2018 Lexus LC 500

2018 Lexus LC 500 Review

The LC 500 offers a seductive blend of performance, comfort and high style.
7.7 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

For nearly 20 years, the Lexus SC was the luxury automaker's premier two-door coupe and convertible. Early on, it combined respectable performance with the ride comfort Lexus owners had come to expect. But by the end of its run in 2010, the SC 430 hardtop convertible was dated and generally unexciting compared to fresher European rivals. After an eight-year absence — during which time we've seen inspiring results from Lexus' LFA supercar and RC F coupe — Lexus is back in the midsize luxury coupe business with the 2018 LC 500. And unlike its most recent SC predecessor, the LC 500 thoroughly delivers as a thrilling yet livable grand tourer.

The performance part of this high-powered luxury coupe comes from a 5.0-liter V8. It's the same one found in the RC F, but it's slightly more powerful and good for 471 horsepower. It's paired to a new 10-speed automatic transmission (yes, 10) that drives the rear wheels. For comfort, Lexus fits the LC with an adjustable suspension and an utterly bewitching cabin. From the padding in the footwells to the headliner, nearly every surface is draped in high-quality leather or suede. That the new LC also has jaw-dropping styling helps considerably, too.

There are a few downsides, such as the Lexus Remote Touch infotainment interface, which is unwieldy and frustrating to use, and the lack of customization possibility. But overall we think highly of the LC 500. It's proof that Lexus can craft a performance luxury coupe that stands toe to toe with some of the most elite grand tourers on sale today.



What's new for 2018

The Lexus LC 500 is all-new for 2018.

We recommend

It's easy to recommend a specific trim for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 since there's only one version available. There are, however, a few desirable packages that will give your luxury coupe a personalized touch. Though we think the LC offers excellent outward visibility for a sports car, we recommend adding the Convenience package for blind-spot monitoring. The Touring pack's upgraded leather upholstery and faux suede headliner are also nice touches. The Sport package is an enticing alternative to the Touring, but we find the thick bolstering of the sport seats to be a little too much for all but the most svelte of drivers.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a luxury sport coupe that brilliantly marries comfort and performance. It has seating for four and is sold in a single trim (the LC 500h hybrid is reviewed separately) with a long list of standard equipment. Several packages and stand-alone options are available to bolster the LC 500 with additional features.

The thundering heart of the LC 500 is a 5.0-liter V8 engine (471 horsepower, 398 pound-feet of torque). It drives the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Befitting a luxury coupe at this price and performance level, the number of standard features is generous. They include 20-inch wheels, LED exterior lights, automatic high-beam control, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, ambient interior lighting, an 8-inch driver information screen, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), driver-seat memory settings, adjustable driving modes, leather-upholstered front seats (simulated leather for the rear seats), a 10.3-inch central display, a navigation system, and a 12-speaker audio system with two USB ports and HD and satellite radio. Notable safety features include a rearview camera, a pre-collision warning system with automatic braking, and lane departure warning and mitigation.

Although the LC 500 is loaded out of the box, there are a few options and packages available so you can tailor this ground tourer to your liking. Stand-alone options include forged 20- and 21-inch wheels, a head-up display, a Torsen limited-slip differential and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

For added convenience and/or style, consider the All-Weather package (heated steering wheel and windshield de-icer), the Convenience package (front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert) and the Touring package (forged 20-inch wheels, faux suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery and the Mark Levinson audio system).

If high-octane thrills are what you're after, you can always specify the Sport package, which adds the Convenience package plus front sport seats with simulated suede inserts and the limited-slip diff (this package can also be ordered with a carbon-fiber roof). Finally, the Performance package starts with the Sport pack with the carbon-fiber roof and adds an adaptive rear spoiler, an active rear steering system, variable-ratio steering, carbon-fiber kick plates and faux suede headliner.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Lexus LC 500 (5.0L V8 | 10-speed automatic | RWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.7 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking6.5 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use6.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.5 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10

Utility

6.0 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space6.5 / 10

Technology

7.0 / 10

Audio & navigation7.0 / 10
Smartphone integration6.5 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10
Voice control7.5 / 10

Driving7.5

The LC 500 can't match the performance level of similarly priced sports cars. It's more of a grand touring coupe. The throaty engine makes every drive a joy. And while you won't want to tackle tight canyon roads, the LC 500 is magical on gentler, sweeping backroads.

Acceleration7.5

The 5.0-liter V8 roars up to its 7,000 rpm redline before the transmission cracks off an explosive shift. It's great fun, and linear power delivery makes it easy to modulate. But the acceleration doesn't live up to the sound. Our tested 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds is unexceptional.

Braking6.5

The brakes are sufficiently strong, with linear response, but pedal feel is vague. Under typical circumstances the brakes are easy to use smoothly. The car stops straight, but the ABS can feel twitchy. Our 60-0 mph braking test results were inconsistent, ranging from a solid 105 feet to a less impressive 111 feet.

Steering7.5

Steering is precise, and it's weighted appropriately light for a grand tourer. It's clearly tuned for comfort, not performance, and it offers little to no feedback. On-center feel is good, making for easy highway cruising.

Handling7.0

While the LC 500 is stable when going around turns, it has limited athletic abilities. Tighter roads highlight its substantial weight, and the lack of feedback from other systems doesn't instill confidence. Traction control can be intrusive, cutting power and applying the brakes in way that could be more refined and transparent.

