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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2018 Lexus LC 500

      Son of a SC

    "We had no intention of turning it into a production car. But your positive reaction, as well as the reaction of our customers, changed our minds. We listened, and we made it real.”

    That was Toyota President Akio Toyoda speaking at the Lexus LC 500 debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Four years before, Lexus unveiled the LF-LC concept to the world. It was striking to say in the least with a design that empathized curves and deep cuts. There was no chance that this sleek concept would make it into production. It was too daring for a brand that liked to play it safe. But the LF-LC did make it into production and retained most of the design. But what is the rest of the car like?

    When an automaker takes a car from concept to production, something is usually lost in the translation due to regulations or costs. But Lexus was somehow able to carry over the design of the LF-LC concept to the LC 500. The front end is set very low and features the brand’s spindle grille and aggressive cuts in the bumper for the LED fog lights. Channels along the hood flow gently into either side of the grille. For the side, the door handles are flush with the doors and will pop out to allow entry into the vehicle. The rear fenders are quite wide to make room for larger tires and brake vents. The back stands out with narrow taillights that extend into the fenders and chrome exhaust surrounds. Wearing a dark grey finish, the LC 500 looks very sinister.

    The interior is a treat for the eyes. It’s a minimalist design with few buttons and knobs on the dash and door panels. There are some special design touches such as handles that float on the door panels and a grab handle that extends from the center stack to the console for the front seat passenger. Material quality is very impressive with leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and metal used throughout. My tester came with a set of sport seats with eight-way power seats. The seats feature increased bolstering to hold driver and passenger during a bout of exuberant driving. However, some people will not be able to fully fit into the seats because of the added bolstering. I would like to see Lexus offer some sort of adjustable bolstering down the road. The back seat is best used for storage. There is barely enough head and legroom for a small kid.

    A 10.3-inch screen sitting in the center stack features the latest version of Lexus Enform. The system features an updated interface with revised graphics and new color palate that makes it very easy to read at a glance. Controlling this is Lexus’ Remote Touchpad controller. Compared to other vehicles with the Touchpad, the LC brings a couple of key improvements. There are a set of shortcut buttons to common functions such as the radio and navigation. Lexus has also implemented a pause over each icon to prevent you from selecting another one because your finger slipped. Despite the improvements, Remote Touchpad is still very distracting to use when driving. You need to give your full attention to the system and not the road to make sure you’re turning on the heated seat for example. At least the LC 500 collision mitigation system with automatic braking to give you a bit of a safety net when using this system.

    Pop up the hood to find the heart of the LC 500; a 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde personality. Driven normally, the 5.0L V8 emits a low growl and delivers power in a smooth fashion. Gear changes from the 10-speed are unobtrusive. Drive it with some aggression and the LC becomes an animal. The V8 emits a roar similar to a muscle car and will throw you back into the seat as power comes on rapidly. The 10-speed automatic delivers fast shifts to keep the engine in its sweet spot of power. I found myself having a stupid grin on my face every time I would floor the accelerator just to hear the lovely sounds of the V8. 

    EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 are 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined. My average for the week landed around 18.6 mpg.

    The LC 500 is quite surprising on a winding road. Despite the large size and weight, the LC seems to glide from bend to bend with little body roll. Some of this can be attributed to the rear-wheel steering system that is part of an optional performance package that makes the coupe feel smaller. This package also adds the variable gear-ratio steering system which adjusts the number of turns to reach steering lock helps the LC feel nimble. The only downside is the steering lacking the feedback some driving enthusiasts want.

    On a cruise, the LC 500 settles down and provides a somewhat relaxing ride. A small number of bumps make their way inside due to the 21-inch forged aluminum wheels. The smaller 20-inch wheels do improve ride quality somewhat. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum levels.

    Possibly the big surprise is how much the LC 500 will set you back. The base is $92,000 and our test vehicle came with an as-tested price of $101,715 with destination. Considering how much performance and luxuries you get for the price, the LC 500 is quite the steal.

    Lexus took quite the gamble with the LC 500 and their efforts paid off. The sharp exterior styling hides a very impressive chassis that somehow balances sporty handling and comfort. Plus, the V8 engine provides one of the most impressive sounds. Lexus Enform and Remote Touch spoil the LC somewhat as it is distracting to use.

    In a way, the LC is a modern incarnation of the SC coupe from the 90s. Both were a departure for Lexus as they offered a sleek design, smooth and powerful engines, and a balance between comfort and support. The two coupes also gave Lexus something it was lacking, a soul.

