Lexus LC500 review – the class of the big coupe field
Charismatic, challenging, distinctive and above all fun to drive – the LC500 is a triumph that shows up more expensive and extroverted rivals
The Lexus LC500 might just be the most underrated new car on sale. While we don’t have that much time for the hybrid LC500h, as a V8 it is a fantastic coupe that delicately straddles the line between sports car, GT and futuristic concept.
As of the 2021 model year, Lexus has treated its halo model to a couple of very subtle updates alongside the introduction of a new Convertible variant, but as a V8 Coupe it still appeals in the same ways it always has, but with even more polish to the package.
Its changes don’t sound dramatic, but they affect precisely what we thought needed to be addressed in previous models, leaving the LC package otherwise unchanged.
So while the LC is not perfect, the car industry is a better place for its existence. If you’ve not already guessed, we rather like the Lexus LC, and aside from one or two caveats, think it is a truly spectacular road car.
Lexus LC Coupe : in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > Two powertrains are available, both with ten-speed transmissions (of sorts). One is significantly better than the other.
- Performance and 0-60 time > Doesn’t feel as fast as the numbers suggest thanks to the atmospheric V8’s peaky delivery. The hybrid feels sluggish and inert..
- Ride and handling > The ride is firm, but the chassis’ inherent quality shines through. Handling is far more exploitable than you might expect
- MPG and running costs > Lexus’s legendary reliability should keep running costs to a minimum.
- Interior and tech > The LC500’s interior is wonderful – its design is distinctive and wonderfully executed, underpinned by a superb level of material and build quality.
- Design > Distinctive, aggressive yet elegant and underpinned by spectacular proportions.
Prices, Specs and Rivals
The LC500 Coupe starts at £80,100, which you might agree is a relatively small amount of money for a car as striking as this. The V8 and V6 hybrid cost the same, and are available in a choice of three trim levels that do without the myriad of individual cost options usually seen in premium rivals.
All models are well equipped, with the entry car coming with standard 20-inch alloy wheels, a leather interior, adaptive dampers, a 10.1-inch infotainment display, a glass roof and an LFA-inspired digital dial set. Move up to the Sport Pack (£85,300) and you’ll also pick up heated and ventilated seats, forged 21-inch alloy wheels, a carbonfibre roof and a split leather and Alcantara interior trim.
It’s the Sport+ that is our pick though, which adds rear-wheel steering and a limited-slip differential to the package. At £90,950 it’s a generous £10k jump over the standard model, but its extra ability makes it a worthwhile choice. Individual options are limited to an upgraded Mark Levinson stereo and head-up display.
The convertible variant treads a more relaxed GT line than t. Starting at around £10k more than the coupe, it lacks the same precision, but is still a desirable cabriolet, if for different reasons.
At this price, the LC has a variety of rivals, from the new Porsche 911 right through to something much more opulent like the Mercedes S-class Coupe. The BMW 8-series Coupe is probably its most direct competitor right now, with a pocket-friendly 840d model matching the LC hybrid’s more laid-back approach. At just over £76,000 for the 840d M Sport, it’s priced within a few thousand pounds of the Lexus, too.
The LC500 V8’s sporting bent puts it up against some rather more serious rivals, but the car undercuts the Porsche 911 Carrera S (£93,000) and BMW M850i (£99,000), even if it lacks the outright punch of these Germans.