There’s no question Lexus has built a strong reputation as a luxury brand. To that end, the 2018 Lexus LC 500h takes premium hybrid motoring to a whole new level. This car may be efficient, but it’s also athletic, aggressive and actively luxurious. It redifines the idea of Grand Touring.
We’re glad to see the finished product stayed true to the concept. When we first saw the Lexus LC 500h, it was one of the most modern-looking green cars out there. We assumed there’s no way the production model would or could live up to the concept. But we were wrong. This is the kind of car you’d expect to see in a Batman, Iron Man, or Mission: Impossible movie. Of all the new cars we’ve driven, we have never received as many neck snaps, stares and thumbs ups as in this LC. One of our staffers had a couple guys ask him about the car when he was photographing it in a local park. They were more than impressed by its bold look and personality, and would not leave his side until he was ready to pack up and leave. If you’re an introvert, this is not the car for you. See the 2018 Lexus LC models for sale near you
Although we have been less than excited about Lexus’ new grill, it works extremely well with the LC 500h design. Additionally, this was a pre-production vehicle, and they say fit and finish might not be up to production standards, but we found it to be near-perfect.
Even with 354 horsepower, it felt a little sluggish at times due to its weight. We were surprised to find out the car weighs between 4,300 and 4,400 pounds. Here’s another interesting fact we learned about the car: It has two transmissions linked together. The transmission is a CVT with two electric motors paired to a 4-speed transmission that modulates the CVT’s output. According to a Lexus engineer, the goal is to eliminate the "rubber band" feel of a CVT. We thought the shifting was silky and seamless, which lends to a good driving experience and above par fuel economy.
We averaged 24.2 miles per gallon while testing the LC500h equally on highways and surface streets.
The Feel of the Road
The ride is exactly what you expect from Lexus. In Normal mode, it’s smooth and very quiet. We found it to be a little too quiet for a sports car, even in Sport mode. In terms of handling, the LC 500h enjoys a precise feel and very little body roll. Turn-ins are particularly sharp thanks to the car’s low center of gravity.
We suspect that most people buying this hybrid aren’t necessarily looking for a muscle car. They simply want something that’s sporty and looks great. But they better have deep pockets, because the LC 500h is not cheap. Our tester, with options, topped the $100,000 mark. For that kind of money, you could get yourself a couple of luxury-level vehicles, hybrid or not.