Reviews: 2018 Lexus LC 500


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A rave review of the LC500 from Jalopnik.. aside from the obligatory bash on the infotainment system of course. :D

Always happy to see that some journalists actually get what Lexus is all about. It's the user experience, not petty numbers.

The Lexus LC 500 Is So Perfect That I Don't Want Them to Make an LC-F

The rumored Lexus LC-F is likely to come to market with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8. It should look fantastic if the LC 500 is any indicator. It’s supposedly coming with 600 horsepower. It’ll probably do 0-60 in the low 3 seconds. It’ll be a faster, more expensive, more exclusive version of what I believe to be the best car on sale. I hope it never happens.

I’m all for more performance cars and sports coupes as a general rule, but I genuinely believe you can’t improve the LC 500 with more speed and you certainly won’t improve it with a pair of turbochargers. Let it remain pure and unadulterated; leave the horsepower wars to the Germans.

To show how an LC-F would be so fundamentally wrong, I have to first explain what made the current LC 500 so good.

The beauty of the LC 500 is that it didn’t pursue the ridiculous performance chest-thumping that leads to cars too fast for their own good. You don’t need to go 0-60 in under three seconds, and you certainly can’t feel the difference between 2.8 and 2.9 seconds. The LC 500 is the car that understands that.

It hits 60 in 4.4 seconds. That’s quick enough. It handles well, but Lexus doesn’t shout about track times. The LC 500 is what happens when you prioritize user experience over stats.

If they wanted more speed, they would have gone turbo. But the LC 500 is powered by a glorious naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 that screams through its ten gears. Sure, you don’t get the massive power band of a modern turbo motor. But the result of that decision is an engine that sounds fantastic and loves to be revved out. And with ten gears on tap, it’s always firing off shifts and making lovely pops and crackles.

There’s no way to add power without giving that up. You either need to add turbos or make the engine bigger, and it’s safe to assume Lexus hasn’t been hiding a 7.0-liter V8 in its basement. Plus, in a weekend of running it to redline at every opportunity, I was happy to be able to hear it roar without crossing into the lose-your-license portion of the speedometer.

So you can’t add power without making it worse. But “lightness,” my fellow Jalops may cry, “add lightness!” A good refrain, in theory, but I’m not confident you could really do that.

Because Lexus was also smart about what they put in the LC 500. The first big, heavy thing is the Mark Levinson audio system. Seems like an obvious thing to cut, but it’s one of my favorite things about the LC 500. It’s crystal clear even at absurd volumes, with even-toned sound that perfectly compliments the grand-touring mission of the LC 500.

The seats are heated, cooled and most importantly fantastically comfortable. They aren’t overburdened with 30-way adjustments or massaging functions, so that’s reasonable too. I guess you could ditch the back seats, but the cargo shelf you replace them with wouldn’t save all that much weight. You could also replace the terrible infotainment system with something lighter and less terrible, but we’re talking a few pounds saved.

To dramatically lighten the LC, you’d need to swap out a lot of the structure with lighter materials or ditch the insulation and sound deadening that makes this a fantastic highway cruiser. One option destroys the value proposition of the LC, as retooling the fundamental parts of the car would be fantastically expensive, and one makes it worse at its mission.

It’s a terrible trap Lexus has laid for itself. The LC 500 is simply too good at its job to warrant a higher-performance model. Not only that, it’s so good it deserves to be the halo model of the Lexus lineup. To attempt to overthrow it with a car that’s needlessly powerful and less exciting would be foolish.

If you want the LC 500 to be perfect, just fix the infotainment. That’s it. Job done. It’ll save you the millions in R&D it would cost to develop an LC-F and can be spread across all of Lexus-dom, where the biggest problem is an interface that makes you want to set yourself on fire.
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Best opinion, my thoughts from the very beginning. The LC F (so as its +600 PS rivals: AMG S Coupe, M8, Continental GT, Aston Martin,...) will never be better than a proper lightweight sports car or supercar. It is all wasted energy. Wanting drag racer big HP on every possible car is an immature attitude, perpetuated by certain car makers and damaging the entire car industry.

PS: I would still have loved a transaxle.
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Just bought a new 2018 lc 500 and would like to share my 2 cents worth. I saw the commentary/debate about the quickness of this car . Both sides are valid; the LC 500 is fast but its relatively slow. When you spend 100K for a sports type looking car, the 0-60 times talk will come into play. However, most people aren't buying a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus for 0-60 times. You're buying it for the badge. When it comes to idle conversation, the BMW and Mercedes mentions carry more attentive appeal than Lexus. However, when people "see" what you're driving, the LC 500 wins hands down. I get so many looks, compliments and questions. One person asked me at the gas station what model Tesla it was. Most can't believe its from Lexus. I've had a couple of neighbors who own Lexus tell me they didn't even know Lexus had this model; one with a RC350 said he didn't want his anymore (and he loves his).

Going back to the speed issue; if that's the primary consideration for your purchase and have money to throw, then the Chevy Corvette or the Tesla Model S100p is the way to go. The latter, I unfortunately test drove before the LC 500, is super quick. There is no production car out there that can go as fast as it. In fact, all conversation in the $100,000 range should not include 60 times because you're not going to beat the Tesla S. Not even close. In fact, I thought the LC 500 was lying about its acceleration time after stomping on the accelerator. The Tesla also handles very well, looks sharp, more practical and its badge is in the same category as Mercedes, BMW, etc. Why I didn't buy it? 1) Still believe its 3 years too soon. 2) The driver experience is lacking (No sound, no ability to shift or feel the shifts in the gears) and 3) Too many Teslas on the road

For me, I love the LC500. I got a great deal on a new one and found one in the color infrared. If you're going to buy one, that's the color to go. The contrast is beautiful and it shines. Its the only standard color that costs extra ($595).

The interior is first class. Infosystem is not the best but it's not as bad as everyone bitches about. The real beefs are the small trunk, the limited backseat leg and head room, terrible cup holder, no sunroof and it's rear wheel drive with different size rear and front tires. Looks cool though.

Handling is solid and ride quality is adjustable with 5 different modes to select.

Front seating is comfortable if you don't have a fat ass.

The mark Levinson is fine. I'm an audiophile so it doesn't impress me as much as it may others.

Monitor Alerts and Heads up display are worthwhile options.

Optional Carbon Spoiler for $1200 is a tough pill but worth it IMO.

Overall, its a 9 out of 10 stars. Happy with my purchase!