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  5. Future Classics: The Lexus LC 500

Exterior view of the Lexus LC 500

Upon its debut at the 2014 North American International Auto show, the gorgeous lines of the Lexus LF-LC Concept stunned audiences. What proved even more stunning was just how little the LF-LC's sleek, futuristic sheet metal was tamed for production. Because when it arrived in showrooms three years ago, as the LC 500, the machine had lost none of its arresting, concept-car looks. Get it out in the wild, and the gorgeous coupe makes everything else look like a backdrop. It commands a tremendous amount of attention, anywhere it's driven.   

The LC 500 is the spiritual successor to the company's legendary LFA, and it's produced in the same facility which crafted the limited-edition supercar. While it's not packing the LFA's famously sonorous Yamaha-tuned V10, the exhaust note of the LC 500 is still borderline addictive. Push the start button, and the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 angrily barks to life, and the active exhaust means full-throttle blasts are operatic as the acceleration is brisk. To put it mildly, the beauty here is more than skin deep. So even if it didn't look more like a sexy spaceship than it does a normal car, the LC 500 would remain an extraordinarily compelling machine.   

Rear view of the Lexus LC 500

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Enthusiasts will note this is the same eight-pot mill used in the RC F and the GS F. But for LC 500 duty, it's been tuned to produce 471-horsepower, and more importantly, to wail gloriously. The active exhaust system has been mechanically designed to flood the cabin with a soundtrack the Lexus designers refer to as "the cry of angels," and it's as ethereal as the moniker would suggest. Use the paddle shifters to bang down through the ten-speed gearbox, and there's a ragged pop and crackle at play that's absolutely spine tingling. Seriously, hearing this beast roar will make you chuckle about how Lexus was initially renowned for its whisper-quiet sedans.

The active exhaust system has been mechanically designed to flood the cabin with a soundtrack the Lexus designers refer to as "the cry of angels."

The interior of the LC 500 is another triumph. From the deep-pocketed seats, to the twin control stalks above the dynamic gauge cluster, to the prominent passenger grab rail on the console, echoes of the LFA are everywhere. While the infotainment system requires the use of a finicky touchpad to control some basic features, the relative lack of buttons means there's a refreshing minimalism to the environs, and practically everything is covered in buttery leather, Alcantara suede, or beautifully machined aluminum. In proper GT car tradition, the rear seats are all but useless, but build quality is done with a jeweler's precision, and even for a machine which starts at over $90,000, the LC 500 feels profoundly special.

The Lexus LC 500 in action

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Over the last decade, it's been no secret that prices for classic Toyota products like the Land Cruiser, Supra, and AE86 Corolla have been climbing. And given that low-mileage, cream puff examples of the Lexus LS 400 and SC 300 have also fetched a pretty penny of late, it's not much of a stretch to see the LC 500 becoming similarly sought after. This machine is a beautifully rendered take on the classic grand touring formula, and with the sun setting on the era of internal-combustion, just how many cars like it the future holds remains unknown.

While there's both a convertible and a hybrid-powered LC 500 available, my guess is that the most desirable cars will be the V8 coupes, and options like the audiophile-grade Mark Levinson sound system and the bold, Circuit Red interior might up the ante. With examples of the LFA beginning to push the half million-dollar mark, it's also worth noting that the LC 500 delivers many of the same thrills as its supercar sibling for a comparative bargain. Plus, since it's still in production? Well-heeled buyers can spec them any way they'd like. 


John Coyle | Jan 22, 2021

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