The Cuesta Grade humbles.
The steepest territory of a 101 Freeway in a state, it ribbons by a array of hilly rises only north of San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Econoboxes onslaught along in a distant right lane, their thrashing motors no compare for a 7 percent grade. Big rigs are forced to lift over to a side of a road, engines overheating amid a assault.
But in a Lexus LC500, a Cuesta Grade is zero some-more than another scenic byway, and a possibility to flourish a neat coupe’s supernatural power. Made in a mold of a classical grand tourer, a LC500 is a performance- and luxury-oriented float that seems ideal for a high-speed coastal jaunt.
Nevertheless, a four-seat Lexus suffers from an temperament predicament — one that could bewilder impending buyers of a automobile with a bottom cost of $92,200.
The LC500’s severely assertive styling indeed outpaces a opening capabilities. The looks say, “Flog me during a track,” yet a pushing dynamics say, “Take me on a highway outing by Santa Barbara booze country.” (I did neither, yet we did have a good lunch during Jocko’s Steakhouse, a Nipomo, Calif., haunt where all demeanour of beef is baked over an oak-burning array and a wood-paneled bar’s walls are dotted with big-game trophies.)
Launched in 2017, a LC500 is formed on a LF-LC, a judgment automobile from 2012 that incited heads on a entrance during a North American International Auto Show. What’s extraordinary about a LC500 is that it manages to keep a judgment car’s furious styling — an generously sculpted nose and a radically slim hothouse give it genuine presence. So often, such sum go by a wayside when a automobile is readied for production. Coming from a code famous for mostly creation composed if not intensely efficient cars, it’s a lovely turn.
The LC500 we gathering for a week cost $105,710, a outcome of several appendage features, including a limited-slip differential and a opening package that offers a CO fiber roof. These are equipment that advise a single-minded office of speed.
But that’s not how a rather portly, 4,280-pound coupe drives. The naturally aspirated V-8 puts out 471 horsepower, good for an estimated 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. It’s fast, of course, with a energy delivered linearly by a well-spoken 10-speed involuntary transmission. But rival vehicles from several German and other Japanese automakers are faster, and positively feel some-more lithe.
For a many enchanting experience, put a LC500 in Sport Plus mode, that sharpens engine response and tightens cessation and steering settings. In manumatic mode, changeable is rubbed around pleasing-to-the-touch magnesium paddles that rest behind a compress steering wheel, yet this is still no surrogate for rowing gears with a normal primer transmission, that is not offering here.
For that expostulate adult a 101, best to leave a automobile in Normal mode, omit a paddle shifters and watch a ancient ash trees fuzz by. A quibble: A automobile with a 10-speed delivery should broach improved than 19 miles per gallon combined.
Inside, Lexus nailed a grand tourer vibe: There are suave touches that intimate luxury, such as Alcantara-trimmed doorway panels that gracefully brush adult into a dashboard. And there are some adventurous choices, too, like a doorway handles, that aren’t set in informed bezels. But as with a exterior, there are touches that advise a single-minded goal of speed that a automobile doesn’t broach on — like a dual squeeze handles supposing for a passenger. There’s one in a core smoke-stack and another in a newcomer door, and they’re there, presumably, so that a copilot could take reason of them during assertive cornering. In practice, they are useless.
There aren’t many roughly $100,000 coupes that a LC500 could be compared to, yet we found dual fathomable alternatives to drive.
The Nissan GT-R, whose bottom cost is $99,990, provides supercar opening for a relations bargain: It accelerates to 60 mph in an estimated 2.9 seconds, eye-watering speed that typically costs a lot more.
Like a LC500, a GT-R is not offering with a primer transmission, requiring a use of paddle shifters if we wish to change gears yourself. But with a hard-edged dual-clutch delivery and all-wheel expostulate expertly routing 565 horsepower to a ground, changeable around a paddles is indeed unequivocally fun, and flattering addictive. (This is a large benefaction for a conventionalist like me.)
The GT-R we gathering was a reward version, and came given with additional oppulance facilities that sent a cost skyward to $119,885. Yes, this upgraded indication offers a hand-stitched interior; even still, a GT-R can’t contest with a LC500 in terms of refinement. But a indicate here is a opening — a GT-R knows accurately what it is, and it delivers.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe also knows accurately what it is — a normal grand tourer. The thing is, a Mercedes-Benz and a Nissan — that support to really opposite audiences — have a most improved clarity of what they are than a LC500. And that firm confluence to code DNA is a offered point. After all, intensity buyers gentle with a six-figure cost are expected to have intensely sold wants and desires when it comes to their rides.
No, we don’t consider buyers in this shred wish to compromise. They possibly wish a grand tourer, or not. And a LC500 is something in between, however able it might be.