First Drive: 2017 Lexus LC500

First Drive: 2017 Lexus LC500
 

With the exception of the LF-A, Lexus coupes have mostly been rather mundane – until now, writes Mark Smyth

Lexus LC500

What is this car all about?

It’s all about not being boring. That’s it, now I can’t say the name of the company because Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota and the luxury car maker that shall not be named, has said that never again will the words boring and Luxury EXport to the US be used in the same sentence. Confused? Okay we are talking about Lexus and its new LC500 which is definitely not boring (dammit, I used both words in the same sentence – sorry Mr Toyoda).

Lexus LC500

What’s under the hood?

A V8. A great big stonker of a 351kW V8 that makes loads of noise, needs no turbos and feels just a little old school in spite of having the latest technology. There is a hybrid version too, but it won’t be coming to SA. Normally we would say hoorah to this, but Lexus is actually quite good at making hybrids. Except in this case we have driven the hybrid LC500h and the yanks are welcome to it.

Lexus LC500

Does it stand out from the crowd?

Hell yes. Choose the right colour and people might even think it is a LF-A. People stop and take selfies with it and turn their heads as it passes in a way that would make the exorcist think he is about to be busy again.

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What’s noteworthy on the inside?

It’s all a bit Lexus but with some new twists. The door panels in particular are a real piece of design and if you opt for the brighter trim options then it all looks rather cool.

Lexus LC500

Is it good to drive?

Very much so. The engineers have put a great deal of effort transforming the LF-LC concept from the Detroit show in 2012 into a real sports machine. The engine responds brilliantly even without turbos and the new 10-speed gearbox is so quick that it will have engineers at Volkswagen wondering how they did it. Although in spite of having all the characteristics of a true sports car, the traction control can behave a bit like your overprotective grandmother. Fortunately we discussed this with the engineers and they reckon they can fix it before the car officially goes on the market next year

Lexus LC500

Who’s going to lose sleep about this car?

Lexus would like to think that Porsche and Jaguar are going to be just a little scared, but really they aren’t. The company is targeting the Mercedes S500 and BMW 6 Series coupes as well as the Jag F-Type. It’s no F-Type and with a price tag expected to be north of R1.4-million, both the F and 911 are better options. Mercedes and BMW should be more worried, but even then there are those that will see the Germans as being a bit more classy. Except in America, where the LC is going to sell in the thousands.