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2019 Lexus LC Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.1

The 2019 Lexus LC is ready for action whether you are looking for a rousing ride or a pleasurable cruise. The LC 500 features a hearty V8 engine and a gratifying active exhaust system. The hybrid LC 500h is almost as meaty, and it saves you about $900 a year in fuel costs. Handling in both models is poised and responsive.

  • "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
  • 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)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the LC 500 is a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that's smooth and intuitive. The hybrid LC 500h has a total system output of 354 horsepower. Components of its hybrid powertrain include a 3.5-liter V6 engine, two electric motors, a multi-stage hybrid transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

The hallmark qualities of the Lexus LC’s powertrains are their liveliness and refinement. Both are exciting to drive, and though they accelerate with enthusiasm, these engines don't supply the blisteringly quick acceleration that you get with a Porsche 911 or a Mercedes-Benz GT. Of the two LC models, the V8-powered LC 500 accelerates the quickest and has the richer exhaust sound.

The LC 500 gets EPA-estimated gas mileage ratings of 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. These are among the lowest ratings in the class, but that's partially because most class rivals come standard with a turbocharged four- or six-cylinder engine. The hybrid LC 500h returns fuel economy ratings of 27/35 mpg city/highway. These are some of the best numbers in our luxury sports car rankings. The average 500h driver will save about $900 in annual fuel costs compared to the LC 500.

  • "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
  • The LC 500 can't match the performance level of similarly priced sports cars. It's more of a grand touring coupe." -- Edmunds
  • " … this hybrid brings a healthy amount of performance to the party. The LC 500h's power helps provide a sporty feel on road, which is difficult to say about the other gas/electric vehicles in the Lexus lineup that are more fuel-economy or luxury focused. To make things more engaging, the LC's hybrid system gains a new multi-stage shift unit that combines with the continuously variable transmission to provide 10 selectable 'gears.' When left in full auto, the transmission quickly whips through gear changes during hard driving. … When launching from dead stops, however, there's still a hint of CVT hesitation before things get going." -- CNET (2018)

Handling and Braking

The LC is both comfortable and sporty. It delivers a composed ride, mostly thanks to a suspension system that absorbs jarring pavement imperfections, maintains good body control, and doesn't feel overly harsh. This coupe comes only with rear-wheel drive.

  • "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 $10,000 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
  • "We're more impressed with the LC's ride quality; the adjustable suspension allows an impressive balance between sport and a comfortable ride." -- Edmunds
  • "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
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