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LC 500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2018
    Make: Lexus
    Model: LC
    Trim: 500
    Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve, Dual VVT-i V8
    Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 471 @ 7,100
    Torque @ RPM:  398 @ 4,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/26/19
    Curb Weight: 4,280 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan
    Base Price: $92,000
    As Tested Price: $101,715 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Performance Package with Carbon - $5,960.00
    Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System - $1,220.00
    Color Heads-Up Display - $900.00
    Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential - $390.00
    All-Weather Trim Package - $250.00

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    I have to disagree here that this car is about $20,000 over priced in comparison to other like auto's on the market and grossly under powered with even less Torque.

    Cadillac is a superior auto with better value all the way around.

    image.png

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    This is not in the same league as an ATS. 

    If you're going to drill down the "value" aspect the ATS-V Coupe is an absolute waste when they have a Camaro SS under the same roof for 40k, 50k fully loaded and ready to race. 

    The Lexus is a grand tourer, not a race car. I think you're missing that part. It's similar to an SL Mercedes. 

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    Not sure why you would be trying to compare this to the ATS, the Lexus ATS competitors are the IS (sedan)  and RC (coupe).  Different niches, different price points.  This is their competitor to the BMW 8 series and M-B S-class coupe. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    I understand price points and class segments for sale, but I still think the CTS-V and ATS-V are better than this car from interior to exterior and performance. So no value in this auto for what they charge. But then Lexus has not built anything yet that has impressed me.

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    Comparing this car to a Cadillac is downright comical. Cadillac wishes they could make a car anywhere near this in terms of overall design, materials, fit and finish, craftsmanship, and presence. 

     

    I've seen these in several colors now, and they are absolutely stunning. Literally EVERY time I see one in a parking lot, bystanders are gawking at it. And not people driving Avengers or Kias mind you, people driving BMW's and the like. The car is a knockout. The lines are just delicious. It is by far the best looking car on the road for anything costing less than about a quarter mil. 

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    Just now, Frisky Dingo said:

    Comparing this car to a Cadillac is downright comical. Cadillac wishes they could make a car anywhere near this in terms of overall design, materials, fit and finish, craftsmanship, and presence. 

     

    I've seen these in several colors now, and they are absolutely stunning. Literally EVERY time I see one in a parking lot, bystanders are gawking at it. And not people driving Avengers or Kias mind you, people driving BMW's and the like. The car is a knockout. The lines are just delicious. It is by far the best looking car on the road for anything costing less than about a quarter mil. 

    Totally disagree with you. Tight, too small on the inside and fit n finish is on par with Cadillac, MB, BMW. They must be different where you live as they have not been that striking here in Seattle. Just another Predator faced auto from Toyota. Seats are hard and lacking to me for comfort. Layout of the dash is also a bit strange. Lexus lovers love Lexus but I really wonder and will be interested to see how many they sell as I think Lexus should have invested this in improving the autos they already had first.

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    13 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I understand price points and class segments for sale, but I still think the CTS-V and ATS-V are better than this car from interior to exterior and performance. So no value in this auto for what they charge. But then Lexus has not built anything yet that has impressed me.

    Does Cadillac offer a hybrid powertrain in either of those cars? I would have thought you would have went bonkers over that aspect. 

    17 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    Comparing this car to a Cadillac is downright comical. Cadillac wishes they could make a car anywhere near this in terms of overall design, materials, fit and finish, craftsmanship, and presence. 

     

    I've seen these in several colors now, and they are absolutely stunning. Literally EVERY time I see one in a parking lot, bystanders are gawking at it. And not people driving Avengers or Kias mind you, people driving BMW's and the like. The car is a knockout. The lines are just delicious. It is by far the best looking car on the road for anything costing less than about a quarter mil. 

    It truly is an elegant vehicle. The lines and curves they did to this are a thing of beauty in a world of very similarly shaped vehicles. 

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    13 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Totally disagree with you. Tight, too small on the inside and fit n finish is on par with Cadillac, MB, BMW. They must be different where you live as they have not been that striking here in Seattle. Just another Predator faced auto from Toyota. Seats are hard and lacking to me for comfort. Layout of the dash is also a bit strange. Lexus lovers love Lexus but I really wonder and will be interested to see how many they sell as I think Lexus should have invested this in improving the autos they already had first.

