As a dedicated performance vehicle enthusiast, there are certain cars that just stop you in your tracks the first (and every) time you see them. One such car is the 2019 Lexus LC500, which Lexus describes as the “most passionate expression” of their brand. While already a year into its release, this work of art still looks as fresh and exciting as its first unveiling as a concept car turned reality in 2016. Largely inspired by the Lexus super car, the LFA, the LC500 is as grand a coupe as you may ever experience. From the signature mesh grill to the bulging rear fenders, the LC500 achieves one very important thing that all manufactures strive for: It is strikingly different. This is exemplified by unique styling cues, such as the chrome-plated moldings that were designed to call to mind a sharp Japanese sword, and taillights that were designed to give off the glow of a jet’s afterburners at night.
One of my favorite quotes is “Fortune favors the bold” and this chiseled sculpture is about as bold as they come. The best part is that its bark is as strong as its bite. The LC500 features the same 5.0 Liter V8 used in Lexus’ F-Sport line of high-performance vehicles, which includes the RC-F coupe and LC-F sport sedan. Pumped up to 471 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque, the LC500 is good for an effortless 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph while still knocking off 25 mpg on the highway. This is all courtesy of a 10-speed transmission and a large focus on weight balance and low center of gravity to help achieve incredible handling through an adaptive variable suspension while still achieving a “grand touring” ride. Lexus also offers a hybrid version called the LC500h which features a 3.5 V6 engine, two electric motors, up to 35 mpg and still a stunning level of performance (4.7 seconds 0-60 and top speed of 155 mph).
To go with the LC500’s theme of luxury, comfort and performance, the LC500 features an active exhaust with special focus on a full-throated start-up sound, so it will grab the immediate attention of your performance-minded friends yet has several different modes, so you can keep it classy at the appropriate moments.
Lexus had a goal of creating the ideal grand touring coupe cabin: a balance between what Lexus likes to describe as “function and comfort, sporting intent and luxury.” The Lexus LC hits that note with an intuitive layout and an optimal seating position that sets the stage for spirited driving. The design places the driver’s hip point as close as possible to the car’s center of gravity, where feedback from the vehicle is the most communicative to the driver. Sitting in the LC500, you will instantly notice the understated design of its low hood-line and instrument panel position, all part of the Lexus master design of a low seating position creating the epitome of form and function. Well known for the highest-quality interior materials, this Lexus does not disappoint. The flowing lines of the door panels also serve as an extension of an exterior line that flows from the hood and through the windshield to build a sense of continuity between inside and out.
As you might expect, convenience and technology are at a high point in the LC500, with all controls designed to be in easy reach of its pilot. Standard acoustics—aside from the amazing sound of the V8 engine—are a 12-speaker Pioneer surround-sound system, with an optional Mark Levinson 915-watt 13-speaker upgrade. New for 2019 are Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa capabilities that work in harmony with a 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display, which also handles your necessary climate adjustments and a next-generation voice-activated navigation system.
Options for the LC500 aside from the Mark Levinson sound system include a carbon fiber reinforced roof panel for a sportier look, 21-inch upgraded wheels (20-inch wheels are standard), Intuitive Parking Assist, and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCT). You may also opt for the Performance Package that includes Active Rear Steering, Variable Gear-Ratio Steering (VGRS), speed-activated rear wing, Alcantara headliner, and carbon fiber door scuff plates.
As an extension of Lexus’ dedication to the performance aspects of the LC500, Lexus has offered High Performance Driving Schools for its customers featuring driving legend Scott Pruett. So far, these schools have been at four race tracks in the country including, most recently, at Daytona International Speedway. Be sure to take your own virtual test drive right here, or in person through our friends at Lexus of North Miami.
The 2019 Lexus LC500 and LC500h
Estimated base price: LC500 $92,200 / LC500h $96,710
Body style: 2-door coupe
Power: 471hp / 354hp (Hybrid)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive wheels: Rear wheel Drive
Fuel economy: 16 city / 25 highway (26/35 Hybrid)