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Lexus LC500 V8 technological tour de force cruise missile

PUBLISHED: 09:18 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:18 12 March 2018

Lexus LC500 luxury sports coupe is a halo model for the brand and technological tour de force. Picture: Lexus

Lexus LC500 luxury sports coupe is a halo model for the brand and technological tour de force. Picture: Lexus

Lexus

Lexus offers a hybrid LC500 coupe but motoring editor Andy Russell is swept away by the V8 version, dubbing it the non-PC500!

Lexus LC500 looks athletic from any angle. Picture: LexusLexus LC500 looks athletic from any angle. Picture: Lexus

Think Lexus and you think hybrids – eco-friendly rather than exciting – until now.

The LC luxury coupe is part of its goal of being a global luxury lifestyle brand, with links to films and high-performance boats, a supercar halo model.

Looks and image

The LC500 is one of those cars that stops people in their tracks.

More grand tourer than lightweight sports coupe, it’s long, low, squat, sinewy and marvellously muscular – the sort of car that would be a pleasure to waft across Europe in and still leaving you wanting more miles.

Badge appeal. Picture: LexusBadge appeal. Picture: Lexus

Under the bonnet

There is a hybrid, an LC500h with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine debuting a new multi-stage hybrid system for enhanced torque and acceleration.

All very nice but you want the 5.0-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 LC500… what I call the non-PC500! Hats off to Lexus for offering this brilliant engine before V8s are consigned to motoring history in the eco-friendly future.

Developing 471bhp at 7,100rpm and 540Nm of torque, combined MPG is 24 against the 354bhp hybrid’s 44 and CO2 emissions nearly double, but if you can afford around £80,000 you can afford the fuel. It returned 24mpg overall, and 31.8mpg on a gentle run, burbling along at just under 1,500rpm at 70mph.

As the V8 snarls and crackles into life, the hairs on the back of your neck tingle and the rev counter red line rises from 3,500rpm to 7,100rpm as the engine warms.

Lexus LC500 sheds new light on the brand's aspirations. Picture: LexusLexus LC500 sheds new light on the brand's aspirations. Picture: Lexus

Mated to a silky-smooth 10-speed automatic gearbox, with paddle shifters, performance is stonking, there’s the merest hesitation and then it blasts off with an intoxicating V8 howl.

How it drives

The LC coincided with some snow, frost and plenty of rain but the electronic wizardry and driver aids meant no scary moments despite 471bhp through the rear wheels.

Even in the sportiest driving mode the ride impresses, comfortably wafting over poor road surfaces even with 21in wheels and it takes speed bumps in its stride.

The handling is superb, not as sharp and edgy as hardcore performance cars, but it inspires confidence. The Sport + package, which adds £9,000 to the entry price, includes rear steering, variable steering, a limited slip differential and a rear spoiler that rises at speed so the LC sticks to the road and glides through corners.

Snug, cockpit and rev counter dominating instruments. Picture: LexusSnug, cockpit and rev counter dominating instruments. Picture: Lexus

Space and comfort

It may be a big coupe but it’s very much a 2+2. You might fit small children in the two rear seats but, put an adult there, and the driver’s seat would be so far forward their chin would be resting on the steering wheel. So treat it as a two-seater and stretch out in the sumptuous, electrically-adjusted sports seats.

A shapely 197-litre boot can carry a reasonable load of luggage but best pack it in soft holdalls as the opening is limited but I managed the weekly supermarket shop.

At the wheel

Rear seats are suitable only for small children. Picture: LexusRear seats are suitable only for small children. Picture: Lexus

It’s more like slipping into a cockpit with the high-rise centre console and rev-counter dominated instruments, with inset digital speedo, which can be moved to one side to bring up other display and the way the colours and look changes in eco, comfort, normal, sport S and sport S + driving modes.

I’m not a great fan of the tricky mouse pad to control functions via the large display screen but it does result in a button-free fascia.

Final say

The LC500 is a technological tour de force that flatters the driver so you don’t need to be a tame racing driver to keep it under control and is as happy burbling to the shops as it would be blasting to the south of France.

Lexus LC500 hugs the road and is an excellent grand tourer. Picture: LexusLexus LC500 hugs the road and is an excellent grand tourer. Picture: Lexus

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Lexus LC500 Sport + Package £85,895 (from £76,595)

Engine: 4,969cc, 471bhp, V8 with 10-speed automatic gearbox

Performance: 0-62mph 4.4 seconds; top speed 168mph

MPG: Urban 16.1; extra urban 34.4; combined 24.4

CO2 emissions: 267g/km

Great design touches add to the eyecatching styling. Picture: LexusGreat design touches add to the eyecatching styling. Picture: Lexus

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 37pc

Insurance group: 49E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,770mm; W 1,920mm; H 1,345mm

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