$65,045 - $71,234

2018 Lexus LC Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Lexus LC was new.


Performance: 9.2

The all-new 2018 Lexus LC features admirable performance, even when compared to top rivals. Power delivery from a standard V8 engine is strong and direct, and handling is agile and confident. Fuel economy is below average for the class, but a hybrid version delivers better numbers.

  • "… the LC feels alive when pushed hard on the road. We've already mentioned the steering, and although its effort is on the light side at highway speeds, it imparts a natural confidence when hustling down wriggling roads. The suspension is tied down, there's little body roll, and the LC transitions athletically. … The LC is a more dynamic grand touring alternative to the S-class or 6-series coupes, but it's not nearly as dynamically fabulous as a Porsche 911—and it's roughly 1000 pounds heavier." -- Car and Driver
  • The V-8 was much quicker, sounded better, and shifted better. Plus, it was ultimately more fun to drive, specifically when equipped with rear-wheel steering, something I'm tempted to call a must-have option. On the road, the LC 500 was most definitely the better driver's car, if only for the sound. I have two big gripes. The first is that both cars need more brakes, especially the V-8. I was getting above 140 mph on the straight, and just slowing down for Turn 1 cooked 'em pretty good. The second thing I'd like changed immediately is the throttle pedal itself. Getting through the kickdown requires more effort and travel than on other cars. I wonder if this is the legacy of those runaway Lexus stories from a few years back." -- Motor Trend
  • "So the soundtrack and drivetrain response creates an expectation that this big coupe might be able to take on the 911 after all. So too the first few corners as the LDH system effectively shrinks the wheelbase to create fast reactions and help reduce understeer. The track is greasy and cold but the LC 500 copes well, the big six-piston brakes staying pretty firm and resisting that horrible juddering that can make lapping feel like torture. The car locks onto line smoothly and the V-8's linear, slightly torque-lite delivery allows the rear tires to find good traction." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Lexus LC comes with a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The hybrid LC 500h has a 354-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, with two electric motors and a multi-stage hybrid transmission, which is a type of automatic continuously variable transmission. According to EPA estimates, the LC gets 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which is low for the class. Lexus estimates the hybrid's fuel economy at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

The LC's standard engine delivers incredible acceleration and brute power. Shifts from the new 10-speed transmission are quick and smooth, resulting in uninterrupted speed.

  • "We can start with the V8. The 5.0-liter F engine isn't the most powerful in this class, but it's plenty powerful, and it revs sweetly. In the era of blown everything, it's refreshing. Full-boot shifts come quickly--bap,bap,bap--in nice even bursts. Floor the LC500 on any empty road and it will downshift a couple of gears, shove you into the seat and fly. The back wheels will skip in the upshift from second to third, but that's the sole interruption to a silky, invigorating flow of acceleration. When torquier competitors are gasping for more forced air and stuttering under the weight of their own internal inertia, the normally aspirated LC has another thousand rpm of free breathing." -- Autoweek
  • "The great powertrain—for now, because you'd better believe some sort of LC F is coming before too long—is the LC 500's 471-hp 5.0-liter V-8 and brand-new 10-speed automatic transmission. Lexus claims that the new 10-speed weighs less than the eight-speed it replaces. I'm here to tell you that it shifts much harder than any Lexus gearbox I've ever been around. Nice work. In a way, Lexus is carving a niche out for itself as a mini-Lamborghini because of its refusal to leave natural aspiration behind despite everyone else in the segment switching to forced induction. That's a roundabout way of saying the V-8's soundtrack is just awesome, and unlike in the LC 500h, the engine's natural sound is piped into the cabin via a tube. More important, the exhaust sounds mean and growly. Curiously and I think smartly, there are no physical differences between the LC 500 and the LC 500h." -- Motor Trend
  • "[The V8 is] largely the same unit found in the GS F and RC F, but some specific tweaks result in 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This engine is why we question turbocharging and downsizing – because horsepower and low-rpm torque don't give you goosebumps, big displacements roaring towards redline do. The LC has a resonator tube that transmits the intake sound straight into the cabin to make sure you can hear that roar, plus electric exhaust flaps to help anyone outside the car. It's loud, but in a polite, Lexus-like way rather than the borderline antisocial howl of a Jaguar F-Type." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The new Lexus LC features sporty and stable handling, but it's not as purely athletic as some rivals. Steering is precise but it lacks a lot of feedback from the road. The LC's brakes deliver plenty of stopping power, though some critics note that they could be stronger.

  • Of course the weight starts to tell soon enough. Get too greedy with turn-in speed and the rear-steer can't stop the front washing wide. Try to be the last of the late-brakers and you'll sail past the turn-in point. The sports car vibe is real, but it's the sort of sports car that's more at home on a smoothly winding road, rather than scratching its way around a track. A 911 Carrera S would be long gone, its driver beaming and completely absorbed. Having said that, a BMW 650i would probably drop away from the Lexus just as rapidly and the F-Type might provide more raw entertainment but it also demands a lot more skill. The LC is a compromise but maybe, just for once, for the good." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "On the street, the LC 500 displayed great manners. It was smooth and composed when cruising, with a quiet serenity that invited long distance travel. On challenging curvy roads, the LC was ready to romp, charging into corners and turning without drama, a real pleasure to push in a way that no other Lexus has ever been." -- Forbes
  • "Our time on the circuit was a great way to explore the LC 500's limits, but this is not really a car for the track, any more than the other members of the large-coupe fraternity are. The LC is more of a gentleman's sports car; a vehicle best suited to speeding along a favorite road. That said, the brakes hold up to track abuse, and the balanced chassis lets you control the back end with the throttle. The steering is linear and accurate but in line with the modern paradigm for feedback: very little." -- Autoblog

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