Review: Lexus LC (2017)

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Striking design always gets attention. V8 engine in LC 500 sounds thunderous. Forgiving ride quality makes it a comfortable GT car. 10-speed automatic actually works very effectively.

Hybrid version isn't as fun as the LC 500.

Lexus LC (2017): At A Glance

Well we didn't expect this. Yes we've driven fast Lexus models before - like the RC F - but while they're powerful, they've also ultimately been flawed and hampered by slow-witted gearboxes and underwhelming handling.

But the LC is different. Very different. This is a new breed of Lexus models that showcases the future of the brand. Which goes someway to explaining the not inconsiderable price tag of more than £75k. This is the Lexus 'flagship luxury coupe' after all and uses a new platform which will form the basis of a raft of forthcoming models from Lexus. 

The design is stunning too. This is one car that gets noticed everywhere you go. Yes, we know style is subjective, but just look at it. The LC is one striking coupe. The inside is also impressive. It feels modern, high quality and there are no leftover Toyota bits either. It too looks good.

It may be a high performance car but the LC also comes as a hybrid. Which seems odd, but this is a Lexus after all. The LC 500h is the first car to use the new Lexus multi-stage hybrid system, designed to give more torque and usable power. 

Alongside that is the LC 500 - priced the same as the hybrid. It's powered by a thumping big 5.0-litre V8 engine - there are no turbochargers here - but it still possesses 477PS and will knock out 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds. It also has a 10-speed automatic gearbox, which sounds like it would be a nightmare, but actually works with great proficiency.

But it's the euphonious sound of the V8 which stands out. The LC 500 sounds colossal, with a compelling rumble on start up. Work your way through the revs - which is all too easy - and you're met with a thunderous roar. It's one of the best sounding cars there is.

The LC is not all just about the engine though. There's the handling for a start. The steering has a wonderful precision to it and while you're always aware that this is a front-engined rear-wheel drive car, it offers so much traction and grip that it never feels intimidating.

So where does the LC sit amongst the competition? Well for similar money you can get a BMW M6 or a Jaguar F-Type with the supercharged V6 engine. To be fair, you wouldn't say no to either of those given the opportunity, but the LC just has that something extra that makes it feel that bit more special.

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What does a Lexus LC (2017) cost?

List Price from £78,150
Buy new from £72,491

Lexus LC (2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4770 mm
Width 1920 mm
Height 1345 mm
Wheelbase 2870 mm

Full specifications

Lexus interiors have always been a bit of a mixed bag, with a bit too much Toyota included for our liking. And they've never been particularly modern either. Strange for a brand that is at the forefront of hybrid technology. But that all changes with the LC.

This is a cabin that looks and feels like it belongs in a car as striking and as impressive as the LC. Yet it has a bit of character too. This is no bland execution of a sports car interior - yes it's minimal, but it also has a charm that is often missing in Lexus cars.

Things like the Alcantara upholstery that comes with the Sport package help of course, especially when chosen in a dark red or caramel brown. Well, we like it anyway. The driving position is pretty much perfect with a low slung seat and a high central tunnel that makes this feel like a bona fide sports car.

As well as the usual precision finish and high quality we've come to expect from Lexus, there's actually some sense of style inside too. The minimal layout and features like the sculpted door handles give it a lounge feel, akin to something you'd find in a Volvo.

But there's more to it than just design though. The LC gets a lot right with things like the neat hand-finished gear lever - which just requires a gentle nudge to get in into gear - close to the steering wheel. The instrument cluster is simple and clear, plus it can be adapted - the best looking version has a big rev counter in the middle with the digital speedo at its centre.

It gets the basics right too. This may be a high performance sports car but the seats are still comfortable as well as supportive. Go for the Sport Package and you'll get sports seats with bigger side bolsters.

Lexus has introduced a new generation Remote Touch Interface touchpad. The system still isn't great and it does feel a bit like you're trying to operate a 15-year-old PC, but the large high resolution screen on the dash looks great and the menus have been smartened up to make the whole thing a bit more useable.

Practicality is unlikely to be a huge priority if you're after an LC but it still has a half decent boot which seems bigger than the 197 litres suggest (172 litres in the LC 500h) and you can, we're assured, fit in a set of golf clubs too. There are back seats - of sorts - which you can at least get a child seat in.

