I was recently given the chance to spend a week with a preproduction Lexus LC 500. During that time, I took it on a long road trip to an amazing resort in rural Virginia. I found out how it handles the D.C. commute, and I even put it up on a lift to see what’s underneath Lexus’s new $100,000 sports car. In the end, I came away preferring it to the Porsche 911. Your results may vary.
Doug has already given you the quirks and features run-through, so I’m not here to tell you why I think it’s worth $100,000. Instead, I’m here to give you a view of the LC that you may not have seen: the underside! Check out the video to watch me do a quick technical walk-through — along with my faithful sidekick and tech wizard Sean from IM Autohaus, a local specialist for Saab, Volvo, BMW, Subaru and Mini.
Starting under the hood, this car features a snarling 5.0-liter V8 with 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque routing power through a 10–speed transmission. Do you really need ten speeds? Probably not — but it makes for a fantastic road trip car, and it delivers 16 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which isn’t bad. The most interesting things under the hood are … explosives! Placed in four spots under the hood are small explosive charges that help raise the hood in the event of a pedestrian collision. Once the car senses the impact, it shoots the hood up into the air to minimize injuries to the pedestrian. Seriously.
Elsewhere under the hood, there’s some pretty carbon fiber and some plastic, which is less pretty. Moving around the car to the brakes, this car doesn’t feature the typical Brembo setup — but it still has 6-piston monoblock aluminum calipers with 15.7-inch 2-piece ventilated discs up front. For those of you who remember, the wheels were probably smaller than that on the first Lexus that ever arrived in the States. The brakes stop the car just fine — but for bigger brakes, stay tuned, as Lexus is supposed to have an LC F version coming with 600 hp … and likely, bigger brakes.
It’s quite a car to look at, and I’m sure I’m not the first person to liken it to a space ship. Particularly in this shade of white, it got a lot of attention. I had people coming up to me and asking what it was, and I even had a guy riding a bicycle near Nationals Park in D.C. filming the car on his phone as I drove. If you’re out there, send me the video — I’ll bet that looked cool. The extra-wide haunches in particular are a feature not typically found on most nonexotics, and especially not on the average Lexus. The RC-F is the closest thing to this car, and even it’s not quite on par.
The real magic, however, was underneath — but first, we had to get it up in the air. Our loaner had an issue with the right rear jack support. It took some troubleshooting, but once we got it up, we found that there’s aluminum everywhere, at least in the suspension. Lexus states in their marketing swag that it has independent, double-joint multilink with forged aluminum components, coil springs, linear-solenoid-actuated shock absorbers and adhesive-bonded stabilizer bar. Did you get all of that? Basically it’s similar to most new trick suspension systems in that you can adjust the shocks to affect the ride and handling. The LC 500 does a better job than most by providing a very comfortable, pliant ride in Comfort mode and stiffening things up in its various Sport settings (of which there are a couple).
Similarly, the exhaust has several modes, using what amounts to a throttle body setup out back. In its sportiest mode, Sport S+, the LC makes some fantastic noises — and you find yourself automatically moving to that setting, even just tooling around town.
The exhaust itself is ripe for the aftermarket’s assistance. Starting with the exhaust manifold, it has built-in cats, along with a decent-sized pipe heading towards the back of the car. As you saw in the video, my unscientific measurement was "I couldn’t quite get my hand around it." From there, the LC has the post-cats and pretty large resonators — and by the time you’re even with the rear wheels, the piping is small enough to where I can easily get my hand around it. As a result, I’m thinking that opening up the exhaust, on an engine this size, should net you 30 horsepower or more — which, in this car, puts you over the magic 500-hp mark. Just make sure you ditch the fake chrome plastic "single" exhaust outlet (which actually has two pipes per side ending just before it) for a nice-looking dual-exhaust setup.
Elsewhere Lexus added neat things like fins along the transmission pan and the limited slip to help keep things cool. It’s clearly a well-engineered car. Enough to get you to buy one over a Porsche 911? I suppose that depends on what you’re going to use it for. Take a look at the end of a video for a proper argument on the subject and let us know where you land in the comments. Find a Lexus LC for sale
Based in Northern Virginia, William is professional writer and editor and acts as the Editor-in-Chief of Right Foot Down. He misspent most of his youth on tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as killing cones in parking lots, and he once taught at a teen performance driving school.
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