Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B+)

For the longest time, Lexus was the safe player in the luxury market. They didn't go crazy in terms of design or offering the latest tech. Lexus was more interested in "the relentless pursuit of perfection" with offering the most refined and reliable vehicles in the class. But within the past few years, Lexus has ventured out of their comfort zone. Its vehicle designs are some of the most striking on sale today, along with adding new technology to keep in the fight with other luxury automakers. This culminates in the 2018 Lexus LC 500, a luxury coupe with some serious performance credentials.

What We Love About the 2018 Lexus LC 500:


  • Design looks mostly the same as the LC Concept

  • V8 engine that delivers the muscle and sound

  • Balances sport and comfort


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Lexus LC 500:


  • Very small trunk

  • Back seat is best reserved for storing items

  • Lexus Inform is still distracting to use


 

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Exterior View (10/10)

When a car transitions from concept to production, a lot of the design elements are toned down for various reasons such as safety regulations and costs. But the LC 500 is part of a small group that is able to retain much of the design from the concept for the production model. Park the LC 500 next to the LF-LC concept and you'll be hard-pressed to find any differences between the two.

The front end features Lexus' controversial spindle grille which integrates nicely with a deeply sculpted bumper and a lighting cluster featuring an element that looks like an eyelash. Along the side profile sits an opening for air ducts to provide cooling for the brakes, integrated door handles that pop out when the car is unlocked, and 21-inch wheels. The back end features the same deep sculpting as the front, along with taillights that extend downward and chrome exhaust tips.

One item to be aware of is that LC 500's design can differ, depending on the color. Our test car came finished in a dark gray, giving it a sinister look. Opt for something like silver and the LC loses some of the design flair.

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Interior Comfort, Quality and Ease of Use (9/10)

Like the exterior, the LC 500's interior is a feast for the senses. The design reflects the sporting intentions of the LC with a clean layout for the center stack, a grab handle that extends from the center console to the dash for the passenger, and a high beltline. One design touch that is unique are the door handles that float, not nestled in some sort of housing. Material quality is impressive with leather upholstery, quilted Alcantara and brushed metal trim.

Lexus offers two different seating options for the LC. The base seats come wrapped in leather and feature ten-way power adjustments. Semi-Aniline leather upholstery is available by ordering the Touring Package. Our test LC came with the optional sport seats with leather and Alcantara upholstery. The sport seats provide increased bolstering to hold you in during exuberant driving. But some people will not be able to fit comfortably into the seats due to the bolstering. This could be solved if Lexus offered some sort of adjustment for the bolstering, but it isn't offered on the LC.

The back seat is best reserved for really small kids or as additional storage space due to the minuscule amount of head and legroom. Trunk space measures a tiny 5.4 cubic feet, meaning you'll need to pack lightly for a weekend trip.

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Technology (6/10)

Most of the LC's functions are controlled via the newest version of Lexus Enform. This updated version is housed in a 10.2-inch screen in the center stack and is controlled via a touchpad controller. There are some positives to this newest version of Enform. Lexus has updated the interface with revised graphics, new color palate, and brighter screen to help bring Enform into line with the systems found on BMW and Porsche. Lexus also addressed one of our big complaints with the touchpad controller. The system now pauses over each icon when selecting. This helps prevent you from selecting another function because your finger slipped while trying to select the function you wanted.

Enform still has its fair share of issues. The touchpad controller is still somewhat difficult when trying to input an address into the navigation system. Also, you'll need to give the system your full attention when using it. This makes Enform quite a hazard when driving, as your eyes will be directed at the screen and not the road. Thankfully, Lexus equips all LC 500s with a collision mitigation system to give you a bit of safety net if you decide to turn on the heated seats through Enform. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are nowhere to be seen.

A Pioneer sound system comes standard, but our test LC 500 came with the optional 13-speaker Mark Levinson system. No matter what music or podcast we threw at it, the system was able to provide a clean and rich sound.

Optional is a color heads-up display that provides key information such as speed and distance of the adaptive cruise control system. Compared to other heads-up displays, the Lexus one is minimalistic in terms of design and details. This makes it perfect, as you don't have many things to distract you while driving.

