What is it?
The Lexus LC has been out for more than four years now, and it’s still one of the coolest, best-looking cars on sale today. As a large, fairly impractical 2+2 sports car its appeal is limited, so you rarely see them on the road, giving it that extra rarity appeal, too.
Lexus has introduced a few changes for 2022, so it seemed as good an excuse as any to get reacquainted with the LC and its stunning V8 engine. The big question we need to answer is whether this is still an appealingly left-field option or whether bigger updates are needed to keep it fresh.
The LC’s upgrades are focused on its handling and performance, with the front and rear suspension settings being retuned to give better driver feedback from the road and improve handling. The goal was to deliver more direct handling and improve confidence in the vehicle’s ability in the corner.
The Normal drive mode has also been tweaked to provide a more comfortable and relaxing driving experience, while the sporty S+ mode now delivers a sharper response, creating a more obvious gap between the two settings.
A new Black Inspiration version is also introduced for both the hybrid and V8 models, which brings black exterior styling and a new carbon-fibre rear wing.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Lexus LC is available with two powertrains. The first is a 295bhp hybrid unit that uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine paired with an electric motor, while the model we’re testing today is a naturally aspirated V8 petrol.
This is the more performance-focused of the two engines, with the 5.0-litre unit sending 457bhp and 530Nm of torque to the rear wheels. The 0-60mph sprint takes 4.5 seconds (about 0.3 quicker than the hybrid) while the top speed is 168mph.
If you want lower running costs the hybrid is undoubtedly the one to go for, promising almost 35mpg compared with the V8’s 24mpg, while the CO2 emissions are 184 and 262g/km respectively.
What’s it like to drive?
To its credit, the Lexus LC offers a unique driving experience. It might have a sports car layout, but its focus is on being a grand tourer. In the reconfigured normal mode, it’s incredibly refined, with the suspension offering a magic carpet ride at motorway speeds where the LC feels at home.
However, it’s not a one trick pony, and while its happy place is crossing continents in luxurious comfort, you can spin the dial to its sportier modes and completely change its character. Here you can really enjoy the howl of the glorious V8 engine, while the suspension tweaks have helped give the car an agility you don’t expect from something so large.
How does it look?
The LC really looks like nothing else, and while it’s common to describe cars with futuristic looks as a ‘concept car for the road’, it feels like that phrase was made for this model.
It’s big, and doesn’t hide this in its design, but while this should make it look rather ungainly the sharp lines mean that it wears its proportions well. The large front grille doesn’t look out of place, while the daytime running lights cutting through the body between the headlights and grille help break up the front end nicely.
It has a large bonnet with sleek cabin lines that fold neatly into the rear arches. There are obvious wedges and creases in the rear, too, giving the LC its unique look that’s sure to turn heads wherever it goes.
What’s it like inside?
Despite the positivity on the outside, the inside is rather a mixed bag. Firstly, the good points. There are high quality materials throughout, and while the design doesn’t look as fresh as it did a few years back, it’s still different enough to the norm to be interesting. The infotainment display is clear, while the instrument display is neatly configurable.
However, considering the car’s exterior dimensions, it’s pretty cramped. The driving position is low with good visibility, but taller drivers will find their knees press against the lower dashboard, compromising comfort. Meanwhile, the back seats are almost unusable for adults, and its grand touring credentials are dented slightly by poor storage.
What’s the spec like?
Prices for the basic LC coupe start at £86,420 and include 20-inch alloy wheels, 10.3-inch infotainment display with built-in navigation and a glass roof with a manual sunshade. Step up to the LC 500 Sport Pack and prices start at £91,620 for 21-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, carbon-fibre roof and front sport seats with Alcantara upholstery.
Next up is the LC 500 Sport Plus Pack for £97,270, which brings dynamic rear steering, a limited-slip differential, extra carbon-fibre bits and a deployable rear spoiler. Finally, the top specification model is the Black Inspiration, starting from £102,420 and adding semi-aniline leather front seat upholstery, a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, head-up display, black 21-inch alloy wheels and various black exterior part upgrades.
The Lexus LC almost sits in its own little LC-shaped segment. It’s somewhere between sports cars like the Porsche 911 and far more expensive luxury cruisers from the likes of Bentley and Aston Martin.
It’s perhaps no surprise you see so few on the roads, then, but that’s a real shame, because the LC is a fantastic all-rounder. What it lacks in space and practicality it makes up for in visual and aural drama, and you just can’t help but smile while driving it.
It’s starting to feel slightly dated inside, but as a driving experience to enjoy there are few that can compete at this price.