2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review A few years ago, I had an epiphany on a Saturday morning while attending the mega Cars and Coffee in Irvine, California-an event that grew so big that it at some point had to be shut down. After perusing actually hundreds of automobiles, every little thing from daily-driven enthusiast fare towards the most recent supercars, with a car-guy buddy of mine who in the time worked for Toyota, we each realized that there wasn’t a single Toyota or Lexus. This would appear to be an issue for all those brands.

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review

Toyota president Akio Toyoda wasn’t there, but he would agree with that assessment, as he’s on record stating that the long-term accomplishment for the Toyota and Lexus brands needs going beyond smooth, quiet, and comfortable A-to-B transportation. The business as a complete demands aspirational vehicles that inspire passion and cast a shadow of excellence more than the two brands. In fact, Toyoda-san has created it his personal mission to prevent the word “boring” from coexisting ever again within a sentence with “Lexus.” If the new LC, which stands for Luxury Coupe, is an indicator of factors to come, we’d say he’s nicely on his strategy to succeeding.

Mere minutes into our drive on the LC500 around the sinuous and really well-maintained back roads of southern Spain was all it took to possess one more epiphany: There’s actual road texture being transmitted through the well-shaped and expertly finished steering wheel. It is a much-desired quality which has been disappearing in the wake of electrically assisted energy steering and misguided neutering billed as progress.

The mission to create exciting cars could bode effectively for the brand’s capability to court enthusiasts going forward, and it also portends excellent items for the new LS sedan, which will ride on a larger version of the LC’s all-new front-engine, rear-wheel-drive architecture, dubbed GA-L (for International Architecture-Luxury). And also the company promises an improved focus on dynamics across the lineup going forward, even though that doesn’t necessarily imply Lexus is aiming to become probably the most athletic in every segment.

LC chief engineer Koji Sato is a former chassis engineer, so perhaps the higher priority he locations on steering isn’t all that surprising. And he was utterly flabbergasted when we pointed out that other automakers, including BMW, have told us that steering feedback has been deliberately diminished simply because that is what some clients want. Sato-san refers for the LC as a “back to basics” vehicle. A lot work was expended to nail the fundamentals, and he and his group have mainly succeeded. The front suspension is really a double-ball-joint (each upper and decrease) multilink style really equivalent to Audi’s most current, having a five-link setup at the rear. The opposed-piston brake calipers on both axles do a superb job of hauling the LC down from higher speeds. There was much work to lessen weight and lower the center of gravity. 

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review - Interior:

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review

Engineers also cut mass in the extremities to diminish the polar moment of inertia for improved rotational response. This includes the usage of aluminum for the hood, front fenders, and door skins, with all the inner panels on the doors and trunk created from carbon-fiber-reinforced sheet-molding compound (that is the random-oriented fiber stuff, not the neatly entwined weave). There’s also an optional carbon-fiber roof (with all the weave). Around the exterior, only the deep-draw rear fenders are rendered in steel. Underneath, the front suspension is forged aluminum, as well as the front shock towers are cast aluminum. Nonetheless, the LC500 comes in at a rather heavy 4300 pounds, according to Lexus, together with the LC500h hybrid adding an added 150. That roughly matches the slightly bigger and significantly less sophisticated V-8-powered BMW 650i. And these pounds are also front heavy, with a claimed 54/46 percent front-to-rear weight distribution for the V-8 and 52/48 for the hybrid.

Nevertheless, the LC feels alive when pushed difficult around the road. We’ve already talked about the steering, and although its effort is on the light side at highway speeds, it imparts a all-natural confidence when hustling down wriggling roads. The suspension is tied down, there’s tiny physique roll, along with the LC transitions athletically. Although a variable-ratio rack and rear-wheel steering are obtainable collectively as an optional bundle, we’d skip them, because the base setup felt excellent. One more strike against the so-called active steering is the way the LC’s rear finish breaks loose at the limit, which feels unnatural; although the LC isn’t a track car, nor do we feel it ought to be, Lexus had us understeer the LC around a circuit anyway. It wasn’t that the LC was uncontrollable, but we suspect its variable-steering hardware had anything to do with its lack of yaw-response communication as the rear finish reaches its limits. We didn’t get the possibility to drive a auto with out it on track to verify that theory.

