“You bought cash my boy, I prefer it,” the YouTuber stated to me, digital camera mounted on a gimbal, as he cruised previous me to wade right into a sea of Mazda RX-7s parked off New York’s West Facet Freeway. It was 7’s Day NYC, the enormous competition of rotary engine vehicles and their pals held yearly on July 7, and as soon as once more a mob of Mazda house owners and their pals had descended on Instances Sq., this time despite the pandemic—or maybe due to it, since most of those lovers had been caught inside for months and had been determined to hang around with their very own type.
I definitely felt the identical manner. And whereas the automotive I used to be in—the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, one among only a handful in America on the time—was not a Mazda, or a rotary, and was bone inventory in contrast to practically each different automotive on the occasion, it nonetheless obtained a variety of consideration. Thumbs up. Stares. Smiles of approval. Questions concerning the engine and the sticker worth.
This isn’t a automotive you need if the phrase “refined” is anyplace in your vocabulary.
“It isn’t mine,” I shouted again to my new pal, reluctant to expound on the logistics of press loaner vehicles however unwilling to assert any type of Stolen Lexus Valor. Alas, I do not suppose he heard me by means of my masks, or over the roars of tuned engines as they revved off the freeway. The LC 500 stood out among the many extensively modified RX-7s, R32 Skylines, S2000s, Integras, NSXes and surprising oddballs just like the Toyota Starlet GT Turbo that each one confirmed as much as the social gathering. So did the LC 500’s $112,000 price ticket, which was a far cry from the remaining.
It did not matter. The Lexus was accepted instantly. Liked, even. Embraced by the 1980s and ’90s JDM crowd. It is too uncommon, too bizarre and too eye-catching to not. And when you’re lucky sufficient to put money into one, consideration is what you are in for.
In some methods, it seems like a modern-day equal of Bubble Period Japanese automotive—costly, opulent, geared toward a really, very small purchaser area of interest, and with no actual discernable enterprise case hooked up. I feel that is why all of the FD RX-7 folks appreciated it a lot. Sport acknowledge recreation, and all that. It is a Japanese tackle an Aston Martin Volante or a Mercedes SL, besides brisker and extra distinctive. And you need to applaud Lexus for placing it out in any respect in a time when SUVs dominate every thing.
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, By The Numbers
- Base Value (As Examined): $101,000 ($111,920)
- Powertrain: 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine | 10-speed automated transmission | rear-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 471 horsepower
- Torque: 398 pound-feet
- Weight: 4,280 lbs.
- EPA Gas Economic system: 15 mpg metropolis | 25 freeway | 18 mixed
- Seating Capability: 4 (technically talking; the again seats are just for small children or folks you do not like)
- The Promise: A V8-powered grand-touring convertible that is completely different from the remaining.
- The Supply: A number of flaws in execution cannot invalidate how particular and enjoyable it’s.
A V8 Stunner
Even with the site visitors and parking at a premium, and streets cleared out because of a pandemic, and the worst economic system anybody’s seen in many years, New York continues to be a haven for very good vehicles. Cayennes and Macans abound. Some neighborhoods have a G-Class on each different block. Aston Martin convertibles and Lamborghinis aren’t altogether unusual on the BQE. Certain, TLC-plated Camrys dominate the panorama, however the metropolis’s cash is obvious in its vehicles.
Regardless of that, the LC 500 consistently turned heads within the week I had it. The droptop, the lengthy, lengthy hood, the glowing pink paint (a $595 choice) and the roar of the V8 caught extra consideration than something I’ve examined shortly. if for no different cause than the truth that you do not see many of those round, interval. It is superb Lexus even makes them—solely about 1,200 had been offered in America final 12 months, interval, and I am stunned the quantity is that top.
But Lexus noticed match not solely to maintain it going, however to make a convertible model for 2021. I do know Toyota’s catching hell for outsourcing the brand new Supra to BMW, however man, the world’s largest automotive firm can certain throw us a bone when it desires to. Even when it loses cash on such a mission, which it very properly may—I suppose you may get away with some issues while you transfer that many RAV4s on the common.
By the best way, at the least just a few quasi-savvy automotive folks requested if it was an LFA or requested I rev the V10 engine they thought it had. Whenever you have a look at each side-by-side, that confusion is considerably comprehensible. However the LC 500 doesn’t have the famously high-revving 10-cylinder motor from Japan’s best supercar, nor can it match that signature howl. (Few vehicles can.) As a substitute, it has a gem of its personal below the hood: Lexus’s 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8, the identical one discovered within the RC F, GS F and the previous IS F.
As visually gorgeous because the LC 500 is, to me, that V8 is the true star of the present simply because it was on the RC F I discovered myself deeply charmed by final 12 months. Naturally aspirated V8s are in such brief provide nowadays, and this motor has the sort of character that is usually missing in turbocharged engines. It sounds great, it is free-revving, it is nice at freeway cruising and high-speed runs and it is an keen associate in shenanigans. To me, a twin-turbo V6 is simply no substitute for this factor. Phrase is zero to 60 mph takes a bit beneath 5 seconds; that is comprehensible given the 4,280-pound curb weight, however in real-world driving it proved to be loads fast.
