NAIAS 2016 Reaction: Lexus LC 500

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Yes, folks, this is a real production car, not a concept car. Lexus dropped a bomb on the North American International Auto Show, and they call it the LC 500.

What is it?

The Lexus LC looks to be a luxury sports car somewhere between the small Porsche 911 and the huge BMW M6. It appears Lexus has taken the inspiration behind their mighty LFA supercar, and has distilled it into a more approachable, more affordable, sports car.

The price for the LC 500 will be around $100,000 when it goes on sale, right on par with the Porsche and Bimmer.

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Wait, it has the same engine as a Lexus RC-F?

Yes, the LC 500 does share the same 5.0L V8, with the same 467hp, as the Lexus RC-F and GS-F. Is that a bad thing for a higher-end sports car like this? Maybe.

One thing we should all consider here is power-to-weight ratio. Both the RC-F and GS-F weigh over 4,000 lbs, and I can vouch that the RC-F is plenty fast, even with that kind of weight. The Lexus LC is made up of a mix of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, aluminum, and high strength steel, so it should be a good bit lighter than the RC-F and GS-F. Obviously, that means it’ll be faster with the same engine.

There’s no word on the LC’s official weight yet, but the lighter the better. If it’s under 3,500 lbs, I’ll be happy.

Reliability, the ace in the hole

The LC 500 is a Lexus, and that means it’s built like a bank vault. Compared to the reliability and running costs of most cars in this segment, the Lexus will be in a league of its own. Like I said about the RC-F, this is a car you could put 200,000 miles on without worry.

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Remember: This isn’t an LC-F yet

The LC 500 is clearly the “normal” version of the LC range. That leaves room for a truly insane LC-F that could topple the LFA for half the price.

For the LC-F, maybe Lexus will strap some turbos to the 5.0L V8, or maybe it will be an aggressive hybrid, or maybe it’ll be both of those things. Either way, expect it to top the Lexus LFA’s 552hp V10.

Granted, this is all only if Lexus has realized the obvious need for an LC-F on top of the LC 500. I find Japanese companies often don’t implicitly “get” the desire for high performance models. Case and point: We’re still waiting for a Subaru BRZ STi or Scion FR-S Turbo.

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Conclusion

Lexus had to build this car because the reaction to their LF-LC concept was so strong. The production LC still looks like a concept car in many ways, and it will undoubtedly drop jaws in town.

I think the Lexus LC is a phenomenal new halo model for Lexus. It brings them into the sports car segment that they’ve needed to be in. I think the presence of the familiar 5.0L V8 works in the non-F model, but Lexus had better deliver us the 600hp+ LC-F that we all really want next. We don’t want to be left hanging…

Awesome start, Lexus!

-Nick Walker

PS: This is also, supposedly, the basis of the new Toyota Supra.

 

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