The LC500 is available as a 5.0 litre V8 which is bred from the race-track or if you are after something a little less aggressive and eco-friendly then look no further than the LC500h which is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 and hybrid motors.
Available in standard trim, Sport or Sport+ versions are offered with very little difference in price between them.
The LC500 that we road tested was the 5.0 litre V8 with Sport+ Pack.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN
The 5.0-litre V8 engine that Lexus has chosen to power the LC500 is a great choice to provide the flexibility for a smooth GT cruiser and also to propel the car to immense speeds in very little time.
Combined with an excellent transmission, there is very little to complain about on the performance front.
Utilising a 10-speed transmission which is controlled by Magnesium Paddle Shift and incorporates a manual ‘M’ mode for driver control and selection of the gears. Additionally, there is also the Drive Mode Select function which switches between Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sports S and Sports S+ modes to further enhance the drivers’ experience.
Moving onto the chassis, an adaptive variable suspension featuring multi-link design engineered from scratch to provide excellent vehicle response and super-sharp handling but maintaining a superior ride comfort and stability.
Adaptive Variable Suspension is used to control the damping forces on all shock-absorbers with the ability to manage 650 different variations of suspension settings.
The most definitive aspect of the LC500 has to be the exterior styling with its distinctive coupe body and futuristic lighting. Combine this with the fact that the body is not just stylish but also lightweight and extremely strong. Ultra-high tensile strength steel, lightweight aluminium and Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic are used throughout the car ensuring high-rigidity throughout.
The roof is available as either a glass panoramic or Carbon-Fibre infill (depending on model specification). Both roof panels are made to complement the styling of the LC500 and even incorporate the lines of a traditional Japanese sword on the rear edges of the chrome plating.
There is a retractable rear spoiler and this extends automatically at speeds above 50 mph to provide extra downforce and stability at high-speed.
The Sport+ Pack version has side aero intakes to reduce turbulence around the rear wheels to further improve handling.
LED Headlights are an ultra-compact style fitted with triple-projector LED units which allow for a short front overhang which is crucial for high-speed handling.
The rear lamps are also LED which are inspired by the afterburners of a Jet Fighter aircraft and have a holographic effect which also incorporates a sculptured metal frame that follows the Lexus ‘L’ motif throughout.
The Lexus LC500 is designed with high-speed performance in mind, but safety features, both passive and active, are also a major design element of the car.
A pop-up bonnet, activated by sensors mounted in the front bumper ensure that in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the impact raises the bonnet and by allowing more space between the hard components of the engine compartment and the pedestrian, the level of injury is reduced.
To protect the vehicle occupants, eight airbags are fitted, driver, passenger, head, knee and curtain shields running the full length of both cabin sides.
The interior of the LC500 is no less spectacular than the exterior styling. Lexus has directed their design on an interior specifically focused on the driver.
The steering wheel is crafted by a Takumi master and when grasped seems to instantly instil a feeling of confidence within the driver. Already, the overall feeling of the cars’ demeanour is coming through when seated in the comfortable and supportive sports seats, and this is even when it is parked with the engine off.
All of the controls and driver interfaces are positioned to hand and are designed to be easy to operate when driving. The instruments are positioned to allow the driver to view them at all times and are in line with the natural view of the road ahead with very little distraction.
The interior temperature is carefully monitored and adjusted to provide the occupants with the optimum environment for comfort and wellbeing. The Climate Concierge system features pioneering Nanoe® technology to release negatively charged particles into the cabin area to purify the air and deodorise the seats. The overall effect is to moisturise the skin and hair whilst leaving the occupants relaxed and fresh throughout the journey.
Entertainment is provided by the usually high standards from Mark Levinson® Premium Surround system with GreenEdge™ technology and incorporates 13 speakers throughout the car. Designed specifically for the LC range, the system delivers a digital home-theatre experience and is further enhanced as an optional extra by Clari-Fi™ which rebuilds sound lost in MP3 digital compression.
Boot space is sufficient for two weekend bags and other small items but you would be restricted to carrying a great deal more. The vehicle Battery is beneath the cover within the boot floor.
A Lexus wouldn’t be a Lexus if it wasn’t for the quality of build and the technology that is utilised to enhance the driving experience. The LC500 is no exception and the list of standard equipment is quite extensive.
The driving data is very clearly displayed through a multi-function display panel and also through an optional, extra-wide (174mm x 48mm) ‘Head-Up Display’ on the windscreen. Information such as safety warnings, navigational guidance and engine readings are clearly displayed for the driver to review without compromising the view of the road ahead.
The Premium Navigation system is built-in to the dashboard and features a split-screen 10.3” display with the input being made through either voice command or through a TouchPad with Remote Touch Interface.
