On The Road

New Lexus LC 500 is breathtaking

Lexus LC 500
Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
Packed with power, the Lexus LC 500 also has a premium interior.

Full confession, no excuses: I love the Lexus LC 500. Have since the moment I saw one in the metal three years ago at the Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel event.

And I’ve made no secret about it, writing rhapsodically about the musclebound LC 500 Coupe with the 471-horsepower V8 (reviewed in the May 1, 2019, Town Crier) and, one year ago this month, about the much more ecologically friendly yet still stunning LC 500h Hybrid (Jan. 2, 2020, Town Crier).

I know this car, I love this car.

So, you can only imagine that I love it more now that it comes in convertible form for 2021.

This is a simply breathtaking automobile. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a “dream car” (several, yes; one, no). But now, I think I’m there. The one vehicle that I could say, “Just that one. I’ll be fine for the rest of my life.”

The mechanicals are all the same as the LC 500 Coupe: 5.0-liter, 471 horsepower V8 engine; 10-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters; active sport exhaust; 20-inch, 10-spoke cast alloy wheels with run-flat tires; performance brakes with aluminum calipers; and adaptive variable transmission.

The structural rigidity is impressive. There’s not a hint of cowl shake once the top
drops.

The convertible weighs approximately 200 pounds more than the coupe, so the 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds in the fixed-roof version drops to 4.6-4.9, depending on whether the top is up or down. Still, that’s some prodigious power.

Speaking of the top, the LC 500 Convertible will not and cannot have a hybrid version, because the top stows into the place where the hybrid battery pack lives in the 500h. It’s one or the other. While I like the quieter nature of the hybrid – and its nod to eco-friendliness – I could easily surrender to the power. The convertible is a compelling machine.

On a 172-mile round trip from Folsom to Hope Valley in Alpine County for some fall col-or, the top only went up once – for the urban freeway portion of our ride home. It had gotten dark by then anyway. The cockpit is designed to limit wind and wind noise – and a removable wind blocker that sets up in seconds in the back seat makes it so conversations at normal volume at backroad speeds of 50 mph or so are totally realistic. And the top is so well-insulated that having it up is like being in any other fixed-roof car.

Premium options

The interior is, as with the other LCs, just about perfect, save for Lexus’ finicky trackpad for multimedia choices. And I’m a sucker for the Toasted Caramel leather. The other choice is black. There are 12 exterior colors, four of them – including our tester’s Infrared – at extra cost.

The base price of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is $101,000. Among the standard equipment highlights at that price are heated and ventilated leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, navigation and 12-speaker premium audio system.

Our tester had extra-cost options beyond the Infrared paint ($595). They included an up-grade to 21-inch forged alloy wheels with a polished finish and gloss black accents ($2,650), head-up display ($900), Torsen limited-slip differential and Yamaha performance damper ($460) and carbon scuff plates ($600). It also came with the Touring Package that includes semi-aniline leather-trimmed front seats, Climate Concierge with upper-body heating, heated steering wheel, windshield de-icer, embossed headrests, upgraded Mark Levinson 13-speaker Reference surround-sound audio system ($5,290), along with 3M paint protection film ($430), 3M door edge film ($90) and trunk mat, cargo net, wheel locks and key gloves ($280).

With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is $113,320.

My dad had a rule of thumb that a car should never cost more than half your yearly salary.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go earn $226,640.

Mike Hagerty, vice president of membership for Western Automotive Journalists (waj.org), has been writing about cars since 1997. Read more of his reviews on his website (MikeHagertyCars.com) and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/mikehagertycars) and Facebook (facebook.com/mikehagertywritesaboutcars.

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