The introduction of the new Lexus LC luxury coupe is a milestone moment in the history of the brand, illustrating our dedication to create cars that deliver amazing experiences through exciting, emotional designs and exhilarating performance.
That’s what we feel. But don’t just take our word for it. What you read below are direct quotations from the first independent road tests by UK journalists. Their reviews covered both the LC 500 and LC 500h models and were published after the recent world launch in Seville, Spain.
The publications are listed in alphabetical order and you can click on the bold type to be taken through to the full online review. Where applicable, the fraction represents the author’s score.
Autocar – 4.5/5
“What’s going on with Lexus?” The answer is a not so quiet revolution, and it reaches something of a crescendo with the launch of this sports car-cum-GT, available with V8 or hybrid power.
The result is really rather delicious at pace. In normal, fast road driving, there is a delicacy to the steering that’s quite addictive. Aided by the rear wheel movement, there’s a confidence-inspiring sense that the back of the car is moving not only in co-ordination with the front but also to its benefit, which is quite refreshing if you’ve spent time in big-engined German rivals. It brakes quickly and confidently, too, even when you stand on the pedal, and it’s just wonderfully easy to find a rhythm.
The LC feels alive in a way no Lexus bar the LFA has before.
Auto Express – 4/5
Sometimes the use of new-fangled technology can detract from the driving experience. But that’s not the case with the new Lexus LC 500h. It’s a great grand tourer, and borders on being a good sports car. The hybrid engine and innovative CVT gearbox might not be a traditional approach to this type of car, but techies will love it. And with the usual Lexus attributes of quality, refinement and comfort, it’s an exciting pointer to Lexus’s future.
CAR – 4/5
When you lift to slow for a corner, the Lexus blips its throttle theatrically and shifts down, making you sound like a heel-and-toe hero. You can take control yourself with the paddle shift override too: the changes feel as snappy as a dual-clutch ’box’s. This is a captivating new transmission.
The same positivity extends to the… chassis. The range-topping Sports+ LC 500 features a limited-slip differential and rear wheel steering, where the rear tyres pivot in the opposite direction to the front to accentuate turn-in; at high speeds they turn in harmony with the forward rubber to boost stability.
Mid-corner bumps are suavely brushed off by the stiff, multi-link rear suspension. It’s a really nicely balanced chassis: plenty of front-end grip, accompanied by lots of rear-wheel drive feel – it’s clear that both ends are working in unison as you scythe through fast sweepers.
Lexus LC: Click here to read the full CAR review
Evo – 4/5
Here’s the good news: the LC 500 is really rather good – in a grand tourer rather than 911 kind of way. Circuits and road-biased GT cars aren’t always happy bedfellows, but the V8 makes a decent fist of the twists, turns and… straights.
Keep the revs high and the engine punches you nicely out of the tighter corners, while the soundtrack gets increasingly intoxicating as the revs rise. Away from the track, the LC’s GT promise shines brighter. The chassis provides a good balance between being reactive and alert and cossetting like all good GTs should.
Drive is to the rear wheels via a ten-speed (yes, ten-speed) direct-drive auto gearbox. The first nine gears are more equally spread than usual for more rhythmic shifting, and sure enough you can quickly punch through the gears with very little kick as the ratios swap. The final tenth acts as an overdrive to calm everything down when cruising.
Lexus LC: Click here to read the full Evo review
The V8-engined model is truly a bit special, chiefly for the fluency with which you can make progress. Dwell on that for a moment, because it’s quite a landmark statement to make about a Lexus and exactly what they were aiming for when they made this car.
The looks might be the natural place to start talking about the Lexus LC. But the drive will stick in your consciousness just as long.
Top Gear – 7/10
The LFA proved there was a mad streak buried deep in the company; LC proves it wasn’t a flash in the pan.
With the electric motor chiming in (LC 500h model), acceleration from a standstill… is punchy – useful if you spend your time stop-start driving around town. Leave the gearbox in auto and it does a better job at staying in the torque band than our ham fists could manage.
Right from the off it’s clear the LC 500 is a different proposition. The gearbox [is] a brand-new, ten-speed torque-converter auto that’s comparable in size and weight to the GS F’s eight-speed ’box, but with the benefits of shorter gearing and more even spacing between the ratios. And it’s a triumph.
Wind up the V8, feel it kick a bit harder past 4,000rpm, then hold your nerve as it charges with building intensity all the way to the 7,300rpm limiter. It doesn’t bludgeon you with its performance, this engine. Keep it in Sport + mode, though, turn the ESP off completely and there’s a thug waiting to get out.