At a time when the car seems to be taking a turn from reason to passion, some manufacturers still have the ability to turn heads. And for once, the dream does not come from Germany, Maranello or across the Channel, but from the land of the rising sun. More precisely from Motomachi, the Japanese city on the island of Hokkaido where the Lexus factory and test track are located. And yes, although it may seem strange, it is the first hybrid brand that is being talked about today. Rest assured, there is no SUV but a convertible and then a coupe among the most desirable on the market, the Lexus LC 500. Its signature? The line apart from the motoring that is the same with its V8 air displacement of 5 liters. Anachronism in 2023 … to our great pleasure!
There are tests that are more expected than others. That of the Lexus LC 500 is certainly one of them. Secretly, the Japanese brand gives us the luxury here of making available the first copy of the series with 80 units (40 coupe + 40 convertibles). It is enough to further strengthen the unique side of this Hokkaido Edition. So it is with some excitement that footsteps rush into the basement of the Lexus park.
After a few meters, the first visual contact with the LC 500. The color light is not the most pleasant, but it is impossible not to be impressed. Almost two meters wide, a gaping grille, 21-inch rims, not to mention a sculpted line worthy of supercars that make children dream. Bruce Wayne could also set his sights on this LC 500 Hokkaido Edition, its graffiti print, its many hardware components ditching the chrome in favor of black and its pointed corners that give the Batmobile a bit of an air. As for the soft top, it is possible to change the garnet to black more wisely.
The technique continues, the light signature is revealed and the press on the handle enables us to grab it to stay on the board. Or rather let’s go down. With a height of only 1m35, this feeling is more appropriate, it is true. However, there is no need to contort. The seats certainly cover, but not to the point of sacrificing comfort. A welcoming feeling Omotenashi “) A beloved Japanese culture takes on meaning here. Witness the care taken inside the LC 500.
If the design is familiar to the brand, every square centimeter – even the hidden ones – seems to have been taken with great care. Expanded leather, alcantara, felt, aluminum, premium materials combine perfectly to give happy occupants the experience of ” a relaxing, but exciting trip » according to the manufacturer’s terms. Special mention for the beautiful door panels and handles. Of course, during the interior with tactile interfaces, the abundance of buttons seems outdated. And it’s not the touch pad at the level of the main part of the hand provided for the infotainment system (itself quite dated) or the reversing camera, so to say it is useless as it is limited to its simplest expression, which will contradict this opinion. Unsurprisingly, the LC 500 is none other than the untouched generation of the LC-LF concept car presented in 2012. And then, with CarPlay and Android Auto, the honor is secure. The rest are just details and will be quickly forgotten at the first click of the Start button.
The V8 then wakes up with a characteristic manger sound. For a moment, time stops to appreciate this guilty pleasure of happiness destined to disappear under the altar of standards and penalties (€ 50,000 in 2023 which is added to € 123,000 of the base price) open hatred. That’s the way things go…
So the first meters are made with a mixture of excitement and caution, while absorbing the size of the Lexus LC 500. Blindly placing the hood of the slop, about 4.80m in length, (very) low position, prominent rear fenders, everything is visible to be right. indicate that it is time to get out of Paris traffic as soon as possible. Joining the A13 in the direction of Normandy eventually turns out to be easier than imagined. It must be noted that under its brutal climate, the LC 500 is much quieter than it appears. The automatic gearbox is very smooth and goes through 10 gears without trying to rev. Stopped at 130 km/h at 1600 rpm, the V8 seems silent. As for consumption, it is difficult 9l/100 under these conditions. At high speed, count twice (and again)…
Cruiser on the highway it’s certainly pleasant but the temptation to activate the V8 on small roads is quickly strong. Exit and a few kilometers later, the sign indicates our entry into the natural park of Vexin France. It’s time to ditch comfort in favor of a Sport counterpart. Operation is done through the wheel located on the right side of the counter at the level of the cap. A wonderful place that forces you to reach, but let’s move on, a matter of practice of course.
