Lexus LC puts Euro­peans on no­tice

Albany Extra - - Extra Motoring - Vani Naidoo

Bold. Brash. Beau­ti­ful. The Lexus LC 500 is a head-turner all right.

It is emo­tion­ally en­gag­ing with the all-round per­for­mance to match.

A real Grand Tourer from an un­likely part of the world, it may also be the big­gest state­ment Lexus has made since the LFA.

You have some idea of the LC 500’s draw­ing power when the school prin­ci­pal asks you to park the car rather than us­ing the dropoff point be­cause you are stop­ping the morn­ing carpark flow.

And you are left with­out doubt you when you come out of the su­per­mar­ket with bags in tow to find a line-up of peo­ple tak­ing a selfie with the car in the pour­ing rain.

Yes, the Lexus LC 500 is hard to miss. Cue the sport­ing phrases — sweep­ing lines, bulging arches, beau­ti­ful an­gles and ar­rest­ing de­sign. The LC 500 is all that and more.

Even that spin­dle-front Lexus grille that can be an ac­quired taste in other mod­els suits this car, in­te­grat­ing beau­ti­fully into the front and adding to the over­all ap­peal.

It is low enough to feel sporty but not so low that you are scrap­ing every drive­way and speed bump around.

The LC 500 is beau­ti­ful on the in­side too, un­mis­tak­ably so. The crafts­man­ship of the hand­made in­te­rior is there to see in the choice of lux­u­ri­ous ma­te­ri­als and their im­pec­ca­ble fit and fin­ish.

That qual­ity is echoed in the but- tons and switchgear al­though their place­ment and use­ful­ness can be ques­tioned.

Slip into the front seats and you will find one of the best sport­ing cush­ions around, with equal mea­sures com­fort and sup­port and the abil­ity to re­ally hold you in when you get a tad ex­cited around the cor­ners.

The con­fined ac­com­mo­da­tion in the back seat al­most soured the kids’ ex­cite­ment about be­ing in a “Su­per­car” (their words). They were happy enough to sit with their legs tucked to the chin but your pas­sen­gers may be less in­clined.

In­ci­den­tal stor­age is us­able but ex­pect an un­usu­ally small boot. You will be able to cram a cou­ple of school bags or half a week’s of gro­ceries in there — just not at the same time.

The 10.3-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen is nicely in­te­grated into the top of the con­sole, set back enough to pre­vent glare but not too much that it hin­ders the view.

To be hon­est Lexus’s in­fo­tain­ment plat­form is one of the few neg­a­tives in this car. The touch­pad is hy­per­sen­si­tive and hard enough to nav­i­gate at a stand­still.

The graph­ics could be bet­ter and so could the colour and don’t even get me started on the sat nav. For the life of me I couldn’t can­cel the des­ti­na­tion set by the pre­vi­ous driver no mat­ter how long I per­sisted.

On the plus side, it is easy to pair your phone, and the Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity is on song with voice com­mands and re­cep­tion find­ing their mark.

Un­der the LC 500’s beau­ti­ful bon­net is a glo­ri­ous 5.0-litre V8 en­gine with 351kW of power and 540Nm of torque at its dis­posal.

It works har­mo­niously with a 10speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion which crack­les and pops in tune with the V8’s sym­phony.

It is re­as­sur­ing when a car that is part mus­cle is suit­ably equipped with modern safety gear and the LC 500 is not short in that re­spect.

Push the start but­ton on the LC 500 and you are im­me­di­ately re­warded with that res­onat­ing V8 growl.

The sat­is­fac­tion starts deep in your tummy and curls up slowly to a smile on your face.

While the V8 card may be the ini­tial pull, the LC 500 is no onet­rick pony.

This Lexus LC 500 is melo­di­ous and dra­matic, pow­er­ful yet re­fined, sporty and mus­cu­lar and un­de­ni­ably fun.

This car is amaz­ingly well bal­anced and Lexus’ engi­neers have done an in­cred­i­ble job with the sus­pen­sion.

Switch it into Sport or Sport+ mode, and watch it bloom.

It is flat and keen into the twisties and needs lit­tle urg­ing to demon­strate its prowes.

It is as fast as com­peti­tors? No. But it doesn’t need to be. Be­cause in the LC 500, Lexus has that elu­sive Grand Tourer with the heart of a bad boy.

Fuel us­age in our test week hov­ered around 12.7L/100km, un­der­stand­able given the en­thu­si­asm with which it was driven.

Should you hand over the $200,000 that it will cost to own one, Lexus will spoil you with one of the bet­ter af­ter-sales ex­pe­ri­ences around.

Lexus has re­ally de­liv­ered with this LC 500. This car is bold and beau­ti­ful, an ex­cit­ing mix be­tween in­spi­ra­tional and as­pi­ra­tional.

It is a sign that the true Grand Tourer may no longer be the pre­serve of the Euro­peans.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The Lexus LC 500 has no trou­ble turn­ing heads.

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