    You are flat out wrong. Nobody in this profession or any reasonable, unbiased person thinks a Cadillac is on par with this car from virtually standpoint.  

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    21 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Totally disagree with you. Tight, too small on the inside

    Raise of hands who here didn't see this line coming? 

    Their interior measurements are almost identical. But the GM always happens to just be roomier.. :scratchchin:

    Edited by ccap41
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    5 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    The CTS-v and ATS-v always seem to have dour black or gray interiors... haven't seen any with this much color. 

    lol wow. I never really realized that until right now. The ATS has 3 interior options.. Basically all black.

    These are your options in your 70k compact ATS Coupe. 

    ATS Black.PNG

    ATS Brown.PNG

    ATS Platinum.PNG

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    Guess they do not sell well here as a private carrier was taking it away for inner state transport.

    20180314_125527[1].jpg

    There is also the overkill attitude which is everything Tan is overkill just like everything black is overkill. Accents are nice, brown on the black is nice. I do agree that Cadillac needs to expand their interior choices.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Yup and part of the same family no different than a CTS, CTS-V, etc.

    Invalid analogy.  The CTS-v is a trim level of the CTS, while the LS and LC are two different models.  The LS is considerably larger than the LC...the LS is V6 only, the LC is available w/ a V6 and V8.

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    Ironically, the LC is outselling the LS, which only moved 116 units in Jan. The big lexyota is on it's way out.

    I expressed my issues with the exterior design of the LC when it came out- it has fatal stylistic flaws in some views that make it appear 'broken backed' (no pun/insinuation there). Performance may be very good, but I do believe it is vastly overpriced. Sold 176 units in Jan.- would not hold my breath that greatly improves.

