Lexus first introduced us to the LC 500 in 2016 as a production version of the LF-LC Concept car. It began production in 2017 as a 2018 model and filled a void left by the SC which ceased production in 2010. Initially offered as just a coupe, a convertible was added to the lineup as a 2021 model bringing an innovative soft-top design to this flagship coupe. For 2023, the LC carries over with only some suspension enhancements. Looking ahead to 2024, it will get a new Lexus interface and standard 12.3-inch touchscreen, standard Lexus Safety System 2.5+, and two new colors.
The LC 500 is offered in one trim with a 3.5L V6 engine that pairs with two electric motors for a total output of 354 horsepower. This front engine, rear wheel drive pairs with a continuously variable automatic and four-speed transmission. Prices start at $102,650 and can get as high as $112,000 with the added Dynamic Handling Package, head-up display, and more. It's hard to define an exact competitor to this car, but prospective buyers would likely cross-shop the Acura NSX, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet or AMG GT, and Porsche 911 Carrera. I spent a week in a Nori Green Pearl LC 500h with all the options and here's what stood out...Performance (+)
While the hybrid powertrain does not sound as robust as the standard V8, it still performs well and gets better gas mileage. Working together, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range. It's smooth transition as you accelerate at higher speeds. An available M mode enhances the driving dynamics and allows the driver to shift through the gear ratios with paddle shifters. Acceleration is impressive as it goes from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
Lexus refers to the LC as a Grand Tourer which better aligns with its overall performance. It's not as sharp handling as a dedicated sports car like the Chevrolet Corvette, but instead delivers sporty handling paired with a signature Lexus plush ride. From the moment you accelerate, this car engages the driver confidently. It's well-balanced with control to confidently pass others and take corners at higher speeds. Outside of driving this on the street, I drove it on a track, and it's impressively poised around turns with stability. The suspension is also smooth as it glides over the roadways delivering a nice balance between luxury and sports car harshness. Steering is on point to direct the LC exactly where you want with ease. It's a near perfect blend of comfort and performance.Style (+)
It looks like a concept car and will surely turn heads. I like that the LC is something completely different from the other competitors with styling that can best be described as sexy. The smooth lines and flared fenders look like it was sculpted from the wind and Lexus' attention to detail is remarkable. The large spindle grille was meant for this car with angular LED lights drawing attention to the center. Wide fenders are filled by standard 20" cast alloy wheels which can be upgraded to either 20" or 21" forged wheels as well. The side silhouette is simple with minimal overhangs, a low character line that arches up before the rear wheels and a windshield that seamlessly curves up from the front hood. Around back, the low wide stance is accentuated with a kicked-up design that lifts its profile slightly, while the surface of the spoiler is laterally broadened. An automatic spoiler will pop up as speeds accelerate. Mirrored LED taillights stretch around to the fenders with sharp angles while a dual exhaust blends into the lower portion of the bumper. Look for two new colors to join the pallet in 2024, Ultrasonic Blue Mica and Copper Crest.
Interior design (+)
Hopping inside, it's evident this is a car designed for the driver. Controls are all within reach and easily visible. All materials are of the highest quality and overall fit and finish is near perfection. Touches of brushed silver accent the soft-touch leather throughout. An 8" digital instrument display is home to a simple circle with RPM, gear selection, speed, and odometer information at the center. At the touch of a button, the entire circle screen shifts over to accommodate a second information screen with driver assist and vehicle info. A long horizontal dash encompasses the multimedia screen, clock and vents while climate controls sit just above the center console. A more traditional gear lever is present, but it is electronically controlled to select the gears.Technology (+/-)
Despite its beautiful design, the interior boasts a previous generation's technology. A 10.3" infotainment screen is nicely designed into the long dash, but controls are primarily through a touchpad in the center console. While I've managed to get used to the touchpad in other Lexus models, the placement is slightly further back and less ideal in the LC 500h. The system does integrate with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa which can be heard through a standard 12-speaker stereo or an upgraded 13-speaker Mark Levinson surround-system. The upgraded sound system sounds great and clear while cruising with the top down.
Other technological features include an advanced climate concierge with heated and ventilated seating along with an available heated steering wheel. Upper body vents are integrated into the seats to keep you comfortable in various weather. A full color head-up display projects key information about speed, audio, gears, and RPM onto the windshield.
Lexus has already announced that 2024 models will fix this common complaint with a new interface seen on other models. 2024 models will come standard with a 12.3-inch touchscreen with easy-to-use controls and clearer information. All models will also come standard with a panoramic view monitor, voice controls and more.Interior Comfort: Driver (+)
The LC 500h's driver-inspired interior accommodates drivers well. The seat is comfortable and includes eight-way power adjustability. Leather is standard, but an upgraded package will add semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats, embossed headrests, the climate concierge, suede accents, and a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel. It's easier to get in and out than expected while providing ample head and leg room for the driver. Shoulder room feels tighter which is expected in a coupe like this. The seats themselves are well-padded and hug the passengers comfortably. Support was good for a long drive.Interior Comfort: Passengers (-)
Space for the front passenger is similar to the driver, however there are limitations which will limit their comfort such as a single cup holder in the center console and limited floor space. Rear seats exist making this officially a four-passenger vehicle, but there is barely enough room for kids. My younger kids (ages 7 and 11) fit back there, but at the expense of the passenger seat being pushed further forward. While it's beneficial for a short cruise around town, the back seats are best utilized for personal belongings rather than people. Ironically, it also comes with two complete sets of LATCH connectors for child safety seats... perhaps an ideal vehicle to drive the baby around in to calm them down.
Most people shopping for a vehicle like this are likely not concerned with cargo capacity and that's a good thing for Lexus. The LC has one of the lowest cargo volumes among competition with 5.4 cubic feet of trunk space. There's enough room for a weekend bag or two, but not enough for golf clubs.Fuel Economy (+)
When the LC arrived with a full 22.2-gallon tank it offered around 600 miles of range. EPA estimates are 26/33/29 MPG city/highway/combined and it runs on premium fuel. After a week that included a lot of highway driving, I averaged 32 MPG. These ratings are great compared to competitors. This is one you can comfortably take on a long drive with minimal stops. Safety (+)
The Lexus Safety System+ comes standard on every LC 500 and LC 500h for 2023. Lexus Safety System+ features Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist. Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection is standard and includes features such as Frontal Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection. All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is also included, as is Intelligent High Beam that will default to high-beam mode when the road ahead is clear but will temporarily switch to low beams when headlamps or tail lamps are detected. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is also standard on all models.Final Statement (+)
I've driven both the convertible and coupe and enjoyed them both for different reasons. Despite a few negatives (which the tech is getting fixed), it's hard not to fall in love with the Lexus LC 500h. This is truly a car built for the driver who wants an engaging, but comfortable drive. With an impressive range and good fuel economy, this is at the other end of the hybrid spectrum from the Toyota Prius. It's not often seen driving around town, so be prepared to talk about it with strangers.
First Impression Summary
Test Vehicle: 2023 Lexus LC
500h CoupeExterior Color:
Nori Green PearlInterior Color:
Toasted Caramel leather with Satin Metallic trimOptions:
Dynamic Handling Package ($6,850), Mark Levinson Sound System ($1,220), Head-Up Display ($900), All Weather Package ($250)MSRP as tested: