Experience the Driver’s Seat: 2018 Lexus LC

Lexus

Lexus is known for loyalty and longevity. With its new LC, the lust is standard.

Until recently the last true mass production flagship grand touring coupe Lexus had was the 2010 SC 430—so long ago, the 2+2 still had a cassette player. The striking new V8-powered LC 500 and the hybrid LC 500h, the object of our affection seen here, is a whole new ball game with sharp creases, a stance that makes it appear as though the LC’s ready to pounce, and the oh-so-hip triple LED headlamps.

As for tunes, this time around the music and information can also be sourced from HD radio, built-in apps like NPR One, or streamed from your smartphone.

When it comes to driving pleasure, we’d argue that audio that’s accurate and ignites your emotions is as vital as horsepower on long drives—and a lot less likely to leave you facing the music with Johnny Law. The 2018 Lexus LC has those bases (and the bass) covered with its standard 12-speaker Pioneer surround sound system that’s hooked up to an eight-channel Class D amplifier. Even that soundstage can be amped up with the full-tilt $1,220 Mark Levinson reference-quality 7.1 system that has an in-dash six-disc DVD/CD changer.

Ironically, the only sour note we found with the LC has to do with its infotainment system. It borders on the criminal that the LC’s glorious sound system belts out clear, nuanced music but is cursed by the hypersensitive touchpad that takes up valuable real estate on the coupe’s beautiful center console. There’s room just above for a controller dial and a row of tried-and-true physical pushbuttons to store favorite stations.

Under the LC 500h’s longish hood beats a 3.5-liter V6 that fires on the Atkinson cycle, an arrangement that coaxes more miles per gallon from the direct-injection gas engine. Combined with its two motor generators, the LC 500h brings 354 horsepower to the party. The LC 500’s 5.0-liter V8, meanwhile, produces 471 ponies that Lexus says are good for 4.4-second 0-60 mph charges and 19 mpg combined city and highway driving.

The LC 500 will reach 168 mph. Interestingly, the hybrid only takes three-tenths of a second longer to reach 60 mph and tops out at “only” 155, but earned a 30 mpg combined fuel economy rating.

Lexus

With wheels pushed to the far corners, beefy run-flat high-performance summer tires and a low center of gravity, the LC is a blast to drive. The interior is comfortable and stylish, and the appointments are worthy of the Lexus label. The 2018 Lexus LC 500h hybrid grand touring coupe starts at $96,510. The V8-powered LC 500 has an MSRP of $92,000.

Bottom line, with its dramatic concept-car styling, the Lexus LC grabs the eye and triggers grins whether the car’s at home in the garage or sitting on a parking lot, ready to greet you upon your return.

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