If you like attention, pay attention to the Lexus LC 500. During a recent test week, the rear-wheel-drive coupe was parked at various shopping locations (car, grocery, hardware, gasoline). At each stop, someone had to walk over and either rave about the exterior and interior trim, or ask, "What is it"
It is the Lexus answer to RWD luxury performance coupes with price tags at $80,000 and climbing. Since the tested LC 500 carried a 5-liter, 471-horsepower gasoline V8 engine under its curved hood, the asking price from the manufacturer was $92,300 (2019 price but starting price for 2020 model is $92,950). If a hybrid version of the luxury two-door is desired, the manufacturer suggested a starting price of $97,400. The hybrid pairs a 354-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with a pair of electric motors. The hybrid has a continuously variable transmission, the gasoline LC 500 a 10-speed automatic with magnesium paddle shifters behind the leather-clad steering wheel.
On top of the suggested prices, there are options such as $1,000 for a package that includes parking assist, $900 for a head-up display (legal and actual speeds reflected on windshield), and for a Mark Levinson sound system replacing a "normal" 12-speaker system. A Mark Levinson sound system can have 835 watts and 17 speakers.
Performance in comfortable surroundings are what define the LC 500. Its 0 to 60 miles per hour racing time of 4.7 seconds will not impress owners of a Mercedes-AMG GT, Aston Martin Vantage or Porsche 911, which cover the same ground in 3.7 seconds or less, but those competitors can cost $100,000 more than the LC 500. Something to think about.
If there is a race track near you, the LC 500 can reach speeds of 168 miles per hour. For stopping power there are six calipers controlling the 15.7-inch disc brakes in front and four calipers for the 14.1-inch discs in the rear. Braking from 60 mph to a stop can be done, as tested, in 105 feet, which is excellent for a heavy (4,280 pounds) coupe. Stops are straight, which indicates calipers are doing their job.
Mechanically and performance-wise, the 2020 LC 500 mimics the recently tested 2019 model. There are tweaks to option packages but the vehicle essentially remains the same. That means continuing lots of onboard luxury.
The tested LC 500 was driven hard to see how it took sharp turns or accelerated on straight-a-ways. Balance around the turns and curves was superb. Accelerations were hardly noticed. When accelerating from 35 miles per hour to 65 mpg on entrance ramps to the Interstate system, the driver and passenger barely noticed the increase in speed. It was that flawless.
An independent double-joint multilink suspension front and rear with forged aluminum components, coil springs and solenoid-actuated shock absorbers responded to road and acceleration conditions in nanoseconds.
Unless the sound system was utilized, the cabin was quiet. Almost abnormally quiet. A driver could almost whisper to his or her occupant of the adjacent passenger seat and the whisper could be heard.
Front leather heated and ventilated power seats accommodate bigger human frames and certainly the smaller ones. Power also includes one-touch open and close windows, door locks, exterior mirrors and tilt and telescope steering wheel.
A sound system with voice activation includes Apple CarPlay, a single-disc CD player (a discontinued feature in many of today's cars), high-definition AM-FM-satellite radio, two USB ports,
The exterior aerodynamic design includes door pulls that recede into the door frame when not in use. When the vehicle is parked and locked, exterior mirrors fold into the body. They automatically fold back out when the ignition button on the dashboard is pushed and the engine begins to purr.
Tires are 245 in front and 275 in the rear and they are mounted on 20-inch 10-spoke cast alloy wheels. Twenty-one inch wheels are optional.
Exterior colors from which to choose are shades of gray and black. Attention-grabber colors are bright white, blue, yellow and red.
Vehicle: 2019 Lexus LC 500
Type: rear-wheel-drive luxury sport coupe
Price with options as tested: $95,915
Engine: 5-liter, 471-horsepower, dual cam V8
Transmission: 10-speed shiftable automatic, magnesium paddle shifters
Fuel tank: 21.7 gallons
Wheels (alloy), tires (245 front, 275 rear: 20-inch runflats
Brakes (ventilated): six-piston calipers, 15.7-inch discs front, four-piston calipers , 14.1-inch discs rear
Suspension: Independent, multilinks, coils, shock absorbers front reare
Weight: 4,280 pounds
Leg room: 42 inches front, 32.5 inches rear
Cargo: 5.4 cubic feet
Wheelbase, length, width, height in inches: 113, 187.4, 75.6, 53
Turning circle: 35.4 feet
Warranty: four years or 50,000 miles, six years or 70,000 miles power train, eight years or 100,000 miles for hybrid components, free maintenance for certain services one year or 12,000 miles, complimentary service one year or 10,000 miles, extended service optional