In 2018 when the Lexus LC500 coupe first wafted previous our eyes, we called it a herald for Lexus’ future, a marker for upcoming Lexus design and the primary fairly Lexus for the reason that unique SC300 & SC400 (referred to as the Toyota Soarer in Japan).
Whereas the intervening two years haven’t produced an onslaught of fairly and muscular Lexuses impressed by the LC, the corporate is now unleashing a convertible LC500 that builds on the gorgeous to make it prettier, airier, opener, funner, and even slicker. In a world of high-priced luxe-niche GTs, the LC Convertible may even out-do the vaunted Mercedes-Benz SL. Although, the place the SL gives simply two seats and the LC gives 4, the 2 within the rear barely accommodate baggage, not to mention very small people.
Nonetheless, the Mercedes SL was born an open-top automotive, and the LC wasn’t. And the largest problem to engineers when cleaving the roof off a coupe is structural stiffness. Treatments are wanted to maintain the automotive from shaking like a paint mixer over bumpy roads (or folding up like a pretzel within the worst of circumstances). Regardless of solely being Lexus’ third convertible in historical past, the automotive suffers from not one of the shakes of most transformed coupes.
Lexus did its homework by putting in metal reinforcements diagonally to the underbody and including plates to successfully kind bulkheads. Lexus claims that someplace between 75 to 80 % of the coupe’s rigidity is retained by means of this effort and, subsequently, so is the dealing with demeanor of the enclosed coupe, regardless that the load is up round 200lbs (91kg) to a portly 4,500lbs (2,041kg).
One space Lexus improved on was unsprung mass. Metal entrance management arms are changed by items comprised of aluminum, whereas extra weight has been pared off the rear from the wheels and suspension. And although no totally different from the coupe, the LC500 Convertible’s trunk lid and inside door panels are comprised of pressed carbon fiber. The shiny resin used on this course of makes for a really technical look and is much like the fabric utilized by Lamborghini for the Huracán dash and interior panels.
Some consideration to element went into minimizing vibrations, too. The rear bumper has dampeners that put the bumper beam’s steel mass to work, quelling suspension-induced physique shaking of medium amplitude or frequency.
Drop the roof and benefit from the music
Although we didn’t do any observe testing, runs at pace over switchbacks within the Colorado mountains proved the automotive structurally secure and poised. The LC500 Convertible is at the very least as enjoyable because the Coupe might ever be—and possibly extra so with the highest down—even when the cornering speeds, final grip, and rigidity are fractionally decrease. Due each to weight and the thinner air of excessive altitude, the LC500 felt a bit torpid at something under about 3,000rpm, however the mountain-laced breeze and sound of the V8 made up for any lack of thrust past that mark.
Dynamically, “Energetic Cornering Help” is basically a brake-based torque-vectoring system. It makes use of lateral acceleration as its threshold for engagement, making use of the within brakes to assist the automotive successfully steer by means of a nook. Seemingly elaborate, I didn’t understand it working, however I used to be additionally not testing it on a closed racetrack, both.
The LC Convertible’s drivetrain is an identical to the Coupe’s, with the 471hp (351 kW) 5.0L V8, paired to a 10-speed automated. As one of many few remaining naturally aspirated V8s available on the market in any phase, it roars a wonderful tune. Partly big-inch American V8 voice under about 5,000 rpm, it crosses over and positive factors increased pitch above that time. It is concurrently candy and guttural, however by no means blatty or uncouth proper as much as the 7,100 rpm redline. There are extra highly effective V8s, extra environment friendly V8s and even V8s that rev increased, however treasured few markedly extra pleasing in any respect factors on the spectrum. Lexus ought to by no means, ever let this engine exit of manufacturing. It is a gem.
The transformation from totally enclosed to open-air takes however 15 seconds from the beginning of these cloth prime gymnastics and will be performed at as much as 31mph (50kph). I by no means really requested it to flip open whereas in movement for worry of any freak-outs from different motorists, however the information that one can accomplish that is a few kind of forex.
Great inside, woeful touchpad
Inside, the beautiful inside carries over unchanged design-wise from the coupe, full with extraordinarily comfy but very supportive seats and attention-grabbing particulars like escutcheon-less door pulls. The ten.3-inch multimedia show gives a high-res view of the audio and local weather controls and performs good with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Alexa integration can also be featured.
Nonetheless, the multitude of infotainment strings are endlessly tangled by the woeful Distant Contact touchpad controller. It requires far an excessive amount of consideration—typically peripherally and typically immediately—from the motive force to function easily and safely whereas driving. I’ve said this earlier than and it nonetheless carries: the model’s Distant Contact ruins the day-in, day-out expertise of each Lexus unlucky sufficient to be saddled with it. It is fairly actually the one draw back to the excellent inside. However with our lives so intrinsically tethered to our electronics right now, it might very properly be a deal-breaker. Lexus desperately wants one other interface.
The remaining questions within the Lexus sporty automotive universe should not fairly answered by the $111,325 LC500 Convertible, beautiful because it really is. Lexus is silent on the broadly rumored LC F with twin-turbo V8 energy, a recipe that the LC platform can greater than swallow. With these LC appears to be like and people fortified twin-turbo beans below the hood and a few chassis work, it could make even a die-hard SC400/Soarer fan swoon. As for a hybrid LC500h Convertible, evidently the comfortable prime retracts right into a quantity that in any other case homes the battery pack within the hybrid LC500h coupe, so solely the fixed-head LC is ready to be electrified.
Itemizing picture by Jim Resnick