Best Cars

2018 Lexus LC

here’s been a lot of debate among the Roadshow staff about where the 2018 Lexus LC 500 fits into the automotive world. Overall performance is darn good, with a brilliant V8 churning away under the hood and excellent cornering abilities, but a curb weight of 4,300 pounds means it’s not a full-fledged sports car. The 2+2 coupe layout adds some practicality, but a tight backseat, small 5.4 cubic-feet trunk and firm ride manners means that it’s not a purebred Grand Tourer, either.

Track capable

Once behind the wheel, I don’t allow myself to get too caught up in figuring out which car group the LC fits into, especially given the opportunity to flog it around GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich. Down straights, the naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine belts out beautiful noises as it spins toward its 7,100-rpm redline, with satisfying power to boot. The engine is the same naturally aspirated V8 I love so much in the GS F, and here it makes 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.

Are those output figures anything to write home about in today’s performance landscape? Not really. 500-horsepower monsters are the norm nowadays, and yet, I highly doubt many people will get out of an LC 500 and say it needs more power. Would more be nice? Well, of course, but perhaps that’ll come in a future LC F.

Working with the 5.0-liter is a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which some will see as another factor keeping the LC from qualifying as a pure sports car. But before writing off the torque-converter gearbox, I suggest giving it a chance, because around GingerMan, manual shift response using the paddles proves nearly immediate. No, it’s not quite dual-clutch quick, but it’s still good for a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds.

Through the corners of this road course, the LC’s super-stiff platform impresses, as does its suspension. Ripping through the track’s fast right-left transition between Turn 8 and Turn 9 is done in complete confidence, and body roll is almost nonexistent.

Leave a Reply