Sure, there are better cars to drive. But your eyes and ears won't care…
By John Howell / Sunday, March 13, 2022 / Loading comments
It’s not often I choose a current model as the focus of a spotted, but the other day I happened to be parked next to a Lexus LC500 – an unusual occurrence, bearing in mind their relative rarity – and it reminded what a fantastic-looking car it is. I tend to admire Lexuses (or whatever the plural really is) for their engineering prowess, but, having never driven an LFA, the LC500 is the first one I drove that filled me with actual, palpable desire. I think it’s just wonderful in a multitude of ways.
The first is that it couldn’t be further from the SC, which was so dull it had the power to stupefy from a hundred yards. And the LC500 is one of those rare models that ended up going on sale pretty much as it appeared in concept form. The LF-LC Concept wowed the world at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, and included some design notes from the glorious LFA. It’s a design that, even now, looks like it’s been sent back from the future – and there are few cars, outside of the truly exotic, that have the power to generate adoration like this one.
Which is unusual for Japanese and American designs – the LF-LC Concept was penned originally in California and finished for production in Japan. Often they can become too fussy, but, to my eyes at least, that isn’t the case with the LC. It treads close to that line yet stays on the right side of it. Certainly, it demands you study its form and drink it all in. I particularly love the front three-quarter view and the manner in which the sills narrow at the B-pillar line, then flair outrageously to give the rear wings their taut, muscular shape. And what about the wheels? They fit the arches so tightly it could still be that concept car on the motor show stand rather than in full, road-ready spec.
Inside, it’s just the same. Nothing runs the risk of being considered ordinary and it also manages to blend sportiness with luxury in its high-level finish. Being a Lexus means it’s also built to higher tolerances than the products that spring from Airbus or Boeing, and the components it’s made from have the same half-life as uranium-235. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. For instance, the infotainment system is rubbish. You can wile away hours chasing icons with a trackpad cursor because it’s as inaccurate as the Pearl Harbour movie script. This makes it unbelievably infuriating. On the plus side, the optional 13-speaker Mark Levinson stereo is brilliant, assuming you’ve managed to aim the cursor in the right place to switch it on without crashing. I’ve not heard the standard 12-speaker Lexus system, but I bet that’s not bad, either.
And even if it worse than an Alba midi, who cares. Forget the Spice Girls or Springsteen or whatever your musical proclivities happen to be, because the fabulous 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated, all-alloy, V8 is almost guaranteed to deliver a better tune – it was partially developed by Yamaha, after all. People regularly cite the 911 GT3’s flat-six and Lamborghini’s V10 as the last bastion of auditory beauty but often forget (me included, in fairness) to include this Lexus lump. That may be because it lacks a bit of mid-range torque, but if that encourages you to sample its upper reaches more regularly then it’s not really a whopper of a problem, is it? Plus, when you do, 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds is your perfectly respectable reward. And unlike some high-value GT cars, the LC500 is quiet and relaxing when you just want to kick back and bash through countries like a bag of pick and mix, with very little wind and road roar to ruffle your feathers.
I genuinely think this is a special and underrated car that, one day, will become collectable for all the right reasons: rarity, design, sound and material substance. But right now, enjoy the fact that this stealth model in black with black is the only V8 in the PH classifieds and comes fitted with the 21-inch alloys that set its looks off perfectly. It is also £21,500 cheaper than a brand-new Sport Pack model, which in today’s crazy market is a welcome bonus. As is the fact that it’s not just another Porsche 911 – and I say that as a 911 fan.
Specification | Lexus LC500 Sport Pack
Engine: 4,969cc, V8, naturally aspirated
Transmission: 10-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 464 @ 7,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 391 @ 4,800rpm
Recorded mileage: 18,000
Year registered: 2018
Price new: £91,500
Yours for: £69,980
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