2020 Lexus LC

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
November 10, 2019

Buying tip

The 2020 Lexus LC makes for guilt-free performance in hybrid guise, but we’d still opt for the healthy V-8.

The 2020 Lexus LC will make any driveway look like a runway.

The 2020 Lexus LC is not a car for introverts. Its sharp lines draw attention in even the most crowded parking lots, and its prodigious power puts it in genuine sports-car territory. It’s not perfect, but it does many things exceptionally well. We rate the 2020 LC at 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) 

The 2020 LC leans more toward comfort than it does performance, though its straight-line acceleration is on the cusp of supercardom. The base LC 500 is the faster and rawer of the two versions thanks to its 471-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 that shuffles power rearward with a quickness through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Opt for the pricier LC 500h and you’ll sip fuel like a subcompact hatchback while blowing the doors off of most sports cars. The experience isn’t as visceral as that of the LC 500, though, so test drive both before deciding. Either version of the LC is a heavyweight, though they handle sharply in routine driving and winding roads. The heft makes itself known on tight canyon roads, the kind of place where far sharper sports cars such as the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type will more eagerly romp. The LC betters those on the open road, however, where its compliant suspension digests pavement without any need for antacids. 

This year, the LC lineup is available with a new green paint scheme that accents its sharp lines exceptionally well. No LC is a wallflower, and the rakish, futuristic interior matches the spaceship exterior. 

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With a price that hits six digits with a quickness, the LC lacks for little. Blind-spot monitors are newly standard, though you still won’t find Android Auto compatibility. The 10.3-inch display that sits high on the car’s dash looks like a gem, at least until you start to use it. A balky controller and a baffling interface are made only slightly better by standard Apple CarPlay compatibility and Amazon Alexa integration. “Siri, tell Lexus its infotainment needs a revamp.”


10

2020 Lexus LC

Styling

The 2020 Lexus LC still stops us in our tracks.

Though it isn’t exactly a common sight, the 2020 Lexus LC has become familiar. That doesn’t mean we’re any less smitten with it today than we were when it debuted for model year 2018. We rate this knockout at 10 out of 10. 

The 2020 LC channels its LFA predecessor with its angularity, and yet manages to look far more refined at a quarter of the supercar’s original price tag. The difference is in the details. Fine surface finishes and complexity where it’s needed most make the LC the kind of car worth poring over for hours. Some highlights include what’s arguably Lexus’ best “spindle grille” integration yet, the rounded shapes of its window cutouts, and the intricate head- and taillight designs. 

Skip the plain-jane whites, blacks, and silvers, and dig deeper into the modest color palette Lexus offers. It’s a shame that the automaker doesn’t have a custom paint program like Porsche, however. This year’s new Flare Yellow is sharp, but we’re smitten with the Nori Green hue Lexus paints on its new, limited-run LC Inspiration Edition. Just 100 are set to be built this year, so you may be better off waiting for a lightly used one to show up. 

Inside, the LC is just as adventurous. It’s a personal luxury coupe with a dash oriented to the pilot. The dash itself sits low, with a high-mounted screen controlled by a fiddly mouse-like arrangement on the center console. Spend extra for softer leather and the museum-quality finishes Lexus offers—they’re worth the cost.

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8

2020 Lexus LC

Performance

The 2020 Lexus LC is conflicted in its dual roles as mile-eater and corner-carver.

A portly curb weight that’s as heavy as some well-equipped off-roaders holds the 2020 Lexus LC back when it comes to performance, even though the car’s chassis boasts a ride that borders on perfection.

We rate the 2020 LC at 8 out of 10, tossing the competent handler points for its acceleration, its ride quality, and its impressive corner carving. If Lexus shaved 800 pounds, the 2020 LC would score even higher.

The LC comes in two underhood flavors: LC 500 with a Detroit-grade 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque sent rearward through a slick 10-speed automatic transmission; the LC 500h hybrid is motivated by a 3.5-liter V-6 teamed with an electric motor and a battery good for 354 hp. Specs quoted are with 91 octane fuel or higher. 

The conventional V-8 provides the best thrust, and a soundtrack that’s among the best in the business. Its 10-speed automatic behaves well, though occasionally it can feel like it’s dealing with one or two cogs too many as it shuffles between gears for highway passing. 

