The Lexus LC 500: First Impressions

Right from the start, something was different. There I was, sitting in the audience of the Lexus press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, watching as Toyota President Akio Toyoda spoke earnestly about his goals for the Lexus brand. It was a refreshing presentation, full of humility and hope, and it culminated with the video introduction of a new Lexus model.

You have likely seen this video — it starts with the Lexus LF-LC concept being smashed to pieces by a giant wrecking ball, only to reveal what turns out to be the production LC 500. On the edge of my seat, I waited for the wrecking ball to swing back, to dull the edges, to soften the excitement.

In a way, we knew what to expect. Earlier reports had solidified around a new flagship coupe, based on the LF-LC and powered by a 5.0L V8 engine. But no rumor could have prepared us for the reality of the Lexus LC 500. It truly is the concept made real.

“Keeping the design of the LF-LC is a symbol of the challenge of our brand,” LC chief engineer Koji Sato explains to me in a later interview, and it’s a telling statement.

Sato-San spoke mostly of the collaboration between the vehicle designers and engineers, who had to meet an accelerated deadline while staying true to the original concept. The team embraced the design constraints of the LF-LC, even when it meant creating an entirely new vehicle platform or a new multilink suspension that would fit under the sculpted front fenders.

There are differences between concept and production, particularly when it comes to dimensions. The LC 500 has grown nearly 5 inches in length and 3.1 inches in height, while the width has been reduced by 2.2 inches. To increase interior room, the wheelbase has also increased by 2.8 inches.

It was difficult to get a sense of the LC’s interior without sitting inside, and even so, the endless crowds would have made it difficult to gain any real perspective. The one thing that stood out is the contrast — where the exterior is diamond-hard, the pure-leather interior practically radiated luxury and comfort:

There’s an obvious comparison to the LFA and its no-compromises development, but the new LC coupe represents the brand’s potential more than the supercar ever could. Both cars are a showcase of passion and technology, but the LFA always seemed like the end of a journey. The LC feels like the beginning of a bright new future.

FeaturesLexus LC: First GenerationPersonal
  • L
    Lexus Cohen
  • January 14, 2016
This is the beginning of a new chapter for my brand, I'm really excited to see future products! I know for sure I will stay loyal to Lexus!
  • M
    Meth Jayasekera
  • January 14, 2016
Krew really good way with words. Great job!
  • H
    Hamed Al Sayes
  • January 15, 2016
KrewOne thing to say (AMAZING)Really love the way you express yourself!Makes me always feel like I'm in this momentKeep it up Mr. KrewAlways to the TOPAnd I just can't wait for the Lexus LC500The Future Brand is here (Lexus)
  • M
    Michael Pannone
  • January 15, 2016
These are the best pics of the LC that I've seen so far... incredible work, @krew !Also, loved the analysis. This is the beauty of the Lexus Enthusiast!
  • A
    Adrian de Leon
  • January 15, 2016
Finally someone showed how the door handles looks like when popped out. The detail is amazing! I'm so excited to see it! Cannot wait to see what else is in store for lexus' future! Hopefully we can see an LS, LC F/LC H, LS F, CT, IS F, TX???, and a next gen ES & GS soon.
  • J
  • January 15, 2016
Krew I have a question. While we are all amazed and excited about the LC how or what was the perception from others? We're there any German car conpanies employees making comments or just general magazine writers making comments? Cause most are always same old same old Lexus it's boring but reliable? What are they saying now? Concerned about their prescious German being beat out by a Lexus? Just wondering thanks!
  • N
    Nate Wiener
  • January 15, 2016
Can't remember the last time I saw a production vehicle that stays so true to the concept. There really is nothing watered down about it. It looks like a vehicle from the future, but it's only a year away. A true game changer!
  • T
  • January 15, 2016
This is like a more attainable LFA, sort of speak
  • B
    Black Dynamite
  • January 22, 2016
I expect the new LS to have a similar interior, if not the same. The seats won't be so aggressively bolstered.With this already over two tons, the new LS, which is a much bigger car, will probably end up around where the new 7-series is, at about 4500 lbs. This is slightly less than the S550.BD