I was recently given the chance to spend a week with a pre-production Lexus LC 500. During that time I took it on a long road trip to an amazing resort in rural Virginia, found out how it handles the DC commute, and even put it up on a lift to see what’s underneath Lexus’ new $100,000 sports car. I came away actually preferring it to the Porsche 911. Your results may vary.
Whether or not you would pay six figures for this car is fairly irrelevant, sorry. Regardless, I’m here to give you a view of the LC that you may not have seen, the underside! Check out the video to watch me, along with my faithful sidekick and tech wizard Sean from IM Autohaus, do a technical walk through of thew new Lexus LC 500!
Special thanks to IM Autohaus for hosting us on their lift after hours. They specialize in service for Saab, Volvo, BMW, Subaru & Mini so they should be pretty busy, am I right? I was able to pilot the LC into an empty bay and get it up in the air, but it wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds. More on that in a bit.
Starting under the hood, this car features a snarling 5.0L V8 with 471 hp and 398 ft. lbs of torque routing power through a ten speed transmission. Do you really need ten speeds? Probably not, but it makes for a fantastic road trip car and delivers MPG in the 16 city and 26 highway range, which isn’t bad. Most interesting under the hood are…explosives! Placed in four spots under the hood are small explosive charges that help raise the hood in the event of a pedestrian collision. Once the car senses the impact, it shoots the hood up into the air to minimize the risk of running over someone. Seriously. This is where we’ve come with regard to pedestrian safety.
Elsewhere under the hood there is some pretty carbon fiber and some plastic, which is less pretty. Moving around the car to the brakes, this car doesn’t feature the typical Brembo setup, but still has six-piston monoblock aluminum calipers with 15.7-in two-piece ventilated discs up front. For those of you who remember, the wheels on the first Lexus that ever arrived in the states was probably smaller than that. They stop the car just fine in my experience. For bigger brakes, stay tuned, Lexus is supposed to have an LC F version coming with 600hp; and likely, bigger brakes.
It’s quite a car to look at, and I’m sure I’m not the first person to liken it to a space ship. Particularly in this shade of white, it got a lot of attention. I had people coming up to me and asking what it was and I even had a guy riding a bicycle near Nationals Park filming the car on his phone as I drove. If you’re out there, send me the video, I’ll bet that looked cool. The extra wide haunches in particular are a feature not typically found on most non-exotics, and especially not on the average Lexus. The RC F is the closest thing this car, and even it’s not quite on par.
But the real magic was underneath, but first we had to get it up in the air. Our loaner had an issue with the right rear jack support. It took some troubleshooting, but once we got it up we found that there is aluminum everywhere, at least in the suspension. Lexus states in their marketing swag that it has independent, double-joint multilink with forged aluminum components, coil springs, linear-solenoid-actuated shock absorbers and adhesive-bonded stabilizer bar. Did you get all of that? Basically it’s similar to most new trick suspension systems in that you can adjust the shocks to affect the ride and handling. The LC 500 does a better job than most by providing a very comfortable, pliant, ride in Comfort mode and stiffening things up in its various Sport settings (of which there are a couple).
Similarly, the exhaust has several modes as well using what amounts to a throttle body setup out back. In it’s sportiest mode, Sport S+, which I was in most of the time, she barks, she drools, she claws! Dr. Venkman would approve. It makes some fantastic noises and you find yourself automatically moving to that setting even just tooling around town.
The exhaust itself is ripe for the aftermarket’s assistance. Starting with the exhaust manifold, it has built in cats and you actually get a decent sized pipe heading towards the back of the car. As you saw in the video, my unscientific measurement was “I couldn’t quite get my hand around it”. From there you have the post-cats, pretty large resonators, and by the time you are even with the rear wheels the piping is small enough to where I can easily get my hand around it. So opening up the exhaust, on an engine this size, should net you 30 horsepower or more. Which, in this car, puts you over the magic 500hp mark. Just make sure you ditch the fake chrome plastic “single” exhaust outlet (which actually has two pipes per side ending just before it) for a nice looking dual exhaust setup. Like God intended.
Elsewhere Lexus added neat things like fins along the transmission pan and the limited slip to help keep things cool. It’s clearly a well engineered car. Enough to get you to buy one over a Porsche 911? I suppose that depends on what you’re going to use it for. Take a look at the end of a video for a proper argument on the subject and let us know where you land in the comments.