If you’re a car aficionado, like yours truly, you’ve probably gazed at some exotic concept cars over the years. To own a Lamborghini, McLaren or Aston Martin was as practical as fractional jet ownership.
That was then.
While private jet travel remains lofty, there are two exotic cars that bring the unthinkable into focus with practical ownership for hundreds of thousands less.
The new Lexus LC 500 and 500h will make your day, your year and then some. We were able to compare performance, overall road manners and curb appeal of each in week-long testing.
The hybrid model was reviewed separately with high marks in all categories. This review covers the V-8 that shares its skin and pumps in 471 horsepower from a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated engine mated with a 10-speed automatic electronic shifter with magnesium paddles for the enthusiast.
• Stunning looks
• Outlandish acceleration
• Luxurious and sporty
• Difficult to enter and exit
• Limited cargo
• Fussy remote touch interface
You won’t want to commit any untoward acts with the LC 500 as it is eyeballed by everyone in sight and photographed often by passers-by. Both the LC 500 and 500h stopped traffic, pedestrians in mall lots and all points in between.
Little wonder with its stunning looks front to back with available 21-inch alloy wheels setting off low slung proportions. The oversize “love it or hate it” spindle grille on so many Lexus models looks right at home here.
A lightweight carbon fiber roofline slopes gently downward to the rear deck and to both sides, where they mesh with muscular side vents and stylish curves. The rear of the LC is a standout, literally, with wider quarter panels than the rest of its skin, including wider tires.
We feel LC designers hit a home run designing a multi-generational set of wheels appealing to millennial and boomers alike. It strikingly resembles the company’s Supercar LFA, which packs a 3.5 second track time to 60 mph and sells for more than $375,000.
Inside, cabin appointments push luxury to the nines while maintaining a sporty feel throughout with suede-like material and soft leather surfaces everywhere.
The 500 LC is a drivers’ car first, with full power wraparound seating up front. While a rear seat is included, think of it as a posh, upholstered cargo area that backs up a five-cubic foot trunk.
The Lexus V-8 power is unleashed in a number of drive modes, each with its own gear pattern and handling characteristics. Eco provides a tamer ride, while Comfort and Snow live up to their nameplates in upper gears.
Driving the LC in Sport and Sport Plus modes will not disappoint the senses while throwing you back in your seat. A V-8 growl greets at idle followed by a thunderous stretch off the line as rear wheels grip. Stay on the pedal and an outrageous roar takes over, catapulting the LC to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to Lexus. The feeling is outrageous excitement.
As an unexpected bonus, the V-8 is priced $4,000 less than its sibling hybrid, with each in your driveway for less than $100,000. Think about it.
• Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mode: 2018 Lexus LC 500
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8, 471 horsepower, 398 pound feet of torque
EPA rated mileage: 16 mpg city, 26 highway, 19 combined
Assembled: The LC 500 is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing facilities in Japan. U.S./Canadian parts content – 0 percent. Major source of foreign parts, Japan – 100 percent. Country of origin, engine and transmission – Japan.
Crash test ratings: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have not yet rated the LC 500.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile basic; 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain; first and second scheduled maintenance