Edmunds Senior Writer Carlos Lago has way too much fun checking out the 2018 Lexus LC 500 sport coupe, deeming it "the most stunning Lexus" yet. This all-new Lexus flagship luxury car features not only a head-turning design, which makes it appear to go fast while standing still, but also 470 horsepower from a 5.0L V8 to back it up. Heads-up, watch the video with the sound on.
CARLOS LAGO: This is my favorite part about Lexus LC 500. [ENGINE ROARING] That sound! [CHUCKLING]. The LC is the new Lexus flagship luxury car. In fact, LC might stand for luxury car. And on the outset, I mean we have to talk about the way this looks because it's easily the most stunning Lexus they've done yet. In my eyes, it's the most successful adaptation of their new design language, what with the spindle grille and all of the other elements that happened behind it. And there's a lot to take in. I'll say honestly this thing looks so much better in person than it doesn't pictures that when I first saw it back at I forget which auto show, it was like simply astounding. I stepped behind it and just looked at if for probably a good 10 minutes because there's a lot of stuff to take in. We'll talk about a couple of elements that I like. A couple of designs that I'm like yeah maybe we should done something different as we go around the car. The grille is definitely the car's most striking feature from the front aside from the headlights. The way it morphs as you go down and sort of stretches downward. The effect is like when you look at a point of view camera on a car going fast down a road and the bottom of the screen sort of stretches out. That distortion gives this sense of movement, even though the car's sitting still. And it's a really an interesting approach that flows nicely into the front end of the car. | headlights and the daytime running lights here on the side-- there's some interesting elements happening here, but probably the one of the more puzzling ones is if you get up close and look at the design inside of the glass itself there's interesting wavy structure, wavy material that just kind of looks weird up close. And that kind of defines a lot of the car here. Stepping back, we have these massive 21 inch wheels that are sort of black and chrome. And are really eye catching design on this kind of car that matches the overall look. Now, to me the overall look reminds me of the SC 430 if you were to evolve that car another 40, 50 years. And it's an important thing to do because this car is a descendant of that car in a sense. It has the same general proportions, and it just looks like the same kind of spaceship vibe that that car would give you when you first saw it. As we saw the profile of the LC, one other thing that happens here that you only notice is if you look straight on at the car, is that there's sort of a virtual belt line that extends from here to here. That's where it would normally sit. But because Lexus has scalloped it, that's what gives you that extra visibility at the sides. And that's what creates that strange effect from the gesture of the car. Going in the back we have not a ton of vents. There's some here, some in the front. I'm not sure how many are functional. But my favorite part on the back, my favorite visual aspect of the car, are the tail lights. When you step on the brake the way they light up, there's like this row of lights that get dimmer the further away they go. And the effect is similar to when you open up like your bathroom mirror into another mirror and you get that infinity like effect. It looks really cool. There's almost something like 80s about how it lights up. And something very modern about it as well. Some of the other questionable parts like the top of the tail light here has a sort of like textured plastic that you kind of wonder if would've been better served if it was just the mirror finish like it is right here. And then down at the bottom, the exhaust finishers, these aren't the real exhaust tips those are somewhere inside. But they've repeated them here, which is kind of curious. But it's these kind of like this mixture of like kind of curious things and really eye catching things that make this car overall something striking-- something that you won't mistake for anything else on the road. The first thing we have to talk about from behind the wheel of the LC is this. That is a sound you would never expect this car to make-- especially a Lexus to make. But when you fire this car up and it gives you that bark, and that sound, and you rev it out to 7,000 RPM, whoa man is that a glorious first experience. But though we have 470 odd horsepower from this 5 liter V-8, the acceleration may not feel as fast as it sounds. It does sound-- that sounds amazing. It's just you dip into the throttle when you get a chance and it makes you forget about everything else. But the nature of this car is more on the luxury side of things. It wants to have a smooth ride. It wants to feel good at all speeds. Not necessarily the fastest ones or going around corners quickly as possible. So because this car is more about comfort, you can't really criticize it for not being the most exciting to drive at the absolute limit, or being the fastest