2019 Lexus LC 500h: Take ‘er easy

    Some vehicles are like Balenciaga sneakers — coated in near-infinite quantities of garish, overwrought particulars that remind the world of 1’s means by metaphorically shoving that cash by way of everybody’s eye sockets. The Lexus LC occupies the opposite facet of the style spectrum, although; its design is on the refined facet of clever, drawing seems to be by way of consideration to element. And, so far as wheeled artworks go, it isn’t too unhealthy for a spin round city, both.Lexus provides the LC in two flavors — the LC 500 wields a conventional V8, whereas the LC 500h makes do with a V6 and gas-electric hybrid setup. We reviewed the eight-cylinder variant late final yr, and now it is time to speak in regards to the hybrid.Eye-catching all the piecesThanks largely to its comically outsized grilles, Lexus hasn’t precisely been on the forefront of auto design these days, however all the pieces coalesces close to completely on the LC. The hood is lengthy and low, exuding numerous grand-tourer enchantment because the bonnet and fenders converge on a fairly set of headlights and a grille that is virtually appropriately sized. Sharp creases are uncommon, the perimeters of the automobile as a substitute choosing refined curves that give method to flared rear fenders and some fascinating traces out again. The taillights have an “infinity mirror” look to them when lit, they usually’re a few of my favourite lights throughout the entire business. Even although I am not essentially a fan of the chrome end on my tester’s 20-inch wheels, it really works nicely with the shiny bits sparsely scattered in regards to the physique.

    And then there’s the inside. My heavens, this inside is so attractive and so rewarding from a tactile standpoint that it is among the many finest interiors of any automobile at present supplied, proper up there with perennial favorites like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Everything I see seems to be costly, however extra importantly, all the pieces I contact feels costly. The metallic trim is cool to the contact, offsetting the heat from the delicate suede and leather-based. Even the passenger seize handles are rewarding to grip. The seats have some fascinating stitching, they usually present simply the correct quantity of safety from lateral motion.Don’t get black leather-based on this automobile. It washes out among the fascinating particulars.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    Fashion comes with a value, although. Livability is a matter, which chips away on the LC’s grand-tourer credentials. Thanks to its low stance, visibility is not an issue on lengthy journeys, however storage positively is: Aside from one tiny cupholder and one barely bigger cubby forward of the armrest, there’s not a lot area for one’s stuff. The door panels cannot maintain far more than a single merchandise every, the glove compartment is barely giant sufficient for the proprietor’s guide and the under-armrest storage will not deal with greater than a small e-reader. I counsel utilizing the second row as a parcel shelf, as a result of so long as there are two adults up entrance, it isn’t like people are able to becoming again there.The trunk area is one other sore spot for the LC 500h. Its 4.7 cubic toes of trunk area is 0.7 cubes smaller than the non-hybrid variant, however they’re each on the small facet, coming in nicely behind rivals just like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe (14.1 cu.ft.), BMW 8 Series (14.8). Hell, my tester’s cargo capability is simply 0.1 cubic toes higher than the Porsche 911’s frunk. Yikes. Considering the lengthy weekend journey is on the coronary heart of grand touring, this can be a bummer.Slow and regular wins the raceIf you are searching for sports-car sorts of thrills, you are higher off choosing the LC 500 and its 471-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8. My LC 500h, alternatively, is finest loved at a much less vigorous tempo, taking advantage of its hybrid system whereas glossing over the irritating stuff that solely turns into obvious with a little bit of flogging.Under my tester’s hood lies a hybrid-electric powertrain that mixes two electrical motors with a 3.5-liter V6 working the Atkinson cycle. This produces a web 354 hp, sufficient for a manufacturer-estimated 4.7-second dash to 60 miles per hour. It’s fast sufficient in a bubble, providing sufficient low-down torque to really feel considerably participating, however energy supply will get slightly bizarre due to its transmission.The LC 500h runs a freaky-deaky setup that’s basically two transmissions — a constantly variable unit and an Aisin four-speed computerized — Megazorded right into a single gearbox. This unusual cog-swapper pretends to have 10 distinct “gears,” but the automobile is frequently caught off-guard after I give the fitting pedal a push, taking its candy time to resolve which of these 10 ratios is finest after which ultimately making its method there. On the way in which again up, the tachometer needle barely stays nonetheless, dropping about 500 rpm each couple of seconds because the transmission tries its finest to get to the very best gear in a rush. The energy feels delayed in consequence, and it acts slightly jumpy at low speeds regardless of the throttle place. Moving to sportier modes helps, but it surely would not eradicate my gremlins.I really feel like among the pleasure is misplaced on account of the hybrid missing the V8’s aural profile.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    That’s why I really feel like my tester is at its finest when it is at its slowest. Keep the pace low and cruise round with the gas-burning bits utterly off, emanating silent luxurious at velocities the place individuals can really admire the automobile’s seems to be. There’s an EV mode that makes an attempt to maximise electric-only operation, however its small battery means the operate solely works for a number of miles at a time.Yet, the occasional V6 shutoff produces some spectacular gasoline financial system figures — on paper, at the least. The EPA estimates the LC 500h will obtain 27 miles per gallon metropolis and 35 mpg freeway, some spectacular numbers for the phase. I’m not in a position to meet these figures, coming in between 3 and 5 mpg brief in each metropolis and freeway driving, however even then, it is nonetheless leagues forward of its rivals (and the LC 500).

