The introduction of the new Lexus LC luxury coupe is a milestone moment in the history of the brand, illustrating our dedication to create cars that deliver amazing experiences through exciting, emotional designs and exhilarating performance.
That’s what we feel. But don’t just take our word for it. What you read below are direct quotations from independent road tests by UK journalists. Their reviews cover both the LC 500 and LC 500h models and were published after the world launch in Spain and the European launch, which consisted of a grand tour from Munich, Germany, to Milan, Italy.
The publications are listed in alphabetical order and you can click on the bold type to be taken through to the full online review. Where applicable, the fraction represents the author’s score.
Autocar – 4.5/5
“What’s going on with Lexus?” The answer is a not so quiet revolution, and it reaches something of a crescendo with the launch of this sports car-cum-GT, available with V8 or hybrid power.
The result is really rather delicious at pace. In normal, fast road driving, there is a delicacy to the steering that’s quite addictive. Aided by the rear wheel movement, there’s a confidence-inspiring sense that the back of the car is moving not only in co-ordination with the front but also to its benefit, which is quite refreshing if you’ve spent time in big-engined German rivals. It brakes quickly and confidently, too, even when you stand on the pedal, and it’s just wonderfully easy to find a rhythm.
The LC feels alive in a way no Lexus bar the LFA has before.
A grand touring coupe from a company such as Lexus says: “We’ve arrived.” And one that looks like this, the new LC, says: “Let’s have it.”
When they’re finally done experimenting… the luxury car-makers of the world will, I reckon, all come back to cars like the new Lexus LC 500: front-engine, rear-driven, two-plus-two-seater grand touring coupes. They’ll have to. This is the quintessential vehicle type for an elegant, exclusive and glamorous kind of existence.
That 5.0-litre atmospheric V8 (LC 500) might be second only to the LC’s looks in your list of reasons to buy one, and it’s an absolutely wonderful engine in its wilder moments – when it’s revving between 4,500rpm and that 7,100rpm cut-out and sounding so deliciously feral.
Lexus has gone to remarkable lengths to make this driving environment look and feel special… The interior has a blend of apparent quality, opulent material richness and styling flourish that distinguishes the LC from its rivals every bit as clearly as its exterior does. You sit low and snug in the kind of sports seat in which it’s possible to pass a long day at the wheel without even noticing it.
Lexus LC 500: click here to read the full Autocar review
Auto Express – 4/5
Sometimes the use of new-fangled technology can detract from the driving experience. But that’s not the case with the new Lexus LC 500h. It’s a great grand tourer, and borders on being a good sports car. The hybrid engine and innovative CVT gearbox might not be a traditional approach to this type of car, but techies will love it. And with the usual Lexus attributes of quality, refinement and comfort, it’s an exciting pointer to Lexus’s future.
We drove an early version of the LC 500h last year and declared it a technological masterpiece. Now we’re driving the production-ready V8 model to see if the extra grunt is enough to make you turn your back on the fuel-sipping hybrid.
Visually, it’s hard to fault. It’s a stunning design whether parked up or cruising down the street. The cabin is just as impressive. The materials feel expensive to the touch and well put together, and some of design touches really stand out.
Press the starter button and the 5.0-litre V8… fires into life before settling to a cultured idle. It sends power through a new 10-speed automatic gearbox, the second to fourth ratios of which have been spaced evenly – something Lexus says helps you to develop a “rhythm” in brisk driving. Changes are swift and best actuated using the large paddles behind the steering wheel.
Lexus has worked to make the V8 both more refined and more characterful. Some harshness has been removed, but a tube from the engine to the cabin transfers the V8’s more pleasant frequencies through under hard acceleration. Valves in the exhaust system open according to your driving style, and release a glorious noise, with a bonus crackle on full-throttle gearchanges.
Lexus LC 500: click here to read the full Auto Express review
CAR – 4/5
When you lift to slow for a corner, the Lexus blips its throttle theatrically and shifts down, making you sound like a heel-and-toe hero. You can take control yourself with the paddle shift override too: the changes feel as snappy as a dual-clutch ’box’s. This is a captivating new transmission.
The same positivity extends to the… chassis. The range-topping Sports+ LC 500 features a limited-slip differential and rear wheel steering, where the rear tyres pivot in the opposite direction to the front to accentuate turn-in; at high speeds they turn in harmony with the forward rubber to boost stability.
Mid-corner bumps are suavely brushed off by the stiff, multi-link rear suspension. It’s a really nicely balanced chassis: plenty of front-end grip, accompanied by lots of rear-wheel drive feel – it’s clear that both ends are working in unison as you scythe through fast sweepers.
Lexus LC: Click here to read the full CAR review
Evo – 4/5
Here’s the good news: the LC 500 is really rather good – in a grand tourer rather than 911 kind of way. Circuits and road-biased GT cars aren’t always happy bedfellows, but the V8 makes a decent fist of the twists, turns and… straights.
Keep the revs high and the engine punches you nicely out of the tighter corners, while the soundtrack gets increasingly intoxicating as the revs rise. Away from the track, the LC’s GT promise shines brighter. The chassis provides a good balance between being reactive and alert and cossetting like all good GTs should.
Drive is to the rear wheels via a ten-speed (yes, ten-speed) direct-drive auto gearbox. The first nine gears are more equally spread than usual for more rhythmic shifting, and sure enough you can quickly punch through the gears with very little kick as the ratios swap. The final tenth acts as an overdrive to calm everything down when cruising.
Lexus LC: Click here to read the full Evo review
The V8-engined model is truly a bit special, chiefly for the fluency with which you can make progress. Dwell on that for a moment, because it’s quite a landmark statement to make about a Lexus and exactly what they were aiming for when they made this car.
The looks might be the natural place to start talking about the Lexus LC. But the drive will stick in your consciousness just as long.
Top Gear – 7/10
The LFA proved there was a mad streak buried deep in the company; LC proves it wasn’t a flash in the pan.
With the electric motor chiming in (LC 500h model), acceleration from a standstill… is punchy – useful if you spend your time stop-start driving around town. Leave the gearbox in auto and it does a better job at staying in the torque band than our ham fists could manage.
Right from the off it’s clear the LC 500 is a different proposition. The gearbox [is] a brand-new, ten-speed torque-converter auto that’s comparable in size and weight to the GS F’s eight-speed ’box, but with the benefits of shorter gearing and more even spacing between the ratios. And it’s a triumph.
Wind up the V8, feel it kick a bit harder past 4,000rpm, then hold your nerve as it charges with building intensity all the way to the 7,300rpm limiter. It doesn’t bludgeon you with its performance, this engine. Keep it in Sport + mode, though, turn the ESP off completely and there’s a thug waiting to get out.