car that it can possibly be. So let's back off a bit. Let's put it in its comfort mode. Let me put the transmission back in drive, and let it do its own thing. Leave it up to its own devices. And when you do that, you find that the ride is very smooth. There's not a lot of road noise or wind noise. There's just that engine noise. And on top of that the way this car looks, how strange and striking it is, and how rich this interior feels, the combination is a car that feels special. And ultimately, when you're forking over six figures on a car it should freaking feel special. That's what this car does. And that's the mission it's set out to do. Visibility is not terrible, especially in conjunction with blind spot monitoring. The windshield feels large enough. And although these eight pillars are rather large, you still get plenty of visibility through the left. Blind spots aren't bad, like I mentioned. Large rear glass makes it easy to see out. And all these things combined with the steering and the accuracy it has makes for a car that doesn't feel big in its lane, makes for a car that's easy to place. And that's important because a car that feels easy to place is one that also feels easy to drive. But really, though, it's about that. It's all about-- it's all about that. That just sounds good. [ENGINE ROARING] [CHUCKLING] Man, glorious. I could do that all day. I could do that all day. The difficult thing with an exterior design that looks as spaceship like as this one is having an interior design that matches it, or reinforces it. And somehow when you sit in the Lexus LC, it does it. Lexus is one of the few luxury brands at this level of car that deliver a richness with the interior both with regard to overall design and lay out to materials that really makes the car feel special when you sit inside. It's a traditional layout. We've got a steering wheel with shift paddles. You've got a shifter right here. You've got an Infotainment controller here. But everything else-- the way the dash strings way with this horizontal bar, the leather on top of it, the stitching-- it looks really good. And even the burgundy suede like substance they even managed to pull that off too. Now, that's just the materials. And it's just scratching the surface of the experience of sitting in this car. You're low, the hood comes up almost in line with the steering wheel right here. You feel like you're in a low slung coupe. And that's the experience you should have in this kind of grand touring car. Now, as we put the accessories on, the electronics come to life. When you fire the car there's this like splash of color on the screen that is made to make turning on the car an experience that you also get when you fire up the engine. All right, now we've got the ignition on and we have the full display. First, we'll talk about this entertainment system. Big wide screen display that by actually using this touch pad controller down here, it responds to pinching and swiping gestures like you know a tablet or your phone would. And you have some buttons over here to navigate through the rest of the system. It might be OK with some practice. We haven't had extensive use with it. I tend to prefer a rotary dial or something that has a little bit more haptic feedback when you're trying to drive and navigate this. This Is an idea that I've thought would work really well and hopefully it can. This screen does have a little bit more of a delay though than some competitors within this segment. Overall, it seems like a pretty easy system to use. Unfortunately, it doesn't have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. As we get to the gauge cluster, this is really one of the neat party tricks. As you cycle through different drive modes, the screen changes. When I get to sport plus for example, the tach changes to white, the red line gets more pronounced. All the numbers stay in the same place. I believe in the LFA super car they would actually adjust the numbers to put the red line right in the 12 o'clock in the tach. But here it stays in the same place. But everything gets bigger and easier to read and clearer. When I put it back in normal, it gets a little more subdued. And if I back it down to comfort or eco it changes slightly as well. The other trick is if I hit this button here, the tach actually moves over. And you don't see a lot of cars that do something like that, if any. And that gives you an additional display to look at like engine oil temp and a bigger picture. Or to cycle through some more different displays here. That's really neat tech like this that adds to the experience in ways that you really can't put in numbers, or you really can't describe beyond. It just looks cool, and it just feels special. And that's what a car like this is supposed to be. The Lexus LC looks like a concept car that's snuck out of an auto show. It attracts attention wherever it goes. More importantly, the driving experience backs up that design. You have this level of comfort, driving refinement, and build quality you'd expect from a Lexus. Overall, this makes the LC 500 a very compelling car. If you liked what you see here, hit subscribe or check out more on Edmond's YouTube channel.