    Lexus’ vehicles are usually two issues, delicate and quiet, and my tester is not any exception. The suspension specifically deserves some commendation. The dampers are adaptive, loosening or stiffening up relying on automobile mode, and whereas they lack the pillowy nature of air-based methods, they nonetheless take in largely all the pieces Michigan’s roads have to supply. The suspension stays simply agency sufficient to stay communicative to the driving force, although, in keeping with many European GT vehicles.Ugh, this techLexus Remote Touch is, in my view, the worst infotainment system at present out there throughout the business, the one exceptions being these rinky-dink screens for ants that come on base-trim American vehicles.While it was barely usable with its mouse-based interface, the most recent iteration makes use of a touchpad to terrible impact. This flat expanse of grey is likely one of the hardest methods to make use of whereas driving, and its haptic detents do nothing to cease me from frequently drifting previous the icon I wish to choose. Activating the heated and ventilated seats requires a multi-click journey by way of Remote Touch Land, maybe probably the most infuriating dance of all.
    The 10.3-inch show itself is ok, packing appropriate decision and sufficient actual property to point out a number of various things without delay, together with the embedded navigation map and media playback. But it is all wrapped in getting older visuals that are not befitting of the LC’s posh nature. Apple CarPlay is normal, however Android Auto continues to be regrettably absent, though I do admire the Amazon Alexa compatibility tucked into the system. The shifting gauge cluster was a intelligent trick when it debuted on the RC coupe a number of years in the past, however its parts-bin nature detracts from the in any other case distinctive inside.Despite all that, there’s likable tech in right here. My tester has the $1,220 Mark Levinson Reference surround-sound system. Its 13-speaker, 915-watt setup is considered one of my favorites in any automobile, providing up crisp audio at any quantity. There’s additionally a bevy of normal security methods in right here, together with computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management and lane-keep help. This automobile comes with a $1,000 optionally available bundle that provides parking sensors and blind spot screens, that are good to have, however you’d suppose that equipment could be normal on a automobile cresting the $100,000 mark.How I would spec itTo be trustworthy, I would keep away from the hybrid altogether and go for the V8-equipped LC 500, saving me greater than $4,000 within the course of. But if I needed to choose the hybrid, which begins at $96,810 earlier than vacation spot, here is how I would spec it.None of the paint colours value additional, so I will go for Autumn Shimmer as a result of browns and oranges are my jam. Inside, I will take the no-cost improve from black leather-based to brown, as a result of it higher showcases the inside’s artfulness. In phrases of choices, I will drop $1,000 for blind spot screens and parking sensors, as a result of the LC’s nostril is just not straightforward to put in a parking spot. Throw in $250 for a heated steering wheel and $1,220 for the Mark Levinson audio system, and that is all I want. That brings the out-the-door complete to $100,305, together with $1,025 for vacation spot and dealing with.Down to brass tacksThe 2019 Lexus LC rides a effective line between sports activities coupe and grand tourer, with the V8 erring towards the previous whereas the hybrid leans latter. That places it up towards different, equally positioned vehicles just like the BMW 8 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Porsche 911. However, every has sure advantages over the LC. The 8 Series is angrier trying and higher to drive with extra cargo capability, whereas the S-Class rocks a stage of luxurious that is very exhausting to high. The 911 is the highest of the driving-dynamics pops, however its restricted storage choices are a difficulty.At its core, the Lexus LC 500h is a high-art flagship coupe that epitomizes Lexus’ penchant for large, cozy cruisers, though its pleasant type eats into areas that would show helpful from a grand touring perspective. The tech is unhealthy, however the remainder of it’s oh so good.

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