2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h First Test

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The new LC coupe isn’t endangered with opening numbers, and we shouldn’t be either. Despite some flaws, a LC 500/500h yield a oppulance knowledge nobody else now does.

I recently posted a video of a 2018 Lexus LC 500 encircling Motor Trend’s figure-eight march during a slight testing. One of a comments referred to a bark of a LC 500 hurtling past a camera and laying into a throttle: “I don’t consider anyone [who] saw a automobile in photos/print approaching it to sound like that. Expectations: Exceeded!” But that’s not a indicate of a 2018 Lexus LC 500. Indeed, a quad-cam 5.0-liter V-8 (internally, a 2UR-GSE engine) churns 471 horsepower during a noble 7,100 rpm and sounds noble doing so by a multimode exhaust. It’s heartening to know that this engine facilities low-mass reciprocating tools such as fake joining rods and titanium intake and empty valves. The cylinder heads are versed with non-static valve-timing and, depending on conditions, fuel is injected possibly directly into a cylinders—allowing for a high focus ratio (12.3:1)—or into a intake ports to raise low-end response. We can’t disagree that this big, robust V-8 is unequivocally one of a final of a kind, and had there been video of comparison facilities editor Jonny Lieberman’s Lexus LC First Drive, we would’ve been means to impassivity over it too. You can, however, see a LC 500 and hear a V-8 in comparison facilities editor Jason Cammisa’s Ignition prejudiced over during Motor Trend On Demand right now. But that’s blank a point.

Had Lexus instead forsaken a Lexus LFA supercar’s 4.8-liter 552-horsepower V-10 in a nose, it would have A) posted implausible acceleration numbers, B) cost a fortune, and C) definitely shifted a LC into a different, aspirational, near-supercar category. What we detected after Jonny’s competition lane romp, a instrumented testing, and Jason’s journey to Palm Springs and behind is that this is a truly special automobile though not for a reasons we competence be hoping.

Fast is relative

Just demeanour during them. With their show-car piece steel (in law it’s an aluminum hood, front fenders, doors, and a case is finished from CO fiber-reinforced polymer (CRFP) and classical long-hood short-deck grand furloughed proportions (front mid-engine actually), a LC 500 and a hybrid-powered LC 500h are indisputably beautiful and demeanour ridiculously discerning though branch a wheel. They are those things, though usually not as discerning as they appear. Comparisons are inevitable, so let’s get them out of a approach first.

If we had hopes of a LC 500 relating a opening of possibly a likewise positioned Mercedes-Benz SL550 or a likewise proportioned V-12 powered Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, you’d be likewise let down. Furthermore if we illusory a LC 500h hybrid chasing down a BMW i8 hybrid with a identical output, you’ll be unhappy again.

It lacks a dedicated launch module (which usually enhances a transmission’s torque converter effectiveness, though here triggers a baggy mode), so a 0-60 mph arrives in a stomp-and-go 4.8 seconds in a LC 500, and a entertain mile arrives in 13.2-second during 110.2-mph. Wheelspin is unequivocally slight with traction-control disabled. Anything underneath 5 seconds to 60 mph is “quick” in a book, though not what we’d call sports automobile quick. (Test driver’s records exhibit that a best run was achieved in Normal mode with a delivery in Drive, rather than Sport+ mode or primer shifting.) These opening formula put a Lexus about a half-second behind a Aston Martin V-12 Vantage S. What’s worse is that a LC 500 is roughly a second abaft of a 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 550 from 4 years ago. Curiously, a LC 500 is also slower than a quickest Lexus GS F sedan (by 0.4 sec) and RC F coupe (by 0.5 sec), both with an progressing 467-hp chronicle of a same 2UR-GSE V-8.

What gives?

