2020 Lexus LC500 Asks, “Am I A Supercar?”

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I was online doing research about the 2020 Lexus LC500 and saw a post that asked, “Is the Lexus LC500 a supercar?”  I had to stop and think for a moment.  A decade ago, the answer would have been a resounding yes.  But today?  The LC500 is blisteringly fast, but not in the same league as a McLaren, Corvette, or Tesla Model S.  It’s luxurious, but clearly aimed at a more sporting crowd than the flagship LS500 sedan on which it’s based.  It is stocked with technology and is a turntable stunner.  I guess the evidence will have to speak for itself.

It definitely has that supercar, concept car style as if it just rolled off of a turntable.  In fact, styling is based on the LF-LC concept that debuted at the 2012 Detroit auto show, where it won an EyesOn Design award.  It’s a stunning car from a large version of the Lexus spindle grille to wide fenders shrink-wrapped over the 21” wheels, floating roof with chrome accents, and fat tail.  I especially like how the front fender forms blend into the A-pillar.  Jewelry like triple LED headlamps, vertical silver elements front/rear, and carbon fiber roof add flair.  A rear spoiler deploys at speed.

The supercar theme continues across the carbon fiber threshold.  Drivers sit low with a tall console that contains a cupholder, gear selector, and concealable storage.  Even on long drives, the deeply bolstered and sueded sport seats provide comfort – even better when heated or ventilated.  A heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control, and Mark Levinson audio system keep everybody happy.  As expected in a Lexus, materials are premium:  Sueded headliner/doors, stitched dashtops, and wide dashboard with artsy patterns concealed behind plastic.

The only real blemish is the abhorrent touchpad infotainment controls.  Using your finger like a mouse while driving a car is stupid.  Menus for audio are not especially easy to use either, but at least you can connect through Bluetooth, 4G Wi-Fi, and Apple CarPlay.  Amazon Alexa compatibility and navigation are part of the package.  Safety is enhanced by radar adaptive cruise control, forward crash mitigation, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning systems.  Rear cross path detection and cameras aid maneuvering in tight spaces and out of driveways.  Drivers will appreciate a comprehensive head-up display that appears to hover over the hood.

There are faster cars, but not many.  The 5.0-liter V8 wedged below the coupe’s fast hood wails out a robust 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.  Shift it manually with magnesium paddles if you please.  Professional-level pilots can launch it from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds on the way to a 168 mph top speed.  Drive gingerly to see 16/25-MPG city/highway.

Beyond the potent powertrain, there’s a barn full of technology to turn drivers into pros.  Flick a switch on the instrument binnacle to configure the steering, throttle, and suspension for Normal, Sport, and Sport+.  Normal is best for daily driving while Sport+ should be left on the track.  Turn sharp and you’ll notice the car reacts quicker than you’d expect.  That’s because active rear steering can turn the wheels 2 degrees – in opposite direction of the fronts to cut corners or in the same direction to enhance stability. 

So, is the LC500 a supercar?  Well, I like it very much from the exotic wide style to the luxurious interior and that powerful V8 engine.  I screamed down hilly two-lanes, ripped through highway on-ramps, and sipped coffee creeping through morning city traffic.  It may not quite be a supercar, but it is still a super car.  And, it comes with a super price:  A base of $92,950, rising to $106,440 as-tested.  Competitors include the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, Mercedes-AMG GT, and BMW M850i. 

Storm Forward

Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

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