckily the coupe enables enough sound to enter the cabin.
Jump on the right pedal and the LC responds with strength and willingness. Yet the experience is never earth-shattering or uncomfortable, erring on the side of grand tourer performance rather than supercar.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels, and a limited slip differential comes standard for greater cornering prowess. Key improvements as part of the upgrade are a more responsive transmission, better steering feel along with suspension changes for flatter cornering.
The changes are an improvement, the previous iteration felt slow to react and heavy in twisty conditions. It now has greater dexterity and control when the road gets curvy.
Fuel consumption can be heavy, especially with excessive right foot activity, and we averaged 13 litres for every 100km.
While looking spectacular, I don’t need to worry about scraping the front end on driveways or doing callisthenics just to get into the car.
You had me at hello. The V8 rumble, sexy external lines — it was love at first sight.
Audi R8 Coupe V10 $324,554 D/A
Pure and unadulterated performance. A massive step up in price but also a monumental move forward in performance from a 397kW/540Nm V10 rear-wheel drive.
Jaguar F-Type R $286,090 D/A
While only a two-seater and with even less boot space than the LC (if you take a spare tyre), this spectacular-looking coupe is powered by a supercharged 423kW 5.0-litre V8 all-wheel drive good for 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds.
Lexus’s spectacular LC is a supercar without the hardcore performance drawbacks. Easy to drive and even easier on the eye.
AT A GLANCE
PRICE $210,500 drive-away (supercar looks)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 4yr/100,000km warranty (OK), servicing $1785 3yrs (good)
ENGINE 5.0-litre V8 351kW/540Nm, RWD, 10sp (true muscle)
SAFETY 8 airbags, radar cruise control, AEB, lane keep assist, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert (good)
THIRST 11.6 litres/100km (13 on test)
SPARE None, run flats (expected)
BOOT 197 litres (standard for genre)