    Edited by balthazar
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    • By William Maley
      Considering the number of Lexus RC coupes I have driven over the years, there has been a significant hole - the V8 RC F. Whenever I have asked for one, the vehicle either wasn't in the press fleet or someone else was driving it during the dates I had available. But I was able to finally get my hands on one for a week in early fall. It was good timing as I was feeling the effects of being home for the past six months due to COVID-19. Maybe this coupe could give me a bit of joy.
      The RC F is not a shrinking violet. From its bright yellow paint, blacked-out 20-inch wheels, and optional carbon fiber package that includes a retractable rear spoiler, this coupe is very brash and proud of it. I'll admit that I was worried about scraping or cracking the carbon fiber front splitter if I took a steep entrance ramp or bump a bit too aggressively. It looks cool on the car, but the existential dread of an expensive repair bill does sour the appeal.  Not much changes on the inside for the RC F except for carbon fiber trim and a set of racing-style seats. Usually, I have a lot of trepidation on this type of seat because I don't fully fit in due to my slightly wide shoulders. But the seats conformed to my body within a day or so and I found them to offer the balance of support during hard-driving, and comfort for day-to-day - something I find to be hit and miss on seats from other automakers. Lexus Enform is still a frustrating infotainment system to use on daily basis. With a touchy control pad, it is easy to find yourself changing the song or end up in a different section of the system. This means you need to pay close attention to any change being made, which becomes a distraction hazard. Apple CarPlay is standard and does make using the system a bit more bearable. But I do wish Lexus would roll out their touchscreen system which makes it much more intuitive. Though, that likely will not come until a redesign, possibly in the next year or two. The main event for the RC F is under the hood. A 5.0L V8 engine with 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque - figures that slightly pale when compared to the BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic which routes the power to the rear wheels. The initial acceleration is a slight disappointment as the throttle response feels a bit sleepy. I'm not sure if this was due to improve fuel economy or throttle feel higher in the rev band. Thankfully, this sleepiness goes away as the car climbs up in speed and the V8 reveals its party trick. The noise that comes out of this engine sounds like a muscle car and you find yourself stepping the accelerator to enjoy it. Not much to say about the eight-speed automatic. It goes about its business smoothly and quickly. Fuel economy was surprising in the least, as I got an average of 18 mpg in mostly city and suburb driving. A set of adaptive dampers comes standard for the RC-F and gives it a split personality. Turn the drive mode knob to Sport+ and the dampers tighten up to make the coupe feel more agile than its weight of 4,017 pounds would suggest. Also helping in the handling are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, providing tenacious grip. But switch the drive mode into normal and RC F becomes a very comfortable and refined grand tourer. Ride quality is very good with only a few bumps making their way inside. A minimal amount of road and wind noise is present. One area where the RC F holds a distinct advantage over the completion is the base price of $65,925 - undercutting most by a few grand. The danger is going through the option list and deciding to go crazy, which explains the as-tested price of $89,654. You can chop off over $11,000 by skipping the Performance package which brings all of the carbon fiber bits. The RC F lacks the outright performance as those from Germany. But I'm willing to overlook it because sometimes you want a car that just shouts to the world and the RC F does that very well. During my week, I found myself reveling in the engine and the grand touring characteristics of the suspension. It brought me the joy which sometimes is all you need a car to do. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RC F, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RC F
      Trim: -
      Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 467 @ 7,100
      Torque @ RPM: 389 @ 4,800 - 5,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 3,958 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $64,900
      As Tested Price: $89,654 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Performance Package - $11,400.00
      Premium Package - $5,350.00
      Navigation System w/Mark Levinson Audio - $2,725.00
      Torque Vectoring Differential - $1,250.00
      Premium Triple Beam LED Headlamps - $1,160.00
      Flare Yellow Premium Paint - $595.00
      Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sills - $449.00
      Orange Metallic Brembo Brake Calipers - $300.00
    • By William Maley
      The 86's exterior has undergone some significant changes. The most apparent is the front where the front bumper has been swapped to give the coupe a slightly more aggressive look. There are also new headlights with the "86" logo seen on the outside edge. These changes, along with a rear wing really help the 86 still look quite fresh. A feat when you take into consideration that this car, along with its sister, the Subaru BRZ has been around for eight years. The interior boasts a new steering wheel, updated instrument cluster with a color trip computer; and a seven-inch touchscreen radio featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.  Trying to find a comfortable position the 86 took longer than I expected due to the limited amount of adjustments on offer. The sport seats provide excellent bolstering to hold you in during enthusiastic driving but falter in terms of comfort when it comes to long drives. As for the back seat, I would only recommend it for either very small kids or extra storage space. We come to the key weak point of the 86, the engine. It is the 2.0L Flat-Four from Subaru which produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the six-speed manual - figures drop by five when equipped with the automatic. Not much has changed in the performance department. At low speeds, the 86 goes along merrily. But then the power band falls off a cliff and you're left wondering when it will come back.  It doesn't help that the engine note of the 2.0L sounds like a bucket of bolts dumped into a dryer. This doesn't encourage wanting to climb higher in the rev band and giving the illusion of going faster - something Mazda does quite well with the MX-5 Miata. On my test car, an optional TRD exhaust was fitted and it somehow makes the noise worse. It sounded like a group of cats fighting one another to get that prime spot in the box from an Amazon delivery. The manual transmission does not like being shifted quickly as it becomes slightly stiff and bulky. Go slowly and the gear lever responds with a smooth and positive feel. An option that was ticked on this vehicle was the TRD handling package which adds a set of SACHS dampers. The SACHS do make an improvement in terms of body control as the 86 doesn't really exhibit any sort of roll. What you get a vehicle that is fun to toss in the corners. Helping out is the steering that responds quickly and provides a decent feel. But there is a downside to the TRD Handling package and that is the ride quality. I found the FR-S to be quite stiff and transmit most bumps and road imperfections. This package only increases the frequency and impact them. I would highly recommend driving a standard 86 against one with the Handling Pack to see which one you would prefer. The 86 GT starts at $30,115 and my tester with the two TRD options and some other items stickers at $34,783. If you drop the TRD options, then it becomes slightly better at just under $32,000.  Who is the 86 for? The obvious answer to this is someone who wants something fun to drive but doesn't have that much to spend. Of course, there are other options that offer more performance, the 86 shines on a winding road. But as someone pointed out in our interactive review, the 86 is a good option for someone who wants a blank canvas. This and the BRZ have a large aftermarket which means an owner can build their coupe to their desires. Want to upgrade the suspension and brakes? There are parts available. Feel like dropping in a larger engine? That is possible. It's a blank canvas ready for someone to make it their own. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 86, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: 86
      Trim: GT
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC D-4S 16-Valve Flat-Four
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 205 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 156 @ 6,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/28/24
      Curb Weight: 2,817 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ota, Gumma, Japan
      Base Price: $30,115
      As Tested Price: $34,783 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      TRD Handling Package - $1,270.00
      TRD Exhaust System - $1,100.00
      TRD Sway Bar - $550.00
      Special Color - $425.00
      Center Armrest - $199.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $169.00

      View full article
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