AWESOME. Akio Toyoda, the man to whom Lexus and Toyota report to, said it best, in Japanese, when describing the 2019 Lexus LC 500 – a car that oozes style and class, and looks more like a concept car than a road going production vehicle.
Looking like it’s just escaped an unveiling ceremony, the LC 500 is inspired by the LF-LC concept car, first revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012, with more than a small nod to the legendary LFA as well.
From a visual perspective, the LC 500 is like nothing else on the road. From its dominating Lexus ‘spindle grille’ to its sleek, almost torpedo-like shape, back to its cascading ‘Infinity’ tail lights, the LC 500 is a perfect blend of Tron meets Miami Vice.
Gorgeous curves, a floating glass roof, retractable door handles, and massive guards to house the factory forged two-tone 21-inch alloy wheels; the LC 500 is a combination of seduction and technology.
That tech includes a premium 13-speaker 918W Mark Levinson audio system, 10.3-inch multimedia screen with Lexus remote touch-pad, colour head-up display, an LFA-style 8-inch digital cluster, and clearance and reversing sensors.
There’s also auto retractable heated and self-dimming exterior mirrors, triple-stack LED headlights, adaptive variable suspension (AVS), Sport+ drive mode, a TORSEN limited slip diff, and so much more.
Put your foot on the brake and press the ignition, and listen, just listen, to the symphonic roar that comes from the powerful 351kW 5.0-Litre V8 petrol engine with direct injection and VVT-i.
You sense the car knows blast-off is imminent, and shift the 10-speed automatic into drive and it’s go baby go. The close gear ratios make for smooth quick shifts, well matched to the engine’s power curve.
And the sound, oh the sound. Pure auditory excellence from under the bonnet. Whether it’s in Eco, Comfort, or Normal mode, it sounds amazing. But take it to Sport or better still Sport+ mode, and the wicked exhaust 4-pipe exhaust goes full noise.
Press the accelerator and you get the humourous joy of watching your passenger grip onto the dual ‘oh $#!&’ handles as those eight pistons under the hood sing while the 275 Michelin rears struggle to hold form.
The handling is surprisingly good for this traction breaking beauty; the steering has a natural feel and vehicle movement is linear and stable. Throw in 6-piston front and 4-piston rear brakes, and the LC 500 really does float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Or maybe that should be stop on a dime. Mixed metaphors aside, the Lexus offers 540Nm of torque, and claimed fuel economy of 11.6-litres/100km. After going through a full tank of 98 boost juice, in different drive modes, we saw figures ranging from 8.2 to 15.9-litres.
Sure, when driven hard, it’s no hybrid Camry, but out on your favourite stretch of road with the wind in your hair, sound system turned up, engine and exhaust notes humming in tune, would you really care.
And if fuel consumption is what holds you back from purchasing your own LC 500, there is a hybrid variant, known as the LC 500h.
Inside, comfort has taken priority over aesthetics, practicality and technology. The driver and passenger seating is greatly supportive and comfortable, and driver vision and position are both excellent as well, especially for a coupe.
The interior, especially in the Ochre, feels a little retro and outdated. That said, it has a very high end look about it, thanks to the mix of Alcantara and traditional leather, and is also available in Black, Chrysalis Blue or Dark Rose, should you not like Ochre.
But with a drive away price of around $202,500 – without the optional add on pack that’s available – we’d expect such things as memory for the passenger, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a glass roof with tilt functionality or somewhere to shove your aviator sunnies.
Sadly these are missing. As are useful back seats. You see the LC 500 is a 2+2 sports coupe come grand tourer, not a two-seater like say the Jaguar F-TYPE. Rear seating in the LC 500 is only really suitable if you have young children, or your friends are hobbits.
A bigger dash cluster, the addition of more controls and buttons within the cockpit, and making the infotainment a touchscreen would all go a long way to make this car one of the best sports coupes on the market.
The initial start-up animation is a winner though. So much so that we’re almost compelled to watch it over and over again. With great power also comes great safety, and the LC 500 has it in spades.
There are eight standard airbags, a rear-view camera with guide assist, lane keeping assist, pre-collision safety and braking, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, radar active cruise control, automatic high beam, and tyre pressure warnings.
In addition, you’ll also find an anti-theft system with intrusion and tilt sensors, pop-up pedestrian safety bonnet, ABS and electronic brake force distribution, hill start and even a self-dimming rear view mirror.
The vehicle stability control, traction control, and sway warning system are also included, and can be dialed up or down, depending on how entertaining you want your drive to be.
There is an enhancement pack available as well for just under $16,000 and we have to say, if we were buying a 2019 Lexus LC 500, we’d grab it to get dynamic rear steering, variable gear ratio steering, and a front seat upgrade.
The pack also adds a carbon fibre roof and scuff plates, and more importantly, an active rear wing. It’s that last item that completely enhances the driving dynamics of this car, and the add-on is worth it for that alone.
All in all though, it’s a stunning, unique and refined motor vehicle that offers a well put together total package that’s capable of being anything from a very nice cruiser to a thrill ride monster, depending on your mood.
If your bank balance determines you can have one, then by all means do it. And while we’re not condoning modding your vehicle, we will say that if you have piggy bank funds which allow for a turbo or supercharger enhancement, do that too.
Our test vehicle came in Infrared, but Lexus’ flagship coupe is also available in White Nova, Slate Grey, Sonic Silver, Titanium, Onyx, Graphite Black, Garnet, Deep Metallic Bronze, Zinnia Yellow and Deep Blue.
Our test vehicle was provided by Lexus Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Lexus LC 500, contact your nearest Lexus dealer. Images courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.