Stick with the LC 500h if you work for an eco-friendly firm and need to park a hybrid in the lot. The 44-kW lithium-ion battery adds poundage, though the trick 4-speed automatic transmission tied to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) behaves sharply to deliver terrific acceleration. Drive modes accessible at the tap of a button enliven or soften the powertrain, and a custom mode allows for individual tailoring. Stab the throttle and either powertrain vaults the big coupe to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (4.7 seconds for the 500h), with the LC 500 generally providing stronger passing power. 

The big coupe possesses some of the best steering to come out of parent company Toyota’s stable in years, bettering even the new Supra. Wide tires provide immense, unflappable grip once the LC transitions its heft. The big brakes make it a suitable track-tamer, too, though we doubt many will hit closed courses.

Underneath, the LC’s gentle suspension swallows rough pavement better than even the softly sprung LS sedan with which it shares considerable DNA. 

The optional Performance Package tweaks the steering ratio, adds active rear-wheel steering, a rear wing that deploys at speed and a carbon fiber roof. We’re fine with the standard car, though we’d be inclined to add the $350 Torsen limited-slip rear differential. 

There’s no LC F version, and we’re not sure there needs to be one.

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5

2020 Lexus LC

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Lexus LC spoils its occupants, but some sporty coupes are more practical.

Unless you rarely carry more than a briefcase, don’t consider the 2020 Lexus LC as a useful daily driver. You’ll probably want something else in your garage.

We give it points above average for terrific front seats and interior finishes on par with the world’s best, but then we take those back due to the useless rear seats and trunk. The 2020 LC rates 5 out of 10 for comfort and quality. 

The front seats offer a huge array of adjustment and provide all-day support. The rear seats might suit toddlers, though good luck getting a child seat back there. Even stuffing a backpack or duffel bag behind the front seats is a challenge. With just 5.4 cubic feet of cargo space (4.7 cubic feet in the hybrid), the LC isn’t very useful for an airport run, either. 

It may not be practical, but the LC is finely finished. Soft leathers cover every surface not adorned with striking trim panels. Lexus offers a few interior hues, although the level of customizability that requires Porsche buyers to block out a few days for color selections is sadly lacking.

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2020 Lexus LC

Safety

Crash testers haven’t smashed up a Lexus LC yet.

The 2020 Lexus LC’s sharp lines haven’t been wrinkled by the IIHS or the NHTSA, so we can’t assign a safety score. Given its low sales volume, it’s not likely Lexus’ big coupe will be tested any time soon. 

This year, blind-spot monitors join a roster of the collision-avoidance and passive safety tech we expect to see on cars with price tags this high. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, and various airbags are all standard.

A head-up display and a system that parks the LC automatically are optional, and the latter would be a smart choice for those concerned about scratching the coupe’s big wheels.

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7

2020 Lexus LC

Features

You’ll spend a lot for the 2020 Lexus LC, though it’s well-equipped.

Odds are you won’t find a 2020 Lexus LC for much under $100,000, which makes its price of entry higher than many of its competitors. For that money, the LC doesn’t lack too much -- though Android users are left out in the cold. 

We rate the 2020 LC at 7 out of 10 for its feature set. 

The base LC 500 runs around $94,000, while the LC 500h hybrid costs about $4,500 more. This year, blind-spot monitors are newly standard. The spec sheet already includes leather upholstery, Pioneer speakers, and a 10.3-inch display with Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa integration. Options include various styling upgrades, an impressive Mark Levinson audio system, and a limited-slip rear differential. 

The infotainment system is a mess made only slightly better with Apple CarPlay enabled. The fiddly controller is a constant burden, and the chunky menus are distracting at best.

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5

2020 Lexus LC

Fuel Economy

In hybrid form, the 2020 Lexus LC is thrifty for a performance car.

The 2020 Lexus LC has two fuel economy stories to tell. We rate the lineup at 5 out of 10 based on the 27 mpg city, 35 highway, 30 combined garnered by the LC 500h—impressive figures for a performance car with this kind of power.

The standard LC 500 is a guzzler, though it’s not as thirsty as its horsepower would suggest. It’s rated at 16/25/19 mpg.

No matter what’s powering the coupe, the 2020 LC is designed to use premium unleaded fuel.

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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 10
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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