2018 Lexus LC 500

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Almost everything about Lexus’ new flagship coupes screams “irresistible.” Inspired by the 2012 LF-LC concept car, the LC 500 and LC 500h hybrid have presence and savoir-faire that are nearly off the charts. At the recent media introduction of the all-new Lexus LC500 on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Lexus executives made it abundantly clear that their objective is for the words “boring” and Lexus never to be used in the same sentence.

The new LC has set a new demarcation that clearly separates the brand’s future design language from the past. Don’t just take my word for it, ask those who slowed down and hung out their car windows snapping photos of it. Or the gawkers who asked permission to snap a selfie along side. This is the future of modern automotive design, fully realized.

Styling begins with the best execution yet of Lexus’ signature “spindle” grille. Stacked triple LED Polaric Ellipsoid System headlamps about the size of a deck of playing cards are the most compact high-density design on any production car to date. Front fenders are nearly non-existent, with 20-inch wheels that nearly breach the dramatically long, wide and low hood.

The roof is entirely made of glass; the optional Sport+ package includes a carbon fiber roof, trunk lid and doorsills. Hood, front fenders and doors are aluminum, rear fenders are steel.

Out back, the cab-rearward monocoque gives way to muscular, flared rear haunches. The LED taillights employ a series of mirrors to create a 3D tunnel-like effect. It is eye candy from any angle.

Inside, the LC 500 is equally gorgeous, with a stitched leather dash and center console, leather seats with optional hand-sewn Alcantara inserts.

The LC is built on Lexus’s new front engine, rear drive global architectur
e that will also be used for the upcoming LS flagship sedan. The LC 500 is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter 471-horsepower V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission.

A push of the button brings to life the satisfying mellifluous exhaust notes. Performance, as expected, is fast, instantaneous and, of course, fun. Zero to 60 mpg takes just 4.5 seconds.

Handling is spectacular with a firmly sprung suspension. Twisty Hawai’ian mountain roads were handled confidently, with poise and assurance.

Lexus says just 400 units per month will be available when the LC 500 and LC 500h go on sale next month.

Vital Stats

Price: $92,000 - $104,000
Price as Tested: $98,000 (est.)
Seating: 4
Engine: 5.0-liter 471-horsepower V8 or 3.5-liter 354-horsepower V6 lithium-ion battery hybrid
Fuel Economy: 16-MPG City – 26 MPG Highway V8; 26-MPG City – 35 MPG Highway V6 hybrid

Competes With

BMW 650i Coupe
Jaguar F Type Coupe
Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

Fab Features

Gorgeous styling
Exhilarating performance

— Jim Prueter