Luxury GT cruiser real stunner
Lexus has entered the large luxury coupe segment with a car that plays by its own rules. Darren Cassey finds out what makes it so special.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a direct rival for the new flagship Lexus LC large luxury coupe.
Lexus considers the likes of the Porsche 911 and BMW 6 Series attract similar customers, but chief engineer Koji Sato said “we focused on emotional value rather than specs” so direct comparisons can be tricky… to the LC’s benefit.
Most of the LC’s major talking points are totally new. The chassis, which will also underpin the LS luxury saloon, makes its debut while the suspension took six months to perfect.
The big story is multi-stage hybrid transmission, a mix of traditional automatic technology and continuously-variable transmission (CVT) commonly used in hybrids, for the flexibility of an eco-friendly CVT and performance-orientated capabilities of a conventional auto in one 10-speed transmission.
Under the bonnet
There’s a 3.5-litre petrol V6 with an electric motor, which together provide 472bhp and a claimed 43.5mpg so expect a real-world mid-30s.
A 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 uses much more fuel but makes a fantastic noise and is a delight to rev.
How does it drive?
The LC 500h is a sublime cruiser with exceptionally comfortable seats and a ride that makes rough roads feel silky smooth.
What’s equally impressive is its handling. For a car around two tonnes to be so fleet-footed is marvellous, settling into direction changes with admirable aplomb.
How does it look?
The LC 500’s styling is stunning. When Lexus revealed the LF-LC concept in 2012 no one suspected the production version would look so good.
There are extravagant details, from the daytime running lights that could have been carved by Zorro, to the muscular rear arches that dominate the view from your wing mirrors.
Luxury, Sport and Sport+ trims are priced the same whether V8 or hybrid.
Luxury, from £76,595, gets a suite of safety technologies as standard, leather upholstery and a 10.25in display with navigation. The £5,000 Sport package adds 21in alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery and carbon-fibre roof. Sport+, from £85,895, gets upgraded handling kit and rear-steer technology for sharper cornering.
It’s easy to fall quickly in love with the Lexus LC 500h. As a luxury GT car, it’s exceptional.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Lexus LC 500h Sport £80,595
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 petrol and electric motor giving combined 354bhp
Performance: 0-62mph: 4.7 seconds; top speed 155mph
MPG: 43.5 combined
CO2 emissions: 148g/km