VERDICT: Sports car perfection
CATEGORY: Two+two sports car
SEATS: 4 (as long as the second-row passengers are on the smaller side)
STARTS AT: $95,600 ($103,650 for the convertible)
COMPETES WITH: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, Chevrolet Corvette
Everybody knows that Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota, and it does both beautiful interiors and zippy powertrains quite well. That said, nothing else in the lineup matches the packaging and all-around gorgeousness of the LC 500 sports car. It’s one of my favorite cars in the world, and I’ve driven a lot of cars in my line of work.
As usual, this model year includes just one trim. The Lexus LC 500 coupe starts at $95,600 and shoots up to six figures depending on which add-on packages you choose, and the convertible version starts at $103,650. Even the base model includes scads of leather upholstery, power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration, and more.
Both the coupe and convertible models are rear-wheel drive and powered by a 5.0-liter V8, making 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly between growls.
Yes, that 8-cylinder powerplant is delightful if you are like me and enjoy engine sounds. However, it’s the hybrid (the LC 500h) that blows me away. Employing a 3.5-liter V6, two electric motors, and a battery pack, the hybrid system is good for 354 horsepower, and it’s a smoothed-out ride that can handle bumps surprisingly well for a low-centered sports car.
Where the LC 500h really shines is in its fuel efficiency – on a full tank of gas, this car can go 644 miles without needing to fill up. Folks, that’s pretty amazing, especially with a car this powerful. Compare that to the EPA-estimated mileage of the regular V8-powered LC 500, which gets 19 miles to the gallon and can go only 412 miles between stops at the pump.
A family car, it’s not. Actually, let me amend that. If you have smallish kids and you don’t plan to take it on a long road trip with luggage or go to Costco for jumbo packs of paper towels, the LC 500 can fit perfectly into family life; you can even fit boosters in the back seat pretty easily, and tall kids will appreciate riding with the top down in the convertible. Cargo space is limited at 5.4 cubic feet in the trunk of the regular coupe, 4.7 cubic feet in the hybrid, and 3.4 cubic feet in the convertible.
When you’ll love the LC 500 the most is when you grab your partner and take this gorgeous Lexus out for date night or even a long weekend. The drive is glorious.
Your Test Driver’s parent-centric take on the 2023 Lexus LC 500:
We like it:
- Cozy cabin with easy-to-access controls
- Wonderfully smooth driving experience
- Incredible fuel efficiency in the hybrid
Eh, not so much:
- Cargo space is extremely limited
- Oh, Lexus, please ditch the touchpad controller for the infotainment system (good news: the 2024 model is touchpad-free)
- Small rear seats