The LC vaults Lexus into real sports-car territory. It’s no lightweight, but it’s hashtag-blessed with raucous acceleration, excellent steering, and room to grow into a truly spectacular LC F.
We give it a 9 out of 10 for performance. The LC 500 thunders with V-8 grunt, while the LC 500h spins out unexpected gas-electric glee. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
LC 500: Gas or hybrid
The first LC to come to mind is the LC 500. It adopts the 5.0-liter V-8 from the RC F and GS F, and puts it to its highest and best use.
The naturally aspirated V-8 cranks out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. It already would have sounded great, even if Lexus hadn’t channeled and filtered some of its exhaust sounds into the cabin. This car revels in the ripe bark of its V-8; those amplified V-8 sounds hit just the right note.
With a 10-speed automatic that refuses to get lost in all those gears, the LC sends its power rearward through an available Torsen differential. The LC 500 punts 0-60 mph runs in 4.4 seconds, and runs to a 168-mph top speed.
With the LC 500h, a 3.5-liter V-6 hooks up with two electric motors, a 44-kw lithium-ion battery, and a 4-speed automatic transmission. One motor moves the car at low speeds through three set power-level outputs, while the second motor adds power at a wider and higher range of speeds. With one gear reserved for overdrive, the LC’s hybrid transmission nets out with 10 forward speeds.
Power output hits 354 hp, and 0-60 mph times of 4.7 seconds. Top speed reaches 155 mph. The performance nearly equals the V-8’s, but the aural excitement doesn’t come close. Lexus creates the hybrid’s synthetic soundtrack, and it’s loud and artificially buzzy. It can drive for 4 miles on battery power alone.
Handling and ride
Lexus builds the LC on a new platform shared with an upcoming LS sedan. Steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber combined for a very stiff body that abets beautifully composed handling—but it’s no lightweight.
The LC weighs from 4,280 to 4,435 pounds, as much as a Porsche Cayenne. It doesn’t affect its handling as much as it does its fuel economy (that’s discussed below). The multi-link suspension and adaptive shocks work in lovely concert with electric power steering, huge staggered-width 21-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tires, and huge disc brakes.
Push its drive-mode button from Eco through Comfort, to Sport and Sport+, and the Lexus LC comes alive. The mechanicals meld in an elusive way. Let’s call it harmony. The suspension has supple responses to the road, even when the 21-inch tires don’t. The electric steering is electric, and with the help of two degrees of active rear steering, it winds and unwinds into corners with the fluency of a Cadillac ATS. The brakes seize the moment, stopping hard and quick, no carbon-ceramics required.
The result: The LC’s compliant ride lets its powertrains speak for themselves. It’s a hushed cruiser when it wants to be, and a high-wattage apex-clipper when you want it to be. It’s smooth, precise. and very comfortable in its tautly wrapped skin.
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