Photos by Atif Kazmi for Por Homme
This year, Lexus showrooms will get an all-new flagship coupe in the LC500 and LC500h. You might’ve seen it in action during this year’s Super Bowl where the luxury brand’s ad spot blended an exhilarating Jonas Akerlund-directed dance performance by Lil’ Buck with music from Sia, all while the all-new Lexus LC500 sat patiently before speeding off. And if you thought the exhaust notes in the commercial were great, then wait ’till you hear it in person because this is the best sounding vehicle in the Lexus lineup next to the hard-to-encounter LFA.
From the time the Japanese automaker released the limited edition Lexus LFA back in 2011 to now with the LC500 just months of way from going on sale, there’s been a much-welcomed evolution of the brand. We’ve seen the Lexus design language get more adventurous and all the luxury elements get tremendously updated. And this has happened right while the attention to detail and impeccable craftsmanship that Japanese culture has instilled in the brand reigns paramount. The LC500 is Lexus’ best example of all these things — design, luxury, craftsmanship — and a benchmark for all Lexus will deliver in the years to come.
When we look at the several years that have passed, Lexus has not-so-quietly made their presence felt and has attracted younger luxury buyers in the process. Because nowadays, we don’t just care about the product, we also care about the process, the story, and everything you believe in. Lexus has been supporting the arts in various ways for quite sometime, including their longstanding sponsorship of NYFW. Their Lexus Design Award recognizes a dozen designers from the around the world with four ultimately being chosen to work with mentors to bring their ideas to life. Milan Design Week has seen Lexus be involved for the past decade, as they’ve unveiled several large scale installations with notable designers. Beyond partnerships, Lexus has also created their own presence through the opening of Intersect boutique galleries in cities like Tokyo, Dubai, and soon-to-be New York. Each boutique focuses on the experience rather than the products for sale with their beautifully designed spaces, flawless customer service and effortless storytelling.
We spent quite a bit of time with it last month in Kona, Hawaii, which allowed us to really get a chance to appreciate the LC500’s every detail while also seeing Lexus’ dedication to delivering amazing experiences through various happenings. And though we explored the design ethos behind Lexus’ new flagship coupe a few months back when we visited Calty Design Research, it’s definitely worth revisiting. Not a single component is borrowed from other vehicles in the Lexus lineup, all the way down to the design of the window buttons. When you’re looking to elevate the driving experience well past anything you’ve done in the past, a clean slate is beyond necessary. The cabin is inviting and doesn’t skip on a single grain of leather. See their Sport Seats in the brand’s Toasted Caramel leather and that should seal it for you right then and there. The amount of leather, Alcantara, and other luxurious trimmings seen on the dash, center console, door panels, and beyond justifies the price tag and then some. And as expected, there’s a strong sense of purpose and functionality infused into every detail, from the info seen through the instrument panel to the positioning of LFA-inspired Drive Mode Select controls on the side of the instrument panel.
I mentioned the exhaust notes of the new Lexus LC500 makes right out the gates here because it’s something that really caught our attention and something that trickles down from not only the LFA but also from Lexus’ re-entrance into motorsports with their RCF GT3 and GT500 race cars. With the LC500, every rhyme has a reason. The 5.0 liter V8 under the long hood delivers power and a refined sound and experience. Mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission and perfectly-positioned paddle shifters, the new LC500 delivers 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing it to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. The LC500h can do much of the same, while also offering up Lexus’ new multi-stage hybrid system. It’s engineering art that lends mechanical and electronic tech to drive more efficiencies without any loss of connection between driver and road. And it’s important to look beyond just the numbers. The LC500 and LC500h can handle any winding road they encounter and we engaged with plenty on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Couple all this with its handling of elevation changes and the open roads, as well as all the attention it got at coffee and lunch stops, and it makes the wait for this worthy Lexus flagship coupe a bit more acceptable. This is arguably the best car we’ve ever seen from Lexus but I don’t expect anyone to start a debate with me. From the adventurous exterior design to its tasteful execution of the interior and the overall driver experience, there isn’t a Lexus like it, but expect it to play a pivotal role in all future Lexus brethren to come.
Check out more shots of our time with the LC500 and LC500h in the gallery above and look for the LC500 to hit Lexus showrooms this May.