So since are these cars not as discerning as we’d hoped? For one thing: a belligerent underneath them. The LC 500’s 4,370-pound and LC 500h’s 4,471-pound quell weights (as-tested) positively play a part. The final Lexus LS 460 sedan sloping a 4-corner beam during 4,466 pounds. Despite attempts to strew pounds, these are complicated cars. Surprisingly, they don’t feel complicated when we expostulate them. The LC 500’s weight-to-power math works out about a same as that quicker SL 550 we tested when it afterwards finished just 429 hp and weighed 4,104 pounds, so there’s something else messing with a production here. It boils down to a LC 500’s 10-speed delivery and rigging ratios. The LC 500h’s complexities need some-more explanation.

2018 Lexus LC 500 engine 01

Not a ideal 10

If a LC 500’s engine creates 471 rise horsepower during 7,100 rpm, has a reported 168-mph (electronically singular during a tip of 5th gear) top-speed and 10 (!) gears, one would hope/guess that those cogs’ ratios would be set rather tighten to one another to keep a engine on a boil—or during slightest initial by fifth would be short, withdrawal sixth by 10th with mind-numbing fuel-sipping overdrive ratios. Part of this is true: seventh rigging is 1:1, and gears eight-10 are indeed overdrive, though a high (numerically small) 2.94:1 rear-differential ratio, collaborate to take a flog out of what is potentially a sharp recipe. Even accelerating during wide-open throttle, gears one by 4 dawdle and lift for an lavish volume of time. It sounds great, and there’s a transparent swell of energy as a tachometer sweeps over a 4,000 symbol on a approach to rise torque outlay during 4,800 rpm. So since not upshift into that honeyed symbol any time? Instead, redline upshifts into gears three-five start downslope of a engine’s torque bend thereby blank out on a swell of torque.

As Jason Cammisa demonstrated with photos of a tangible tachometer during several speeds, initial rigging will take a automobile over 40 mph, second to 67 mph, third to 89 mph, fourth to 110 mph (as it crosses a quarter-mile symbol and shifts to fifth), and there are nonetheless 5 gears remaining. Honestly. It’s geared like a NASCAR four-speed and 6 more. Theoretically, if a LC 500 could pull all a approach to redline in 10th gear, a calculations exhibit it would be going 336 mph. For a car’s loyal dictated purpose (hint: not a dragstrip or Bonneville Salt Flats), these gearing issues matter little. Bear with us.

2018 Lexus LC 500h front perspective in motion

Hybrid energy and a 10-speed of another sort

Using same techniques as above (where Normal mode and Drive valid quickest) and with 354-hp sum outlay (from a 3.5-liter 295-hp V-6 and unrated-by-Lexus electric motors) a LC 500h indispensable 5.3 seconds to strech 60 mph and 14.0 seconds to transport a entertain mile during 101.3 mph in sixth gear. Wheelspin from a passed stop was not possible. Despite identical sum outputs and distinguished looks, a hybrid Lexus four-seater would be left in a mirrors of a 357-hp BMW i8 since that carbon-intensive two-seat sports automobile is roughly 1,000 pounds lighter. The BMW i8 zips to 60 mph in usually 3.8 seconds and crosses a 1,320-foot symbol in 12.4 seconds during 112.4 mph. No contest.

In a formidable band of 3 energy sources (engine and dual motor-generators) and dual transmissions (a compulsory four-speed involuntary and a heavenly rigging set), a LC 500h is singly both a array and together hybrid. Its programming can also yield 10 brazen speeds. The LC 500h is also a initial Lexus hybrid to use compact, lightweight lithium-ion batteries enabling LC 500h to work in EV mode during speeds of adult to 87 mph. The battery container fits between a behind seats and a trunk. As a result, a hybrid loses 0.5 in. in behind chair legroom and 0.7 cubic feet in case volume (5.4 to 4.7 cubic feet). Ironically, a LC 500h gets a incomparable fuel tank (22.2 gallons) to a LC 500’s 21.7 gallons. It sounded behind to us, too, though we double-checked.

And since my exam motorist mind couldn’t clarity it, Cammisa’s engineering noggin was kind adequate to send me an email explaining a interplay of these systems. I’ve pasted it here for your examination and amusement:

“Engine energy goes initial to a two-motor heavenly [CVT] like a unchanging hybrid would. MG1 [Motor-Generator 1] fixes a expostulate ratio, starts a engine, etc. while MG2 drives a wheels.

