2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible - Understated Assassin
Spectacular design from another world, noble materials, luxury and a 477 hp naturally aspirated V8 engine: the Lexus LC 500 leaves no one indifferent. And after testing it thoroughly over almost 1,000 miles on all kinds of roads, the LC 500 is also very addictive. The open-air experience of the new convertible version only adds to the addictiveness.
The Lexus LC 500 takes a look at German and Italian grand tourer coupes. It turns out that Lexus knows how to do more than refined saloons and exclusive hybrid SUVs, it also knows how to thrill the driver. Yes, we are talking about excitement at Lexus; visual, auditory and sensory emotion . Thus, Lexus has created the Japanese equivalent of the Maserati GranTurismo, with all its qualities and even some of its flaws.
Often times when a brand introduces a concept car that foreshadows a future model, we already know that the production model in question will hopefully have some concept car features (and to top it off, they will be toned down). Thus, when Lexus presented the LF-LC at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, the whole world applauded the design of that coupe, but few expected that, despite the official announcements, that Lexus would really dare to put that design on the street. . Luckily, it has.
We had to wait six years, but it is here. And it has hardly changed from the 2012 prototype. In fact, you see it and think that it is a true concept car with license plate. If you thought Lexus only made somewhat boring passenger cars, the LC 500 Convertible is the antidote to those prejudices.
The Lexus LC 500 Convertible is the brand's new flagship in the luxury coupe/convertible and grand tourer segment. Packed with technology (active suspensions, use of carbon fiber and composite materials, etc.) and manufactured in Motomachi (the same factory that the Lexus LFA came from), its goal of being the brand's halo car, the car with the let everyone dream, even if you end up buying a CT200h, RX or IS.
Lexus always had an iconic car proposal. First there was the SC400 -a Toyota Supra with a less aggressive design-, then a SC430 equipped with a V8, a convertible coupe that did not convince anyone, and finally the extraordinary LFA, a true supercar in limited series that almost 10 years later it still costs almost half a million dollars, if one goes on sale. And now, the Lexus LC 500 Convertible fulfills this function.
Lexus' aesthetic language is not exactly the one that generates the most consensus, but with the LC 500 Convertible the brand hits the table. I know that it is a matter of taste and it is something personal, but the work done in the lines and shapes that intersect and blend, as well as the use of different materials and textures (there are several types of plastic, polished metals, carbon fiber , etc), make the LC 500 Convertible the best expression of the brand's complex aesthetic language. It is enough to see how the roof blends with the rear window and the complexity of shapes and materials of the headlamps, especially the headlights, to realize that this car was not designed, but sculpted. And that makes all the difference.
The best designs in history, such as the Jaguar E-Type or the Citroën DS (the latter by the Italian sculptor Flaminio Bertoni), were sculpted, conceived with three dimensions in mind. And although it is increasingly the case in sports cars, in the case of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible it is evident. Materials and shapes play with light and shadows giving a feeling of modernity and luxury (something unusual in a design). And the result leaves you speechless, like that passerby who waited for him to finish parking to, with his mouth open and unable to articulate a word, take out his mobile and melt the car into photos.
There is no doubt about the visual impact of the car. Not even testing a Ferrari or Lamborghini did they take so many photos of me behind the wheel of a car. Children jump with excitement and run to see the car, while adults lose that false disdain, that many have, towards luxury cars and approach surprised to see this fighter of the future that landed on the street. I said, it is an authentic work of art that circulates on the street. But luckily for Lexus, the LC 500 Convertible has a lot more to offer than just its looks.
The design of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible is quite innovative, but at the same time it follows in its proportions the patterns of a sports classic: very long hood, cabin almost on the rear axle and a very short rear. The great thing about the LC 500 Convertible is that it doesn't just look sporty, it is too. Even in this Luxury version that lacks the four-wheel steering, the Torsen limited-slip differential and - thank God - the variable pitch power steering, elements that the Sport + version does.
And then there is the automatic 10-speed gearbox. Despite having so many gears, the development of them is very long, the last six gears being useful to lower consumption, noise volume and simply travel on fast roads. In the end, you end up leaving it on automatic and go from using the paddles to change gears.
Still, the Lexus LC 500 is a very fast car. It catapults you from 50 to 75 mph in 2.8 seconds: "Pass a truck? What truck?" It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and covers three-quarters of a mile in 24 seconds. And it does it without the help of a Launch Control, certainly the Bridgestone S001L's help. The traction of this rear-wheel drive is amazing.
The Lexus LC 500 Convertible is not an outright sports car, so comparing it to a Porsche 911 doesn't make sense, but compared to a BMW 650i Cabriolet it offers a more rewarding driving experience and the feeling that you are behind the wheel of something special. In that regard, compared to a Maserati GranTurismo, the LC 500 Convertible offers greater comfort and slightly better dynamic behavior. Both models have an enviable soundtrack, but where the Maserati GranTurismo has an advantage is in the rear seats, where two adults can really travel comfortably, and in the multimedia system that it now equips. Still, even the Maserati's pre-restyling multimedia system (which was very outdated) is preferable to the Lexus system.
And against the Mercedes-Benz, its natural rivals? The S-Class Convertible (starts at $162,000) is more expensive, offers more habitability, but also an aseptic driving experience. Curiously, its natural rival would be the SL 500, a coupe-cabrio that is already at the exit door of its commercial life. But again, the LC 500 Convertible outperforms it on dynamic performance and soundtrack.
Sometimes feels too heavy
Engine: 5.0L, 32-valve V8
Power: 471 hp
Torque: 398 lb/ft
Transmission: 10-speed Automatic
Curb Weight: 4,540 lbs (F: 52% / R: 48%)
Base Price: $101,000 Price as Tested: $110,620