2018 Lexus LC 500h Hybrid Luxury Sport Coupe: A Blast From the Future

The new LC 500 and LC 500h are built on Lexus’ new premium rear-wheel drive platform that is part of a new global corporate architecture for luxury vehicles. This is the blueprint for future front-engine/rear-wheel drive models from the luxury division of Toyota. This new platform is very solid and stable. The layout has the powerplant in a front mid-ship arrangement with the wheels pushed as far out as they can go for optimal balance. Our LC 500h tester is weighted 52/48 front to rear distribution and that fact is discernable from behind the wheel. While the vehicle is no model for SlimFast, engineers have utilized some weight saving materials in the vehicle such as aluminum front hood and fenders, aluminum door skins mounted on a carbon fiber structure, a carbon and glass composite trunk lid, aluminum front suspension towers, ultra-compact LED headlamps, forged alloy wheels, and available carbon fiber roof.

Some of the other mechanical highlights of the new LC include multi-link front and rear suspension systems, vehicle speed-sensing electric power steering (and optional active rear steering), large disc brakes front and rear with ventilated rotors and high-friction brake pads, and 20- or 21-inch wheels and tires depending on trim package. Lexus outfits the wheels with run-flat tires thereby eliminating spare tire weight. Total system output power for the new multi stage hybrid system is 354hp. One thing I found interesting is both LC models arrive with a 22-gallon fuel tank. This seemed a bit large for a sports coupe but it did give our LC 500h tester a maximum driving range of around 700 miles.

The design of this vehicle is nothing less than stunning. It does feature the large (very large by proportion in this application) signature Lexus spindle grille and designers have made it look almost as if it is flowing on the front of the LC. The car looks very athletic with prominent quarter panels and door panels that are pulled inward. It has striking looks especially from the rear, which is the view most folks will be getting of this car. Inside this 2+2 coupe is a display of Lexus craftsmanship and design as well. It rides surprisingly comfortably and was terribly difficult to climb in and out of. The rear seat is really ineffective but can be utilized for additional storage space as the trunk at the rear is very tiny.

Lexus outfits the new LC models with nearly every driver safety and infotainment technology available. We enjoyed everything from head-up display and configurable driver information display to the 10.3-inch infotainment display controlled by Lexus’ next-generation trackpad in the center console. Of course the vehicle is outfitted with the premium Mark Levinson audio system and in our LC 500h tester that system is also used to boost engine sound in the Sport+ driving mode. The Lexus Safety System+ in the LC 500 and LC 500h includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and vehicle sway warning, and intelligent high beam. Lexus also offers limited slip differential, blind spot monitor, and intuitive park assist. Leather seating is standard with alcantara seat inserts available on Sport and Performance packages.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.