Lexus LC puts Europeans on notice
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.
The Lexus LC 500 has no trouble turning heads.