If you remember the very first days of Lexus, you remember the clever ads: the champagne glasses on the hood of the car, the ball bearing rolling down its hood, the “relentless pursuit of perfection.”
Forget it all. Now Lexus is chasing after world-class luxury and performance with big power, great handling, and outrageous styling. It doesn’t ever want to be called boring again.
It earns a 7.4 on our overall scale, but it’s deceptively low—for now. Crash data doesn’t exist right now (and likely won’t anytime soon), and its supreme interior luxury is hopelessly selfish, back seats take a back seat. Our rating system penalizes small spaces—no matter what they’re upholstered in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Review continues below
The abrupt about-face starts with the most extroverted Lexus you’ve ever seen, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h. A gorgeous car with unbelievably good road manners, the LC is the most convincing show of courage from Lexus since the 1990 LS.
The LC’s show-stopping body isn’t forgotten easily, if at all. It’s the best car they’ve ever drawn, from its shrink-wrapped skin to its lotus-like leather stitching. Its performance is nearly unforgettable too. The LC needs to be reminded it weighs as much as an SUV, so fluid is its steering, so resilient its ride.
The cockpit carves out just enough space for two and pretty much ignores anything you shove in back. Safety scores are unavailable (and probably will remain so), and fuel economy is low on V-8 LCs. Hybrids score as high as the 911, though they depend on a hugely complex drivetrain.
Lexus fits one of the industry’s worst infotainment systems to the LC, but lavishes the cabin with beautiful trim, a glass roof, and an ethereally clear high-end sound system.
With the LC, Lexus fills the slot left behind by the former SC convertible. The LC’s mission is entirely different. It’s a flagship for Lexus, one that’s far more emotional and focused. The price isn’t a surprise, then: the LC 500 starts from $92,995, the LC 500h from $97,405.