The SUV and crossover remains ascendent, and couple of vehicle body styles have fallen by the wayside like the coupe. As BMW’s head designer told Ars in 2015, “People were prepared to make all these compromises since it was cool. And today, individuals still want to be cool, but they feel that possibly those compromises are not cool.”But instead of vibes, let’s put the issue in context: in 1992, Lexus sold nearly 28,000 SC coupes. The very best year for the SC430– its replacement and the last vehicle factory-fitted with a cassette player– was
about half that volume. However in 2023, it’s fortunate to offer more than 100 LC coupes across the country each month. Those who take the plunge will discover remarkable styling inside and out, and when it comes to this LC 500h, a rather interesting hybrid powertrain. The LC has actually been on sale for several years– Ars initially tested one in 2018– however until now, we ‘d never ever spent more than a day with swoopy coupé and minimal time with the hybrid variation. Under that long hood, you’ll discover a 3.5 L Atkinson cycle V6 with variable
valve timing that generates 295 hp(220 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm ). There are a pair of electrical motors, however only one of these sends out power to the rear wheels– the other charges the hybrid system’s lithium-ion traction battery. The overall output from V6 and electrical motor working together is 354 hp( 264 kW)and 369 lb-ft(500 Nm). So far, that’s all quite typical for a hybrid. Things begin to get a bit weirder from there, though. Mated to the engine, there
‘s an electronically controlled continually variable transmission and planetary gearset. The eCVT has six virtual gear ratios– yes, this defeats the point of a CVT, however that’s just how the world works. But before the driveshaft heads back to the rear wheels, there’s a 2nd transmission, which is a conventional four-speed automatic. In practice, that offers you 10 equipments, which you can manage by hand through the splendidly tactile metal paddles behind the steering wheel. However reality be informed, that doesn’t really match the nature of the automobile– instead, leave it in D and let Lexus’AI select your ratios for you. It can be a slightly strange experience as the two transmissions shuffle up or down and engine revs alter to accommodate, all while you progress forward. Lexus says that the LC 500h can run at approximately 87 miles per hour (140 km) on electrical power alone, but like other hybrids from Lexus and Toyota, whether the engine fires is practically totally to the automobile’s electronic brain, even if you’ve pressed the EV button on the center console.
Being extremely gentle with your ideal foot assists keep it in electrical mode at low speeds, but the 4,420 lb (2,005 kg) curb weight is considerable, and the V6 participating in helps you get away from a grinding halt at more than a walking rate. Efficiency is excellent but not incredible– hitting 60 miles per hour from a dead stop will take 4.7 seconds, and the LC 500h is digitally limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).
Our test LC 500h was fitted with the vibrant handling package ($6,850) that added rear-wheel steering, a torque-sensing limited-slip differential, variable-ratio steering, and 21-inch wheels, as well as the Alcantara sports seats. That said, the driving experience is more GT than sportscar, however none the worse for that. The cars and truck sits low and the trip is on the firmer side of still-comfortable, however it travels in a cosseting manner. Throughout a week, I could not rather match the combined EPA quote of 29 mpg, sadly.
The interior is more drastically styled than the LC 500h’s outside. Lexus’ Takumi master craftspeople obviously put in a lot of effort, and it shows. It’s an extremely tactile interior; the contrast in between the suede and smooth leather on door cards and the cold metal door deals with is a treat for one’s fingertips.
The primary cockpit console has a neat celebration technique, too. In the center is a digital tachometer, similar to the one in the Lexus LFA supercar. Due to the fact that its V10 engine apparently revved too rapidly for a conventional gauge, (Lexus first used a digital tach on that cars and truck. At least, that was the story at the time.) Push one of the buttons on the multifunction wheel, and the gauge moves over an inch approximately to the right within the instrument binnacle, revealing another part of the screen which shows you details like tire pressures or your fuel mileage or the state of the driver assists.
I have fewer good things to say about the infotainment system. It has a pleasant-looking user interface on the 10.3-inch screen and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however you need to interact with whatever via a trackpad, which isn’t the very best input device in a moving vehicle.
None of this comes specifically low-cost, however prices are competitive for this sort of high-end flagship coupe, beginning at $102,350.