Test Drive Notes Library
- Stylin'. The LC-500 is a striking looking car. It turns heads, in the same way a Corvette or a Ferrari turns heads. Of course, some heads will turn and think “who’s the asshat driving that thing?” But if you want to command attention wherever you go, the LC-500 will serve as your arrival siren. It looks like a supercar. It’s rare, sleek, unusual, and — while it looks from the side like the designer drew a car, folded up the piece of paper, stuck it in his pocket for a week, and then pulled it back out and built the car from it, including the creases in the paper — it does look exotic, futuristic and original.
- Fast. The engine makes good on the car’s looks. It’s a V8 with 471 hp and a ten speed automatic transmission. Single or twin turbos are pretty common these days, but this engine has no turbo because it has no need for one. It’s way more than enough, and there’s no power lag, like some turbos create at low rpm.
- Handling. Again, the handling matches the looks. You’d expect it to stay flat in corners while going fast, and it does. It’s not a light car, so it doesn’t feel particularly agile. You’re not going to toss it through tight turns, but it is a sports car. It’s not faking.
- Hybrid option. We drove both the naturally aspirated 5-liter V8 and the 3.5 liter-plus-battery hybrid version of the LC-500. The hybrid has a couple of advantages. It’s considerably quieter, and it got nearly 25 mpg overall in our testing. EPA says 30. Your mileage will vary (it will always vary lower). The V8, by comparison, is supposed to get 19 overall (your mileage will vary). The hybrid also lowers the douche-canoe rating for the driver, because you may be a just-divorced orthodontist who left his wife for a 25-year-old dental technician, but you care about the environment!
- Luxury interior. As you’d expect, the interior is absolutely top end. Everything is suede and leather. Parents of young children might blanch at the baby-poo brown color of the leather in our test version (Lexus says it’s "toasted caramel,” presumably pre-digested), but there’s no question it's absolutely top quality, and put together very well. Everything feels solid and high quality. Plus, you get pretty much every luxury doo-dad you could want, from a large, bright touch screen to defogging side-view mirrors.
- Safety. Glad to see that the LC-500 is available with a full complement of modern safety gear. Why they make you pay an extra $1,000 for blind spot monitoring on a $100,000 car remains a mystery.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Looks. Like we said, you have to want to be stared at. It’s possible to admire this car without wanting to own it. It’s like admiring a Jackson Pollack painting, yet not wanting to wear it to work.
- Sound. The V8 LC-500 is loud. Again, the whole idea of the LC-500 is get people to notice you. So when you start it up, it booms and roars. It sounds like a ’67 Trans Am. If you have nearby neighbors and leave for work at 6 a.m., and you think they hate you now, wait til you wake them up with this exhaust note. To be fair, a person who buys a car like this probably wants to hear the engine, as well as feel it, and Lexus has accommodated that wish by making the exhaust sound prominent. If that bugs you, get the hybrid.
- Ride. You’re not buying a soft, isolating Lexus. The ride is not punishing, but it is definitely firm. And you sit low to the ground. Know what you’re getting into.
- Door handles. They’re sleek. They lie flat against the door until you push on one side. Then the door handle pivots and the other side pops out, so you can open the door. The problem is that you’ve taken a one-step process (grab n’ pull) and turned it into a two-step process (push, then grab n’ pull). And since you get into the car many times a day, it quickly becomes a pain in the butt. Style over function.
- Controls. The LC-500 suffers from the same flaw as other modern Lexi, notably the one-finger-controlled touchpad that you use to move the cursor on the screen. It’s never anything but awkward and difficult. And to make matters worse, to turn on the seat heaters you have to go down two menus. There’s a large, easy to reach volume knob between the seats that we appreciated, but we wish Lexus would give up on the touchpad.
- No wireless charging. We wouldn’t ding a Nissan Sentra for the lack of wireless charging, but when you’re plunking down $100K, you probably have an iPhone X.
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