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2024 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Quick Drive: Stellar Engine, Good Car

This V8 is an all-time-great motor, but the rest ...

2024 Lexus LC 500 Convertible
  • The Lexus LC 500 finally gets a touchscreen and a usable infotainment interface.
  • That fixes the most frustrating things about the LC.
  • But does that finally make it the convertible GT of our dreams?

What do you want out of your $100,000-plus convertible grand tourer? Luscious ride? Smooth V8? A beautifully laid-out interior? How about looks that could kill? Well, there aren't too many options. The Mercedes-Benz SL is pretty expensive. The BMW 8 Series is somewhat clinical. Audi and Porsche won't fit the bill either. But there is one other car most folks forget to consider: the Lexus LC 500 Convertible. 

Ever since its debut, the LC 500 has been a gorgeous long-distance grand tourer; we've always loved its perfectly tuned suspension and naturally aspirated V8. But the LC's always been plagued by an infotainment setup so unusable, so maniacally frustrating, that most buyers would dismiss it almost immediately. For 2024, however, that gripe goes away; the LC now gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen. That's right, a screen you can touch — no more stupid trackpad. The new infotainment setup is so much easier to use and understand that it makes the LC immediately more enjoyable to use.

The LC 500's engine is an all-time-great V8

Even with these tech improvements, the headline of the LC 500 will always be its engine. It's a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 that masquerades as a brass section at low throttle and a full-on thunderstorm when it's wide open. It's intoxicating to rev out and listen to; flooring the throttle quickly becomes an addiction. You want nothing more than to hear that exhaust sing you the song of its eight-cylinder tribe. It must be heard to be believed. To call it perfect is tempting, and yet …

It's almost more a musical instrument than it is a motor. In our testing, the big V8 was only able to motivate the 4,438-pound droptop from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. We've tested five different versions of the LC since it made its debut in 2016, and just one has cracked the 5-second mark (and only just, at 4.9 seconds). So despite sounding like the Gjallarhorn waking the Norse pantheon of gods from a 3,000-year slumber, the V8 isn't particularly effective. 

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2024 Lexus LC 500 Convertible

The Lexus also suffers from steering that's remote and leaves you wanting more from the front end when you're hustling on a winding road. The brake pedal leaves you with the same lack of connection. 

But honestly, the Lexus LC isn't the gold standard of acceleration, braking or handling and it doesn't have to be. Any slower and the Lexus would be a couch, any sharper and it might be too overwrought for the big Lexus' so-gosh-darn-appealing grand-touring nature. The way Lexus executed its V8 wasn't for the sake of raw numbers; it was so you could just get comfy and enjoy yourself, and that's exactly what you ought to do. 

The rest of the LC isn't quite as sensational

Everything inside this car is covered in supple leather, from the top of the dash to the seats to the door pockets. It is a work of art and beautiful to behold, especially in the so-blue-it's-nearly-purple and ivory color combination seen in our test car. The Takumis back at the Lexus factory in Japan worked their magic with this space — it's so satisfying to be inside that you just want to sit there after a drive and take it all in. 

Of course, for $117,660, you might expect a bit more in the way of standard equipment. A heated steering wheel is an optional extra in the LC; not so in the BMW 8 Series. The optional Mark Levinson sound system is probably the worst high-end sound system in its class. It might just barely compete with the Harman Kardons of the world, but it's not a shine on the Burmester you'll find in the Mercedes SL. 

2024 Lexus LC 500 Convertible rear 3/4

Despite the infotainment hardware itself being far easier to use, it isn't perfect. The software behind that new 12.3-inch touchscreen is about as bland as a boiled egg and has none of the character that defines iDrive or MBUX. Fun fact: The software is also exactly the same as what you get in the current Toyota Corolla, and that hardly feels right. Not to add insult to injury, but the Corolla actually does a much better job of blending physical and software-based controls, as well — the Lexus relies far too much on the screen. 

Interior storage is also far from acceptable. The center console isn't very spacious, and neither are the door pockets. A convertible isn't expected to have the most small-item storage, but a decent place to put a Stanley wouldn't hurt. The rear seats are, frankly, useless. They serve zero purpose whatsoever, and though coupes and 'verts aren't exactly built for rear-seat riders, the much smaller BMW 2 Series can fit an adult in the back (in a pinch). 

So no, the LC 500 isn't the perfect GT convertible. But in a world where naturally aspirated V8s are dying, none of these gripes mean a thing when you start the engine and lay into the gas.

Edmunds says

The LC 500 is refreshed and we can confidently say it's better than it's ever been.