The title of this article makes a bold claim that the Lexus LC 500 is the perfect sports car in every way. A claim I stand by and will use the weight of my opinion set in stone against anyone who decides to come at me. After spending a week with the LC 500 and discovering its pros, cons, and flaws, they all add up to a sports car that doesn’t care what you think while knowing exactly what it’s trying to be.
It stands in a league of its own on a horizon beyond trending, flexing, and popularity. It’s a modern personal luxury vehicle built to be selfish without the side order of brash entitlement. It’s perfect because it does everything a good sports car should without needing to be acknowledged.
A Timeless Design
First off, let’s discuss looks. The LC 500 shown came dressed in a Caviar exterior, and Circuit Red Alcantara interior with Satin Metallic trim. The exterior color lived up to its ritzy name as it looked black but with dark teal highlights that danced under sunlight. As for the interior, my rule of thumb is if there is an option to get colored seats, you get them because it is better than the usual airport rental black.
The exterior color lived up to its ritzy name as it looked black but with dark teal highlights that danced under sunlight.
Regarding styling, the Lexus LC 500 is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cars to come out of the 21st century. First introduced in 2016 and launched in 2017 as a 2018 model, the LC 500 has been on the market for half a decade without the need to refresh the exterior. This is a perfect example of not messing with a good thing. During the weeklong road test, I could not stop but stare at the duality of this futuristic yet contemporary styled machine. It’s ahead of its time while also being at the cutting edge of what a sports car in the 2020s should look like.
Some people have criticized Lexus’s design language concerning the large mesh grille, but not on the LC 500. It works on this car. The bodywork appears to drip from the roof, down its pillars, and around the wheel wells like maple syrup on a five-stack of blueberry pancakes. The car gives the impression that it could cosplay as a hover car from 2045 if fitted with fender skirts.
Lexus claims the LC 500’s rear taillights were inspired by the glow of a jet’s afterburner. In addition, the chrome-plated moldings along the edges of the roofline “echo the lines” of a katana sword. Even the embedded turn signals on the side mirror bear a striking resemblance to the Mandaorlian’s helmet.
The car gives the impression that it could cosplay as a hover car from 2045 if fitted with fender skirts.
The LC 500’s interior does a perfect job of making you feel like you’re inside a cockpit rather than a car. The seat is low, and the steering wheel is adjusted to be right in front of you like a race car while the center console wraps around your right side. You are locked in and feel like you’re riding in something built to be fast, sleek, and comfortable. That’s one significant highlight of the Lexus LC 500. It’s comfortable!
The Right Amount of Performance
The LC 500 comes in two flavors, a spicy 5.0-liter V8 and a sweet 3.5-liter V6 gas-electric Hybrid in the LC 500h. The model shown carried the V8 (much to my delight). That means 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft of torque being sent to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. That is not to say the LC 500h is a pushover. A 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery aids the V6 engine to produce 354 hp worth of whoosh.
Now, a naturally aspirated V8 making 471 hp in today’s market of supercharged, turbocharged, and charged performance drivetrains may sound like one side short of a combo meal, but that’s another reason that makes the LC 500 perfect.
The Corvette changed who it was to fit in among the mid-engine supercars. Porsche engineers go gray trying to shave off a half second of the GT3’s Nürburgring lap time every year. Ferrari and Lamborghini are doomed with the increasingly difficult task of trying to top the last model, making it faster, sleeker, and smarter. The Lexus LC 500 doesn’t need to worry about any of that.
The LC 500 never claims to be the best at anything. It’s neither the fastest nor the best handling or the most exclusive. What it does do is provide a satisfying sense of speed and sound. Its V8 feels dialed to the third decimal point with a sense of efficiency you’d expect in a Lexus product. It is fast enough to make you smile without making you sweat as its eight-cylinder orchestra plays Beethovenian vibrations conducted by your right foot.
Plus, even though it’s a big V8 on a premium fuel diet, I averaged 24 mpg throughout the week, which included a 300-mile road trip and plenty of spirited driving.
An Underrated Gem
The Lexus LC 500 is the perfect sports car because it’s comfortable, fast, incredibly stylish, makes you smile when you drive it, and won’t give you anxiety about going over speed bumps. Granted, plenty of other sports cars meet these criteria and can surpass the LC 500’s performance stats. But, among the stable of high horsepower, two door, premium branded sports cars on the market today, the LC 500 is an underrated gem.
While other sports cars try to be Tom Cruise risking it all for relevance, the LC 500 is Ryan Gosling, winning you over with only a smile.
How often do you see an LC 500 on the road compared to the others? Seeing one is like a visual treat. For a car nerd like me, spotting an LC 500 can make my day. Its beautiful design makes it desirable, and its underrated status makes it cool. While other sports cars try to be Tom Cruise risking it all for relevance, the LC 500 is Ryan Gosling, winning you over with only a smile.
If you’re still reading this, you’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned the one flaw everyone agrees with this car, and that’s its infotainment system. Yes, the touchpad navigation control is awkward, and you can’t rest your arm comfortably on the center console without your hand accidentally touching the pad. Moreover, the parking brake switch is hidden like a Marvel movie trailer easter egg, and the center storage door feels flimsy and brittle. However, these flaws are minimal at best, and nothing in this world is completely perfect.
The Lexus LC 500 is a true sports car because it refuses to compromise to fit the stereotypes of a sports car owner. For example, while large enough to host two and a half carry-on bags, the trunk is too short and narrow to fit a set of golf clubs. This car does not want to be reduced to a golf club shuttle. It doesn’t feel the need to have showboating performance figures or lap time bragging rights. All it wants to do is turn heads and support your lumbar.
Add that to its cult, if-you-know-you-know status, and you have a sports car that lives by its definition and is perfect in every way.