WHAT IT IS: Grand touring cars were originally created in Europe in the 1950s, and were designed to be driven at high speed in great comfort and over long distances. The Lexus LC (luxury coupe) accomplishes that in spades and provides exacting performance for an exacting buyer. Unfortunately, the LC is priced outside of the purchasing range for most of us, with a base MSRP of $92,300.
The LC is powered by your choice of two drive-trains: a 471 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 or a 354 horsepower hybrid 3.5-liter V6. I tested the hybrid version (known as the LC 500h) and found the 354 horsepower to be more than sufficient, especially with roughly half of the horsepower coming from electric motors that provide instantaneous torque.
The biggest benefit to the hybrid is of course the gas mileage, with a rating of 27 city/30 combined/35 highway. Combined with a 22.2 gallon tank, that’s a theoretical 777 mile range. You could drive to New Orleans and back and still have 1/6 of a tank left. The LC does have a back seat, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that has legs. You can squeeze in a small child in a pinch, but it’s effectively unusable. Unfortunately, the trunk is also very small (4.7 square feet), so if you are planning on a long getaway you’ll likely be stashing some luggage in that back seat.
The hybrid carries a $4,510 price premium over the V8, which is a high price, but the EPA says that you’ll likely be spending $1,000 less per year in gas. Performance enthusiasts would likely prefer the 100 extra horsepower in the non-hybrid version. I did find the steering to be exact and rewarding, and would find it very interesting to drive one on the track with the higher horsepower engine.
You may think that a $93,000 price tag would get you everything you need, but you would be mistaken. My test model was also equipped with the performance package ($5,960) which also requires the mandatory addition of the convenience package ($1,000) and staggered 21-inch forged alloy wheels ($1,440). First, the convenience package is nothing but parking assist and a blind-spot monitor, which 100% should be included on every car. The performance package gets you a bevy of goodies though: an exposed weave carbon-fiber roof, carbon-fiber door plates, speed-activated rear wing, rear-wheel steering, sport seats with Alcantara inserts and an Alcantara headliner. The roof is nice, but the Alcantara interior accents are stunning. My test car had a navy blue exterior and a Toasted Caramel leather interior and it felt more like a Rolls Royce than a luxury car made by Toyota.
MPG: 30 combined/27 city/35 highway
PRICE: $92,300 base price. $108,645 as-tested.
UPSIDES: Stunning, luxurious and unique.
DOWNSIDES: Lack of storage.
WRAP-UP: The Lexus LC has presence. People know that it’s a special car, and I think that it does that better than its contemporaries like the Mercedes Benz S-class Coupe, which commands a significant price premium of $30,000 over a base LC. Lexus had been known for making cars that have not taken bold choices with design, but they have really dedicated themselves over the last five years to developing cars that are much more visually stimulating, with the LC being the pinnacle of those ideas. The storage trade-offs are worth it when the end result is so unique and beautiful.