One look at the Lexus LC500 and it’s obvious this is something special. Only about 2,000 cars of this make and model are imported from Japan each year, so it’s unique, too.
We drove this particular example around the Valley for a week, and it drew plenty of attention from onlookers, whether cruising on the street or parked at a curb. That bright yellow, metallic paint was an eye catcher, too.
Under the hood is a sophisticated 5.0-liter V-8 engine cranking a healthy 471 horsepower. It’s attached to a modern 10-speed automatic transmission, and changing gears manually is easy, thanks to paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Fuel economy is listed at 16/25 mpg using premium blend. For drivers more concerned about performance, the claimed 0-60 mph time is 4.4 seconds.
The LC500 has six operation modes to pick from: eco, comfort, normal, custom, sport and sport plus. The gauge cluster appearance changes with each program, reminding the driver what was chosen. The latter setting provides more fun, with a louder exhaust note, more aggressive shifting, and the ability to get that 4.4-second claimed time like we did.
The cabin is a sea of luxury and, as expected, high-quality leather trim is abundant. There are some drawbacks, though. First, to say the second-row seating is cramped would be an understatement. The only living creatures likely to fit are small children or tiny monkeys. A more likely cargo will be bags of groceries. With only 5 cubic feet of trunk, not many bags will fit in there either. There is no room for a spare tire, so getting a flat won’t be much fun.
A second aggravation is the finger touch pad that controls the infotainment/navigation system. Operating it while sitting is far easier than doing so when the car is in motion. Plus, the entire unit has a long learning curve, and reading that super thick owner’s manual doesn’t help. A lot of practice will be required.
The base price is $92,950, but there are plenty of options to take the cash out of your wallet. The Mark Levinson 13-speaker unit is a good buy at $1,220. The sharp-looking yellow paint job is $595. Those larger, 21-inch alloy wheels look nice, but that will be $2,650, please. Then add $5,358 for carbon fiber trim, $275 for a cargo net in the trunk, and more goodies. After all is listed and done, the total tab comes to a tidy $106,348. It is easy to see why most of these are leased.
Once we get past the price of admission, the Lexus LC500 is a pleasure to drive. Once you get in, you don’t want to get out (unless you are sitting in those rear seats!). Overall, this is an excellent sports machine with Lexus reliability as a bonus.