- Pair of very different powerplants
- Two fascinating gearbox options
- Is the Lexus LC a little too clever?
You’ve got two petrol drivetrains on offer here, known as the Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h – the latter being a hybrid using electrical assistance. Interestingly, neither motor uses turbocharging technology unlike the vast majority of contemporary cars.
Lexus LC 500
This version is the fastest and most-polluting engine on offer. It’s a 5.0-litre V8 with 477hp and 540Nm of torque available at 4,800rpm. That means 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 168mph.
It’s connected to what Lexus is calling an industry first: a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
For keen drivers this is the best version of the LC. The engine is highly responsive and sounds fantastic, with huge reserves of power for overtaking.
The gearbox works well, changing gear quickly and smoothly, but on occasion we found it confused itself when we demanded too much of it, resulting in jerky power delivery as it struggled to decide which gear it was meant to be in.
Lexus LC 500h
The hybrid LC has a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that has 299hp and 348Nm at 4,900rpm, but this is supplemented with an electric motor with an output of 132kW, which is roughly equivalent to 179hp and 300Nm of torque.
That means the 0-62mph time is almost as impressive, taking just 5.0 seconds, with top speed limited to 155mph.
The gearbox in this version is a CVT coupled with a conventional automatic, but designed to mimic the driving characteristics of the LC 500’s 10-speed ‘box. It’s best driven gently, because it can be reluctant to change down quickly enough to facilitate faster driving.
While we were less impressed by the engine note, this model is far quieter and thus more comfortable for long-distance driving.
- Rear-driven GT handles very well
- Doesn’t feel as heavy as it is
- Pick Sport + for the best cornering
How the Lexus LC handles varies greatly depending on the version you’ve picked.
We’ve yet to try the standard car, but Sport versions drive well, albeit in a slightly inert fashion thanks to the numb but super-responsive steering. It doesn’t feel as heavy as its kerb weight suggests, though, changing direction quickly and nimbly.
Cars equipped with the Sport + package are much better to drive. That’s because they’re fitted with a limited-slip differential, rear-wheel steering and a variable-rate steering rack. These features come together to create an altogether far more engaging experience, with the LC feeling far smaller at lower speeds for easier manoeuvring and longer and more stable when driven quickly.
Lexus typically impresses in the cabin department and the LC is no exception. In the main it’s a beautifully finished design that feels solid and high quality.
The driving position is very low but you’ve got good visibility around the car. We found the steering wheel ergonomically pleasing to hold, but perhaps a little over-appointed with buttons.
At some angles the lip over the multimedia screen can create a shadow that makes it hard to see sat-nav directions, and we found the drive mode controls on top of the instrument binnacle a fraction too far away from our ideal driving position, which meant a stretch.
The multimedia system itself is controlled via the latest generation of Lexus’s touchpad, which is better than ever but still not a patch on the rotary solutions employed by many rival companies.
Built for long-distance cruising, the Lexus LC is a very comfortable car. We’ve only had a chance to try the larger 21-inch wheels available on Sport and Sport + models so far but even with those it rode excellently across a variety of surfaces.
We were especially impressed with the seats, which are beautifully shaped and highly adjustable. They’re available in leather or Alcantara.
The cabin itself is a quiet environment too, with minimal wind noise at motorway speeds and engine roar only really audible when you want it to be.