The new LC500 is a spectacular expression of everything that makes Lexus vehicles so special. Inspired by, and incorporating some of the same manufacturing techniques as the iconic LFA supercar, the LC500 closely resembles the avant-garde LF-LC concept that debuted in January 2012.
This slippery GT is equally at home eating up vast distances on sweeping cross-country highways as it is tackling a series of tight bends on an expansive mountain pass.
It marks a series of firsts for Lexus, including the stiffest chassis of any Lexus car. It’s the first to use the new GA-L platform, with carbon fibre composite elements, that will underpin several future Lexus models. And it’s rear wheel-driven to ensure perfectly balanced handling characteristics. Under the bonnet you’ll find one of two engine options - but they’re priced identically, so you need simply choose the one you really want.
The first is a 5.0-litre V8 behemoth with 540Nm of torque and 477bhp, all mated to a world-first 10-speed direct shift automatic gearbox; the second, a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid with a Lithium-ion battery pack, and 10-speed Multi Stage Hybrid transmission. It’s the first Lexus hybrid that’s engineered to spin its wheels. Both propel the LC towards the horizon with brutal speed, reaching the 60mph benchmark in under 5 seconds.
There are some days, however, when you crave a relaxing driving experience rather than a ferocious, no-holds-barred sportscar. So the LC features a clamshell silencer design that can switch exhaust gas routes. The valves remain closed at low speeds and cruising to minimise noise and harshness, but on acceleration, the valve open to improve engine output and release a glorious exhaust note.
To help you make the most of that performance, Lexus designers and engineers have worked to reduce the length of the overhangs, therefore lowering the centre of gravity. To achieve this, they created one of the world’s slimmest headlight units. Unsatisfied by this development alone, they have also integrated a Torsen Limited Slip Differential and rear-wheel steering, both standard when you select the Sport+ pack.
With all this power and performance on hand, safety remains a priority. The Lexus Safety System+ integrates several automated systems to help prevent or mitigate a collision. Its Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection uses sensors to detect potential obstructions and assist in applying the brakes. It will automatically deploy the brakes if a collision becomes inevitable.
All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control automatically maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front, accelerating and braking for you. It’s a boon on motorways, making long distances more relaxing.
A windscreen-mounted camera is part of the Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist system. It tracks road markings to ensure you don’t drift out of your lane without indicating. Steering Assist, when active, can automatically correct your steering to keep you on the straight and narrow.
And Intelligent High Beams automatically detect oncoming traffic, switching your headlights to low beams and ensuring other road users are not dazzled. None of this would matter if the cabin were not a sumptuous place to spend time. So the same Takumi craftspeople who lovingly hewn the cabin of the LFA supercar are once again helping to create luxurious Lexus interiors. An unusual touch is the inclusion of two handgrips either side of the front passenger seat, so they can maintain their composure during even the most exhilarating of turns.
A next-generation Remote Touch interface features a larger haptic controller for even easier navigation of the on-board infotainment system. Luxury-spec LC models feature a stunning panoramic sunroof, while Sport and Sport+ models swap this for a low-weight carbon fibre roof.
Opt for the Mark Levinson stereo to set the perfect soundtrack to every occasion. The system has been specially tuned for the LC, and is the first to feature Clari-Fi. This new technology boosts compressed audio files, like those stored on smartphones, almost back to their uncompressed state. The result is unbelievably impressive sound quality.
Deliveries of the LC will begin later in 2017. Contact a member of the team at Inchcape Lexus to declare your interest, and we will contact you when the first demonstrator models arrive.