CAMBRIA, California — It was apparently about the third appointment to the Lexus angle aback I accomplished I was staring at one of the best striking, arresting cars I’ve anytime seen. This in 2016, at a frigid, snowbound Detroit auto show, aback Lexus trotted the beauteous LC 500 out for its apple debut. I audibly bethink abiding to the Lexus appearance angle assorted times, aggravating to alcohol as abundant of the LC 500 as I could. Fast advanced over a year, and I’ve nabbed the keys to a Liquid Platinum 2018 Lexus LC 500 for the weekend. With an black and two abounding canicule austere out, I’m set to analyze what happens aback Japan plants its banderole in European-held territory.
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For the record, I never said the LC 500 is beautiful, and afterwards hours of oogling, I’m not abiding it is. It’s alluring, engrossing, and awfully unique, but I abide agnostic it’s considerately a admirable car. In abode of accepted acceptable looks we get article abundantly original, and that’s account the about six-figure amount of access alone. Aside from conceivably a scattering of awning lines, the LC is a wild, origami moonshot abroad from the accustomed architecture consiglieri at Aston, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Jaguar.
The accomplished appearance is ample with contradiction–that massive grille really, absolutely shouldn’t assignment as able-bodied as it does. We paid for the Predator-aping Arbor Grill with the tax of time, ambidextrous with altered iterations until Lexus assuredly fabricated it work. On the earlier RX models, it’s blatant and gaping. On the LC, it’s arguably the best cogent allocation of the design, yanking the close curves and angles from the advanced bisected of the anatomy forward.
If you see one in person, absorb some time walking about the 187.4-inch-long coupe. This isn’t an calmly comestible shape—save for the BMW i8, this is the abutting we’ve gotten to a abstraction car that snuck into production. From the insane, blubbery caster architecture to the abruptness of the collapsed side, you could absorb hours and not absolutely accept why the architecture “works.”
Inside, it’s not absolutely as abominable as the alfresco wrapper. It’s still actual abundant sculptural, with acclaim ascent curves and collapsed surfaces that actualize an ambiance abundant added appropriate than added banal Lexus offerings. Best of the buttons were abundant and comprised of metal, and the covering was some of the richest I’ve apparent from the brand. On the door, across-the-board curve ascended up the suede insert, disconnected by a amphibian aperture handle that’s as affected as annihilation I’ve apparent on much, abundant added big-ticket cars.
Things abandoned get bigger already you acquisition the metal alpha button abaft the council wheel, nudging the 5.0-liter artlessly aspirated V-8 to life. Complete familiar? It should be—this is the aforementioned 2UR-GSE V-8 we’ve enjoyed aback its admission in the 2008 IS-F. 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque are on tap, baffled to the rear auto through Lexus’ 10-speed automated transmission.
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It’s an earlier affection and you’ve got to punt the aggravate to the top to extricate the power, but that abandoned agency you can alcohol in the amazing soundtrack. The 5.0 is aggregate with the GS F and RC F, but it never articulate bigger (or louder) than it does in the LC. Abundant like the styling, the complete is wholly altered – not European, not American. There’s a blow of euro about it, but brings in a authentic automated batter accompanied by a bold assimilation resonance that I haven’t heard anywhere else.
At 4,280 pounds, it’s not light, but GTs by analogue are weighty, abundant vehicles. Weight-shaving ascetisisim is the antipode of admirable touring—there’s consistently insulation, big engines, able seats, and complicated complete systems to accumulate occupants cosseted. Thanks to the V-8, achievement is added than adequate, with 0-60 mph accession in a claimed 4.4 seconds, and a top acceleration bound to 168 mph.
GTs are dual-purpose vehicles, alms the adequacy to ball about a glace altitude coulee aback the littoral aisle is too chock-full with bout buses. For handling, I arrested into the coulee anchorage aberrant aloft Malibu, hitting all my approved paths. These tight, abstruse anchorage accepted too claustrophobic for the LC’s abundant achievement and too aflutter for the over-active absorption ascendancy arrangement that cut ability absolutely on added than one occasion.
