Lexus LC review

Find out more about the Lexus LC in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Beautiful looks
  • - Superb comfort
  • - Marvellous V8 engine

Cons

  • - Unconventional gearbox
  • - Small boot
  • - Rivals are better to drive
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

Following a lengthy absence from producing large luxurious coupes, Lexus introduced its dramatic 2+2 coupe at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, which followed on from the stunning LF-LC concept unveiled four years earlier.

A key design highlight of the LC 500 is the huge ‘Spindle’ grille, along with striking daytime running lights and angular headlights.

It’s designed to be Lexus’s range-topping coupe, and it feels just that, with its stunning exterior design and high-quality and classy interior. Luxurious elements such as a standard glass roof and full leather interior cabin are also a key attraction to the cabin.

In Detroit in 2016 it was only announced to have a V8 engine in it, although the hybrid-powered LC 500h made its debut at that March’s Geneva Motor Show.

It took nearly 18 months for the LC to be introduced to the UK, with first deliveries starting in the summer of 2017, with Lexus pricing the V8 and hybrid models identically.

Latest model

The LC is still a new model with no major updates yet, although in August 2018 the Japanese manufacturer introduced a new Limited Edition model. Painted in a vibrant shade of Naples Yellow, the special model also comes with yellow stitching to the interior, as well as a semi-aniline leather and Alcantara interior. Other high-end features include a head-up display and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

While a production convertible model is yet to be confirmed, Lexus unveiled an LC Convertible Concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, which looked almost production ready and only enhanced the beauty of the LC even further. It’s unclear whether or not Lexus will manufacture this model, though.

Value for money

Aside from the LS luxury saloon, the LC is Lexus’s most expensive model, with prices for the LC starting from £76,595. That’s still the same price as it was at launch in the summer of 2017, though. Many buyers are instantly drawn to German models when looking at cars of this price, although the Lexus is a fine choice and comes with a choice of two powerful engines, whether you choose the V8 model or the hybrid.

Included equipment is also generous, with the standard model coming with 20-inch alloy wheels, a glass roof, luxurious leather upholstery and LED lights throughout to name but a few features. It certainly won’t leave you feeling short changed. To draw a comparison with another model — BMW’s new 8 Series Coupe starts from £76,270 for a less-powerful diesel-powered car.

However, to help absorb the depreciation, you should have a look at the used market where fantastic savings can be had on nearly-new models. We found an example less than a year old with 5,000 miles on the clock, for £60,000. That’s more than £16,000 off the original list price, and a deal which is hard to ignore if you’re in the market for an LC.

Looks and image

While Lexus’s bold and angular styling won’t appeal to all, we think the LC is a terrific looking car. It works perfectly as a 2+2, with superb proportions, and a key highlight being the huge spindle grille, and dramatic lights at the front and rear. A fantastic range of large alloy wheels and bold colour options — such as the eye-catching Naples Yellow paintwork — also make the LC look and feel rather special, and from certain angles it really looks like a concept car for the road.

The inside isn’t quite as stylish as the exterior, and the LC’s dash looks quite similar to the rest of the firm’s line-up. But that’s a good thing, with the cabin feeling plush, luxurious and beautifully built. There is also a strong palette of leather and Alcantara colours to help the LC feel distinctive.

It’s also laden with tech – the driver gets a hi-tech dial setup and the interior feels modern thanks to its 10.3-inch infotainment screen. Our only gripe is with the touchpad used to operate the screen, which feels cheap and difficult to use compared to systems found in rivals from BMW and Mercedes.

Both the V8-powered and hybrid models feel rapid on the roads, even with the V8 delivering an extra 100bhp. But despite the pace, it’s angled as a GT rather than a sports car. That said, you still have a thrilling exhaust note, while on high-spec cars with the Sport+ package, the LC comes with dynamic rear steering and a limited-slip differential which help to improve the car’s agility in the corners.

Even with this package, the steering doesn’t feel as precise as that in the BMW 8 Series, although the LC offers an excellent balance between comfort and agility. Our only real gripe is with the odd gearbox fitted to the hybrid version. It’s a combination of a torque converter and a CVT, and it dulls the driving experience.

Space and practicality

With the LC being described by Lexus as a ‘2+2’, this is a nod to the fact that the coupe has two rear seats in the back for occasional use, rather than being a model that can comfortably seat four adults. As with any two-door model, access to the rear seats can be tricky, and the space once in the back is limited. For these reasons, the LC is best seen as a two-seat GT, but with the added bonus of extra storage in the back.

The boot, however, is disappointingly small for a coupe that’s capable of cross-European road trips, with just 197 litres of space, or an even more measly 172 litres with the hybrid powertrain.

The Lexus LC has never been officially tested by Euro NCAP, and it likely won’t be, given the small number of units being sold. It is, however, likely to be a very safe model — particularly when you consider the fact it comes as standard with the Lexus Safety System+ package. This package comes with a host of kit, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, high beam assist and traffic sign recognition.

Engines

Two engine options are available with the LC — the LC500 and the LC500h.

The first option is powered by a fantastic and characterful 5.0-litre V8, which produces 458bhp, and is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. It’s paired to a fantastic 10-speed automatic gearbox.

At the other end of the spectrum is the hybrid, which uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine paired to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery to produce a total output of 354bhp. Despite having 100 horses less than the V8, it’s not much slower, with a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds. Power is delivered by another 10-speed automatic gearbox, but this time it’s an odd combination of a CVT and a torque converter. It’s not as crisp to use as the unit fitted to the V8.

Running costs

Regardless of which LC you opt for, both will prove quite expensive to run. However, the hybrid offers surprisingly low running costs from such a luxurious and powerful coupe, with the LC500h offering CO2 emissions of 150g/km and a claimed fuel economy figure of 34.8mpg. For this reason, it is the best choice for those in urban areas who want to try and reduce their carbon footprint. In contrast, the V8 model returns a claimed fuel economy figure of just 24.4mpg, along with high CO2 emissions of 265g/km.

Because of the hybrid’s low CO2 emissions, it could also be cheaper to run for business users thanks to a lower Benefit-in-Kind rating, which results in cheaper company car tax. Although because the LC’s list price exceeds the tax threshold of £40,000, it will cost £450 a year to tax after the first five years of registration.

Unsurprisingly given the LC’s luxury and performance, it sits in some of the highest insurance groups — between 47 and 50 depending on trim level.

Things to look for

With the LC being such a niche model, there’s a certain question mark around its reliability. However, Lexus as a brand has an exceptionally good reliability record, and there is little evidence to suggest that this model will perform any differently. Lexus dealerships also have a fantastic reputation for their service, and are frequently ranked at the top of surveys.

Rivals

The LC sits in a high-end market sector and has few direct rivals in terms of luxury GT cars costing underneath £100,000. The closest competitor to the LC is the new BMW 8 Series, which is more practical, and admittedly more expensive than the Lexus. However, other models worth considering in this class are the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche 911 and Mercedes S-Class Coupe.

Depreciation

Despite high initial demand for the LC, it hasn’t held its value as well as you might anticipate. Nearly new models can be found with a staggering £15,000 off list price, which brings the price down to nearer £60,000. This makes the LC a fantastic used buy.

Summary

  1. Breath-taking looks
  2. High-quality and luxurious interior
  3. Excellent comfort and refinement
  4. Offered as a hybrid and with a fruity V8 engine
  5. Hybrid and V8 are identically priced
  6. Gearbox lets the hybrid-powered model down
  7. Not as involving to drive as rivals
  8. Compromised practicality
  9. Superb standard kit list
  10. One of Lexus’s finest hits

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