Every manufacturer has a Halo car, and for Lexus, it’s the LC 500. Toyota’s premium brand may be best known for producing luxury sedans and serious crossovers, but the LC is something entirely different. It’s fast and gorgeous, and in addition to the coupe, the LC 500 is now available as a convertible.
- Excellent design inside and out
- Silky smooth V8 engine
- Quiet for a convertible
I do not like
- Infotainment is difficult to use
- Very little cargo space
- It needs more power from the line
Regardless of body style, the LC is an observer. My tester is covered in a lovely shade of red paint, which is arguably the most gorgeous lipstick on this side of Mazda’s Soul Red. Lexus’s pivot grille doesn’t look bad in this application, and I love how the distinct shape of the headlight is echoed in the taillights. From front to back, the LC is stunning.
There are also performances in support of that style, mostly. The LC uses a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine with 471 horsepower and 398 foot-pounds of torque, and Lexus claims this convertible can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. But when I hit the accelerator, I just feel hesitation. I want the LC 500 to jump off the line, but you have to give it a second for the engine to spin at the heart of its power range.
Once you are up and moving, however, the LC is a total blast. The 10-speed automatic transmission is happy to let the engine run high in its rev range, only shifting up when it nearly touches the red line. The brakes have a linear braking feel and power, giving me the confidence to brake late before diving into corners. The transmission shifts down preemptively, making sure I’m in perfect gear for maximum attack out of corners.
Despite its 4,540-pound curb weight, the LC is very agile, eager to launch into corners with plenty of grip available from Michelin Pilot Sport ZP tires (wrapped around 21-inch forged alloy wheels). Even though these are runflats, Michelins don’t have that hard feel common with this type of tire. My tester also has the optional Torsen limited slip differential, which helps this rear-wheel drive behemoth spin around corners. The LC is incredibly well balanced without even a hint of oversteer.
The EPA rates the 2021 LC 500 Cabriolet at 15mpg in the city, 25mpg on the highway, and 18mpg combined. Despite my heavy right foot, I managed to see 20.2mpg during a week of testing.
With the four-layer convertible top, road and wind noises are minimized. But when I want to let the sun in, the roof folds down in 15 seconds and can be operated while driving at speeds of up to 50km / h. Oh, and FYI, the top control button is hidden under the palm rest for infotainment controls. I went absolutely crazy trying to find this; there’s no way to know it’s there.
As with most convertibles, the top mechanism cuts through the storage space, leaving the Lexus LC with just 3.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is barely enough for two soft-sided travel bags. You’ll likely put them in the back seat, which is fine, since most adults should never attempt to sit there.
With the top down on a sunny day, it occurs to me that the cooled seat settings are buried in the infotainment controls, which is annoying as hell. I would also like the seat neck vents to supply cold and hot air.
Speaking of infotainment, this may be the LC’s most noticeable Achilles heel. Enform multimedia technology is housed on a 10.3-inch screen, controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Lexus says the pad should work like a smartphone, with tap, swipe and pinch-to-zoom controls. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to use, especially on the go. It’s easy to swipe between the icons, the graphics are dated and the whole thing should just be discarded. The LC doesn’t have Lexus’ new touchscreen yet, but at least, and Amazon Alexa are standard. Other standard technologies include blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance, precollision braking and adaptive full speed cruise control.
The 2021 LC 500 Convertible starts at $ 102,175 including $ 1,075 for the destination. My tester goes a little further with a number of options, including updated wheels, a head-up display, and some accessories, for $ 113,320 as tested.
Problem is, I’m not sure what the LC 500 is trying to be. It’s not a sports car like the Porsche 911, but it’s not accommodating enough to be a grand tourer like a BMW 8 Series. this strange “interpolation space”. But damn if that good looks doesn’t make it compelling regardless.