When you are behind the wheel of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible the experience of going down the road in one of those great motoring treats. I would consider it a truly traditional roadster, showcasing style, comfort and exclusivity. That is what the LC 500 Convertible is all about. Lexus admits the LC 500 exists chiefly as a halo model, to pique your interest in the brand. But that is central to its beguiling charm. You are hardly likely to spot another one, and when you do, you’ll share a knowing nod with your fellow LC 500 driver.
What sort of car is the Lexus LC 500 Convertible trying to be, exactly? With a naturally aspirated V8 up front, rear-wheel drive, a limited-slip diff, a short-ratio ten-speed gearbox and two flavors of Sport mode, clearly it is a sports car. However with such a hefty kerb weight (4500+ lbs) and an ease to get from point A to Point B, a luxury GT is probably a more apt description. For the 2021 model year, all LC 500’s get revised suspension settings and the V8 continues to develops a more than ample 471 hp and 398lb ft. Of course, when you fail to resist the temptation to uncork that V8, the response is gloriously instant and the power delivery seamless. The bark actually sounds optimal at middling revs – hauling from 3,000-5,000 revs is the honeyed sweet spot. Speaking of that ten-speed gearbox, downshifts happen quickly and are accompanied by throttle blips to eliminate any driveline jolts from upsetting the rear end. Of course an added benefit of those engine blips is the sound of the V-8.
Enthusiasts might long for something sportier, but in much the same way people don’t critique art in your home, no one who sees an LC 500 convertible will question your motives, honestly this kind of beauty needs no explanation.
The main cabin architecture is carried over from the LC 500 coupe, asymmetric door designs and all. The cabin certainly does elicit strong feelings if two of you are upfront and are both needing to find a place for your drink as only one cup holder is provided. As silly as this sounds this is a more common problem than you might think. We will say however the less said about the “back seats” the better, I mean sure it is a 2+2 but I am not sure who those +2 could possibly be for. There is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is the way to enjoy the 918-watt, 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system but you do have the Lexus-Alexa app on the 10.3″ infotainment system screen.
The seats are absolutely fabulous in their sensation of weightlessness, comfort, and are also incredibly supportive. The steering wheel is not overly thick, and like the seats it is covered in hide. A clear wind blocker discourages passing air from backtracking and blowing your hair straight forward and into your face. The climate control system keeps your desired temperature regardless of the position of the roof as it includes neck heaters and air targeted at the backs of your hands, when the top is down. Everything you touch sets the tone this is a car to be stroked along at a reasonable lick and just enjoying the experience.
The LC 500 is a delight to pour down a road. The steering has a beautifully pinpoint weighting that exactly matches the character of the drivetrain. You flow around the turns safe in the knowledge that the front end breaks traction before the rear, marveling at Lexus’s success in fitting 21-inch rims that don’t detract from the ride quality. It is even perfectly possible to hold a civilized conversation with the roof down at 70mph. The LC500 Convertible turns from top to drop in 16 seconds, at anything up to 31mph, however it is a little faster going the other way, closing in 15 seconds. The mechanism is beautiful to see in action and impressively hushed as it sets about its motorized dance. As you might expect the four-layer roof is thickly insulated and is a properly thorough soft-topping exercise. However, like any convertible cargo space is certainly limited as a result, 3.4 cubic feet, which is probably a good reason to have the compartment behind the front seats as an alternative.
The Lexus Safety System is significant and includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and PreCollision that detects pedestrians, more than enough technology to keep you safe.
This is a car built to elicit “ahhs” both from people who see it and the folks riding inside it. The LC 500 doesn’t get you to the destination as fast as most of its more expensive rivals will, but you will enjoy the journey a lot more. In the end the LC500 Convertible is a machine to be savored as very soon, they simply won’t be allowed to make them like this any more, so enjoy it while you can.