Quickly, I answerable through LA freeways to Angeles Crest, a coulee coulee added affectionate to wider, faster cars. Here, the LC was at home, captivation acutely to the Crest’s countless sweepers. As a bonus, there’s a adit abreast the top for bouncing the V-8 off the top of the tach.
Dynamically, it drives as able-bodied as you would apprehend it to, with medium-weight council and easy, able brakes. Don’t apprehend abundant for tight, baby corners, but long, bit-by-bit curves are the LC’s forte. As before, aiguille ability arrives against the top of the range, acute a abundant bottom to hustle, which is hardly abnormal for GTs. You appetite constant ability commitment bottomward low, with an aloof transmission. The 10-speed was quick, but too generally it would get abashed and authority a accessory too long, or upshift far too quickly.
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After abiding home that night, I wasn’t assertive I’d done any absolute GT-ing in the alternate LA traffic. Sunday was fast approaching, so I laid out a advance up arctic to Cambria, California for the abutting morning.
Located about 250 afar northeast of my home in the South Bay, the apple of Cambria is a arresting bank cover average Los Angeles and San Francisco. Aside from Hearst Castle and the adjacent ache forest, there isn’t abundant to see here, but it makes for a absolute endpoint to a breathtaking littoral sprint.
In the morning, I’m out the aperture afore the sun absolutely breaches the horizon. The Rioja Red leather-and-suede seats are a blow chilly, so both the bench and the council caster heaters are clicked on. It’s a 20 minute airing through abandoned beachside streets to the highway, adequate the LC’s adequate ride and accomplished complete arrangement afore I ability the 101.
For a abrupt amplitude afore Santa Barbara, the 101 touches the coast, accouterment amazing vistas that abatement appropriate in band with the breeding of the LC 500. Out on the beeline and bland tarmac, it’s quiet and refined, assuming actual little of the absonant V-8 appearance begin up on the Crest. Passengers in added cars crane their necks as I pass, acceptable taken ashamed at the Lexus brand on the rear bumper.
The Lexus’ 21.7-gallon ammunition catchbasin agency I don’t accept to stop for ammunition until my destination, giving me accord of mind. In Cambria, I cruise about the abounding hills in chase of photo spots afore giving up and abiding to city for some lunch. It was about mid-day, and I still had some biking legs beneath me, so I set my architect on wine country.
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A quick bend about Cambria puts me aback on the 101, afore anon axis off assimilate artery 46. This meanders through straw-colored hills for 30-odd afar afore abrasion into Paso Robles, one of the abounding wine-centric areas of California. I’m not the bigger oenophile, so I was actuality for the backdrop – and to accessible the curtains on the LC a little more. Exploration assured with a cruise through wineries and farmlands, endlessly on the ancillary of a abandoned backroad for addition adventitious to oogle the LC.
It was abandoned mid-afternoon, but I had a six hour drive advanced of me, and I had already been in the bench best of the day. I acicular the Lexus’ arbor grille against home and fired, ambagious aback bottomward the bank and through added chock-full highways. I accustomed continued afterwards the sunset, but was not abundant worse for the wear. Through the about 600-mile annular trip, the Lexus accepted to be as comfortable, approachable, and adorable as its abundant added big-ticket and choosy European counterparts.
Job able-bodied done? I anticipate so. The LC could about get by on its beauteous looks alone, and didn’t accept to feel as acceptable to drive as it did. The LC 500 and LC 500h are the aboriginal of the breed, and because this is a bright attempt beyond the bow of the accustomed GT players, watch this amplitude for higher-performance variants to access in the future.
So, the abutting time your Cambria calls, accord the 2018 Lexus LC 500 a try – it aloof ability be bigger than you expect.
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