We recently got to drive the absolutely gorgeous Lexus LC500 in Spain. Here are some of the things that impressed us about the car:
1. The LC500 is based on the LF-LC concept that debuted in 2012 at the North American International Auto Show. Only four years on and the production model is here. This car makes a bold statement because its proportions and styling are virtually identical to the original concept car.
2. There are two variants: The LC500 with a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V8 and the LC500h with a 3.5-liter V6 paired with two motor generators. We will only be getting the LC500 V8 version locally, however, and I’m sure fans won’t mind. Power is rated at 478hp @ 7,100rpm, with 540Nm that peaks at 4,800rpm. Zero to 100kph happens in 4.7 seconds.
3. The LC500 is also the first car in its segment to feature a 10-speed automatic transmission. This isn’t just to boast that the car has the most number of usable gears. Chief engineer Koji Sato told us that this direct-shift transmission was designed this way so that each gear change has a natural progression and rhythm. Trust us, the close ratios and direct feel is indeed a joy. Shifts happen in milliseconds, too.
4. This car runs on massive 21-inch alloys shod with 245/40 R21 tires at the front, and 275/30 R21 tires at the rear. These are run-flats, and you may need to order your tires from the Lexus Manila dealership in advance if you have to change the rubber.
5. The engine is mounted in a front/mid-ship configuration. This makes that dramatic hood line possible, and also makes space for those huge 21-inchers. Weight distribution is ideal for enthusiastic driving, of course.
6. The roof is made of carbon fiber and keeps the center of gravity very low and reduces overall weight. You can even see the weave of the carbon-fiber roof, and that’s pretty damn cool. We hope this feature will be made available in the Philippines.
7. During construction, the LC500 utilizes laser-screw welding, which uses a laser to join two pieces of metal together; self-piercing rivets to join aluminum and steel areas; and advanced adhesives to bond metal sections together. The production techniques used in this car are indeed high-tech, and were honed during the 10-year development of the LFA.
8. This car uses an all-new, premium rear-wheel-drive luxury platform that is not shared with any Lexus model. This platform will be the blueprint of company’s future models.
9. The V8’s sound has been tuned by maximizing the desired sound frequencies and levels. The engineers have mixed the tones of the intake and exhaust to produce a 'concert hall' effect in the cabin during acceleration and deceleration.
10. The LC500 is built at the Motomachi plant, home of the handbuilt LFA supercar. Many of the skilled workers who built the LFA are now in charge of building the LC, and they bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. These guys are experts in handling carbon-fiber components and hand finishing.
There’s so much more to share about the LC500, so do watch this space. Stay tuned for our magazine cover story, too.