First Look and Review: 2018 Lexus LC 500h and LC 500

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On both models, the lower center of gravity helps ensure minimal body roll and, compared to other Lexus models, the driver has been positioned closer to the center of gravity to improve overall driving dynamics.

The suspension is taut, even in comfort mode, and delivers a sports sedan-like feeling but it’s surprisingly accommodating on rougher roads and on lava surfaces and unquestionably exhilarating on the twisties. This will make for some difficult decision making for those cross-shopping the Jag, Benz, or Bimmer.

While I loved the growl of the V8 (as well as its red exterior), my heart belongs to the thrifty hybrid, with its excellent fuel economy (26 mpg/9 l/100 km in town, 35/6.7 on the highway) and ability to run local errands with no emissions to spoil the fun.

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Finally, I truly loved the incredible 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. While many car manufacturers have a button somewhere that says “concert hall sound,” the LC 500’s system actually delivers on this promise and it also expands compressed audio recordings (those transmitted over digital radio services or those not saved in a file format that prevents a loss in quality, such as FLAC), making them sound as if the driver and passenger were in a recording studio.

BOTTOM LINE

Today, at Lexus, frustrated with the idea that Americans had found the brand “boring,” Akio Toyoda, the fast-driving grandson of the company’s founder Sakichi Toyoda, vowed to disassociate Lexus from the word. There must have been huge signs in the LC’s design studios with a strike through the word and I imagine Toyoda-san must be quite content today as this car is anything but boring.

Does the LC 500 usher in a completely new era for the Japanese luxury automaker? It certainly seems this way as this clearly presages what is to come in the new LS and beyond, cars that tug at our emotions and are truly fun and engaging to drive.

THE DETAILS

2018 Lexus 500 2018 Lexus LC 500h
Base price $92,000 $96,510
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 5.0-liter V8 3.5-liter V6 and electric motor
Horsepower/Torque 471 / 398 354 (combined)
Transmission 10-speed Multistage (CVT and 4-speed automatic)
Curb weight (lbs) 4,280 4,435
Wheelbase (inches) 113 113
Length x width x height (inches) 187.4 x 75.6 x 53 187.4 x 75.6 x 53
0-60 mph (seconds) 4.4 4.7
Fuel economy (mpg) (city/hwy) 16/26 26/35

 

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

 

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