2022 Lexus LC 500h Coupe – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Very fast, Very Quiet, Very Beautiful
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Mouths agape, the pair of adolescents indicated to me I should lower my window. They had a question that needed answering. "Is that the V8?"
So here I was - Mister Cool - ready to explain everything and anything about the gorgeous Smoky Granite Mica Lexus LC500h I was sitting in. And they had to ask me about the one thing it didn't have - a V8. "No - but it's got a hybrid," I offered helpfully. "Yeah, but what's the engine?" said they. "A 3.5 liter V6," I replied: "It makes 400hp" (a slight exaggeration for their benefit - it's really only 354hp). "Oh," came the limpid reply as the crestfallen pair sauntered on their way. And I didn't even get around to telling them about all the other virtues of the hybrid's 8GR-FXS powerplant.
Do not under any circumstances dismiss this stellar ride like those kids did. While the LC500 is indeed available with a 471hp, 5 liter V8, you don't need it. Because those 117 extra ponies eat $6.50 Premium gas at a dizzying rate compared to the hybrid we tested. On the freeway, the V8 returns 25MPG to the hybrid's 34MPG. We spent a solid week traversing the Bay Area and still ended up with the 21.7 gallon tank half full. Nor is the hybrid by any stretch of the imagination slow. While it can't match the V8's 4.4 second sprint from zero to sixty mph, the hybrid is ethereally quick in its own right. Doing a fair audio imitation of a jet afterburner, the hybrid coupe sprints to 60mph from a standing start in a plenty-quick-enough 5.8 seconds.
Although you'll save on fuel in the long run, the hybrid coupe (base price $99,050) costs $6,000 more than the V8 version, so pay me now or pay me later. Our well optioned hybrid tacked on a $15,160 smorgasbord of options which brought the final tally to $115,285. Among the more notable components were an outrageous looking $2,750 full carbon fiber "Air Wing Rear Spoiler" which looked like it had been heated in the autoclave just a tad too long. To match that piece of wilted architecture, you'll also want to add the $2,400 "Carbon Fiber Roof," and of course the comparatively bargain priced $600 "Carbon Fiber Scuff Plates." Lexus adds to the bling by bolting on a spectacular set of 21" 10-spoke forged alloy wheels (21 x 8.5J f./21 x9.5J r.) shod with Dunlop's latest run flat rubber (245/40RF21 f./275/35RF21 r.). The Coupe's exterior is eye popping - and that's before you lay your peepers on its dramatic boudoir interior.
Forget Rolls Royce, forget Bentley, don't even think about Audi, Porsche or BMW in the same frame as this Lexus. The company has finally decided to build "Bespoke Build" motorcars, and the first iteration of the game plan is the Coupe we tested. Standard fitment to this new line is a full set of Yamaha tuned dampers and a Torsen limited slip differential. Also included is the mysteriously labeled "Alcantara with Manhattanhenge" option which adds $3,600 to the bottom line. This interior combo leaves you with the indelible impression that you own something no one else has - or ever will have. The motif here mixes shockingly orange suede (Alcantara) with sedate perforated charcoal leather in an Op Art symphony of alternating color panels. Lexus has taken the Bespoke notion to heart, attending to every last detail like using orange thread stitching on black surfaces (dash top, instrument binnacle) and black stitching on orange expanses like the door panels When I showed my dentist this array of splendor, his immediate reaction was to say, "Oh, a San Francisco Giants package!"
Lexus stylists must have stayed up late for many nights to come up with their "Manhattanhenge" descriptor. As the company's "Pressroom" website explains, "Manhattanhenge interior color (exclusive to Bespoke Build) is derived from a rare New York City occurrence befitting of the Bespoke Build. On these two special days a year, the rising or setting sun aligns perfectly with the main Manhattan street grid, creating a beautiful orange glow that illuminates the urban skyline."
Good thing I didn't try to explain all that to my two skeptical V8 fans.
2022 LEXUS LC500h COUPE
• ENGINE: 3.5 liter V-6, Direct Fuel Injection, Dual VVT-i plus electric motor with 84 cell, 310.8 volt lithium-ion battery
• HORSEPOWER: 354hp
• TORQUE: N/A
• FUEL CONSUMPTION: 26MPG City/34MPG Highway
• PRICE AS TESTED: $115,285
HYPES: Very fast, Very Quiet, Very Beautiful
GRIPES: Inane Gearbox Shift Pattern
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10