RE: Lexus LC500: Driven

RE: Lexus LC500: Driven

Thursday 26th October 2017

Lexus LC500: Driven

Lexus has built what it likes to call a Grand Tourer. It's nothing of the sort. But don't hold that against it.



Three things are readily apparent about the Lexus LC500; things not necessarily synonymous with the luxury brand as we currently know it. The first is that it looks properly handsome. Not merely handsome for a Japanese car or for the weird mid-Atlantic idiom that Lexus styling usually occupies, but handsome in the way a cutting-edge, 2+2 rear-drive coupe really ought to be. The design influence of the erstwhile LF-LC concept is obvious; as too is the long shadow of the LFA - easily the manufacturer's most famous (and best) car in its near 30-year history.


Second, the 5.0-litre V8 which Lexus has chosen to install in this, the range-topper, is still something of a peach. This reinforces itself during extended use, but it's manifest straight out of the box, too. That's mostly because it remains as naturally-aspirated as a Golden Retriever, and - in its more engaging modes - is almost as much fun to roll around with. It also revs to 7300rpm and makes a sound consistent with such a generous limiter; part tight-throated howl, part exhaust-tuned baritone.

Thirdly, and unfortunately, it does not ride properly. This will be as prominent in your first half mile with the car as it will be in your last, so pronounced is the LC's inability to adequately settle on UK roads. The culprit is not hard to lay the finger on: the blame for the most part resting on those seriously pretty 21-inch rims and the run-flat tyres wrapped around them. Wedded to a chassis already defaulting to the thicker end of firm results in an inevitable percussive shiver; one that steadfastly refuses to disappear in anything short of ideal conditions.


The LC's brittleness - unexpected in a Lexus wearing all-round multi-link suspension and the word 'luxury' in its model nomenclature - is the car's main shortcoming, but there are others. This is a large coupe (it's wider than a Ford Mustang, and very nearly as long) but adults will still find the rear seats a frustrating squeeze and the boot suffers from an obvious lack of depth. The interior is as well-made as a Victorian power station - sadly though it invokes about the same level of sportiness as one, too. And while the huge, metallic volume dial is utterly splendid (ditto the optional Mark Levinson stereo), Lexus's touchpad-based infotainment system is stuck at the baffling end of complicated.

The broader driving experience is hardly niggle free either. To compensate for the absence of blowers, the V8's locomotion is squeezed into a ten-speed torque-converter; the tightly spaced ratios intended to keep the atmospheric engine as productive as possible despite its late-show torque delivery. This works only as well as you consent to working with it: drive smoothly and briskly, and the transmission will shift seamlessly around you - drive erratically, or request full power when it's idling in its latter gears, and there will be a lot of downshifting and fuss before anything truly gratifying happens.


Happily though, when the LC does do something agreeable, it typically hits the spot. Much of this is bound up in the soundtrack of course, but there is much to like in the handling department as well. Given its immodest size and weight - and the dysfunctional ride - the dainty sense of balance plumbed into the chassis is quite something. The LC features four-wheel steering and an active variable ratio rack - neither a particularly easy commodity to integrate - but they each feed adroitly into a coupe that manages to seem reassuringly tactile and adhesive, and yet nicely mobile with it.

The Sport + model's standard-fit Torsen limited-slip diff certainly helps in this regard, aided by a stability control system that accepts some lateral movement as part of the fun of a rear-drive, 477hp coupe. Even with it pulling out all the stops, the LC is mildly throttle adjustable at its limit; switch it out, and there's a real progressiveness to a power-induced loss of traction, combined with the sort of benign response that makes it easy - and very rewarding - to keep on top of it all.


All of which serves to make the Lexus a puzzling prospect in retrospect. The twitchy ride and negated practicality deprive it of the 2+2 GT status its manufacturer undoubtedly craves - and the car often feels too big and cumbersome to credibly talk you out of spending almost exactly the same amount of money on a Porsche 911 Carrera S. Equally though, we wouldn't blame you for failing to see past the first two items on the list: the LC looks brilliant and sounds great. Couple those features with fabled build quality and a prodigious kit list, and you might just choose to ignore the pitfalls.

Inspired? Buy a Lexus here


LEXUS LC500
Engine
: 4,969cc, V8
Transmission: 10-speed sports direct shift automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 478@7,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@4,800rpm
0-62mph: 4.4sec
Top speed: 168mph
Weight: 1,970kg
MPG: 24.4 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 267g/km
Price: Β£85,895 (As tested Β£88,585 comprised of F Sport white paint for Β£695, Colour head-up display for Β£995 and Mark Levinson 13-speaker reference product audio for Β£1,000)

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Author
Discussion

corcoran

Original Poster:

431 posts

220 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
God they MUST get away from that anti-Audi grille shape; gopping thing.

Saw one the other day. Very handsome thing indeed.

Murphy16

236 posts

28 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
First car in a while I've thought is properly good looking. Would be an intetesting alternative to the usual German rivals.

Evilex

477 posts

50 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Not really specifically aimed at the UK market, more the US market, where it'll fit in just fine.
Oddly, I reckon Ford will sell more Mustangs here than Lexus will sell LC500s in the states, price might have a bearing on that, though.

MikeGoodwin

1,506 posts

63 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Saw one in Waterloo one night, edited the photo and the paintwork does not look like this IRL but it was a nice looking car.

