Lexus’s stunning LC coupe, which starts at $92,995, is an impressive achievement in that it looks and feels as distinctive and special as you might hope for a car approaching $100K. This seductive coupe offers an enticing blend of high style, performance, comfort and luxury.
The LC500h hybrid features a gas-electric drivetrain using an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 and two electric motors, which is 354 hp for the total system. It combines the V-6 with a pair of electric motors through a transmission that is essentially two gearboxes in one. It incorporates both a two-motor hybrid continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an Aisin four-speed automatic to broaden the hybrid operating range. The hybrid’s combined/city/highway EPA ratings of 30/26/35 mpg are considerably higher than the V-8’s 19/16/26 figures.
All of this hybrid complexity adds up to a hefty curb weight of 4521 pounds for the LC500h, 143 pounds more than the LC500 and only 62 pounds less than a Honda Odyssey minivan. As expected, this hampers the LC500h’s acceleration, with the zero-to-60-mph sprint taking 4.8 seconds, 0.2 second slower than the LC500, and the quarter-mile coming in at 13.6 seconds at 103 mph compared with the V-8’s 13.0 seconds at 112 mph. However acceleration from Lexus’ Multi-Stage Hybrid system is punchy and immediate and you would be very hard pressed to be able to tell the difference.
On a brighter note the cars responses are crisp and eager to change direction, with sharp turn-in from the nicely weighted steering. The cars structure feels extraordinarily stiff and has enough compliance that the ride is incredibly civilized, even in the stiffer Sport mode.
As impressive as the powertrain is, it is the cars cabin that yields the most impassioned responses from passengers. From the seats to the headliner, nearly every surface is draped in supple leather or suede. The penchant for high-quality materials even travels down to smaller details, such as the paddle shifters made of magnesium and the hand-trimmed shift knob. The interior truly is a work of art.
My only real complaints about the interior are the pair of nominal rear seats, Lexus would be better off deleting these in favor of a nicely upholstered cargo area to supplement the minuscule 4.7 cubic foot trunk which barely holds standard carry-on bags.
The hybrid starts $4,500 higher than the V8 at $96,510. The test car that we tested was equipped with several performance-enhancing options, including $1440 for 21-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S001L run-flat tires, a $390 limited-slip differential, and the $5960 Performance package that brings a carbon-fiber roof, an active rear spoiler, rear-wheel steering, and variable-ratio steering that pushed the bottom line out to $108,360 including delivery on this example.
When I first drove the Lexus LC500h, I came away with the impression that it was an incredibly striking and surprisingly engaging grand tourer, I just wish I could take larger bags for a weekend away.