Lexus LC Review
The Lexus LC is a luxury coupe that's greener than most - thanks to hybrid power
Strengths & weaknesses
- Classic, stylish design
- Hybrid model is efficient
- Smooth ride for a sports car
- Dashboard screen and software are fiddly to use
- Rear seats are only good for luggage
- Limited supply: just 250 sold per year
When is a sports car not a sports car? When it has a couple of extra seats to make it a grand tourer, some might suggest, which is the case with the Lexus LC, a 2+2 GT that is available with a traditional V8 engine or, unique for the segment, a petrol-electric hybrid set-up.
The LC is Lexus’s response to being widely considered as a manufacturer of ‘boring’ cars – something that even the boss of parent company Toyota admitted. Adding a sports car/grand tourer – which takes a lot of its design and technology from the limited-edition LFA supercar from 2010 – to the model range should certainly up the premium brand’s coolness factor.
Having the option of hybrid power also makes the LC 500h something of a competitor to the BMW i8, albeit a two-seater costing around £20,000-30,000 more, so a direct comparison is perhaps stretching things. One thing’s for certain: although not perfect the LC is definitely a move in the right direction for a brand that wants to ditch the ‘boring’ tag.
The design should do that all by itself, because the LC is a very desirable-looking machine. Sleek curves and streamlined bodywork are contrasted with more unusual shapes in the grille and headlight clusters. The overall appearance of the LC would not look out of place in a futuristic sci-fi setting.
The interior follows what has become a successful formula for Lexus: high-quality materials create a homely environment that makes the cabin a pleasure to sit in. It’s not spacious – it's realistically a two-seater in the majority of scenarios, with the rear two seats suitable only for very small children or as extra luggage space – but that’s the nature of a sporty grand tourer.
The experience of being in the cabin is spoiled somewhat by the regrettable Lexus media system, which has a 10.3-inch display that feels half the height of similar units in rival cars. Combine that with a touchpad-like controller that feels counterintuitive and awkward to use, and you have what proves to be a constantly frustrating experience.
Better is the LC’s on-road character, which is as you would hope in a small and excitable car. The steering is direct and responsive, the handling is stable and well balanced, and the ride is smooth for all but the most aggressive of bumps, something you don't always get with cars boasting this kind of performance.
Both engines offer plenty in that regard, the 471hp V8 in the LC 500 and the 355hp V6 petrol-electric hybrid both offer performance figures in keeping with the competition. Lexus has interestingly placed the same price tag on both versions of the LC, so there’s no premium for going hybrid if that's what takes your fancy.
|3 years / 60,000 miles
|172 litres (LC500h) / 197 litres (LC500)
|£200 to £2,000 in first year, £140 thereafter