Fuel Economy (8/10)

The EPA rates the 2018 Lexus LC 500 at 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 18.6 mpg with a mix of 70 percent city driving and 30 percent highway driving.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (N/A)

At the time of this writing, neither Consumer Reports or J.D. Power have any predicted reliability or initial quality ratings for the LC. But we're expecting the LC to follow in the footsteps of other Lexus models with high ratings in terms of reliability and quality.

Safety (9/10)

Every LC 500 comes equipped with 10 airbags, adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, automatic high beams, a backup camera, lane keep assist, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, traction control, stability control, a hood that pops up to reduce injuries if the vehicle strikes a pedestrian, and Lexus Enform Safety Connect. Disappointingly, blind spot monitoring is only available when you order the Convenience Package. Considering the price of the LC 500, this feature should be standard.

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Performance (9/10)

Power for the LC 500 comes from a 5.0L V8 engine producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Our test LC 500 also came equipped with a limited-slip rear differential.

The first time you start up the LC 500, you'll be stunned by its loud and throaty engine note. This is a vehicle that will make its presence known even when it is sitting in the driveway. Once on the move, it is a case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Lightly press on the accelerator pedal and the V8 rumbles with a silky smooth delivery of power. Floor the pedal and it becomes a monster. The V8 roars into life and shove you into the seat. The power delivery is brutal and never seems to end as the tachometer climbs higher and higher. The 10-speed automatic delivers quick and hard shifts to keep the power flowing to the rear wheels. But the best part is the noise as the engine note snarls and provides something you might expect to hear in a muscle car.

Trying to balance sporty handling and a comfortable ride is quite difficult, but Lexus was able to pull it off. The LC 500 may not be as athletic as some competitors due to the overall size and weight of the vehicle, but it is quite surprising what it can pull off.

Around a bend, the LC 500 shows little body roll and provides tenacious grip. The steering is quick and accurate, but doesn't provide enough feedback for driving enthusiasts. Sadly, this is becoming the norm with many sport cars. When cruising, the LC 500 provides a mostly smooth and quiet ride. The 21-inch wheels will let the impact of certain bumps come inside.

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Pricing and Value (10/10)

The 2018 Lexus LC 500 carries a base price of $92,000. Our test car came equipped with a few options, including a Performance Package with Carbon Roof, All-Weather Trim Package, Mark Levinson audio system, heads-up display, and limited-slip differential that brought the final price to $101,715. This is quite the bargain when you take into consideration what is included and how the LC 500 undercuts rivals from ultra-luxury manufacturers.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (61/70, 87%)

The Porsche 911 is built for those who love to drive. Unlike the LC 500, the smaller size makes the 911 a pleasure to drive on the track or on that special road. A number of models and configuration options also gives the 911 an edge over the LC 500 as you'll be able to design the vehicle of your dreams. However, the 911 can get crazy expensive if you go overboard on the options list. Also, the 911's trunk is slightly smaller than the LC 500 at 5.1 cubic feet.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is a prime example of a grand touring coupe. The interior is not only elegant in terms of luxury appointments, but also can fit four people in comfort. It also provides one of the smoothest rides found in an automobile. But the S-Class lacks the performance edge of the LC, unless you opt for one of the AMG models which cost quite a bit more than the Lexus.

Lexus was able to pull off a difficult act with the LC 500. This is a luxury coupe that can produce a mostly relaxing ride for the daily grind, yet provide a thrill that only a few models can. The styling might put some people off and Lexus Enform still needs a lot of work. But at the end of the day, the LC 500 makes a lasting impression both in looks and sound.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Coupe - RWD
LC 500 RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 92000

Comparison of 2018 Lexus LC 500 with Similar Cars

2018 Lexus LC 500 MSRP Invoice
2018 Lexus LC 500 $92,000 $84,640
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Porsche 911 $91,100 $0 2018 Lexus LC 500 VS 2018 Porsche 911
2018 BMW 6 Series $70,200 $65,785 2018 Lexus LC 500 VS 2018 BMW 6 Series
2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class $75,150 $69,890 2018 Lexus LC 500 VS 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
2018 BMW M4 $68,700 $64,390 2018 Lexus LC 500 VS 2018 BMW M4
2018 Mercedes-Benz Amg GT $112,400 $104,532 2018 Lexus LC 500 VS 2018 Mercedes-Benz Amg GT

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Lexus LC 500 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Lexus LC 500 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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