2021 Lexus LC

By January 6, 2021

The 2021 Lexus LC luxury coupe has swagger. Its styling is as bold as any Hot Wheels original. It grips the ground effortlessly and taps a powerful V-8 in its more powerful form. It’s a grand touring car, with the emphasis placed on the grand.

The 2021 LC doesn’t do anything new aside from introducing a convertible variant. Power still comes by way of a 5.0-liter V-8 or a hybrid V-6. The V-8 makes 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque; the hybrid drops two cylinders and gains an electric motor for a total of 354 hp and 369 lb-ft. A 10-speed automatic transmission pairs with the V-8, while the hybrid employs a trick gearbox that combines a 4-speed automatic with a CVT for a total of 10 real and simulated gears. The fastest LC has a hardtop and V-8 and gets to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds

Fuel economy is best with the hybrid powertrain, which returns 26 mpg city, 34 highway, 29 combined. The V-8 coupe is rated for 16/25/19 mpg and the V-8 convertible for 15/25/18 mpg.

Standard active-safety equipment comprises automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. Optional equipment includes a head-up display and an automatic parking system.

The LC has not been tested for crashworthiness.

Model Lineup

All LCs essentially leave the factory fully equipped save for a few extravagant options. Every model gets leather upholstery, a 10-speaker audio system, power-adjustable heated seats, memory functions for the seats and mirrors, and a 10.3-inch display that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Options include semi-aniline leather, 21-inch wheels, a 915-watt Mark Levinson audio system, and a heated steering wheel. Coupes offer a few performance options such as a limited-slip differential, sport seats, and rear-wheel steering.

Pricing begins at $93,975 for a base coupe and stretches to $102,025 for a convertible.

Exterior

Lexus trotted out the show-stopping LF-LC concept back in 2016 that wowed the critics and public alike. Two years later, the production LC hit showrooms looking like a carbon copy of the concept. That puts us at five years of familiarity with the LC’s design, and yet it remains as bold as ever. Not a line on it fails to elicit wows, shocks, or stares.

The design shares the hourglass grille and the aggressive creasing of other Lexuses. But the LC exaggerates those details to an almost cartoonish degree and pairs them to an impossibly low, long, wide shape. It’s filled with drama—the right kind of drama.

Interior

The LC’s interior is short on practicality but delivers big on the sensory experience. The cozy cabin is replete with real metal, leather, and wood. The vibe isn’t sporty like a Chevrolet Corvette or Porsche 911 but instead imparts a sense of luxury and exclusivity.

Every LC sports a 10.3-inch screen for infotainment purposes. It’s controlled by a touchpad mounted prominently in the center console. This makes navigating the system cumbersome, something made worse by the confounding native software. Using the standard-issue Apple CarPlay improves things some, and we’re grateful Lexus has finally integrated Android Auto as well this year.

Up front, passengers are spoiled with perfectly bolstered seats that make a day of driving an enticing proposition. The cramped back seat isn’t quite so sumptuous; its negligible leg room makes an airline coach seat feel roomy. Better to put your briefcase back there than your friends.

Trunk space is a comical 5.4 cubic feet on the coupe, 4.7 cubic feet on hybrids, and a paltry 3.4 cubic feet in the roadster. Pack light for weekend trips.

Driving Impressions

The LC may look like an exotic but leaves the business of hitting big numbers to more focused sports cars. The impetus here is grand touring in the traditional sense: tackling long distances with easy speed. In that regard the LC is more akin to the old-school personal luxury coupes than the latest crop of supercars.

That personality largely comes from the 5.0 liter V-8 that sits under the hood of most models. In an age where V-8s regularly churn out 500 or more horsepower, the LC’s 471 horses might sound a bit underwhelming. But in truth the LC sprints to 60 mph in less than five seconds and delivers that power with a creamy smoothness so unique to big-displacement V-8s.

That sensation in itself has become a luxury; even most other six-figure grand tourers have bolted superchargers or turbochargers onto their V-8s. Such forced induction enhances performance but smothers the natural swell of power that bespeaks luxury. The LC’s V-8 rides that lovely wave of power in an exquisite fashion. Its excellence in this regard is something that can’t be measured by spec-sheet data. The hybrid V-6 loses that intangible quality in the quest for improved fuel economy.

Two very different transmissions are offered here, but both make the most of the engine they’re paired with; the gas engine uses a 10-speed automatic transmission that snaps off shifts without delay or lag. The hybrid transmission is a bit more interesting: it marries a 4-speed automatic and a CVT. Combining the two disparate gearboxes make for a single transmission providing strong acceleration across all drive modes.

Out on the road the LC passes over every road surface with unsurprising confidence. The ride is cloudlike yet never wallowy. It is poised on curvy roads, and despite its heft and size the LC slices through corners with an unexpected eagerness. Rear-wheel steering is available, as is a staggered wheel-and-tire package, but the baseline performance should be fine for most.

Final Word

The Lexus LC is striking and elegant, built for classy speed and luxurious intimacy. There aren’t many cars of this caliber left; the ones that are cost as much as a nice house in the suburbs. In that sense, it’s almost tempting to call the LC a bargain. Our favorite version? Any model not powered by the hybrid V-6.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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