Every once in a while, an automaker creates an all-new car that is truly special. The sport coupe arena is usually dominated by the European brands, but Lexus has had a series of strong offerings such as the RC 350 and RC F. Now Lexus is delivering a knockout punch with the all-new 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h hybrid.
The LC is designed to compete with BMW's 6-series, the Mercedes-Benz S550 coupe, and the Jaguar F-Type. All three of those companies need to be checking their rear-view mirrors intently, because the new Lexus is going to turn a lot of heads.
It starts with styling. The new LC is anything but staid and conservative. The body lines are just short of exotic territory. This is territory where Lexus hasn't ventured since its limited edition LFA supercar, but when you contemplate the long hood and short fastback design of the LC, you'll know this car means business.
The supercar treatment continues inside, but also shows Lexus' usual attention to detail and mindfulness that this is a personal luxury car. The seats cradle you in perfect comfort while also holding you snugly during energetic driving. With the windows up, the LC is whisper-quiet inside, with no audible wind noise. You will also enjoy every technology feature Lexus can bring to the table, including the touchpad and voice-controlled navigation, climate, and infotainment system.
In the modern world, luxury and performance are inseparable. The LC offers a 5.0-liter V8 engine at 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, with 0-60 times of 4.4 seconds. This is mated to an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. As the Lexus engineers explained it, the first 5 gears offer very close ratios to maximize acceleration, and the top gears offer effortless cruising. The LC is a rear-wheel-drive car, and the rear axle includes a Torsen limited slip differential.
Performance on the road is excellent. Lexus spared no expense with this car and it shows. If you upgrade to the Lexus Dynamic Handling system, you'll even get rear-wheel steering. There are several drive modes, and I found the softest "Comfort" setting to be just right for most conditions, but a quick twist of the dial over to Sport + made the LC come alive with a snarling exhaust note and all the engine power.
There's also a hybrid version of the LC 500 that comes with a V6 engine and a tuned continuously variable transmission. That car is still good for 354 horsepower and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.
Every LC is built with Lexus' attention to detail, but the soul of this car is really about all-out performance and luxury. If you're shopping for a personally rewarding car, you need to visit the Lexus dealer to check out the 2018 LC 500.
2018 Lexus LC 500
Base price: $92,900
Price as tested: $92,900
Type: Personal luxury sport coupe
Engine: 5.0-liter V8 (471 hp, 398 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 16/26
Road noise: Very quiet
Overall length: 187.4 inches
Curb weight: 4,280 pounds
Final assembly: Motomachi, Japan