There are few cars that get the heart racing before you even start the engine. The Lexus LC500 is one of them.
The mere mention of the test car to a couple of my mates turned grown men into hyperventilating school girls.
Lexus cars can be divisive with enthusiasts and the average buyer especially when it comes to the unique grille.
But Lexus has got it right with the sports coupe with a good balance of power, luxury, looks and ride dynamics all rolled into one.
The Lexus LC500 is easily one of the best looking cars on the road.
It has a beautiful exterior design and appears fast and sporty.
A muscular yet sleek profile enhanced by the wider rear stance, side intakes, the large turbine style alloys, and sharp lines pointing to the signature spindle Lexus grille.
The front scoop has a nice design and the turbine wheels are also eye-catching. The headlight array look like squinting eyes especially with the LEDs on.
Petite wing mirrors deliberately protrude from the body like little ears and when seated in the driving position appear to have some sort of sepia tint giving off a romantic look to the view behind.
Speaking of behind, the LC500 has an equally sexy derriere, with the blade-like light array and integrated double sports exhaust.
Operated from the inside is a pop up spoiler that can be raised when needed and tucked away to prevent damage and to maintain the body’s sleek profile. It would be nicer if it was a little higher.
The LC500 Interior is suave and sophisticated with well-balanced curved lines and everything in black and leather, soft touch surfaces, dash has sweeping curve to it and also down the side of the doors everything matches even with passenger door handle
A sweeping line on the dashboard from door to door is cohesive, blending into the curves of the door handle.
As in luxury vehicles, what faces the occupant is understated and elegant but the centrepiece is the wide, tech-packed display screen. Adjacent to it is an analogue clock for that little extra class.
Controls come via a floor console touchpad with dial and buttons.
Apart from the screen, other controls on the dash are minimal and minute with only A/C buttons located along the protruding lip that cuts a line across the middle.
The two rear passengers are not neglected with buckets seat comfort separated by a centre hump, however, even with the low slung base, people of average height will find the ceiling rather low and legroom is a scarcity.
Up front is mostly where you’re going to be with a very snug cockpit heightening the experience for the driver giving the feeling of being one with the car.
The front passenger gets a handle bar on the centre console for times who you need to ‘hang onto something’ and trust me, you will.
In between is a retractable armrest that sits flush with the rest of the console and opens to reveal storage.
Oddly, the drive mode selection and traction control knobs are located above the instrument cluster in an inconvenient location.
What is fascinating though is the plastic ring in the centre of the gauges that slides across with the graphics to reveal the settings options. A cool piece of design.
- Dual zone climate control
- Three seat memory function
- Powered seats
- Ten gears
- Digital radio
- Boot release latch
- 21” alloys
- Sports exhaust
- Paddle shifters
- Headlamp washers
- Push button start
- Electric park brake
Before we get to the exciting part, the LC500 is actually manageable as everyday car (except of course for occupancy/storage) with a ride that allows you to drive it sensibly and sedately.
And it doesn’t ride as low as you think – able to still go over bumps and dips, without worrying about scratching the undercarriage and is practical in that sense.
The real business is the 5.0 litre V8 engine and ten, yes ten-speed automatic gearbox. It’s capable of 351kW and a substantial 540Nm though low down acceleration is gradual and opens up around 3500-4000 revs.
But there just isn’t enough room to discover its full potential. Nor did I manage to utilise all the gears getting only up to 8th.
The engine note is tuned beautifully and is worth it just to hear the start-up growl. When the LC500 accelerates or downshifts it will warm the cockles of many hearts.
What most impressed was the fantastically direct steering, with pin-point accuracy it feels like the wheels are anticipating your commands.
- Blind spot monitor
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keep assist
- Panoramic view
- Reversing camera
- Sensors all round
- Radar cruise control
- Pedestrian safety bonnet
- Direct steering and handling
- Beautiful exterior design
- Engine note
Not So Good Bits
- Rear passenger room
- Spoiler too low
The Lexus LC500 is easily one of the best driving experiences I’ve had.
The outstanding handling and feel coupled with the awesome power, generous features and on-pitch exhaust note.
Luxurious interior comfort and style and a figure that will draw the gaze (and envy) of passers-by.
At around $190,000 before on road costs, the fun doesn’t come cheap but you will be getting your money’s worth.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Lexus LC500
- Engine: 5.0L V8 petrol producing 351kW/540Nm
- Transmission: Ten-speed sports automatic
- Warranty: 4 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $189,629