Standard equipment from launch:

LC 500 and LC 500h comes with 20-inch cast alloy wheels, a glass roof with sunshade, LED lights front and rear, rain-sensing wipers and power door mirrors with autofolding and reverse tilt functions, Lexus’s Climate Concierge system with nanoe technology to maintain optimum air quality and temperature, semi-aniline leather-upholstered front seats that are electrically adjustable and have integrated heating and ventilation functions, Lexus Premium Navigation with a 12-speaker Pioneer audio system, DVD player and 10.25-inch display, LFA-style meters with a central moving ring and an eight-inch colour TFT multi-information display, aluminium sports pedals, an auto-dimming, frameless rear-view mirror, LED cabin lighting and draped Alcantara door trims are also standard.

The Sport Package adds sports front seats, Alcantara upholstery, carbon fibre roof and 21-inch forged alloy wheels. The Sport + Package further equips the LC with an active rear spoiler, carbon fibre scuff plates, Alcantara headlining and cabin trim and Lexus Dynamic Handling with Rear Steering, Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Torsen limited-slip differential.

There are just three equipment options: the 13-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Product audio system, a colour head-up display and metallic paint.

Child seats that fit a Lexus LC (2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Lexus LC (2017) like to drive?

We can't really start talking about driving the LC until we talk about the noise. Well, the noise of the LC 500 at least. The LC is powered by a hefty 5.0-litre V8 which sounds even better than you'd imagine. Most cars with a V8 make a pretty good sound, but the LC is really quite something.

There's a deep rumble on start up and when you're pottering around, but open it up and the sound is superb. There are few cars that make you feel this good just with the sound of the engine and exhaust. It's truly an immense experience. 

There's more to the LC 500 than just noise and power though. Although it's not short of the latter, with the V8 producing 477PS and no less than 540Nm. That's good for a theoretical 0-62mph time of just 4.4 seconds which is 0.2 seconds shy of a BMW M6 Coupe if you're counting.

Lexus also offers a hybrid version - the LC 500h. This gets the familiar 3.5-litre V6 Lexus engine but with a new lithium ion battery which is smaller and lighter than the nickel-metal hydride unit used in previous Lexus hybrids like the RX. 

Crucially, the LC 500h also debuts the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System, designed to give more responsive performance and increased power when pulling away. Hence why it still manages 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds. 

While it gains speed effortlessly, the LC 500h isn't as fun to drive as the V8 version and while incredibly advanced, it lacks the dramatic and exciting feel of its 5.0-litre counterpart, partly down to the CVT gearbox and the lack of noise. Put it this way, if you bought a 500h you'd always be jealous of anyone with a standard 500.

But the LC isn't merely about going fast in a straight line. Because it's actually quite the revelation when it comes to handling. Performance Lexus models, like the GS F, have often been flawed in this respect, but the LC is a different breed.

Despite a not inconsiderable kerbweight of two tonnes, the LC handles with surprising agility and is not an intimidating or difficult thing to drive. True, the sheer width of the thing - and the fact you're low down - means that tight lanes are not especially easy to navigate, but on an open road, the LC is a wonderful sports car.

Push the LC a bit too fast into a corner and you'll find it forgiving. There are huge amounts of grip from the front tyres and strong traction from the rear wheels. That's helped by a limited-slip differential which works with the traction control system (what Lexus labels VSC) to keep everything in check. Fortunately it's not an intrusive system.

The LC 500 comes with a new 10-speed automatic gearbox. Which we agree sounds excessive. We remember when having five speeds was a novelty. It does actually work really well though and isn't as busy as you'd imagine. Helped by the fact that the top three gears are pretty much exclusively for motorway cruising and there seems to be little difference between them.

The close ratios of the 10-speed box mean you won't find yourself waiting for the engine to reach its peak power band. Instead the super quick shifts mean the LC is always eager to accelerate, should you want to. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
LC 500 24 mpg 4.7 s 263–267 g/km
LC 500h 43–44 mpg 5.0 s 145–148 g/km

What Cars Are Similar To The Lexus LC (2017)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Performance car and Coupe.

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