Whenever we drive a Lexus LC, we’re impressed — and the 2021 Lexus LC is no exception. With its beautiful styling and gorgeous interior, this 2-door Lexus proves its worth as a luxurious, grand-touring machine. It has the muscle, technology and swag to compete with European coupes costing much more.
The Lexus LC lineup continues with the LC 500 and the LC 500h gas-electric hybrid, but there’s also a new model for 2021: the Lexus LC 500 Convertible. This attractive open-top LC, which made its public debut at the LA Auto Show last year, is a V8-powered LC 500 with a folding 4-layer power roof that goes down in about 15 seconds.
To handle the transition to rooflessness, the new Lexus LC 500 Convertible has been strengthened structurally in the front and rear, and it has a pair of rollover bars that provide pop-up occupant protection if the car senses a possible rollover.
For 2021, Lexus has also made its LC models a bit sportier. All 2021 Lexus LC models benefit from new aluminum suspension arms that save 22 pounds of weight, plus a stiffer rear anti-roll bar that improves steering response. All-new LCs also profit from Active Cornering Assist, a standard technology that automatically applies the brakes to the inside wheels to help this rear-wheel-drive coupe track safely through corners at speed.
What’s New for 2021?
What’s most significant is that the new Lexus LC 500 Convertible goes on sale in the summer of 2020 as a 2021 model. Like all other 2021 Lexus LCs, the new LC Convertible has aluminum suspension arms that reduce unsprung weight and give this RWD car a sportier feel.
In other news, there are two new Lexus LC exterior colors for 2021: Cadmium Orange and Nori Green Pearl. Also notable: Android Auto is now standard. See the 2021 Lexus LC models for sale near you
What We Like
- Stunning good looks with top down
- A bargain compared to Europeans
- Impeccably crafted cabin
- Excellent reliability
- Impressive powertrain options
- The Lexus dealer experience
What We Don’t
- All three models each weigh more than 4,200 pounds
- Clunky Remote Touch tech interface
- Not as sharply responsive as a Porsche 911
The 2021 LC 500 and the new LC 500 Convertible are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 good for 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. It’s mounted up front and connected to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the LC 500 is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving. The new LC 500 Convertible has not been rated yet, but it will likely post the same economy as the LC 500 coupe.
But what about the 2021 LC 500h hybrid? With its 3.5-liter V6 engine, pair of electric motors, lithium-ion battery pack and unique transmission (that effectively blends a 4-speed automatic and with an electronically controlled continuously variable automatic transmission), the LH 500h is rated at 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Lexus LC is available as the V8-powered LC 500 ($92,950) and hybrid-powered LC 500h ($97,510). The new LC 500 Convertible, which arrives this summer, has not been priced yet. We expect the open-top LC to be priced near $100,000. Like the other Lexus LCs, it’s subject to a $1,025 destination charge.
Standard equipment is as generous as you’d expect. It includes 20-in wheels, LED headlights, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, blind spot alert and a push-button start. Add to that leather-upholstered seats, Lexus Enform remote and emergency communications services, in-car Wi-Fi and a navigation system with a 10.3-in display and a touchpad on the center console. Additionally, there are two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa integration and a 12-speaker sound system with satellite and HD radio.
A Touring package adds 20-inch forged alloy wheels, parking sensors, semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats and a Mark Levinson sound system. The Sport package is similar but gets a limited-slip differential, Alcantara-trimmed sport seats and the standard audio system. The Performance package adds to the Sport items 21-inch forged wheels, variable-ratio steering, active rear steering, an active rear spoiler, an Alcantara headliner and a carbon-fiber composite roof (that can be added separately to the Sport package).
The Mark Levinson sound system, the limited-slip differential, the 20- and 21-in forged wheels and a head-up display can be added separately. A Cold Area package adds a heated steering wheel and a windshield de-icer.
All 2021 Lexus LC models are equipped with the Lexus Safety System, which includes pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, lane-keep assist and a blind-spot detection system with rear cross-traffic alert.
