The Lexus LC 500 is everything you want from a luxury coupe, or at least everything I want. It draws more attention than almost anything I’ve ever driven thanks to sculpted looks. The V8 sounds amazing with a great sounding V8 that roars and cracks as you tear down the road. Inside comfortable seats, soft surfaces and sweeping lines great you. The optional Mark Levinson sound system has the power to make the world melt away and bless your ears with the best version of whatever playlist carries you to your destination.
Is the LC 500 perfect? No, it still uses a frustrating trackpad control system, but it does support Apple CarPlay so you no longer need to clutter the dash with a phone mount. There is no Android Auto support yet. There’s a small trunk, but you can fit golf clubs in it. Thankfully you can use the back seat for storage because you’re not going to haul passengers in it. Fuel economy isn’t amazing, but it isn’t awful considering the V8 under the hood.
Aside from complaining about the infotainment system, the rest of the catches are part of owning a sports car, even one that’s masquerading as a luxury coupe.
Driving the LC 500
The 2019 LC 500 is quick and fun, but it still offers a smooth ride when you’re cruising across the state. From twisting backroads to a plodding drive across Ohio and Indiana to test fast tech from Verizon, the LC 500 delivered a fun and comfortable ride.
While cruising along the highway in Comfort mode, the adjustable dampers soak up the road and cruises along with ease just like you’d want from a GT. When you flick the control into Sport or Sport+ you get a more lively driving experience. It’s still smooth, as the acceleration builds instead of instantly snapping to life. I love the sound of the V8 coming to life as you roar down an on-ramp or pass slow traffic. There’s a satisfying crack as you downshift to pass. While the automatic transmission is focused on a smooth takeoff and shifts, you can manually shift to get the gear and power you want, when you want it. The shifting is slightly more athletic in Sport and Sport+ with a distinct feel for acceleration and handling across the driving modes.
Lexus really nailed the handling and driving dynamics of the 2019 LC 500, and it’s especially good with the 20-inch tires on the loaner I tested. You can have fun with the LC 500 on the track, but ultimately this is a car that’s designed for cruising and looking great while you do so. I definitely prefer the V8 over the LC 500 h. The hybrid just can’t match the V8’s 471 horsepower and the amazing sound it delivers.
Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg combined with 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. That’s in line with what I saw while testing the LC 500.
Design, Style & Interior
The LC 500 draws attention wherever you take it. The sleek lines, bold grille and wide rear combine in an amazing way. The fit and finish are top-notch and the Infrared only highlights the style. In black, the LC 500 might leave some people thinking you’re Bruce Wayne out in a slightly inconspicuous Batmobile.
Inside, there is plenty of room for the driver and a front-seat passenger. Heated and ventilated front seats with an impressive array of adjustments allow you to find the perfect position and support. I love the driver-focused interior design as well as the leather and Alcantara materials throughout the cabin.
The back seat isn’t going to see use for passengers, just plan on using it for purses and bags. The trunk is large enough for golf clubs or two carry on suitcases. We also filled it up with camera gear and backpacks without needing the back seat.
Tech & Safety
In the 2019 LC 500, Lexus still sticks with the trackpad and no touch screen option. The large display in the dash looks beautiful and you can split two parts of the system side-by-side, but using the trackpad to control the system is distracting and not intuitive to use while driving.
We finally see Apple CarPlay support, which is a major upgrade from last year. With this in place, you don’t need to use the Lexus navigation and you get easier access to all your messages, calls, music and apps. There is no Android Auto support, so if you’re using Android, you’ll be stuck with the default Enform system. Enform does bring Alexa support and a WiFi personal hotspot to the party as well.
The star of the show is the Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound upgrade for $1,220. With this upgrade the stereo is amazing, delivering crystal clear audio even at high volumes and it’s one of the best in-car factory sound systems I’ve heard.
On the safety side, you get Lexus Safety System+, which includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist with steering assist, lane departure alert, auto high beam headlights, and all-speed dynamic radar cruise control. You also get a blind spot monitor that is handy on the highway. With the Convenience package, you get park assist that uses sensors to let you know if you are close to an object as well as a Head Up Display. The Head Up Display is good, but I wish you could move the content to the left or right for better visibility when driving.