It is extra spirited to drive than that porky weight lets on. The steering is gentle and correct, physique roll is minimal, and the trip is on the firmer facet of comfy. Even in Sport+ mode, it is not sufficient to gentle your hair on hearth, however the entire bundle is sufficient to transfer with pressure, have some enjoyable within the corners and never punish you too exhausting when it does. Some could ding it for not having AMG ranges of ferocity, however I feel it has simply the appropriate of athleticism for what it is attempting to be. It is balanced, and stability is tough to tug off nowadays.
One thing Particular Inside, With Some Frustrations
In fact, seems and pace solely inform a number of the story with a correct grand tourer. The thought is to be comfy in your opulence. What is the level in spending this a lot cash on a convertible if it’ll kick your ass day by day?
Actually, the LC 500 is one thing to behold inside—and as you step into it. There are such a lot of distinctive touches all through, from the pop-out door handles to the “waves” on the interior a part of the door to the Lexus “L” badges on the headrests and the ornate leather-wrapped steering wheel. It is a minimize above every thing else Lexus makes; every thing feels really bespoke inside, not what you’d anticipate from a mass-market producer that made its bones on parts- and platform-sharing. The 7s Day guys continuously remarked on simply how a lot leather-based was inside this automotive. And all of that’s offset by tasteful brushed aluminum and high-grade plastics.
It is good inside, to place it merely. One of many nicest interiors you may get proper now, at any worth.
The tradeoffs are endemic to a variety of Lexus fashions out proper now, although. Count on a variety of ergonomic weirdness, particularly the place the infotainment system is anxious. To begin with, I could not even discover the change to drop the highest at first—it is buried in a leather-wrapped panel beneath the trackpad that flips up while you want it. I suppose that was fantastic, after I figured it out.
What I had extra bother determining was Lexus’s trackpad system, which I’ve at all times hated and proceed to hate right here. The automotive eschews a contact display screen for an imprecise mouse-like trackpad and cursor system, one which’s extremely irritating while you’re parked and downright harmful while you’re attempting to function very fundamental capabilities when driving. I discovered myself simply utilizing my telephone for navigation capabilities, which isn’t one thing I really feel I ought to need to do on a six-figure luxurious automotive in 2020.
You slide your finger alongside the trackpad to maneuver a cursor on the display screen to pre-set menus on the interface, then click on while you’ve discovered what you need. That is the concept, at the least. I had continuous bother getting the cursor to go to the menu I wished, to comply with my finger’s instructions correctly, and to remain the place I wished it to say. It is cumbersome to make use of for fundamental capabilities, like dealing in navigation addresses or tweaking automotive settings. Automakers must cease attempting to re-think the pill and smartphones that everybody on the earth has turn out to be used to.
Lexus is lastly shifting off that system and again to the touch screens. They should have realized simply how irritating the previous setup was. It is a good transfer, however not sufficient to avoid wasting the interface on the LC 500, I am afraid.
One other extra minor frustration was the automated gear selector’s format, which feels aped from a Prius, as a result of that is precisely what you need in your fancy, costly grand tourer. You pop it to the left and up or down for reverse and drive, respectively, then down once more for guide shift mode. In observe, utilizing it’s clunkier than that sentence makes it appear, and slows down your makes an attempt at fast three-point turns greater than you would like.
I am of two minds about it, in the long run. On one hand, when you’re lucky sufficient to be contemplating LC 500 Convertible possession on this economic system, that you must suppose lengthy and exhausting about whether or not you may reside with that trackpad and infotainment system, day in and time out. However, that is virtually definitely destined to be somebody’s second (or third, or fourth) automotive, a weekend and night cruiser, a street journey machine—not their each day driver.
If that is the case, you might be keen to miss the LC’s technological points and simply embrace its many different good qualities. It does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, at the least. Then once more, for this worth, it had higher.
The LC 500 Convertible begins at $101,000. My tester had $10,000 in choices, together with the $5,290 Touring Bundle that boasted even nicer leather-based entrance seats, a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, “local weather concierge” with upper-body heating and extra. Siri Eyes Free, a heads-up show, adaptive dampers, a Torsen limited-slip differential and automated excessive beams rounded up the spec checklist. Sure, it’s costly. Sure, you do really feel such as you get lots.
Points with the infotainment system apart, the LC 500 is a winner in my ebook. In some ways, we discover ourselves in probably the most boring automotive panorama in historical past. Automobiles are sooner, safer, cleaner and extra environment friendly than ever, however so lots of them are costly pickup vans or crossover SUVs that each one appear and feel the identical. So many vehicles which might be really attention-grabbing have been wiped away so automakers can concentrate on earnings and the inevitable shift to electrical energy.
The LC 500, particularly in convertible type, is bizarre. It is completely different. It is also comfy, highly effective and so putting that individuals cannot take their eyes off it. It is under no circumstances what you’d anticipate from Toyota or its luxurious division, and never one thing you are usually prone to even see on the roads. I am simply glad this factor exists, interval, however I used to be additionally more than happy to be behind the wheel. For the few remaining grand tourer consumers on the market seeking to really stand out, it is a stable technique to do it.
A bunch of tuned RX-7 drivers suppose it is cool. What extra would you like?
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