Driver warning systems such as tyre pressures monitoring, parking proximity and traffic sign recognition are clearly displayed within the vehicle using visual and audio to highlight the alert.
Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert feature within the LC500. Radar devices mounted in the rear bumper detect vehicles in adjacent lanes that are not visible in the door mirrors.
If the driver is indicating to change lanes and should another vehicle enter into the blind spot, a warning signal appears in the mirror along with a buzzer to warn the driver. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert functions by alerting the driver to another vehicle manoeuvring behind.
ROAD TEST SUMMARY
The Lexus Owners Club have been very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to road test the LC500 and this is our unbiased opinion of what we consider to be one of the best performance cars to roll off the Lexus production line. The version used for road test was the Sport+ Pack with the V8 engine.
First thoughts when entering the car is that it is an easy to get in and out of which sometimes is not the case with other GT coupes. Once settled in the comfortable and supportive sports seat, the engine is started via push start button and foot applied to the brake pedal. Engage ‘D - Drive’ or ‘M - Manual’ through the selector and whichever mode suits your style of driving. The default mode is ‘Comfort’ with Eco, Sport and Sport+ on offer in the model we had.
Pulling away and driving in built-up traffic conditions presented no issues to the car which drove sedately as any other Lexus, but when approaching a Motorway and entering the slip-road, well that’s a completely different kettle of fish. The engine and transmission are swift to deliver the power with absolutely no delay encountered. However, in Sport or Sport+ mode, the response time is even less. Power delivery is incredibly smooth and with gear changes made automatically or through the paddles, there was no bucking experienced as is the case with some other performance cars.
As the soundtrack from the LC500 V8 engine via the tuned exhausts, well there is not much that can overshadow it. Something that was noticeable during the drive was that the cabin was incredibly quiet, even with the windows down, there was not any noticeable wind noise or draught, apart from the noise of the V8 when unleashed.
The economy is not one of the main reasons for the decision to buy the V8 LC500, but on road test with varying styles of driving and traffic conditions, the LC delivered between 21.6 and 27.6 mpg. Carefully driven with very little traffic to hinder your journey you could probably achieve around 24.6 on average.
Handling comparisons have been made with a Porsche 911 and the LC500 was deemed to be ‘not as responsive’. This is probably the case but the wheel certainly felt positive and grounded during application into bends.
The suspension delivered a very smooth ride over a variety of road conditions and never faltered with delivery into corners. The transition between driving modes was noticeable with the dampers tightening considerably more so when placed in Sport or Sport+.
Interior space is designed as a 2+2 seater but as is the same with all performance GT Coupe’s the rear seating, although adequate for younger children would be less suited to adults unless the seats were positioned further forwards.
Driver controls are perfectly positioned for operation in normal driving circumstances. The Lexus touch panel is conveniently placed to control various functions is intuitive and easy to use, and the car also features a voice control to facilitate the operation of some features.
The steering wheel also housed quite a few function buttons for Cruise Control, Audio, Lane Control, Telephone and Voice Control as is standard layout on many Lexus models.
Above the instrument panel and housed in the binnacle are two rotary controls which operate the Driving Modes on the left-hand side (Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+) and on the right-hand side, there is Traction Control which has the option of ‘Off’ or ‘Snow’.
But one of the best features available to the driver is the colour Head-Up Display displayed on the lower part of the windscreen. Providing useful information about speed and navigation along with other selectable data to the driver, this is definitely a very useful feature.
Would we buy one? Most definitely, yes! However, which version would we choose? For the number of extras that you can acquire that would seriously enhance the drive and also the resale, the Sport+ Pack is the way forward. Considering the marginal cost between the options, the Sport+ pack is not much further to stretch and in our opinion would give so much more back in return.
There is, however, a tough decision that has to be made and that is do you go for the V8 or the Hybrid? That would have to be a personal choice but with only 0.3 seconds on the 0-60 mph time between them, it’s definitely going to be a tough choice.
Engine 5.0 litre V8 petrol
Transmission 10-speed Automatic (Rear Wheel Drive)
Engine Power (bhp / kW) @rpm 477 / 351 @7100
Mpg (Combined) 24.6
0-62 Mph (secs) 4.4
CO2 Combined (g/km) 263
Above information based on LC500 with 21” wheels
COST (effective as of September 2017)
LC500h – from £76,595
LC500h Sport Pack – from £80,595
LC500h Sport+ Pack – from £85,895
Special thanks to Snows Lexus, Hedge End for the loan of the Lexus LC500 used for road test
For more information about the LC500 visit: http://www.snowsgroup.co.uk/lexus/