Drivability7.0

In most driving conditions, the transmission is an excellent match for the engine, adding to the fun by holding gears and downshifting smartly. In manual mode, the LC 500 responds quickly to paddle shifts.

Comfort8.0

Our tester's optional sport seats are the one weak link in what is otherwise an impressively comfortable grand tourer. The ride quality is excellent, noise isolation is good, and climate control works well when left to its own devices.

Seat comfort7.0

Our test LC 500 had the optional sports seats. They are well bolstered but are wide enough to not to feel confining. The seat cushion is pleasantly supportive. Unfortunately, the seatback is overly firm and lacks height-adjustable lumbar, reducing comfort on long drives.

Ride comfort8.5

The LC 500's suspension is excellent. It easily absorbs larger bumps and smaller imperfections. Even with our test car's 21-inch wheels, the cabin is insulated from rough road surfaces without making the car feel disconnected from the road. The suspension strikes a good balance between sport and comfort.

Noise & vibration8.0

There is some wind noise at freeway speeds, and depending on the road surface, there can be noticeable tire noise. But around town or on well-kept roads, the LC 500 is pleasantly quiet. At cruising speeds, the engine is silent and only makes noise when you prod the gas pedal.

Climate control7.5

The automatic climate control works well, and automatic seat heating and cooling are a nice touch. Basic temperature adjustments are easy, and there are voice commands for several climate functions. But for full manual control, you need to use the touchpad system, which is an awkward process.

Interior7.5

Good visibility and a comfortable, sporty driving position are the highlights. The Lexus is also easier to get in and out of than many low-slung coupes. The cabin is very upscale, with a few exceptions. The biggest letdown is the frustrating touchpad infotainment interface.

Ease of use6.0

Many controls are frustrating to use. Locating options in the infotainment system with its awkward haptic touchpad interface is one problem. The steering wheel controls take a bit of getting used to since not all of them are intuitively placed or labeled.

Getting in/getting out7.5

Thanks to a driver's seat that's higher relative to the ground than some competitors' seats and a steering wheel that moves out of the way, getting in and out of the LC 500 is easier than expected. But the long doors mean you'll need plenty of room to open them, and there's a high and wide doorsill to step over.

Driving position8.0

The seat feels appropriately low and snug inside the car thanks to a sporting position and high beltline and armrests. Taller drivers will want more telescope from the steering wheel, but otherwise the position is comfortable and provides a clear view of the gauges and the road ahead.

Roominess7.0

The cabin is surprisingly small relative to the LC 500's size, but isn't out of line for the class. The passenger and driver won't bump elbows. The massive transmission tunnel and small, angled windows mean you have little room to move. The rear seat is useless for adults or even taller children.

Visibility7.5

Forward and rear visibility are surprisingly good, but the front end of the car is hard to judge because of the hood's slope and round grille. Small side mirrors and thick rear roof pillars mean rear three-quarter visibility isn't great. Blind-spot monitoring and the rearview camera help a lot.

Quality8.5

Overall quality is exceptionally high, with a few exceptions. Leather, simulated suede, and metal or metal-feeling plastics abound. Everything is assembled to Lexus' standards. But there are a few hard plastics (most notably, a piece of trim on the steering wheel) that feel glaringly out of place.

Utility6.0

The LC 500 has very little usable space considering its size. Small-item storage is minimal, and the trunk is very small and gets hot quickly. The back seat is really the most useful storage space in the vehicle.

Small-item storage6.0

The door pockets, glovebox and armrest box are all small. The cupholders are poorly placed: One is limited by overhanging trim, and the other obstructs the touchpad. The armrest box is the only option for phone storage; a tray or cubby that allowed for access and cord management would be great.

Cargo space6.5

At 5.4 cubic feet, the trunk is larger than a Porsche 911's, but it is still quite small and shallow and has a high liftover. The battery is located under a panel in the trunk floor, so there's no extra storage. The trunk gets quite hot after even relatively short drives.

Child safety seat accommodation6.0

While there are LATCH points for rear outboard seats, this isn't a car you'll want to use for transporting small children. The rear seating area is too small for bulky car seats, and getting them into the vehicle and installed is a major challenge.

Technology7.0

It's unfortunate that a car that looks so sophisticated on the outside should be saddled with Lexus' technology on the inside. While the trick gauge cluster is a nice touch, the infotainment system is frustrating to use.

Audio & navigation7.0

Our car's Mark Levinson system was excellent, but the nav system just isn't up to par. It requires a precise address; otherwise finding a destination is somewhere between "very involved" and "impossible" unless you call destination assist. And talking with a human is an awkward solution.

Smartphone integration6.5

Bluetooth works quite well, and the ability to browse your phone's content through the Bluetooth connection is nice, but the car lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Enform apps are available, but you only get a limited selection of apps, and not all are preferable to their standard counterparts.

Driver aids7.5

The rearview camera works well but a surround-view camera system isn't offered. Adaptive cruise mostly works well but can occasionally overreact.

Voice control7.5

Voice controls offer a lot of functionality, and there are spoken and on-screen guides, but results are inconsistent until you use the voice-training program. Frustratingly, if you make a mistake in some processes that are several steps long, you have to start over rather than going back a step.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.