From £77,1448
Lexus’s sporting GT continues to mature gracefully with help from an exclusive styling pack
Tom Morgan, deputy digital editor
19 June 2020

What is it?

Comfortably the most exciting new car to wear the Lexus badge, now that the V10-powered LFA has gone into retirement, the flagship LC Coupé is also currently one of just two choices when it comes to naturally aspirated V8 engines here in the UK.

This limited-run special edition stands out even more than the standard car thanks to an exclusive dark green paint colour (Lexus calls it Terrane Khaki) and two-tone 21in alloy wheels. The interior also gets a full retrim in tan leather and Alcantara to add a more luxurious feel.

The chassis and powertrain remain untouched, with a free-breathing 5.0-litre V8 sending 467bhp exclusively to the rear wheels via a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. Suspension continues to be by steel springs with adaptive dampers.

Straddling the line between fully fledged sports car and luxury grand tourer, the four-seat LC 500 competes with the Porsche 911?at one end and the BMW M850i at the other.

What's it like?

The LC is still the same intriguing dichotomy of concept car styling and old-world engineering, the V8 hidden behind an oversized grille and sharp lines?that flow into wide arches and dramatic infinite-mirror tail-lights at the rear.

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It’s a similar mix of old and new inside the cabin, with a digital instrument cluster borrowed from the LFA and colour heads-up display flanked by an abundance of physical buttons and switches. It’s signature Lexus?but feels a little out of kilter with the expansive touchscreens found in rival cars. The sensitive touchpad controller and busy infotainment system make for a combination that’s difficult to use while on the move.

On the road, you get the sense that you're driving the last of a breed, with pace that isn’t explosively quick, because peak torque doesn’t arrive until you’re deep in the rev range and peak power isn’t delivered until you’re near the howling 7300rpm redline. But that just means more opportunity to appreciate the alluring engine note before reaching speeds that would put your licence at risk.

The automatic gearbox can get a little lost in its upper ratios when left to make its own decisions, so it's better to treat it as a six- or seven-speed ’box?and use the paddle shifters or switch from Normal to Sport+, where those final few cogs aren’t used. It responds quickly enough to up- and downshifts?although it is not as rapid-fire as a Porsche PDK dual-clutch gearbox. This is an area Lexus aims to address with a 2021-model-year update, due later this year, when it will revise the ratios and shift points to improve day-to-day driving.

The one reason to be grateful for the abundance of gear ratios is its ability to nudge over 30mpg on a motorway cruise, although the 21in wheels and run-flat tyres detract from the grand touring brief?with a firm ride and more road noise than you’d expect from a luxury car.?The fidgety suspension struggles over poor road surfaces, and while Comfort mode can mitigate it to a degree, it isn’t enough to match the best GTs over long distances.

And yet on more interesting roads, the LC reveals itself as an agile and well-balanced sports car that can entertain with its handling prowess. Without an abundance of torque, the rear end isn’t constantly trying to step out of line, although it can be coaxed under power in the sportier driving modes, and the variable-ratio steering and four-wheel steering system don’t blunt the feeling of control. Despite its considerable weight, the car is easily placed through faster-flowing corners and feels?almost as dynamic as some mid-engined rivals.

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Should I buy one?

With the list of naturally aspirated V8s on sale in Britain now so limited, the LC 500’s choice of powertrain remains one of the key reasons to consider the car.?

Dynamically, it may fall into a middle ground between true sports cars and grand tourers, but few can match the combination of concept car styling and that charismatic eight-cylinder howl.

That may change with the UK arrival of the mid-engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette next year, and there are more well-rounded rivals with fewer cylinders or turbochargers that would be easier to live with every day, but neither fact does anything to diminish the LC’s sense of occasion.

Lexus LC 500 Special Edition specification

Where Surrey, UK Price £90,385 On sale Now Engine V8, 4969cc, petrol Power 467bhp at 7100rpm Torque 389lb ft at 4800rpm Gearbox 10-spd automatic Kerb weight 1935kg Top speed 168mph 0-62mph 4.7sec Fuel economy 24.3mpg CO2 262g/km, 37% Rivals?Porsche 911, BMW 8 Series

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Comments
34

19 June 2020

Quite possibly.

