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The Final Act? – 2024 Lexus LC500 Coupe Review

There are some cars out there which really get under one’s skin. It can be difficult to describe to some extent, but all car buffs out there have a handful of cars they could happily picture being parked in their garage. For me, one such car is the Lexus LC500, one sporting GT which left a rather lasting impression when I first drove one three years ago.

I remember being rather smitten on so many levels first time around and would happily seek out any oppourtunity to get re-acquainted with what I believe is one of the greatest cars Lexus have ever built and one of the greatest all-round sporting GTs from the last decade.

Thanks to Lexus New Zealand and Aaron and the team from Lexus of Christchurch, I was able to revisit the LC500 for a week. With production seemingly winding up for the LC and RC coupe, the time was ripe for a retrospective on why the LC500 is such a star in the Lexus crown.

While looks are subjective, I reckon the LC500 is still the best looking car Lexus have made in the last 10 years. Features like the wide spindle grill, edgy LED headlights and bulging rear haunches make for a simply incredible design statement.

Under that svelte bonnet lies a masterstroke of a power unit, a 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 producing 351kW and 540Nm of torque. Not a powerhouse, but as you read on, this is hardly a bad thing. You also have a 10-speed automatic transmission and a top whack of 270km/h. Combined fuel consumption is 12.9L/100km but you kind of knew it would be something like that didn’t you?

The cabin is still so sumptuous with all manner of quality switchgear and hi grade materials. You also get a plethora of luxo additives like a 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, ventilated semi leather and alcantara seats and a head up display. The full Lexus Safety System is on hand and while you have rear seats, it’s probably best to use them for additional luggage space.

The current LC500 also gets the newest Lexus 12.3-inch touch-screen infotainment system and user voice interface system. Also that somewhat recalcitrant touch pad set up for selecting features on the screen is long gone.

Right, begin firing procedure. An assertive press of the engine start button and way-hey we have glorious naturally aspirated V8 symphonic bliss. I could wax lyrical all day about the noise this car emits through those chrome tipped pipes. It has to be one of the most epic engine notes of any car o sale today. I’d wager that more than half the LC500’s appeal is down to that engine and the eight cylinder chorus it provides.

Plenty of car fanatics look forward to the sight and sound of a sports car with a crackling exhaust on cold start-up and, well, let’s just say firing up the LC500 in my garage every day for a week or so created plenty of anticipation.

Burbling along through suburbia and as you would probably imagine, the LC turns heads. Mind you, the fact this particular LC was a bright shade of yellow also helped matters. When you dial back the loud pedal, the LC500 becomes almost chapel-like quiet. Venture north of 1500rpm to 2000rpm and, while you still get the sensation of eight-cylinders firing in unison, it is still uber-refined and tactile. Obnoxious this car is not.

Despite sitting rather low and hunkered down, the LC500 can still handle the bumps and coarse bitumen really well. Not by the standards of a floaty luxury barge, but for a sporting coupe, it’s more than agreeable. Driveways and speed-bumps are also not much of a deterrent. Around town and built up areas the LC500 is also incredibly docile and easy to use. The 10-speed auto box in auto mode serves up some seamless shifts too.

One of my favourite local sections of roads is the coastal drive from Lyttleton to Tai Tapu via Governors Bay and the famous Gebbies Pass, in other words the perfect canvas for the LC500’s brush to paint a very pretty picture.

Select Sport mode, or Sport Plus if you like, select manual shifting via the paddles and the LC500 changes from restrained and elegant tourer, to rip-snorting V8 devourer of tight switchback bends and short straights. It’s not a sports car in the purest sense of the word, but for a two-tonne sporting coupe, its agility and ability to change direction planted and on full song is just epic.

I wouldn’t call the LC500 immensely fast by modern performance car standards, but zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds is still plenty brisk. Flex your right shoe mid corner and the traction control vigorously fights to keep things in line.  Its manageable power too, never feeling beyond your control.

The LC500 really nails the best of both worlds, all while your hairs stand on end with every change of gear accompanied by the fart of every up shift. Flick down the paddles and a loud blip of the throttle just eggs you onto repeat the process again and again. Intoxicating drive? You bet.

Now, for the elephant in the room, which is, at $239,000, the LC500 commands a bit of dosh. However I genuinely believe the LC will earn the title of future classic. It can do it all, the long trip, a Sunday blast or a daily drive. While the future of naturally aspirated V8 cars like this with a Lexus badge is in doubt, I wouldn’t be surprised if the LC500 was the last of an endangered species. It doesn’t have the same cult following as the almost-mythical LFA, but it still very, very special. I utterly adore it.


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