 From a planetary, energy goes to a compulsory four-speed involuntary [aka “Autobox”]. From there, it goes to a behind differential.

They do this since they’ve involuntary a heavenly to obey bound expostulate gears and never act like a CVT.

So heavenly “gears” one, two, and 3 use AutoBox rigging one.

Gears four, five, and 6 use Autobox rigging two.

Gears seven, eight, and 9 use Autobox rigging three.

Gear 10 uses Autobox rigging four.

If we compensate tighten courtesy to a three-four change (and six-seven, and nine-10), you’ll notice they feel different. They feel like a compulsory involuntary shift, since a one-two and two-three transitions feel like a CVT’s practical ‘shift.’”

Did we get that? It took me a few times, too, though it does seem unnecessarily complex. It does make me admire a Acura NSX hybrid system’s relations simplicity.

2018 Lexus LC 500 wheel

Them’s a brakes

In bland use, a LC 500 and LC 500h’s six-piston front, four-piston behind calipers yield assured feel and predicted response, squeezing 13.3- and 12.1-inch vented discs. The stop pedal requires tiny bid to trigger slowing, and as a rather soothing pedal travels, a braking force is proportional and appropriate. There were no complaints and usually regard for a brakes until we strike a track. In a testing, Lexus’ brake-by-wire systems have been famous to supplement a covering of wiring and a slight check to an ABS panic stop. Notes from contrast a LC 500 behind this up: “Noticeable check (even worse than a 500h) between stop focus and slowing. Once negligence begins, there’s a lurching front-tire skid/hop that a ABS couldn’t arrange out. As a brakes and tires grew hotter, that lurching/skidding went away. However, a distances remained about a same. There’s plenty stop cooling, so a fifth stop was radically a same as a first, though nothing were what anybody would call short.” From 60 mph, a LC 500 compulsory 114 feet, and a LC 500h compulsory 112 feet, or about 6 feet longer than those competitors mentioned above.

Never mind a numbers

What a LC 500/500h’s brakes, engines, and transmissions all do well, nonetheless, is yield low-effort, assured stops and long-legged power. They change smoothly, even underneath full acceleration, with unequivocally tiny head-toss or g-spikes. These are restrained, stately, grand furloughed characteristics and not those of an vibrated sports car. There’s no mistaking that a LC is a Lexus in a approach it drives. It’s buttery well-spoken and coddling in Normal, even energetic driving. Most of these cars’ buyers, and we envision there will be many from a open greeting we gifted pushing them both for dual weeks, won’t give a scream about 0-60-mph times. They demeanour like a million bucks. The LC 500 sounds fanciful generally from a outside, and that V-8 rumble is even delivered to a cabin with a inflection tube joining a intake to a firewall. The interior is a pretentious place to spend a day—with one vivid exception.

The fly in a ointment

Where a Lexus missed a oppulance symbol is with a controller for all things electronic. Thankfully, elementary meridian controls are simple, hard-button adjusted. Lexus, however, insists on regulating what it calls a Remote Touch Interface touchpad controller. The joystick is gone, and it’s been transposed with a rodent pad. True, a pad is flanked by a few hard-button big-jump shortcuts (radio, media, map, and back), and dual roller/rockers (seek/track and tune). All other delicate/discrete functions contingency be accessed/changed with a annoying touchpad. By a way, that knurled drum labeled balance usually scrolls by presets. It doesn’t manually tune. Manually tuning a hire (terrestrial or satellite) and saving it to a preset plcae contingency be finished with a touchpad pointer. Unfortunately, this duty is blocked out while a automobile is in suit since attempting to balance a hire feels like a hand-eye inventiveness video game. Distracting and attention-demanding doesn’t even start to report a ordeal. The cursor jumps opposite a shade unpredictably, unintentionally alighting on and selecting boxes not of your selecting about 50 percent of a time. Not usually that, though a menu proof is also flawed. Adjusting a audio system’s equalizer, for instance, took several mins to locate (and a byzantine trail was fast forgotten). On a and side, Lexus’ voice-recognition program is utterly good, so when we could, we mostly resorted to that to equivocate a touchpad all together.

