Whether it was the brands aim to create the ultimate driver’s car or not, the new Lexus LC Coupe certainly looks like the ultimate driver’s car. It’s also backed by a magnificent V8 engine if you go for the highest spec.
So far, so ultimate.
However, Lexus claim that the LC is ‘not a sports car.’ In fact, they say it’s ‘absolutely not a sports car’.
It looks mad, it looks bad and it looks dangerous. So what is it? OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Lexus LC Coupe review.
Interested in learning more about the history of Lexus? From their debut in 1989 to their popularity today, in our post about Lexus we look at it all.
Overview of the Lexus LC Coupe
On the Road
There are two LC models available – a V6 model and a monstrous V8 model. The V6 engine powers the hybrid LC 500h and it works in tandem with an electric motor. It’s a good engine but it only comes into use when you need more power and pace than the electric motor can provide on its lonesome.
The 5.0-litre V8 engine, on the other hand, waits for no one and needs no such invitation. Instead, it explodes into life in an instant, before settling down (a bit).
The V8 is probably the brands best sounding engine to date. It barks with venom, and because Lexus has added a tube that runs right through the passenger compartment, everyone gets to enjoy its soundtrack.
There’s also a system of exhaust valves that further heighten the sonic drama. And while all this sounds like it could get a bit overwhelming – especially when you just want to chill – it actually doesn’t.
In terms of the engines themselves, most buyers will quite naturally be intrigued by the V8, even if they don’t have the budget for it. It has a 0-62 time of 4.4 seconds and delivers its power with enthusiasm. Like the V6 model, it lets you switch between five driving modes – Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ – but it’s more exciting than the V6.
This is largely down to the fact that the V6 powers a hybrid model that comes with a hesitant CVT gearbox which really harms its appeal. It’s still a fast car that can get you from a standstill to 62mph in around 5.0 seconds flat, but its steering – although precise – lacks feedback.
Still, both models are entertaining enough and can offer accurate steering. They’re also super fast, even if they’re ‘not a sports car’.
Lexus LC Coupe Interior, Design and Build
Lexus is known for crafting gorgeous, upmarket interiors that can compete with the likes of BMW in any class. They’ve really outdone themselves this time with a cabin that’s plush, rich in quality, and which is super comfortable.
There’s barely anything to fault. You’re well positioned behind a TFT digital instrument display that’s suitably hi-tech, and the quality of the materials is as good as any that we’ve seen in this market. The Alcantara and leather in black and dark rose looks and feels exquisite, and it gives the car a real sense of occasion.
The design is good too, but it’s the little things that make the LC so special. A case in point is the cast aluminium door handles, as well as the Alcantara suede upholstery on the door. It’s lovely stuff that’s becoming of such an upmarket car.
If we do have to find a fault with something in here for the sake of balance, it’s that there are too many buttons. The sheer amount of buttons will be a particular nuisance for anyone who’s used to Audi’s minimalism.
Is the Lexus LC Coupe practical? It doesn’t do too well on this front, but it is an exec Coupe, after all. It’s got just the 3 doors no matter what model you go for, and this means that accessing the rear seats will be tricky. Once installed there, two adults will find that space is limited.
That said, most buyers will use the two rear seats as extra luggage space.
Speaking of that, the boot measures just 172-litres if you go for the hybrid model, and 197-litres if you opt for the V8.
Is Lexus reliable? This brand has a fantastic record when it comes to reliability and in our in-depth and unbiased report we look closely at what makes them a reliable brand.
Equipment and Safety of the Lexus LC Coupe
Standard kit is excellent all across the range, with the entry-level model coming with keyless go, heated and ventilated seats, climate control, a 10.3″ infotainment screen, sat nav, a reversing camera, LED headlights and 20″ alloys.
The Sport model adds 21″ alloys, a carbon fibre roof and sports seats, while the Sport+ model rounds things off with carbon fibre scuff plates, a retractable rear spoiler, four-wheel active steering and limited slip differential.
Safety wise, Euro NCAP won’t be crash testing the car because it doesn’t sell enough. Don’t be too worried though, as this is a very strong and safe car. The brand’s Safety System+ is available on all models, and this package comes with auto-dipping headlights, a sway warning system, traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control.
Costs of the Lexus LC Coupe
Prices for the new car start out from £76,595 and rise to £85,895. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the V6 hybrid is naturally the most frugal engine. It can return 44.1mpg at best and emits 149g/km of CO2, which qualifies it for a BiK rating of 28%.
The V8 is bigger and a whole lot thirstier. It can return 24.3mpg on a good day, but it’s highly likely that those good days will be few and far between for enthusiastic drivers. It also has a 37% BiK rating, which is the highest possible.
Pros and Cons of the Lexus LC Coupe
Top notch interior
It’s an absolutely gorgeous interior that’s just as upmarket as its rivals.
