A middle-aged man and his three teenage companions stopped in a coffee shop parking lot, gawked at the exterior of the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and asked if they could view the inside. A guy in an old pick-up truck stopped in the middle of a street near where the Lexus was parked and started a conversation about saving his money to buy one.
Some people pointed, others provided a thumbs-up or exclaimed “nice wheels, dude.” A few young drivers pulled up near me on the freeway, momentarily glared and sped off, perhaps suggesting I follow them. It was tempting, but no thanks, fellas.
And so it goes with the upscale coupe, the new Lexis flagship. The exterior design, simultaneously sharp-angled and voluptuous, defines a sports car. And the LC 500’s visual appeal is complemented by a Maserati-like guttural blast of an engine growl with attitude.
A four-seat coupe with touring tendencies, the LC 500 is equipped with a 5-liter, 471-horsepower V8 and a 10-speed direct shift automatic transmission and steering wheel- mounted paddle shifters. It’s also available in a hybrid model. But why ruin the fun?
With a starting price of $92,000, the new Lexus should offer a bundle, and it does. It’s a lengthy list, not the least of which are standard 20-inch, 10-spoke cast alloy wheels with run-flat tires, LED exterior lights, automatic high-beam control, heated and auto- dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, and ambient interior lighting.
Consider also the 10.3-inch central display, a top-end navigation system, two USB ports, and HD and satellite radio. Notable safety features include a rearview camera, head-up displace and pre-collision warning system with automatic braking, as well as lane departure warning and mitigation.
Several optional packages and the destination and handling fee included in the review vehicle catapulted the LC 500’s price to $102,890.
For the money, you might as well get the carbon fiber roof and top-line Mark Levinson sound system with 13 speakers. And the Torsen limited-slip differential and the multiple driving modes transform the new Lexus into a smooth-driving touring machine. While on assignment, a colleague and I negotiated a few brief sections of country gravel roads. Road imperfections? Potholes? Where? We might as well have been driving on a few miles of pool- table velvet.
Every decade or so, car publications publish their choices for the top 100 most beautiful cars in history. Not many recent-year vehicles ever make the lists, but the new Lexus should.
James Raia, a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California, specializes in sports and lifestyle topics. He publishes the website theweeklydriver.com.