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2019 LC

The LC sits at the very top of the Lexus lineup as a two-door alternative to the LS. It offers concept car-inspired looks, a sumptuous interior, and a powerful V8 engine.

Overview

Very clearly based on the LF-LC concept, the LC has lost very little of that design study's aggressive styling in the move to a production model. It's longer and wider than its RC cousin, despite featuring the same 2+2 seating layout.

Up front, the now-ubiquitous Lexus "spindle" grille dominates the nose. It's flanked by triple-LED headlamps, which Lexus says made all the difference in accomplishing such a short front overhang (much like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which also employs LEDs). Below the headlamps, the fog lights sit outboard of distinct, vertical cooling intakes.

There's more distinctive aero in the profile, with two large intakes sitting just forward of the rear fenders. Blacked-out c-pillars flow into a rear end characterized by a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid and three-pronged lights. If it's curb appeal you're looking for, you've found it.

Life aboard

The interior is just as distinctive as the exterior. Lexus added two knobs on either side of the digital instrument cluster, a large grab handle that visually splits the cabin, and a tiered dash covered top-to-bottom in stitched tan leather. Flowing lines etched into the door panels add style to the cabin.

The 10.3-inch screen embedded in the dashboard runs the infotainment system. Don't poke at it; it's not touch-sensitive. It's controlled by a dial on the center console. Note the LC isn't compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

The LC offers space for four passengers in a 2+2 configuration. Its generous dimensions make the rear seats more usable than they look, though we wouldn't cram two adults back there for a cross-country drive. Trunk space checks in at 5.4 cubic feet.

Technical specifications

Lexus offers two variants of the big coupe named LC 500 and LC 500h, respectively.

The 500 comes with an all-aluminum 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. It spins the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The 500 takes 4.4 seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop and it goes on to a top speed of 160 mph. Fuel economy checks in at 16 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg in a combined cycle.

The LC 500h is a gasoline-electric hybrid model. Priced above its non-hybrid sibling, it swaps the V8 for the familiar 3.5-liter V6 found in a large number of Toyota and Lexus models. In this application it makes 220 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque. It works with an electric motor to provide a total output of 354 horsepower.

Here's where the plot gets complicated. Instead of using the V8's 10-speed automatic, Lexus fused a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a four-speed automatic transmission into a single unit. Lexus went through this achingly complicated process to eliminate the rubber band-like acceleration normally associated with a CVT.

The electric motor draws juice from a lithium-ion battery pack. The system adds weight to the LC, so Lexus quotes a zero-to-60-mph time of about five seconds. The 500h returns 26 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 30 in a combined cycle.

Standard and optional equipment

The LC comes standard with 20-inch wheels, auto-dimming door mirrors, puddle lights, an active sport exhaust, LED daytime running lights, flush-type door handles, a three-spoke steering wheel, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with a memory function for the driver, leather upholstery on the front seats, synthetic leather on the rear seats, satin metallic trim, an eight-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.3-inch screen for the infotainment system, a multi-function three-spoke steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, a HomeLink transceiver, a power-adjustable steering column, key-less entry, a push-button ignition, and a 12-speaker sound system.

The list of options includes 21-inch wheels, a head-up display, a carbon fiber roof panel, a limited-slip differential, and an upgraded sound system. Buyers can also choose from several option packages, including a sport package, a touring package, and a cold weather package.

Occupant safety

Every LC comes with front, side, curtain, and knee airbags for the front passengers in addition to traction and stability control systems. The coupe also benefits from pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and a lane departure warning system.

Key competitors

The Lexus LC's most direct rival is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. Like the Lexus, it was designed as a comfortable touring car with ample power, not as a hardcore track toy.

Buyers for whom the touring aspect isn't a priority can look a large selection of high-performance coupes in the LC's price range including the Porsche 911, the Nissan GT-R, the Jaguar F-Type, and the Mercedes-AMG GT.

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