Goodwood Test: Lexus LC500 Convertible 2022 Review
The Lexus LC is an achingly pretty coupe from Lexus that debuted in 2016 and is based on the even more attractive Lexus LF-LC concept, first shown in 2012. A convertible version followed at the LA Auto Show in 2019 and only really making it to the UK in 2021.
The years in between have been kind to the big Lexus in terms of looks – we’ll get onto them but it’s obvious how pretty it is – but not necessarily seen the LC keep up with its competition technologically. In a world of M4s and 992s can a big £100,000 Japanese convertible cut it?
- Achingly pretty
- Stunning V8
- Addition of Apple CarPlay
We don't like
- Some shudder over bumps
- Pitiful rear and boot
- Lexus’ own IT systems woeful
There are very few cars that can draw the eye as readily as the LC Convertible – perhaps its sister, the coupe LC, but not a lot else. The LF-LC concept was so pretty that few thought its striking lines and fierce lighting arrangements could be carried over into a production car. But thankfully for us, they were!
At the front it has the big Lexus grille, all angular top and bottom, and a series of headlights so intricate there must be some mathematical model that describes their form. The lines are smooth, a big air intake behind the door to feed the rear brakes being pretty much the only real intricacy added to its profile. That smooth rearward line, with no crimps or angles, melds into the rear arches, which are strong and then into the rear lights.
Those lamps ape and enhance the boomerang shape of the front, cutting across the side of the boot and into the centre. Below two fake exhausts leave the only downside and above no massive buttresses seem necessary to spoil the lines. Roof up it loses something to the coupe, down it seems made to be chopped.
Performance and Handling
Back in 2016 the LC looked like something from the future. But of its two available powerplants, one jumped in direct from tradition. The LC500 convertible gained one of those two, with no space apparently to fit the full hybrid system, so a big, 5.0-litre V8 engine will be your only choice. Future looks, meet old-school sound.
That big hunk of metal will achieve 460PS (341kW) and 530Nm (391lb ft), and as it’s naturally aspirated it’s available pretty rapidly. The punch is enjoyable, heaving the LC convertible on with a reasonable force, but even 460PS isn’t a massive number these days. That, added to the fact that the with its folding roof system and strengthening it weighs over two tonnes, mean the big Lexus might sound like it's putting some effort in, but it never feels like it’s going to rip your face off.
All of the LC Convertible’s torque goes backwards, working some sizeable rubber at the rear to just about manage a five second 0-62mph sprint. Again, nothing of particular note here. The drive is also, like the engine, a small taste of the past. It’s not hard to get the LC500 to break traction if you open the taps fully, especially if there’s any kind of moisture around. That said it’s not a lairy monster, more just a wayward creature, a little eager at times. You can control the wheelspin without feeling too much need to lift, dealing some decent confidence that it’s not going to attack you hard.
The main problem with the LC Convertible is that in chopping the top off it has become a bit of a rattily thing. Hit a series of bumps and there is a concerted shudder that goes through the car, presumably as forces that would normally dissipate through the roof find alternative routes. The ten-speed gearbox is also a key part of the LC500’s character. It’s barely noticeable in normal mode at cruise and can just about find its way through those cogs when in its harder modes. The manual mode though, is best avoided.
The LC500 Convertible is at its best cruising around, letting its gearbox get on quietly and looking achingly cool while it does it. The LC500 Convertible was never meant to be a sportscar, and if anyone told you it was, they we lying. Point the LC500 at the horizon, add some fuel to those eight cylinders, enjoy the squirm listen to that engine, and just smile as the wind goes through your hair.
The inside of the LC500 convertible is very Lexus. It’s all very angular and buttoney. The steering wheel is festooned with buttons and the centre console has even more. The infotainment system fits nicely into a single line that curves along the dash from driver to passenger door. Don’t try to touch it, the moment your fingers edge toward the screen they will be repelled by some furious perspex – this is controlled by Lexus’ patented “weird touchpad thing”.
Rear room is non-existent, although we did manage to fit a small member of the team in for a journey, we also really had to remove to roof for them to get in and out. I particularly like the oddities of the horn-style selection buttons for driving modes and the big bar that runs up the side of the centre console, almost telling a passenger that this car is not their domain. The door cars are also a work of art, all swirling and swooping, they seem to match the majesty of those shoulders outside.
Technology and Features
Lexus now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – REJOICE! Yes, OK it’s still controlled by that stupendously annoying touchpad in the middle, the one you can’t actually navigate like a touchpad, but which jumps between predetermined selections as haptic feedback reminds you you’ve just gone two steps further than you wished.
But, the addition of two systems that work properly is a boon to Lexus. They remove the need to interface with the company’s own internal systems, which even they often admit are severely lacking.
That is run through the 10.3-inch screen in the centre, which has a DVD player included – old school meets new again – and sends its sounds through a 13-speaker audio system which works well. Dual-zone climate control, another eight-inch screen as the dash, neck heaters for when the roof is down and more included.
The LC500 Convertible is far from perfect. But it’s big, cruising convertible with a big V8 under the bonnet and if you are looking for that, then the compromises that it has should be expected.
It stands out, even aged six, as being one of the prettiest cars on sale, if not the prettiest, and big coupe convertibles, designed to just cruise around like this are very few and far between. Compared to something of similar point, say a Bentley Continental GT, then the £100k price tag doesn’t feel so crazy. Add in that stunning V8, which makes a glorious sound only enhanced by the ability to remove the lid and bring it all into the cockpit with you, and it’s an enticing package.
Adding Android Auto and Apple CarPlay makes living with the big Japanese cruiser a viable option too, and open it up to a smooth road and the shudder that sometimes plagues it on a country road is no issue.
There are few cars that will reward you with such a smile when used in the way intended as the LC500 convertible. Not one of immense achievement after a rapid b-road blast, but of satisfaction that your car is something pretty much anyone who sees it, deep down, really wants.
This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.
|Power||460PS (341kW) @ 7,100rpm|
|Torque||530Nm (391lb ft) @ 4,800rpm|
|Transmission||Ten-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive|
|Kerb weight||2,035 – 2,055kg|
Reviewed by Ben Miles