2018 Lexus LC 500 interior overview

As pretentious inside as out

There was simply no approach around conceptualizing an interior as beautiful as a LC’s exterior. Lexus did. The cockpit looks and feels like collateral “L” oppulance ought to. With a instrument panel’s latest chronicle of skinny film transistor (TFT) arrangement technology—introduced in a Lexus LFA supercar, including a relocating executive ring—the unconditional lines of a dashboard mix beautifully into a contoured doorway panels. The leather-wrapped cocoon feeling is unique, even for sporty coupes. Titanium-toned steel elements demeanour sleek and rich, and beside a customary 10.3-inch TFT infotainment arrangement is a transparent row covering a black one ornate with hundreds of tessellated “L” logos that is distinguished and superb to contend a least.

An engaging component is that driver’s and passenger’s doors are not counterpart images of any other. The passenger’s has an additional squeeze hoop that mimics a one on a core console, giving that chairman double-fisted fresh event to stay in place. Not that one needs a handles since a seats are not usually unusually comfortable, though are also unusually understanding as well. The construction of them is surprising in that a seatback leather covers a over a shoulder area and afterwards wraps around a chair back. The outcome is roughly like a leather hammock, and it is amazing. Although they will some-more expected be used for dry cleaning, a behind seats are rather comfortable, too. Expectedly parsimonious on headroom, there’s some-more legroom behind there (32.0-32.5 inches) than, say, in a BMW 6 Series (30.5 inches) though not utterly as most as in a BMW 6 Series Gran (4-door) Coupe (35.3 inches). Neither a Mercedes-Benz SL nor a Aston Martin Vantage yield a behind seat.

The goods

Highlights of customary apparatus on both LC models embody adjustable, adaptive suspension, 20-inch fake amalgamate wheels, run-flat summer tires, a glass-panel roof, intelligent high-beam LED headlights, LED taillights, a 12-speaker Pioneer approximate sound system, navigation, and a Lexus Safety System+ consisting of a precollision warning/auto braking with walking detection, all-speed energetic journey control, and lane-departure warning with (light) keep assist. The LC 500 is labelled during $92,995, and a LC 500h is during $97,505.

To a LC 500, a Performance Package with Carbon ($10,000) combined variable-ratio steering, active behind steering, active behind spoiler, a full Alacanara headliner, CO sill plates, and eight-way energy competition seats. This costly package also includes a otherwise-$7,000 Sport package with Carbon that consists of a CFRP roof, 21-inch wheels, Alcantara panels in a seats (heated and ventilated adult front), newcomer lumbar adjustment, front/rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitor, and a Torsen (mechanical) limit-slip differential. A head-up arrangement ($900) and pretty labelled 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound complement ($1,220) brought a sum to $105,115. Gulp. It’s a tiny nit to pick, though a blind-spot monitor, parking sensors, and eight-way tractable seats should be customary during this cost and a CO roof a no-cost option.

Our LC 500h had usually dual options: a head-up arrangement and a Touring Package ($4,000) that includes a Mark Levinson sound system, prejudiced Alcantara superstar (due to a potion roof), semianiline (premium) leather seats, headed/ventilated front seats with newcomer lumbar, blind-spot monitor, and parking sensors. Grand sum was $102,405.

2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h


Drive possibly a LC 500 or LC 500h opposite a time or dais competition them opposite their viewed competitors, and you’ll interpretation Lexus comes adult short—and it does if that’s your thing. This is no LFA inheritor and it wasn’t dictated to be. We have learned, however, that there is an LC F in a works, expected with a twin-turbo V-8 good for 600 hp on a way. As they lay today, there unequivocally are no like-to-like competitors to a 2018 Lexus LC 500/500h, four-seat grand furloughed oppulance coupes, during this moment. And that’s excellent with us.

