Boasting the option of awesome V8 power, the flagship Lexus LC is available in Coupe or open-top Convertible guise. It delivers blistering pace combined with a level of luxury rarely found in modern day cars. Factor in all the high-end technology and superb handling ability and this model is well worth its near £100k price-tag.
The goodStyling, handling, comfort and open-top experience
The badPricey for a Lexus
Lexus LC 500 Convertible Sport Plus Pack – First Drive (2021)
With car makers the world over exploring ways to lower carbon emissions and make the industry a cleaner place, Lexus has unleashed a potent 5.0-litre V8 convertible model that bucks every trend in the book.
It arrives hot on the heels of the latest two-door LC 500 Coupe model and this drop-top version, aptly named the LC 500 Convertible, aims to take on the big guns in the premium sports car league.
With a mighty 457bhp of power and 530Nm of torque, the performance from the naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine almost matches that of the coupe with a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.0 seconds and top speed that is limited at 168mph.
It hardly goes without saying, this is not the cheapest car in the Lexus line-up. It’s a flagship model with a high-end price-tag to match. There are two trim levels to choose from – the ‘standard’ LC 500 Convertible and the model with LC 500 Convertible Sport+ Pack and it was the latter that we tested costing £96,625, increasing to £98,625 with optional extras.
The day-to day running costs are not exactly cheap either with a combined 24.1mpg and carbon emissions of 275g/km. So you can expect regular trips to fill up, costly road tax and expensive insurance as the car sits in group 50.
But in all fairness, these figures are to be expected as Lexus designers were set the task of designing the world’s most beautiful open-top car that looks as good with the roof up or down. And they have certainly succeeded in that mission.
Approach the LC 500 C from any angle and the sleek model is guaranteed to stop bystanders dead in their tracks. It possesses all the powerful styling that helped the Coupe model scoop numerous design awards with its beautiful, powerful lines.
Eye catching features include the large spindle grille that is a hallmark of Lexus design, LED light clusters with LED daytime running lights, a low bonnet line with short front overhang and a retractable rear spoiler. There are door handles that are flush to the bodywork and when they pop out they have the letter ‘L’ displaying. The front and rear wings flare away from the centre of the car and house the large wide-diameter wheels with 21-inch forged alloys and black brake calipers completing the styling.
Move inside and the interior is modern, clutter-free and very driver focused with a wealth of technology to explore. The power-operated leather sports seats feature a memory function and are designed using a unique quilted pattern that looks both elegant and upmarket.
On-board technology includes a 10.3-inch display screen with navigation system, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, a DVD player, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control and a rear wind defector.
Mated to the powerful V8 engine is a perfectly timed 10-speed automatic transmission that features a clever AI-SHIFT set-up that is a world first and uses past driving history to work out the driver’s preferences based on speed and accelerator use.
When it comes to driving, the power at your disposal is relentless and the low centre of gravity means the rear-wheel drive car is perfectly balanced and really confident into long sweeping bends. The road holding is sublime and the steering is perfectly weighted with plenty of driver feedback. There are steering wheel mounted paddles too for extra driver engagement.
The LC 500 Convertible effortlessly eats up the motorway miles and, despite sitting so low to the ground, the comfort levels are extremely high. Even after a 175-mile journey without stops and with the top down, I still felt perfectly comfortable with the seat, neck and steering wheel heaters fending off the winter chill.
There are stalks ideally positioned each side of the steering wheel that control the drive modes with the left lever offering access to Eco, Comfort, Sport S and Sport S+ modes with the option to customise your preferences. The right stalk introduces a Snow function and can also be used to turn off the traction control.
Special mention too to the vocal accompaniment from the engine because it is spot on with just the right amount of noise to draw attention without screaming unnecessarily raucously. The car features Active Noise Control which works similarly to noise cancelling headphones to counteract any unwelcome engine and drivetrain sound. Obviously, the volume does get considerably louder as you move up through the drive modes with the gear shift timing altering accordingly, but one thing is guaranteed – you’ll get out of this car beaming from ear to ear!
Yes, it’s aggressive, but not in a brutal way and the LC 500 C has a calmer, more. chilled side when needed. Switch across to Comfort and you could be travelling Business Class. It’s a car that suits your mood whatever it may be.
The LC 500 Coupe 2021 model gained an upgraded suspension system and that is fitted to the convertible version too bringing additional handling stability and agility along with greater responsiveness and that, in turn, adds to the driving exhilaration.
And should the sun put in a surprise appearance, then tucked neatly beneath a leather cover by the gear lever are the controls to operate the four-layer multi-folding canvas roof. This can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds while on the move at speeds of up to 31mph. When lowered, the roof tucks neatly away behind the rear seats and, as a result, the luggage space remains the same as the coupe model at 149 litres.
The LC 500 Convertible is classed as featuring a 2+2 cabin which means there are rear seats, but in reality, they are best used for convenient storage as the leg space is really restricted. There are also a number of handy storage options scattered throughout the car such as a glovebox, door bins, central cubby box, cup holder and a net on the passenger’s side of the centre console.
Safety specifications are comprehensive with the likes of dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane keep assist, automatic high beam, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, road sign assist, adaptive variable suspension, a full suite of airbags and auto-deploying roll-over bars.
The LC 500 Convertible is the Japanese car maker’s first soft-top model and wow, what a debut. It boasts jaw-dropping good looks with blistering performance to match. Now all we need is some sunshine!