We ought to note that these dynamic comments and compliments apply equally for the hybrid model too, since Lexus has taken the uncommon strategy of engineering the LC hybrid to be as comparable as you can for the traditional car. Both LCs wear the same 20- or 21-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires-no efficiency-oriented low-rolling-resistance rubber here-and the hybrid retains the prominent tachometer and also the large magnesium shift paddles. The hybrid powertrain has been substantially altered to mimic the traditional 10-speed automatic within the V-8, as well, and it starts using the basic creating blocks in the GS450h: an Atkinson-cycle three.5-liter V-6 connected to the common Toyota/Lexus hybrid technique, with two electric motor/generators plus a planetary gearset acting as a pseudo CVT. The V-6 was selected alternatively on the 438-hp V-8 hybrid hardware in the LS600h so that, as opposed to the LS, the hybridized LC would have a meaningful fuel-economy benefit.

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review - Features:

2018 Lexus LC500 / LC500h Review

The LC’s hybrid method, however, has a four-speed automatic transmission appended for the back of it. This enables for more electric help at lower vehicle speeds, and it enables the program to operate together with the engine off at higher speeds of as much as 87 mph. But here’s how it gets ten speeds: The original CVT-esque component in the equation jumps amongst three fixed ratios, which are then combined with the 1st 3 downstream gears in the traditional automatic to create ratios one by way of nine. Tenth gear makes use of the final ratio from the automatic and may be the only time the hybrid bits operate as a CVT. Combined energy output is 354 horsepower, an increase of 16 compared using the GS450h, despite the fact that 9 horsepower of that comes from revisions towards the V-6. (For a deeper take a look at the hybrid program, head here.)

In addition for the steering, Lexus nailed the booming V-8 sound. Powered by the identical five.0-liter V-8 that is within the GS F along with the RC F, the LC500’s is up a few horsepower, to 471. With the assist of a tube running among the intake manifold and the firewall plus flaps within the exhaust-but no electronically developed noise-the cabin is positively filled with nigh-on-perfect V-8 frequencies. The sound swells appropriately with engine speed but isn’t overbearingly loud. The march toward turbocharging has produced reaching memorable sound much more tough, which makes the LC500’s naturally aspirated roar even more of a standout. Playing this V-8 opus can be a rapid-fire new Aisin 10-speed automatic. It’s not as quick-shifting as a dual-clutch gearbox, and we also knowledgeable a number of low-speed shift bobbles, but gear swaps are about as swift as they come for standard automatics, and upshifts are punctuated using a satisfying pop in the exhaust. Paddle-requested downshifts, too, are exceptionally swift.

Unfortunately, sound is where the hybrid loses the plot line. Unlike the V-8, it does employ electronic enhancement, and its artificial moaning is additional amplified in Sport S+ mode. It’s also down 117 horsepower compared using the V-8. Does anybody looking to commit roughly $100,000 on a two-door fashion statement care regarding the LC500h’s potential 50 % fuel-economy advantage if it means sacrificing the V-8’s sound and functionality? Lexus claims that the transmission arrangement tends to make the hybrid only a few tenths of a second slower to 60 mph, but at higher speeds, the efficiency gap felt considerably wider. Plus, the hybrid’s pseudo 10-speed slurs its shifts, which are not practically as satisfying as those on the V-8’s automatic. And EV-only variety, as is standard for Toyota and Lexus hybrids, continues to be minuscule, with the slightest prod in the throttle typically causing the engine to fire up.

So exactly where does the LC fit in? There’s not that considerably dimensional selection inside the luxury-coupe globe. Following all, the wheelbase inside the Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe is just four.1 inches longer than that of the two-sizes-smaller C-class coupe. At 113.0 inches, the Lexus LC’s wheelbase roughly splits those from the Benzes. However, its all round length is much closer to that from the C-class and more than ten inches shorter than the S, which assists to explain the LC’s paltry trunk space; at 5 cubic feet, it is half that of the massive Mercedes. And Lexus says that back-seat space isn't a concern for possible consumers. The design and style undoubtedly is not as classically lovely as that of the S-class coupe, but the aggressively creased style language that appears hopelessly overdone around the Lexus RX crossover performs here, thanks in no little component to the coupe’s excellent proportions. The interior style is adventurous, with flowing sweeps over the door panels and through the center console. The base seats are heavily bolstered, and also the optional microsuede-trimmed upgrade versions are a lot more so. But we wonder if each seats may possibly fit a bit as well tightly for luxury-coupe clientele, and they've surprisingly couple of adjustments: no bolster or thigh-control adjustment and only two-way lumbar. The LC is really a much more dynamic grand touring alternative to the S-class or 6-series coupes, but it is not nearly as dynamically fabulous as a Porsche 911-and it is roughly 1000 pounds heavier.

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