Lexus LC 500 review
Lexus' V8 LC loses out in the power race to the German competition, but can it still be fun to drive?
Neil Briscoe
Neil Briscoe

Published on August 28, 2017

What are you driving?

A Lexus LC coupe, but this ain't no hybrid... This one uses that rarest of rare things, these days - a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine, packing 477hp and driving only the rear wheels. Now, that's a lot less than you'd get in an equivalent Mercedes-AMG car, but let's face it; since when was a 4.4-second 0-100km/h time not fast enough?

It's also worth reiterating that the Lexus engine doesn't use turbos, which is partially why it develops less power than the big-banger German engines (and has vastly higher CO2 emissions too), but it does mean that its throttle response is honed to a fine edge, and it's much more musical as well. This is no deep-gargle NASCAR-style sound, but something far more cultured, a mixture of that traditional Lexus refinement and a harder, more mechanical edge rather like a Can Am racer from the seventies. It's lovely, really lovely, but rather thirsty - we struggled to do better than 17mpg.

The chassis is very good too. Deft and poised, with lovely steering, almost perfectly weighted, which treads a fine line between Alpine pass precision and long-haul relaxation. This Sport Plus model comes with some extra handling tricks, including a limited slip differential (which still occasionally struggled to put down the V8's 540Nm of torque on tight hairpins) and rear-wheel steering. It does feel more agile and reactive than the hybrid model we also tested, but not so much so that most drivers would really feel the lack of it. 

It's not a dumb muscle car, this, in spite of the big V8. It's far more cultured than that, far more refined and far more precise - good fun in the corners, but comfy and quiet on the motorway. Great cabin, too, and beautiful build quality. The V8 also gets its own transmission, a ten-speed automatic, which Lexus claims can match the shift speeds of more complicated DSG-style gearboxes. It's as smooth and quick-reacting as you could possibly want it to be.

Oh, and the LC is gorgeous. True, not everyone is keen on this new Lexus styling direction, but you can't deny that the LC looks very striking, and is far more distinctive than any Porsche, BMW, or Mercedes.

Anything that bugs you?

Very little actually. It's hugely expensive, of course, and very thirsty, and the high CO2 figure means that it's going to cost you more than €2k a year just in motor tax. The boot is also quite small (although it's 20 litres bigger than the one you get in the hybrid), which limits the LC's true GT potential. Then there's the fact that, for most people, the Lexus badge still doesn't have the pull of the more storied German, British and Italian marques. Ah well, their loss - something this quick, sexy, fun and well-made has to be worth a look.

I want to know more

If there is anything specific you'd like to know about the LC 500 V8 that we've not covered, feel free to send us a question via the Ask Us Anything page. Or have a look at our test drive of the LC 500h hybrid model.


Tech Specs

Model testedLexus LC 500 Sport Plus
Pricingfrom €137,950
Engine5.0-litre petrol V8
Transmissionten-speed automatic
Body style2+2 coupe
CO2 emissions267g/km (Band G, €2,350 per annum)
Combined economy24.4mpg (11.5 litres/100km)
Top speed270km/h
0-100km/h4.4 seconds
Power477hp at 7,100rpm
Torque540Nm at 4,800rpm
Boot space197 litres
Rivals to the Lexus LC