2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible Fast Facts
5.0-liter V8 (471 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm; 398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)
10-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive
15 city / 18 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
16.0 city, 9.5 highway, 13.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $101,000 (U.S) / $122,500 (Canada)
As Tested: $112,420 (U.S.) / $124,742 (Canada)
Prices include $1,025 destination charge in the United States and $2,215 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared. A Monroney was not provided for this test unit, so we’re using a Monroney from a similarly-equipped car for illustrative purposes.
What if I told you one of the best old-school muscle-car convertible experiences available today came not from a Detroit 2.5 automaker but Lexus?
That may sound crazy, but it’s true.
The LC500 Convertible offers up an essential V8 drop-top experience that’s on par with any Mustang GT that goes topless.
The 5.0-liter V8 strikes the right notes – and with the top-down, provides a lovely aural experience – while also providing plenty of power. Four-hundred and seventy-one horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, to be precise. Power that gets to the ground via a 10-speed automatic.
Not only that but the LC’s lines aren’t ruined too much by the switch from coupe to convertible.
Nor is ride or handling or structural integrity tremendously compromised. It’s true that the coupe version of the LC feels a bit more tightly screwed together and a bit more responsive and sure-footed, but the LC ‘vert is still a delight to drive.
Suspension tweaks, including the reduction of unsprung weight from the front suspension and the movement, as well as the addition of structural braces, helps. So does a reshaped and relocated rear suspension brace tower. An aluminum rear suspension brace helps reduce weight, and a dampener helps with ride comfort.
Heavy, even with the weight reduction? Yes, to be sure. And like most Lexus’ models these days, including the performance cars, the steering is a tad heavy and artificial in feel. Yet, the car still feels spry in cornering.
So, yeah, Lexus has taken a performance coupe and chopped the top and done so in a manner that doesn’t detract too much from the car’s abilities. That’s nice. How’s the rest of the experience?
Well, predictably Lexus-like. That means the car rides comfortably if a bit stiffly sprung, when not being pushed, and the cabin is cozy. Unfortunately, Lexus’ infotainment system is still operated by a touchpad, and it is not easy to use, at least not when you’re in temporary possession of the car. Perhaps it’s easier for owners who acclimate to it.
The infotainment system itself looks a bit outdated, though the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide a workaround.
Outside of the touchpad, the other big annoyance involving the interior is the hidden switch for the droptop. Though, again, owners will likely quickly know how to access it. I must admit to having to Google how to find the switch when the car was first delivered to me.
Once you do find the button, the top drops in 15 seconds. Add one second for the amount of time it takes to raise it. You can operate the top at speeds up to 31 mph, which makes for a neat party trick to show off for your neighbors on the road.
Most droptops look less sexy than their coupe brethren, especially with the top up, and that’s the case here, though it’s not too gawky. Top-down, the LC looks much better.
Standard or available features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive variable suspension, radar cruise control, lane-keep assist with steering assist, lane-departure alert, active roll bars, heated and cooled front seats, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, CD player, head-up display, 20- or 21-inch wheels, Torsen limited-slip differential, heated steering wheel, upper-body seat heat, and premium audio.
Lexus didn’t provide us with a Monroney for this car, but one similarly equipped to my loaner cost $112,420 including fees.
The LC isn’t perfect. It feels heavy and ponderous at times, the infotainment system is behind the times and has a difficult to use touchpad, and there are some odd interior design choices. That all fades with the top dropped and the V8 rumbling.
The six-figure luxury convertible class – and market – is pretty small. For fairly obvious reasons. If you’re one of the well-heeled who has intent on a top-down tourer for the summer (or year-round, should you live in one of the so-called “smile” states), you don’t have a ton of choice.
At least not if you want a luxury/sport balance. Most of the cars in this class are performance-oriented. And probably better suited to aggressive driving, though the Lexus is no slouch. What the LC does is combine style and speed.
Credit Lexus for not mailing it in with this car. Should the LC tickle your fancy, you’ll be quite pleased.
Those in search of ultimate performance might seek out the Jaguar F-Type or Porsche 911. But if balance is what you seek, don’t sleep on the LC.
[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]