Other standard safety equipment includes Lexus Enform Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and a stolen vehicle locator.
The new Lexus LC 500 Convertible has active rollover bars that deploy upward for occupant protection whenever a potential rollover accident is sensed.
The LC has not been crash tested by a third party.
Behind the Wheel
If you’re looking for the visceral thrill of an exotic sports car, look elsewhere. There are sharper driving tools than the Lexus LC. Instead, it’s a GT car — one that is thoroughly engaging and fun on a winding back road but also comfortable and practical enough to tackle a week-long road trip. Indeed, with that goal in mind, the LC is a stunning success. The handling is beautifully balanced. The steering is sensational, and adaptive suspension sops up bumps with remarkable poise.
Nothing has been done to the beautifully crafted cabin, which still looks fantastic. It has ample storage space and seats that are all-day comfortable but supportive, which is important for a GT car. The only aspect we don’t like inside the LC is its Remote Touch interface, which is tough to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help us get around the system.
In the LC 500h, the CVT arrangement with actual gears eliminates the elastic band quality of typical e-CVT hybrids. This Lexus does not feel like a hybrid when driven aggressively, apart from the friction-free electric thrust you feel when easing into the accelerator.
The exhaust gets louder in the Sport modes, but the V6 hybrid powertrain can’t match the V8 for spine-tingling audible enjoyment. Around town, you’ll notice the hybrid powertrain and how the engine engages and disengages like those in a traditional Toyota hybrid.
The 5.0-liter V8 provides more effortless thrust. It’s a naturally aspirated engine, and it likes racing up to its redline. The shift points of the 10-speed automatic have been modified for 2021, for added sportiness. While you’ll save money at the pump with the LC 500h hybrid, the LC 500 is the more compelling machine.
The convertible top goes up and down quickly and with ease. Top-up driving is still quiet and comfortable.
Executive Editor, Brian Moody says “If you’re going to a track on a regular basis, other cars will beat you – maybe. This Lexus the absolute best ‘exotic’ I’ve ever driven. Fun, quick, manageable, comfortable, precise, beautiful, this is ‘The One.’ Just an amazing car all around. The LC 500 convertible is the kind of car that makes you want to keep driving – when you get to your destination, it’s a kind of a bummer.” For everyday driving enjoyment, the LC 500 is Better than a McLaren, Better than an Aston, better than a Jag. Better than a Porsche 911? It’s close, very close.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Porsche 911 — The 911 was redesigned for 2019 and continues to be one of the best cars for toeing the line between sports car and GT. With its engine in the back and its styling comparatively subdued, it’s a different animal to be sure, but you’d be smart to check it out.
Used Bentley Continental GT — The Lexus is so beautifully crafted and well-engineered that we think the LC can be realistically compared to a new Bentley (or an Aston Martin for that matter). Nevertheless, the Continental is far more expensive, so a used version would need to be considered at this price point.
Questions You May Ask
When does the convertible version of the Lexus LC go on sale in the U.S.?
The new Lexus LC 500 Convertible arrives in the U.S. in the summer of 2020 as a 2021 model.
Is there still a hybrid version of the Lexus LC?
Yes. It’s called the Lexus LC 500h. It gets an impressive 35 mpg on the highway.
What does “LC” stand for?
How long does it take to lower the new LC 500 Convertible’s top?
It takes 15 seconds to lower the LC 500’s power top and 16 seconds to put it back up. Of note, the top can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.
Where is the Lexus LC 500 built?
The Lexus LC is built at Toyota’s Motomachi facility in Japan.
While there’s much to be said about the impressive engineering and excellent fuel economy of the Lexus LC 500h hybrid, we’re more taken by the sexy styling of the new open-top LC 500 Convertible and its rumbly 5.0-liter V8, which we’ve already come to appreciate in the standard LC 500. Equip either LC 500 with the Touring Package, and you’ll be ready for a cross-country tip in classic grand-touring style. Find a Lexus LC for sale