Scintillating V8 engine
If power and performance is your thing, it won’t be long before you fall in love with the LC’d V8.
It’s well insulated too, and ride quality is good.
It’s no bigger than 197-litres if you opt for the V8 engine and even smaller if you go for the hybrid.
Not the ultimate driver’s car
Lexus has made the point that this isn’t a sports car. While it drives well, rivals are more involving.
Lexus LC Coupe vs Porsche 911 vs Mercedes SL
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Lexus LC Coupe review.
Lexus LC Coupe vs Porsche 911
The new Porsche 911 is as iconic as ever, even if it now comes with turbochargers.
In fact, the shift to turbochargers hasn’t weakened the car’s performance one jot. If anything, it’s improved it.
Moreover, Porsche has repositioned its rear-mounted engine so that the car is more agile and better balanced.
It’s also still incredibly fast.
The biggest problem you’ll have is deciding on an engine. As well as being more iconic than the Lexus, the Porsche is also a lot more complicated and there’s a lot of different models to choose from.
All of them are exciting, even the entry-level Carrera, which has a 0-62 time of 4.6 seconds. Not bad for an entry-level model, huh?
From there, things get a bit crazy. The Carrera T and Carrera S follow, with the latter developing 414bhp and dusting off the 0-62 dash in less than four seconds.
Clearly, these cars are faster than the Lexus and they can also offer more steering feel. Moreover, a sports exhaust is on hand to deliver the thrilling soundtrack that drivers crave.
Running costs? Thanks to the introduction of turbochargers, the 911 is a lot more efficient than it’s ever been. The entry-level model can return as much as 38.2mpg on a good day and emits 169g/km of CO2. This qualifies it for a BiK rating of 34%.
The Carrera S, meanwhile, can return as much as 36.7mpg if you specify the PDK automatic transmission.
Inside, the 911 is as comfortable as it’s ever been. Ride quality is good, but if you go for the higher spec models road and tyre noise becomes a bit of a problem.
As ever, the 911s trademark 5-dial layout is all present and correct behind the wheel, and it comes with a big, centrally mounted rev counter.
The cabin, on the whole, looks modern and slick, and Porsche has used plenty of top quality materials throughout. Build quality is excellent, too.
Is the Porsche 911 practical? No one really expects it to be a usable car, but it’s more practical than many of its rivals. Visibility is good thanks to the big windows, and you’ll be surprised by the amount of space on offer.
Of course, the two rear seats are on the small side and suitable only for kids, but anyone sat upfront is treated to lots of room.
The glovebox is a reasonable size and the boot – which is located at the front – measures 145-litres.
Lexus – £76,595 – £85,895
Porsche – £77,891 – £207,506
Lexus LC Coupe vs Mercedes SL
The new Mercedes SL is a two-seater sports car that puts comfort before handling.
Comfort before handling has often been the Mercedes way, and they do it well. At the same time, this latest SL model isn’t exactly lacking in power. Even the entry-level model can get you from a standstill to 62mph in just under 5.0 seconds.
Upgrade to the bigger SL500 model and you can complete the same sprint in 4.3 seconds.
Rounding off the range are two AMG models that will melt the tarmac, but which aren’t direct rivals to the Lexus.
In terms of its actual driving experience, there have been complaints from buyers that its steering is too vague and too light. It’s true on both counts, and this can undermine your confidence.
And while Mercedes have put the onus on comfort, ride quality is actually a bit of a disappointment.
That said, all models come with a Direct Select feature that lets you tweak the suspension so that it’s as soft as possible.
Running costs? No one expects a car like this to be cheap to keep on the road, but the entry-level model returns a respectable 36.7mpg on a good day. The SL500 model is good for returns of 31.4mpg at best and emits 205g/km of CO2.
Inside, ordering an ABC system will help to make the ride more comfortable, but the seats themselves are already super comfy. Insulation is good, with barely a peep from outside making its way into the cabin when the roof is up. The design is modern and slick.
Is the Mercedes SL practical? Surprisingly, it is. It’s 504-litre boot is by far the biggest in this review, although it does shrink to 364-litres when the roof is down. Of course, that’s still very good.
Space upfront, meanwhile, is good, although storage solutions – as expected from a car like this – are few and far between.
Mercedes – £75,440
Verdict of our 2018 Lexus LC Coupe Review
We know that Lexus love a challenge, and they’ve certainly pitted themselves against some of the best cars around with the LC. While it performs admirably in some areas – it looks great, its cabin is a real treat and its thunderous V8 engine is terrific – it falls short in two key areas: practicality and driver engagement.
Still, there’s not a lot to complain about, and in many ways, the new Lexus LC Coupe is a genuinely outstanding car that’s a match for its rivals.