It’s not often that we get to experience and drive stunning, expensive, and luxurious rear-wheel drive coupes. It’s also not often that Lexus, a brand known for their comfort and relaxed driving dynamics, comes out with a soul-stirring, kilometer-munching grand tourer. And, by the time you’re done reading this review, you’ll come to understand that the stunning LC 500 in the header photo you saw before you clicked the link to this article, isn’t your ordinary high performance sports car. In fact, you shouldn’t see it as such.
Concept cars never hit production. That’s just the way it is; they are meant to showcase ideas, dreams, and get people excited for the possibility of something remotely close to reality. I would’ve said the same thing until the LC 500 lit up beside me after being handed the keys.
If you recall six years ago in 2012, the LF-LC concept car made its rounds around the world. Google it, then come back to this article, I’ll wait. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, as Lexus has made a dream a reality. Remember the Lexus LFA and how that stunned the world? The LC 500 is the more affordable (I use this term loosely) and widely more appealing baby brother to the LFA. And that’s okay, because the LC 500 is fantastic in its own right.
In stunning Infrared color, the LC 500 tester, that I would be bringing home for several days, was jaw droppingly gorgeous. The 21-inch forged wheels project a wide, aggressive stance. The spindle grill is perfect on this car, creating the impression that it’s ready to destroy anything in its path.
The LED running lights, which happen to be one of the thinnest LEDs in the world, actually inch into the headlight cluster. And it looks stunning. The rear tail lights are fantastic in their own right; the mimic an afterburner from a fighter jet, with the LEDs creating an infinity mirror effect.
The carbon roof equates to weight savings, and our tester even had active rear wheel steering and variable gear ratio steering. The highlight here, aside from the beautiful exterior, is that the LC 500 hides a roaring naturally-aspirated V8 engine and rides on the company's new GA-L rear-wheel-drive platform. The combination of concept car’s looks and old-school engine make this grand tourer one of the most connected ones around.
The LC 500 is the car to take on a winding road or a long stretch of highway with absolutely no destination in mind. The 5.0L V8 under the long hood creates 471hp and 540Nm of torque on tap, and is mated to a 10-speed transmission. Yes, you heard that right, 10 gears, which equates to a fantastic spread of power for driving conditions. Toggle the dashboard mounted rotary knob into sport or sport plus, and the active exhaust system comes to life, opening the baffles for a fuller, spine tingling V8 rumble. The suspensions sharpens, the throttle becomes an extension of your foot, and the LC 500 is ready to thrill at any opportunity. The magnesium paddle shifters offer crisp, reliable gear shifts as desired, with the LC happily bouncing off redline. Pops and burbles are mandatory.
Push the car up your favorite mountain road and you’re greeted by how planted it feels through corners, even at triple digit speeds on some sweepers. The torque vectoring and four wheel steering create a fantastic sensation of control, with throttle management being all that’s needed to adjust my line mid corner; it’s tech wizardry at its finest. The active rear wing rises to provide additional downforce near triple digit speeds, and is also controllable via a button near the gear selector.
The brakes on the LC 500 are excellent, with 340mm 6 piston calipers in the rear, and 310mm 4 piston calipers at the back. This was thoroughly tested on some stretches of national roads where tricycles and other vehicles would pull u-turns without looking. Initial bite is good, and the progression is even better.
Granted, the LC 500 is a tad heavy compared to its rivals at 1,986kg, and the weight can be felt at times, but the driving dynamics of the suspension and platform create a car that feels complete. There can be some vagueness in steering feel, but I reckon that’s because of the gear ratio steering tech, nevertheless, it’s a well composed and easy to handle vehicle.
Another plus is that the LC 500 handles everyday roads well. Switch into eco or comfort modes and you have a tame, compliant, and eye-catching coupe to grab coffee with. It handles speed bumps (BGC tested, by the way) pretty well, and the stares you get as you pass through a busy intersection or street are priceless. Not because it’s red, mind you, but because there are so few of them on the road. Okay, maybe it is the red.
Fuel consumption was impressive, with 9.8km/l combined driving conditions for almost 400km over the course of a few days, gassing up only once to return the vehicle at 20 liters. Not what we expected from your average V8. Top speed is 270 kph, and 0 to 100kph is done in 4.7 seconds, all perfectly reachable in comfort, thanks to extremely comfortable and supportive seats. Electronically adjustable and featuring heat and cooling functions, the seats of the LC 500 are some of the most impressive around.
The interior of our tester, featuring a toasted caramel color, was bewitching, to say the least. The generous use of suede, aluminum buttons and handles, and soft leather that is impeccably stitched (it takes an hour to assemble the layers of material on the gear shifter alone), creates an interior that is as stunning as the exterior. The waves created by the suede on the door panels wok in conjunction with the ambient lighting to create light shadows from the undulations. Crazy stuff. The seating position inside the LC 500 is commanding, and the wide view given by the combination of a massive windshield and sprawling dash create great visibility.
The rear seats are more for extra luggage, but it is nice that the craftsmanship extends to that portion of the cabin. The sound system is a fantastic Mark Levinson Reference setup that, even at louder levels, sounds almost as good as the engine. Lexus went all out, and it matches the vibe of the LC 500 nicely.
And then there’s the infotainment system. While the updated touchpad now features pinch and multiple finger recognition, the way it jumps from the menus and selections can be finicky at times, and a chore to do when driving. It’s a definite improvement over the previous iterations found in the rest of Lexus’ lineup, but here’s to hoping they package the next version with Apple Car Play or Android Auto for more flexibility.
Priced just a bit over 9 million pesos, the LC 500 brings so much to the table as a grand tourer that it’s hard to fault the value proposition compared to its rivals. It’s an excellently put together vehicle that doesn’t dilute the experience with turbos or superchargers, and we like that. It feels raw, yet refined, and connects to the driver on many levels. It just feels amazing driving the LC 500, and I’m sure passengers would feel the same. I literally took the car everywhere I went, no matter the distance, despite other more comfortable and practical vehicles available to me in my garage at the time. And that’s hard to say about cars hitting double digit million marks.
Performance, build quality, aesthetics, comfort, and cool factor per peso, the LC 500 holds up to or exceeds its European GT rivals as a complete package. I’ve driven many cars before, but the LC 500 is the only grand tourer I felt genuinely saddened when the time came to return it. Sit in one, drive it around, and it sticks with you. Because it’s every bit more attainable than some of its rivals. Lexus has made a killer halo car for 2017, and we’re looking forward to maybe an F Sport variant soon. Please do it, Lexus. That’s another challenge for you.
464 hp @ 7,100 rpm
Lexus LC 500
Number of Cylinders
Number of Valves
10-speed Automatic Transmission
Max Output (HP)
464 hp @ 7,100 rpm
Max Torque (nm)
540 Nm @ 0 rpm
Economy & Environment
Number of Doors
Number of Seats
Safety & Security
Front Passenger's Airbag
Electronic Brake Distribution
with Brake Assist
Electronic Door Locks
Speed Sensing Door Locks
Lane Departure Warning System
Blind-Spot Detection System
Front Parking Sensors
Rear Parking Sensors
Push Start Button
Wheels Metal Type
10.5-inch multimedia display via 13 Mark Levinson speakers
3 Years (100,000 km)
Electric Adjustable Seats
Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist
Hill Start Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring
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