Drive to Palm Springs, Aspen, Scottsdale, or a Hamptons, and unexpected a coded summary in a name of this long-legged grand furloughed automobile creates sense. It is a Luxury Coupe 5.00. (We wish hybrid were called a LC 350h since that’s what it is.) Despite their 20-21-inch wheels, brief sidewalls, and run-flat tires, a LC’s aluminum-intensive and adaptive cessation soaks adult bumps and thumps like a oppulance sedan does. Their buttery steering systems offer a comfortable, relaxed, if rather distant, feel of a highway as it glides underneath a car. Other than a tighter branch radius it provides, we’re not nonetheless assured a LC 500’s discretionary variable-ratio steering and rear-steer options combined or detracted from a pushing knowledge or were truly value a additional cost. The interior—infotainment paltry aside—is a fanciful place to spend time, possibly behind a circle or as a passenger. Sight lines by a front potion are grand, and a near-silent using during a infrequent shave (with a V-8 burbling compounding a pleasure) make these good grand tourers. Their trunks are immeasurable enough, their fuel ranges are immeasurable enough, and their sound systems are well-developed adequate to spin any highway outing into a genuine occasion.

Lexus has built a automobile for a well-heeled traveler who would rather expostulate and humour a hundreds of miles to arrive during a five-star hotel or chalet rather than humour airfield and let automobile lines. We get this car. We usually wish a opening numbers don’t get in a approach of we removing it too.

2018 Lexus LC 500
2018 Lexus LC 500h
Front-engine, RWD
Front-engine, RWD
Atkinson-cycle 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads
Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads, and 2 permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motors
DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
303.2 cu in/4,969 cc
210.9 cu in/3,456 cc

471 hp @ 7,100 rpm*
295 hp @ 6,600 rpm; and 100-hp (est) electric motors; 354 hp combined
398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
257 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm; and 150-lb-ft (est) electric motors; 350 lb-ft (est) combined
7,000 rpm
6,600 rpm
9.3 lb/hp
12.6 lb/hp
10-speed automatic
4-speed automobile + cont non-static auto
Multilink, curl springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, curl springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
Multilink, curl springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, curl springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
13.3-in vented disc; 12.1-in vented disc, ABS
13.3-in vented disc; 12.1-in vented disc, ABS
8.5 x 21-in; 9.5 x 21-in, fake aluminum
8.5 x 20-in; 9.5 x 20-in, fake aluminum
245/40R21 96Y; 275/35R21 99Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP
245/45R20 99Y; 275/40R20 102Y Bridgestone Turanza T005
113.0 in
113.0 in
64.2/64.4 in
64.2/64.4 in
187.4 x 75.6 x 53.0 in
187.4 x 75.6 x 53.0 in
34.8 ft
35.4 ft
4,370 lb
4,471 lb
36.8/32.2 in
37.2/32.5 in
42.0/32.5 in
42.0/32.0 in
56.5/48.9 in
56.5/48.9 in
5.4 cu ft
4.7 cu ft
1.9 sec
2.2 sec
13.2 sec @ 110.2 mph
14.0 sec @ 101.3 mph
114 ft
112 ft
0.94 g (avg)
0.88 g (avg)
24.7 sec @ 0.80 g (avg)
26.0 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)
1,300 rpm
1,200 rpm
8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee
8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee
4 yrs/50,000 miles
4 yrs/50,000 miles
6 yrs/70,000 miles
6 yrs/70,000 miles (8 yrs/100,000 miles hybrid comp/batteries)
4 yrs/Unlimited miles
4 yrs/Unlimited miles
21.7 gal
22.2 gal
18.9/30.0/22.7 mpg
31.3/36.9/33.6 mpg
16/26/19 mpg (est)
25/35/30 mpg (est)
211/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)
135/96 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)
1.00 lb/mile (est)
0.68 lb/mile (est)
Unleaded premium
Unleaded premium
*Power rise is over a indicated redline; fuel shutoff is during 7,200 rpm

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