19 June 2020
jason_recliner wrote:

Quite possibly.

Really? It's perplexing?Lexus with its?massaive?snow plow grill gets praised for its looks, but BMW gets so much grief for its enlarged grills, even though they are still a fair?bit smaller than Lexus ones!

19 June 2020

Nothing to do with grille size and everything to do with coherence of design.?

The Lexus grille is superbly integrated into the overall design of the front whereas BMW juxtaposes dissonant elements without reason or aesthetics.

19 June 2020
abkq wrote:

Nothing to do with grille size and everything to do with coherence of design.?

The Lexus grille is superbly integrated into the overall design of the front whereas BMW juxtaposes dissonant elements without reason or aesthetics.

In your opinion of course. btw, juxtaposes dissonant elements? Wow, that sounds really clever!

20 June 2020
abkq wrote:

Nothing to do with grille size and everything to do with coherence of design.?

The Lexus grille is superbly integrated into the overall design of the front whereas BMW juxtaposes dissonant elements without reason or aesthetics.

For perhaps the first time, abqk and I are in agreeance.? The Lexus has overall been styled to look a certain way - edgy, extreme, futuristic, sumptuous, voluptuous, taut, Japanese -??and the grille is part of that.? The BMWs (and Audis) have been styled overall to look bland and inoffensive, and then the marketing department has insisted adding an inappropriately shaped and overwrought grille because it references historical models (BMW) or angry douchebag lights and other pointless stylistic frippery (Audi).

19 June 2020

Yes Jason- its a lovely car. Its more a grand tourer than a sports car though and having test driven one a day after trying an aston martin for a laugh a year ago, this car is better built, better looking and you can bet your bottom dollar will outlast the aston in terms of reliabilty etc. The noise was also fabulous even though I prefer a quiter tone nowadays. The BMW with its ugly new snouty grill is just ugly compared to this

?

19 June 2020

Yes really Overdrive ! Agreed Lexus does have a very? large grill which somhow works ,think its because Lexus generally are far more radical in their? overall looks NX UX ES are really not safe German design with a enlarged grill which looks very contrived to be intergrated to the BMW look of 10 years looking so so similar. Mind all these cars do creat great debate and certainly Lexus with their Marmite looks. I personally find then pleasing to my eyes but understand why their are those who dont.? ?On this patictular Lexus it?seems to wow with? its sensational looks ,but hey it creats great commentsdont you think

19 June 2020
Antony Riley wrote:

Yes really Overdrive ! Agreed Lexus does have a very? large grill which somhow works ,think its because Lexus generally are far more radical in their? overall looks NX UX ES are really not safe German design with a enlarged grill which looks very contrived to be intergrated to the BMW look of 10 years looking so so similar. Mind all these cars do creat great debate and certainly Lexus with their Marmite looks. I personally find then pleasing to my eyes but understand why their are those who dont.? ?On this patictular Lexus it?seems to wow with? its sensational looks ,but hey it creats great commentsdont you think

Good points. I actually like the LC's overall styling, particularly the rear treatment?(also like the interior), it's very dramatic and distintive. But I find the front very messy and overwrought, with lots of things going on, dominated by that?snow?plow of a grille being so over-prominent.

But really the point I was making was to do with subjectivity and inconsistency of opinions when it comes to design. Certain brands have?become fan favourites and others?pertpetual targets for criticism even if they adopt similar approaches (though not necessarily similar looks). Anyway, that's my personal opinion, which like everyone else's is subjective.

20 June 2020

Because the BMW now looks like the Ford Edsel. Look it up, it didn't really go down well in history...

?

19 June 2020
jason_recliner wrote:

Quite possibly.

?

No, it is not. But because it is not German, your simple little brain thinks it is. You are very basic.

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