The Sensible Sports Car: 2019 Lexus LC 500 V-8
Every once in a while, a car company, especially one as large as Lexus, needs to spread its wings, show the world its true engineering phenomena’s that are far beyond the realm of every day commuters. In 2011, Lexus gave the world a small glimpse into a creation of high performance and 500 lucky souls walked away with an engineering wonder known as the Lexus LFA. It is because of the LFA that Lexus was able to engineer and produce a new breed of F-Series. However, with the IS-F, RC-F and GS-F being the new found high performers, there was still something missing all these years.
With beauty that can only be used to describe a roman goddess, the LC 500 is every bit of the sports coupe we’ve been waiting for from Lexus. Taking design cues from the LFA and modern culture, the LC is probably one of the prettiest sports coupes on the market. One of the major flaws behind the LFA was its over engineered stance – the LC 500 on the other hand has been crafted in a way that it’s almost as if someone accidentally slipped some Benadryl in the engineer’s coffee right before the designers meeting.
It’s not like the engineers still didn’t get to have their fun. Housing a natural aspirated 5.0-liter V-8, the LC 500 tickles our funny bones as it punches 471-horsepower through the gut of its 10-speed automatic transmission and races to sixty in less than 4.4-seconds. Topple that to a top speed of 168 mph and the LC might even replace that little blue pill that some men require. The sounds that are extracted from the quad-exhaust is immensely un-Lexus like. It’s a naughty kitty that bites at every upshift – BAM – BAM – BAM – encouraging even more frolicking behavior.
Last year, we explored the other engine alternate to the V-8 in a V-6 hybrid variant. The hybrid is more expensive starting at $96,000 over the standard V-8’s $92,200. After 5-minutes behind the wheel of the V-8, we cannot fathom why anyone would opt for the less performing hybrid. Besides, it’s not like the kind of hybrid system found in an Acura NSX or McLaren P1. Much like the LFA then, the hybrid was an over engineered processed that the engineers at Lexus got a little to carried away with. The LC 500 V-8 on the other hand. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to figure just how insanely fun it can be.
Putting engineering back into the equation, there are four-drive modes – despite normal and eco being two of those options, there is Sport and a more advance Sport +. This is where we start to see what Lexus engineering is made of. Watch the TFT instrument display change into a Formula 1’s cockpit, the LC 500 prepares for what’s about to happen. The steering tightens up, the throttle mapping becomes more aggressive, the suspension gets more tighter and our sensation for more speed gets heightened. Because our LC 500 was fitted with active rear steering, our steering precision just got more intense with every corner being taken as aggressively as we deemed to our limits.
What makes the LC 500 even better is everything it stands for. It’s a Lexus for starters, a product of Toyota – a product that no matter how hard it is driven, 10 years from now, it’ll still have whatever few hairs on the back of your neck standing up. Try and get that from a Mercedes AMG GT or Porsche 911 – we hear hair loss is common with those cars. The other part to that is its comfortability to drive on an everyday basis. Not only is it easy to get in and out of, but the seats are sublime as they’re covered in leather and suede, the cabin is tasteful with elegant display of stainless metals, there’s a trunk large enough for golf clubs and the back seat can even be useable for someone under 5’-6” tall.
Inside there is more technology to make you want to read the manual from cover to cover. The infotainment system now features Apple CarPlay connectivity (though Android Auto is still in the works.) Everything is controlled through the touch pad interface and requires major getting used to. The overall design layout works for the cabin of the LC, everything has a place and is attractively displayed. Even safety is a big factor in the LC 500 with all the latest safety gear available on modern cars from adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.
It’s safe to say that in today’s world, sports car are as fragile as the glass screens to our phones – we see it a lot on the German, British, and even Italian side – one slight thing sends everything into limp home mode and we’re left with a shattered screen and a broken heart. Costing over six-figures we have high expectations for sports car and the same goes for their reliability. The Lexus LC 500 is that sensible sports car – its stunning, goes like stink, sounds immensely and at the end of the day, you’ll be pulling into your garage ready to meet up tomorrow for a round of golf verse writing another check to your mechanic that funds his kids private school tuition.
Model: 2019 LEXUS LC 500
Starting Price: $92,300
As Tested: $105,940
Engine: 5.0-LITER V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 471-HORSEPOWER / 398 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 10-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 16-CITY / 25-HWY / 19-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 19.3 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 320 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±4.4 SECONDS
This car grabs the eye for all the right reasons, and it has the performance underpinnings to back up the sporty lines. I must say I was surprised at how aggressive it sounds – bravo to Lexus for letting the engineers have a little fun in making a car that is a stark contrast from the isolated feel of its sedan siblings.