Lexus LC500 2023 review
Charismatic, 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, when fitted with a V8 it's a fantastic coupe that delicately straddles the line between sports car, GT and futuristic concept with a panache all of its own.
Despite being on sale for eight years now, Lexus has treated its halo model consistent, subtle chassis updates alongside the introduction of a new convertible variant back in 2021, all of which have refined some of the original's rough edges to create a brilliant package.
These changes aren't dramatic, but every one has further honed the package in that distinctly Japanese way. Lightening and re-engineering elements of the front suspension, recalibration of the differential and a revised steering rack are among the changes made since the LC500 launched. A 2024 revision is on the horizon, too, bringing more mechanical changes and a steeper asking price.
The LC isn't perfect, but 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 we think it's one of the most desirable and enjoyable new cars on sale right now.
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 will be updated for 2024, and now starts at £98,960 for both the V8 and V6 hybrid powertrains – a decent hike from its £91,820 asking price last year. Both are available in a choice of three consistent trim levels, with year-long special editions with bespoke colour and styling elements always topping the range.
All models are well equipped, with the entry car coming with standard 20-inch alloy wheels, a leather interior, adaptive dampers, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, a glass roof and an LFA-inspired digital dial set. Move up to the Sport Pack (£105,410) and you’ll pick up 21-inch alloy wheels and a split leather and Alcantara interior trim.
It’s the Sport Pack Plus that is our pick though, which adds rear-wheel steering and a limited-slip differential to the package. At £111,060 it presents a sizeable jump over the standard model, but its extra dynamic ability makes it a worthwhile choice.
The convertible variant treads a more relaxed GT line than the coupe. 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 Bentley Continental GT.
The LC500 V8’s sporting bent puts it up against some rather more serious rivals, but the Lexus easily undercuts the Porsche 911 Carrera S (£110,000) and BMW M850i (£114,150) – even if it lacks the outright punch of these Germans.