Superheroes don’t drive boring cars. Why should you?
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 is the star car of this year’s superhero blockbuster, Black Panther, but it is no one-off movie car. You can swing by your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and drive off in one today. And if you have the means for such a car, you definitely should!
We’ve already driven the LC twice with a LC 500 equipped with the Performance Package and then, earlier this year, the hybrid LC 500h. Somewhere between these two models sits the 2018 Lexus LC 500 used for this test drive review.
2018 Lexus LC 500 Exterior
Lexus first hinted at the 2018 Lexus LC 500 with the 2012 Lexus LF-LC, which had a stunning design that carried over practically unchanged to the production LC – even the optional 21-inch forged wheels (a $2,650 option) were identical to the wheels from the concept car. The coupe sits low and wide with a long nose and short overhangs, and this car looked sinister in the Smoky Granite Mica paint job. The last LC 500 we drove had the carbon fiber roof, but this tester had the glass roof option; the carbon roof adds to the sporty styling, but the glass roof adds the sunroof and a little extra headroom.
Every angle of this car reveals some sort of unique detail that makes you want to get a closer look. Up front it’s the oversized spindle grille and LED headlights, while the profile reveals hidden door handles and the air intake that is incorporated into the lines for the rocker panel. My favorite design element, though, are the beautiful LED taillights. When not illuminated, they appear as silver rectangles, but with the lights on, they reveal a series of elements shaped similarly to the Nike-swoosh-like LED daytime running lights up front. The best part of these taillights is that when the LC is locked and unlocked, the lighting elements illuminate sequentially adding yet another incredible detail to the car.
2018 Lexus LC 500 Interior
While it was refreshingly surprising how much of the concept car Lexus built into the production car, it isn’t at all surprising that only a handful of the LF-LC’s themes made it inside the 2018 Lexus LC 500. Gone are the race-inspired steering wheel and console-mounted digital keyboard, but the stacked, wraparound instrument panel, the wavelike center console grab handle and the flowing door panels were all incorporated into the LC’s cabin design. One area where Lexus actually outdid the concept car are the interior door handles that float in a strip of suede leather – easily this car’s best feature showing the attention to detail Lexus put into the LC.
The LC 500 offers four options for interior colors including this tester’s Toasted Caramel leather featuring high-grade materials on every surface; Lexus is known for its excellent interiors, but it knocked this one out of the park! Front passengers get seats that are amazingly comfortable yet incredibly supportive, while the rear seats aren’t really practical for regular use for passengers – I was able to fit my 5-year-old daughter back there comfortably, but then the passenger seat was too far forward for my wife to be comfortable. The trunk is shallow, but it goes deep enough into the car to allow for 5.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
When it comes to technology, the driver gets a configurable gauge cluster that we’ve seen on Lexus F and F Sport cars with digital readouts to display a range of information including g-forces. The infotainment screen is even better with a wide screen covered by a clear panel that spans two-thirds of the dash. This tester was also equipped with options like the $1,220 Mark Levinson 13-speaker audio system and the $900 color head-up display.
2018 Lexus LC 500 Powertrain
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a wonderful car to look at, but it is an absolute joy to drive. Under that long hood is a 5.0-liter V-8 laying down 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. On paper, that might not look like much for a modern six-figure sports car, but it’s hard to make any complaints about the LC’s performance; besides, that just leaves the door open for an LC F down the road. Lexus claims an official 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds to go along with a top speed of 168 mph, which are fairly impressive for a 4,280-pound luxury coupe.
The LC might not be as fast as its rivals, but it is more civilized with a smooth, quiet ride devoid of any real quirkiness (like the Mercedes SL’s retracting hardtop or the GT-R’s jerky transmission). The LC 500 mages its V-8 with a 10-speed automatic that results in excellent acceleration, while still delivering decent fuel economy. EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway** are about on par with the GT-R and SL, while the SUV-sized 21.7-gallon fuel tank gives the LC considerable driving range. This tester lacked the carbon fiber roof and active rear spoiler of our previous LC 500 tester, but it was equipped with the $390 limited slip differential.
2018 Lexus LC 500 Safety
As is the case with sports cars like this, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard safety features include a pop-up hood to better protect pedestrians in the event of a collision as well as the Lexus Safety System+ suite of safety technologies like the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beam and Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. This tester was also equipped with the $1,000 Convenience Package that added Intuitive Park Assist and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
2018 Lexus LC 500 Overall
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 looks like a mix of a concept car and something from a futuristic sci-fi movie, and it gets attention wherever it goes. It might not be as fast as a Nissan GT-R or offer as many varieties as a Porsche 911, but it is a sexy, sporty and luxurious coupe that hits all the right notes for a grand touring sports car. The LC also builds on Lexus’ growing history of sport coupes offering more performance and luxury focus than the RC and SC, while being far more attainable than the LFA supercar.
With a starting price of $92,000*, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 is right in the thick of things against cars like the GT-R, 911 and Mercedes SL-Class. Tack on all the options, and the LC 500 used for this test drive review had an as-tested price of $100,615.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2018 Lexus LC 500 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.