Recovery becomes clearer, the adaptive suspension is firm, but without being brittle. The behavior is healthy, it is predictable even if the rear axle sometimes allows itself to remind you that the movement of more than 450 hp and two tons at the level cannot compete with the lightness of the compact on the change of support quickly, still in the small. departmental road with damaged pavement. Probably not the best playground for a variable two meter width. What causes a cold sweat when crossing with other vehicles on these narrow country roads. The cleanliness of the ventilated seats is welcome. Like the efficiency of the brake system (400 mm discs with 6-piston calipers in front, 358 mm in the back with 4-piston calipers) even if the condition of such a mass should not be hidden.
In absolute words, the V8 with its 464 hp does not threaten the cycle times (0 to 100 km / h was knocked down in 5 seconds). Moving two tons is not easy. And then like any naturally aspirated engine, below 4000 rpm, not much happens. Then, the cavalry wakes up in a journey of charming sound and finds itself reaching a speed of 7000 rev / min, the apotheosis of the V8’s loud roar. In manual mode, it’s also a sign that it’s time to engage a higher gear. Because yes, the automatic gearbox has this taste (as well as being only good in Sport mode) of not taking control of itself as it usually is. Old school, of course, but more fun. Just like this little clown next to press the right paddle. Downshifting is so much more for cracklings this wise so addictive. Present sure, but it doesn’t match the extravagance of ” pop&bang which some now really love… Nothing fake here, just the glory of the V8 speaking for itself. There is no need toliving voice so, that will leave you plenty of time to enjoy the Mark Levinson HiFi, its 13 speakers and its CD player, please!
After all, there is no need to heckle the LC 500 to understand. Hair spinning in the wind, it allows to appreciate even more the sounds of the V8 and reveal a line as, if not more desirable, than that of the coupe. In profile, the Lexus convertible takes on the air of a Riva, these exaggerated yachts of timeless elegance cruising the Italian Great Lakes.
Charisma, a large Lexus car is not lacking. Its good looks hide a lot of small details that are revealed over the days, such as the many references to the L in the Lexus logo scattered here and there. In the design of the optics, the light signature, the grille, on the polychrome rims and probably elsewhere, but the time has come for us to close this LC 500 test.
A restoration full of nostalgia is a must, sure to silence forever the sweet symphony of the V8 sky … A page has been turned, another has been written. Lexus knows this and already offers a solution with the V6 Hybrid of the LC 500h. A perfect illustration of the current car market. Both yearning for the past, but already looking to the future.
So yes, on paper, the 3.5l V6 with its 359hp (at 6600 rpm with a torque of 348 Nm at 4900 rpm) seems light in comparison to the 464 hp of the V8 (at 7100 rpm and 540 Nm at 4800), but the addition of The electric motor makes it possible to fill the gap below the last 4000 rpm. Therefore, the performances take place on a pocket handkerchief and even rely on a hybrid engine.
There’s still the disconcerting feeling of alternating phases of electric-specific silence and V6 whine as soon as the right pedal is touched. It’s not worse than that, in the end he can’t match the voices of his colleague now persona non grata. However, we applaud the work of Lexus engineers who have almost succeeded in erasing this feeling of “slipping” specific to the continuously variable gearbox (CVT). And above all, the use of worthy sedan with 7l/100 and driving environmentally friendly (12-15l for adjusting the “stronger” style). It is also a way to have a disappointingly small penalty (€12,500)…
As for choosing between a coupe and a convertible, this is a personal choice as both are good. Special mention, however, to the roofline without the rear pillar of the LC 500h Coupé, simply beautiful. The trunk is also smaller (197 liters in the V8 vs 172 liters in the hybrid V6). There is still the possibility of carrying some luggage in the back seat, the two seats being an unusable simplification, even for children. But that is not the call of the LC 500. For this, the Lexus LS 500, also equipped with a V6 hybrid engine, is the perfect choice.