The 2018 Lexus LC500 luxury coupe first appeared at the 2012 Detriot Auto Show and five years later the production model is soon heading to showrooms. This is one production car that is truly reminiscent of its concept, and it features a lot of performance technology to back up its futuristic vibe.
Lexus wants to draw in more customers to their vehicles emotionally rather than rationally. Lexus’s strategy to do that is three-fold with their new styling language, F Sport models, and more performance oriented options. That being said, the LC500 will definitely pull on your heartstrings.
The design is eerily close to the concept which is very rare. At the front, there is a large wire mesh grille that extends from the bottom of the bumper to the triple-pod LED headlights. The side profile features a classic coupe design with a long front hood, swooping rear air inlet, and wide rear fender arches. The design is in line with the Lexus styling theme and is immediately recognizable as a model in their lineup. Many would probably confuse the LC500 with RC coupe, as there is a recognizable similarity.
The LC features a classic front engine rear-wheel-drive layout. The LC500 is powered by a 5.0L 8-cylinder engine which is found in the RC F and the GS F. The engine is designed to rev to 7300 rpm and outputs 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque.
The LC500 uses the first 10-speed production automatic transmission. The first seven gears are spaced closely together to offer better performance, while the last three gears are designed specifically as overdrive gears to offer better fuel economy.
The LC is also offered as a hybrid, and is called the LC500 H. The hybrid gets a 3.5 liter V6 engine that outputs 295 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque with a 6600 RPM limit. Two motors in the transmission increase power output to a total of 354 horsepower. The LC500 H will utilize litium-ion battery instead of a NiMH battery pack which increases voltage and reduces weight.
The LC500 H gets a very trick CVT transmission that is designed to emulate the feeling of a conventional automatic transmission. This is done by adding two extra gear sets after the second electric motor, and this enables the CVT transmission to amplify drive torque live a standard automatic. The CVT is designed with 10 steps (similar to gears) with a user override that allows shifts at redline. Even with this new technology, Lexus says the hybrid version is good for an additional 20% increase in fuel economy.
The LC500 gets a very exotic suspension setup. The same chassis electronics as the LFA supercar is used, with tuning that is described as exotic. These electronics control the electronically controlled adaptive shocks. The front suspension has two upper and two lower double-jointed control arms to maintain the low front end, while the rear gets a multi-link setup. The mono-block aluminum six-pot front calipers wrap around brake rotors measuring 13 inches, while the rear gets four-pot calipers that bite on 12-inch rotors. Buyers will get a choice of 20-inch cast aluminum wheels or forged wheels measuring 20 or 21 inches.
The LC500 and LC500 H are due for release in May of 2017 with models due to hit showrooms in June with a starting price around $80,000 with fully loaded models fetching $120,000. Lexus is planning on selling 400 units a month, with 15-20% of them being the hybrid model.
One has to question which segment this vehicle will compete in. The Germans have a tidy grip on the luxury coupe market while other Japanese brands have the ultra-high performance market on lock-down. That begs the question of if this model has enough looks and panache to win over fans from other segments or brands. We guess that only time will tell.