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2021 Lexus LC Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.9

The 2021 Lexus LC holds its own in a class of stunningly athletic cars. It may not be quite as nimble or powerful as some of its classmates, but the LC packs plenty of performance thanks to its powerful engines and capable handling, and it provides a comfortable ride to boot. Fuel economy is decent for a V8-powered sports car, but the LC hybrid is the clear choice for good gas mileage.

  • "The throaty engine makes every drive a joy. And while you won't want to tackle tight canyon roads, the LC 500 is magical on gentler, sweeping backroads." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "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 (2018)
  • "On track, the LC500 delivers more brake force, more aural gratification and more speed than any Lexus short of full F status—more of everything, except body roll. Its low center of gravity makes for excellent roll management without overt stiffness. Its steering is linear and sharp, not jerky, with fine turn-in feel." -- Autoweek (2018)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: 5.0-liter V8 with 471 horsepower
  • Available powertrain: 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors with a combined 354 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard 10-speed automatic; available variable hybrid automatic

Both powertrains deliver plenty of driving excitement, quick acceleration, and lots of power throughout the rev range. The nonhybrid feels a bit more energetic, and that's borne out by the numbers. With the V8 engine, the LC sprints from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. With the hybrid powertrain, it's a few ticks slower, making the dash in 4.7 seconds.

  • "In the LC 500h, the CVT arrangement with actual gears eliminates the elastic band quality of typical e-CVT hybrids. This Lexus does not feel like a hybrid when driven aggressively, apart from the friction-free electric thrust you feel when easing into the accelerator. The exhaust gets louder in the Sport modes, but the V6 hybrid powertrain can't match the V8 for spine-tingling audible enjoyment. Around town, you'll notice the hybrid powertrain and how the engine engages and disengages like those in a traditional Toyota hybrid. The 5.0-liter V8 provides more effortless thrust. It's a naturally aspirated engine, and it likes racing up to its redline. The shift points of the 10-speed automatic have been modified for 2021, for added sportiness. While you'll save money at the pump with the LC 500h hybrid, the LC 500 is the more compelling machine." -- Autotrader
  • "The beating heart of the standard LC500 is Lexus's high-performance 5.0-liter V-8, which belts out 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. Paired only with a quick-shifting yet smooth 10-speed automatic transmission, it produces glorious internal-combustion rock 'n' roll that is as pleasing to the ears as the rest of the LC is to the eyes." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "The LC 500 can't match the performance level of similarly priced sports cars. It's more of a grand touring coupe." -- Edmunds (2019)

MPG Estimates

The nonhybrid LC gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Those are subpar ratings for the luxury sports car class, though it's worth noting that many competitors come with smaller engines than this Lexus. Compared to V8-powered rivals, the LC's gas mileage is about average. The LC hybrid earns much better ratings of 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

The LC doesn't lean much around turns, and it's fun to drive on winding roads. That said, it still can't match the handling displayed by rivals such as the Porsche 911. This Lexus delivers a cushioned ride as well, giving it a nice balance between sportiness and luxury. Rear-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is not available.

  • "If you're looking for the visceral thrill of an exotic sports car, look elsewhere. There are sharper driving tools than the Lexus LC. Instead, it's a GT car – one that is thoroughly engaging and fun on a winding back road but also comfortable and practical enough to tackle a week-long road trip. Indeed, with that goal in mind, the LC is a stunning success. The handling is beautifully balanced. The steering is sensational, and adaptive suspension sops up bumps with remarkable poise." -- Autotrader
  • "There's minimal body roll and good balance to the Lexus's handling, and the ride quality is excellent considering the huge 21-inch wheels that our test cars wore. The variable-steering and adaptive rear-wheel-steering systems included with the Performance package notably enhance the quickness of the LC's helm and the car's general responsiveness. Yet the standard chassis setup is a better fit for the car's GT comportment and feels more natural without impeding the LC's tactility." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "There's an eerie tranquility to the way the steering, suspension and brakes all work harmoniously, delivering dynamic performance highlighted by grin-inducing cornering. There's a definite solidity to this car. … Charge headlong into a sharp curve, and the LC's body rolls only a few degrees, clinging tenaciously to the pavement. Yet for all its ability in the curves, the 2019 Lexus LC 500 still pampers, with a comfortable ride, a quiet cabin and, for such a low-slung coupe, remarkably good sightlines." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
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2021 Lexus LC

MSRP: $92,950 - $97,510

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