Lexus LC500 Coupe review – ride and handling

The ride is firm, but the chassis’ inherent quality shines through. Handling is far more exploitable than you might expect

Evo rating
Price
from £76,595
  • Superb chassis balance; substantially improved ride and damping; engine; interior; design
  • Transmission the weak link; infotainment still iffy; hybrid nothing like as good as the V8

While the very subtle changes applied to the new LC in its 2021 model year update might not seem groundbreaking, so fine are the tolerances in modern performance car engineering calibration that they actually make a big difference. The previous model, while well balanced and refined, always lacked a certain level of nuance. Over bumps the suspension was just a little cumbersome, feeling like it couldn’t quite manage the unsprung weight of the wheels, brakes and hubs.

This is precisely what Lexus has focused on in this update, with the LC500 having a substantially improved secondary ride quality that helps unlock the fluidity of the chassis. With less mass for the newly calibrated springs to control, the standard-fit adaptive dampers have a much easier job controlling the weight, giving the new LC a newfound silkiness on all-but patchwork tarmac. This hasn’t come at the expense of body-control though, instead it’s a direct bi-product of removing unsprung weight from key parts of the suspension.

The chassis’s fine balance has also been slightly adjusted by slacking off the front axle’s roll stiffness and giving the rear a tad more. The LC’s playful demeanor is far more accessible as a result, allowing you to confidently over-rotate the rear wheels to adjust your line into a corner. This is helped along by the LC’s relative lack of torque too, without the worry of sudden spikes in torque or turbo lag as is the case with rivals.

The steering, although light, is also improved by the Sport+ model’s four-wheel steering, making the LC dive for apexes with both enthusiasm and enough grip across the front axle to make it stick. The steering ratio feels more relaxed compared to something like a Vantage and its hyper-alert rack, yet because of those turning rear wheels it seems to offer a similar level of agility. The rear axle will then happily follow through with measured throttle inputs, or faithfully lock and slip wide with more aggressive use of the pedal.

The steering, paired with its chassis’s wonderful balance makes what is a big car shrink around you, feeling no more intimidating to throw around than a GT86, in the best way possible. You’re never left wanting for more power either, in fact it’s this relative lack of grunt that seems to more gracefully immerse you into the LC’s character, which is just so entertaining. The LC500, in V8 form anyway, is a truly unique car in the segment; one that all of us in the evo office have been totally won over by.

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