|Positives: Eye-catching exterior styling that's very unique, one of the best interiors in the business, great V8 power and sound, excellent materials and build quality.
|Negatives: Still frustrating Lexus infotainment, seatbacks on the narrow side, no power trunklid, some overstyled elements.
|Bottom Line: The LC 500 carves out a special niche for Lexus, and it's a really good one. The luxurious coupe is sexy, quick and incredibly well made. If you don't care for Mercs, Bimmers, Audis, or Jaguars and Maseratis, the LC 500 deserves a serious look for those who want presence, power and real reliability.
The LC 500 is really heavy car (4,300+ lbs), but the big V8 engine is up to the task of moving it. It's no street carver, but the LC 500 can hold its own in terms of speed and handling. Its sweet spot is the open road, where you can open it up for beautiful cruising.
Ride Quality: The ride is the perfect balance betwen firm and compliant. It's built like a tank and takes on bumps with ease.
Acceleration: 0-60 comes in 4.6 seconds, making it right quick. It's a crap ton of weight to move, but the power is strong.
Braking: The brakes are strong and progressive, bringing the heavy car to a stop very well.
Steering: The electrically-assisted system is very quick and precise. It's a pleasure to drive it all the time.
Handling: Thanks to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, adjustable dampers, rear steering, and the limited-slip the LC turns flat and manages its weight very well. Sport+ mode tighten up everything nicely.
There's no question that the LC 500's tech is gorgeous. From the active display with moveable gauges to the big aluminum audio knob in the center console, it's up there with Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. We just wish everything worked better.
Infotainment System: Lexus has been working on making positive changes to its Enform system, but it still has a ways to go. The haptic feedback trackpad is still vague and laborious to use, and we often overshot our selections. The menus are a bit difficult to get to, despite the fact that it all looks very nice.
Controls: Controls are better with a great selection of audio buttons adjacent to the audio control knob. The gearshift knob takes some getting used to with its left movement before shifting. We did love the drive mode stalk that juts out of the instrument cluster surround.
We can't say that Lexus brand identity is the best one out there, but the LC 500 is seriously eye-catching. It's one of the most uniquely designed vehicles on the planet right now.
Front: The front end looks like a Norelco product, and the elements are weird by themselves. Complex headlight design that descends into the lower fascia vents, massive mesh grille, and bulging creased hood somehow come together for a menacing look.
Rear: The dramatic taillights draw the eye and even look metallic when not in use. The split ellipsoid exhausts also look complex, so we appreciate the simplicity of the rest of it.
Profile: The profile is its simplest view. Long, lean and sleek, it looks great in motion. The special front suspension allows the big V8 to fit under the low hoodline.
Cabin: We actually like it better than the exterior. Everything looks and feels sumptuous, and the flowing design is stunning in person, way better than in photos.
Lexus works on comfort as a priority, and the LC is a fine example. Though it really is only a 2+2 with almost useless back seats, the front occupants benefit.
Front Seats: The seating position and roominess are top notch. They're supportive, comfortable and highly adjustable. The seat backs could, though, use a bit more width.
Rear Seats: Beautiful twin seats aren't roomy enough for adults, but kids will love it.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): This thing is built like Gibraltar. It's rock solid with no hint of vibration. The only noise comes from the mellifluous V8 engine.
Visibility: The LC has a great seating position, so placement of the car out the front and sides are excellent. The rear, however, is compromised by small windows and big pillars. The 360 camera and rear camera are a huge plus.
Climate: Aside from the climate control complaints, the system is powerful and effective, as are the heated and ventilated seats.
The LC 500 hasn't been tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA, and it's unlikely that it'll happen since it's a niche vehicle that's not sold in enough numbers to warrant it. We gave it an above average score, nonetheless, due to its excellent standard Lexus Safety System+.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The Lexus Safety System+ is robust and comes with a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, intelligent high beam headlamps, lane keep assist w/ steering assist, and lane departure alert.
Optional Tech: Our tester had intuitive park assist and a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, items we imagined would be standard at this price.
Don't look for cavernous storage and cargo options, but the LC 500 does a pretty good job for a grand tourer.
Storage Space: The only real usable space are the door pockets, armrest compartment and the cupholders, but they're fine for small gear items.
Cargo Room: There's only 5.4 cubic feet of trunk space, but it's enough for a few grocery bags or some luggage. The load floor is nice and flat, too.
A thirsty V8 isn't exactly a recipe for efficiency, but who cares? This car isn't about saving money at the pump. That being said, there is a hybrid version that does better if you care about that.
Observed: 10.8 mpg
Distance Driven: 212 miles
Driving Factors: We drove it in Sport and Sport+ modes most of the time in a mix of suburban roads and freeways. We mashed the throttle hard and often to get the most noise out of the beautiful engine.
Though we're sure the stock system is very good, our tester had the superb 13-speaker Mark Levinson system that's one of the best we've ever heard. It's full, loud and incredibly crisp. We had a tough time deciding whether to listen to the engine or the sound system.