Lexus by Michael Goodwin, on Flickr

Shame about the runflat thing. Youd think manufacturers would have learned by now.

culpz

3,975 posts

58 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
It's defiantly a good looking car. Well, to my eyes, anyway,

FerdiZ28

1,355 posts

80 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Much better in the orange than the white/black.

Dash is a bit like an old sideboard though, probably a nice place to be however. Be a tempting prospect in 4/5 years when inevitably it will be sub 23k.


had ham

3,658 posts

129 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Lovely looking thing, very different. I have a soft spot for Lexus, having owned an ISF for a couple of years, and knowing how good their customer service is. Would love one - it will be interesting how it will stack up against the new BMW 8 series.

jhonn

1,099 posts

95 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
[quote]Thirdly, and unfortunately, it does not ride properly. This will be as prominent in your first half mile with the car as it will be in your last, so pronounced is the LC's inability to adequately settle on UK roads.
[/quote]

Nice to read a review that has some constructive feedback on the negative aspects, most reviews so far have been pretty gushing in their praise; however it's disappointing that Lexus still appear to have the same issues that afflicted their other luxury 2+2, the SC430.

Do they not test them on European/UK roads before release?

HighwayStar

2,554 posts

90 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
I saw one of these in Black at the lights at South Mimms on Sunday. It looked great from the rear 3/4 angle. Didn't get to see the front end but it certainly had presence. It's not my sort of thing but great to see a car really stand out amongst the usual suspects.

Resolutionary

967 posts

117 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
corcoran said:
God they MUST get away from that anti-Audi grille shape; gopping thing.

Saw one the other day. Very handsome thing indeed.
Somehow you've managed to simultaneously complement the car for being a looker, while dismissing the key frontal feature of this and all Lexuses (Lexii?) of the last 5+ years.

These days (and arguably long before) the grill area really makes the marque, and although it's a bit fiddly I can commend the brand for making something rather unique and recognisable.

s m

17,904 posts

149 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
2 tonnes eek

sideways sid

1,054 posts

161 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
This looks lovely but I keep seeing bits of Prius in it!

Also, a little surprised, as I followed the link to used cars and there are a few low mileage 2015-16 RC500 coupes, which seem conceptually similar (same engine etc) but arguably more 'GT' than this one, and are half its price. Not meaning to mix up the new vs used debate, but that's a lot of depreciation, for what might be a better car for UK roads?

Audemars

424 posts

44 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Nice car. One of the few non supercars I would own.

However, need someone to PCP it first. Maybe in 5 to 10 yrs time when I can pick it up for around a third of its price. Would make a good DD shed.

theholygrail

233 posts

114 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
These are pretty much my favourite new car and have been since they were first announced. Saw a white (alas) one last night and it had so much presence, really looked like something from the future, in a good way. So much better looking/resolved than the RCF.

dave7108

188 posts

100 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Looks like its mascara has run in the rain!

Good looking car though.


corcoran

Original Poster:

431 posts

220 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Resolutionary said:
Somehow you've managed to simultaneously complement the car for being a looker, while dismissing the key frontal feature of this and all Lexuses (Lexii?) of the last 5+ years.

These days (and arguably long before) the grill area really makes the marque, and although it's a bit fiddly I can commend the brand for making something rather unique and recognisable.
Don't disagree - but it's the anti-trapezoid. Totally agree that when you think 'kidney grille' you think BMW, and so on; it's just the pinched version of the audi shape that I don't like.

But yes, recognisable!


Resolutionary

967 posts

117 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
corcoran said:
Don't disagree - but it's the anti-trapezoid. Totally agree that when you think 'kidney grille' you think BMW, and so on; it's just the pinched version of the audi shape that I don't like.

But yes, recognisable!
Fair comment; I expect there are only really a very finite number of ways you can design the grill of a passenger car and to my mind it'd be a task and a half to concieve a 'new' one, or at least re-hash something old to be seen as refreshing. I am no Lexus fanboy but I can appreciate the bold strategy and I believe it's paid off for them. FWIW I was totally unconvinced at first but the shape has grown on me the more I see it. To each their own and all that smile

Audemars

424 posts

44 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Large front grill or not, all Lexus cars are better looking than the equivalent BMW (and therefore Audi too as BMW cars are better looking than Audis)

RX450 f sport > X5 m sport
NX300 f sport > X3 m sport
IS300 f sport > 3 Series m sport
CT200 f sport > 1 series

cayman-black

8,107 posts

162 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
Hmm it is a good looking car. Didn't realise a Carrera S was under £100k?

brookers6969

4 posts

111 months

Thursday 26th October 2017
quotequote all
I must admit, i am seriously thinking of getting one of these..... the looks I find wow in the flesh, and the sound is great...

No, it isn't going to trouble a 911 and is a different type of car...

But on the two test drives I had of the Lexus, I was running a BMW M6 Grand Coupe Competition on hire (I work outside of UK so a hire is a good fit sometimes), and whilst the BMW looks great, was very fast - it really didn't handle the power that well on the public roads when you want to boot it (lots of yellow TC light) and in normal driving, it's just a nice BMW......

Whereas the Lexus with that soundtrack just rocks all the time....

So a heart over head decision then?? Isn't that what motoring for Petrol Heads is supposed to be?

But.... I still haven't taken the plunge due to.... depreciation? Where is this going to be in one of two years? GS-F's drop like stone and equally are a left field choice but still have some great aspects to that car.

So maybe in a year for a demo or nearly new, but I know if I drive it again, with that soundtrack, looks and great build quality - the heart may kick the head for once!