2022 Lexus LC Review

2022 Lexus LC - LC 500 convertible a top luxury GT


2022 Lexus LC 500 convertible

Price: $101,100

Pros—Rakish. Powerful. Fast. Smooth ride. Nice handling. Lavish interior. NIfty power soft top.     

Cons—Notchy gear selector. Touchy touchpad controller. Small trunk. Cramped rear seat.  

Bottom Line—A top GT (Grand Touring) car.

Ian Fleming, the late author of the James Bond books and a car buff, loved his fast, sexy 1960s Studebaker Avanti. Fleming now might likely be driving a 2022 Lexus LC 500.

The LC 500 is the top Lexus model, but relatively few are sold because it’s essentially an expensive two-seater with a small trunk.  

The sleek Avanti was an advanced, limited volume GT (Grand Touring) car, designed for fast, comfortable long-distance travel. The same can be said for the LC 500. It looks like a rakish sports car but despite its styling and powerful V-8 it’s designed for long, fast comfortable cruises, not for tackling twisty roads.

The LC 500 lacks the sharp handling of some German rivals, but costs less, can easily handle fast, sweeping back roads and eats up interstates. The emphasis is more on comfort and high style, inside and out, than outhandling, say, a Porsche 911. The adaptive variable suspension provides a pleasant ride, and Lexus has improved the steering, suspension and stability control for 2022 for better handling.

This low-slung Lexus has various base prices and comes as a hardtop or soft-top convertible and as a gas-electric hybrid. The top operates adroitly and perfectly fits the car’s lines. It disappears when lowered, is well-padded to help keep the cockpit quiet and doesn’t steal trunk space or head room. A retractable hardtop would add weight and complexity to an already heavy 4,340-pound rear-drive vehicle. The convertible has a wind deflector and removable wind screen.

Door handles pop out to facilitate entry, but entering or leaving the low car can be challenging. And the control to raise the back quarter windows is alongside the top control. Both controls are concealed by a sliding cover on the console to keep the interior looking smooth, but why not have the easily reached door-mounted front power window  controls also work the back windows?

Fleming’s Avanti was painted a special black, but my Lexus test car had gorgeous “Nori Green Pearl” paint, which really brought out the car’s sensuous lines. In fact, this is the first Lexus with the automaker’s controversial spindle grille that looks as if it’s suited to the car’s styling. One drawback to the styling, though, is an exceptionally low front end that can be scratched by even a low curb.

The hardtop version costs less, but I’d for the $101,100 convertible convertible any time. But note that options, including 21-inch wheels, heated steering wheel, Mark Levinson 13-speaker sound system, head-up display and a Torsen limited slip differential and Yamaha rear differential with a Yahama rear performance damper brought tthe bottom line price to $112,075, including a $1,075 freight charge. A variety of options can easily make the price go higher.

Power comes from a 5-liter V8 with 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. It emits one of the best V-8 sounds ever produced and works with a responsive 10-speed automatic transmission, which can be manually shifted with magnesium paddle shifters (no plastic here!). The 0-60 m.ph. time is just 4.4 seconds, while 0-100 m.p.h. takes  10.8 seconds. Large, fade-free brakes provide quick, sure stops.

A driver can select Economy, Comfort, Sports or Sports-Plus driving modes via a dashboard control. Sports-Plus causes the quickest shifting and generally tightens things up, without causing much ride discomfort.   

The V-8’s estimated fuel economy is 15 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on highways, but reaching about 30 m.p.g. on highways when cruising in 10th gear shouldn’t be difficult if a driver keeps a steady pace. The fuel tank capacity is 21.7 gallons.

The hybrid model has a 3.5-liter V-6, a pair of electric motors and 354 horsepower.  It uses a special continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and delivers an estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on highways.  

The LC 500 is billed as a four-seater, but the back seat is too cramped to be comfortable for anything but short trips. It’s best left for luggage, small children or pets, although, at 6 feet, I did manage to squeeze back there. Also, the trunk is only capable of handling a small number of grocery bags or several soft suitcases. It’s got a high opening, but is nicely shaped.

The interior is lavishly lined with fine materials. The soft-touch interior has lots of leather, suede-like material and metal, and there’s even an artfully designed passenger grab handle that juts from the console. There’s not a stitch out of place on the seats or other interior places. The front has comfortable, supportive leather-trimmed heated and ventilated power seats. And there’s a push-button start/stop, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel with controls to help accommodate drivers of various sizes and intuitive parking assist. Gauges can be easily read, and interior features include dual zone climate control, besides Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

However, the gear selector is notchy, and the console’s touchpad controller for the infotainment system is dated and tedious to use. At least there’s redundant manual climate controls and a few other manual controls.

Safety items include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, power folding heated outside mirrors, smart stop technology, 6 air bags, and a backup camera with dynamic gridlines.

Look for the Lexus LC 500 convertible to be a future collectible.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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