Lexus is known for building reliable cars, some of which have been pretty dull and even dreary, but not so with the 2018 Lexus LC.
Launched recently in Australia, my Behind the Wheel colleagues Chris Miller and Peter Hitchener recently had the keys to the LC 500 V8, I had a week in the hybrid version – the LC 500h.
The drive is a total and utter pleasure.
The chassis is the most rigid Lexus has produced and while both power plants are simply stunning, the hybrid though is my pick.
The 4-stage hybrid system uses Toyota’s proven 3.5 litre V6, but gives it new life.
Total output is 264kW and 348Nm and there’s a ten-speed auto transmission as standard.
The gearbox uses AI to learn the driver’s style rather than merely using speed and other inputs.
Despite the lack of a V8 rumble, the V6 manages a raspiness that is not entirely displeasing. But, it is the periods of complete silence that are most rewarding.
It cruises effortlessly, and has the punch to match the looks.
I averaged around 8.8L/100km regardless of highway or city driving.
If the delicious exterior signals GT style and grace, the interior is almost overwhelming.
Everything you see and touch oozes class and sophistication. Leather, Alcantara, aluminium, and glass mix casually, but tell a complete story.
The controls and switches though are a little off.
The gear lever is a pistol-grip affair. A button for Park, and “hold” button for brakes, plus an EV button in the Hybrid model are easy to use with practice.
The rest, however, is a different story. The fiddly track pad, infotainment buttons and knobs, and the on/off/volume controls are confusing and poorly laid out.
Not only that, they are difficult to use, and require much concentration.
Putting a cup in the cup holder just in front of the DVD slot often results in the audio system being accidentally turned off, or one of the other buttons being pushed.
The track pad allows the user to select then confirm commands on the 10.3” screen.
However, you frequently select the wrong option. The pointer highlights the option you want, in red, and the current selection is in blue. It is easy to mistake one for the other.
The system is virtually impossible to use on the move.
The steering wheel controls are much more user-friendly. Cruise control is above the audio controls on the right, and driver instrument menu on the left. It is crisp and clear and easy to use.
The heated/cooled seats give excellent support.
The hybrid loses half the boot space in motor and batteries. No matter, the back seats are useless for people, so put your weekend-bags there instead.
Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the rear-view camera, make parking easy.
You sit low, and the windows make vision potentially difficult. The driver aids mean you hardly notice the limited rear view.
The cabin is quiet most of the time, but the low tyres get a rumble on the chip road surfaces. It is never unpleasant.
Mark Levinson sound is fabulous. It is deep and rich, and the quality is what you’d expect of a car costing 200 grand.
One thing that continues to frustrate me is the lack of Apple Carplay/Android Auto. Despite Toyota and Lexus saying otherwise, it is unforgivable.
They say their system is better, but it isn’t.
Summing it up – the new Lexus LC 500/LC 500h is a slightly flawed god, but still a Titan. Don’t let the nameplate fool you, this is no flabby gentleman’s barge.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Lexus LC 500h
- Engine: V6-petrol/hybrid producing 261kW/348Nm
- Transmission: Ten-speed auto
- Warranty: 4yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $190,000