What do you buy that special person in your life who has everything?
It’s actually quite easy, you just have to buy them something different. If they have a discerning eye and a pennant for sophistication, excitement and exhilaration (and you have a healthy bank balance), the Lexus LC 500 is definitely a much finer alternative to after-shave and socks for birthdays or Christmases.
First impression count and the Lexus LC 500 doesn’t so much attract admiring looks, it inspires 360˚ Beetlejuice like zombie head spins. I was surprised by how many people loved its style enough to come and personally tell me about it during my week test driving. Maybe some people are easily pleased, but if anything it could be a great way to meet new friends! It does look fantastic (especially in purest virgin white) and its relative unfamiliarity makes it even more special than a normal ‘supercar’. It’s certainly has a big presence – I parked next to an Audi R8 and the R8 looked positively teeny in comparison.
In the round the Lexus LC 500 works well by combining Lexus’s grown up attitude and sensibility with just a touch of the devil thrown in for good measure. From its 21″ forged alloy wheels to the V8 Atkinson engine nestled under the HUGE bonnet there’s no doubt it’s a beautiful piece of machinery. Press the large round ignition button the delightfully raspy growl greets you with a taste of things to come.
Fast Car / Slow Car
There is no launch control, that’s far too vulgar – but still, 0-62 mph takes exactly 5 seconds and the car has a very respectable top speed of 168mph. Luckily the onboard sat-nav system will tell you where the speed cameras are, otherwise Lexus would have to include 12 months of free legal advice with every purchase. Driving the car fast is fun if you can find a safe and legal place to do it, but that’s not always so easy
It’s a bit of a conundrum – in reality, driving a sports car in the UK means spending far more time going slowly than going fast and what with sports cars being sports cars, most just don’t really want to do that. Good news. With the LC 500 it’s not such a problem, I found myself enjoying driving the car just as much at lower speeds (ok, you can call it cruising), knowing that if the urge took me I could always take the pace up a notch (or ten).
With the roof down in the sunshine it’s an immensely pleasurable thing to do and when the chance does arrive to increase the speed and apply a more spirited pressure to the accelerator the car will take a deep breath and rear up like a stallion making your heart pump sufficiently faster in the process. Unlike some others of its ilk the LC 500 behaves nicely in normal driving situations and can also be driven every day without ending up in the ditch on the school run.
Space – the final frontier
Technically there are 2 rear seats, but legroom could be generously described as limited (or more accurately non existent). The interior is immaculately finished in red stitched leather throughout with beautiful but understated detailing and the sporty seats are very comfortable and multi-adjustable even if like me you are rather tall. Although it’s a lowish ride, you don’t have to be under 30 to get in and out easily. There is a small boot (149litres), just enough for a case or two of Bollinger, a Ryanair cabin bag or a handmade wicker picnic basket, depending on your preferences. The 4 layer power-operated soft top goes up and down in around 18 seconds, which is more than quick enough to do at the traffic lights. BTW did you see the video of where they put one into deep freeze (see below)? It’s good to know in case you accidentally park it in the fridge one night.
As mentioned before the LC 500 is a big car and it takes a more sure-footed style of driving. Despite the long bonnet and fairly short back it’s easy to find the measure of the car on the road, cornering at speed and overtaking with confidence is easy. The ride is on the firm side and the brakes are direct and measured. The 10-speed direct shift is so natural and flowing I barely used the steering wheel paddle shifts, meanwhile the car can run in 3 modes (sports / normal and eco) with the sports mode firming up the suspension and generally turning things up to 11. It’s probably great fun on a track, but not really needed for ‘normal’ every day use.
The car is full of state-of-the-art tech. Eg, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane assist etc, etc (it’s a long list – see below). The Eco setting will pay lip service to green sensibilities, but obviously, it’s not what you would call a ‘green’ car. The C02 emissions are (erm, cough) 275g/km, although the combined MPG is 24.1mpg which is better than many of its competitors and with a large 82 litre fuel tank you will visit the filling station less often than you might think.
It’s not the perfect car, the in-car infotainment system is good enough and the heads-up display is useful, but as any Lexus owners will know the dashboard touchpad thing is a bit clunky and the all new touchscreen system on the way will be a welcome addition to the next generation (as seen in the new Lexus NX). I generally plug in my phone these days anyway and Android Auto looks great on the wide screen, but navigating from one screen to the next is still a bit fiddly and requires more of your attention to be taken away from driving.
If you want a car that is both sensible and a bit crazy at the same time the LC 500 (esp the convertible) ticks both boxes and at the end of my week with the car I was genuinely sad to see it go. If you want to make waves at the golf club it has personality, presence and poise and just enough room for your clubs too
Lexus LC 500 Convertible Sport Plus Pack, price £96,625.00
Extras – 13-Speaker Mark Levinson Audio £1,000 Colour Head-up Display with Lexus Card Key £1,250
Engine Type Displacement (cc) V8 Atkinson Transmission
457bhp, 4,969cc, 8-cylinder, petrol-driven engine with 10-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 168mph
Combined MPG: 24.1
Insurance Group: 50
C02 emissions: 275g/km
Bik rating: 37%
SAFETY AND HANDLING
Lexus Safety System+ consisting of: Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beam
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert Adaptive Variable Suspension
Torsen limited slip differential
Rear performance damper
Auto-deploying roll-over bars
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Lexus Navigation: 10.3in display, DVD player, access to connected services, full European mapping, Street View, reversing camera
Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Adaptive instrument display with G sensor display
8in TFT colour multi-information display
Dual-zone climate control with nanoe technology and climate concierge
Rear wind deflector
Neck heater integrated in front seats
Sports front seats with leather upholstery and bolsters Tahara synthetic leather non-glare covering for door and pillar trims, sun visors, instrument panel, package tray and tonneau cover
LED headlights with Automatic High Beam and follow- me-home function
LED daytime running lights
LED cornering lights
Multi-LED turn indicators
LED rear combination lights
Heated, auto-dimming, auto-folding door mirrors with memory and reverse-tilt functions
4-layer power-operated soft top
Retractable rear spoiler
21in forged alloy wheels
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHTS AND VOLUMES
Overall length (mm) 4,770
Overall width 1,920 (without mirrors)
Overall height (mm) 1,350
Boot capacity (l) 149 Wheelbase (mm) 2,870
Kerb weight (kg) 2,035 – 2,055 Fuel tank capacity 82
Wheel size (inches) 21
NEW VEHICLE WARRANTY
3 year/60,000 – mile pan – European mechanical warranty; hybrid components 5 year/ 60,000 miles, 3-year paintwork warranty, 12- year anti-corrosion and perforation warranty, three year’s Lexus roadside assistance.
10,000 miles/annually whichever comes sooner
For more info visit www.lexus.co.uk