The 2021 Lexus LC 500h has looks that kill. It resembles an exotic sculpture you’d purchase to put in your home to endlessly admire. But in doing that, you’d miss out in all the fun of driving it. For those who dare to seek the extraordinary, this is an e-car you’ll want to take a close look at.
Says Lexus: “Experience a profound shift in hybrid performance. A breakthrough Lexus Multistage Hybrid Drive and a multistage transmission deliver instant torque and response to put the entire category on notice.”
It’s a unique car in that there are no other high end hybrid sport coupes available on the market at just under six figures. The Hybrid version comes in just one trim, designated 500h: (MSRP: $97,610).
For 2021 the hybrid gets a few minor changes including a revised suspension which Lexus claims will smooth out the ride. Android Auto is standard now. Last year’s Rioja Red interior is replaced with a Flare Red leather option. On the exterior, the car gets new 20-inch wheels and two new paint colors are available: Cadmium Orange and Nori Green Pearl.
The hybrid uses a combination of a standard gasoline V6 and two electric motors called MG1 and MG2. Motor Generator 2 sends power to the rear wheels and captures regenerative braking energy, which it sends back to the lithium-ion battery pack. MG1 is a primary generator to start the gas engine and control the engine’s speed. What these two motors give the “h” is about 10MPG more in every category: 26 city, 34 highway and 29 combined. With 354 total system horsepower, the car roars to 60MH in 4.4 seconds. It’s damn fast for a hybrid sports car!
A double-joint multilink suspension system was built from scratch for the car to increase its performance. A driver-centric cockpit offers magnesium paddle shifters and LFA-inspired digital performance gauges to keep the hybrid’s driver updated. The car’s near-perfect weight distribution provides a strikingly low center of gravity which increases it’s instinctive handling. AMCI Testing says the “h” has “Overall handling Performance equal to the Aston Martin DV11,” and “Better Overall Handling Performance than the BMW 650i Coupe.”
Says Edmund’s editor Cameron Rogers: “A world-class cabin and sophisticated hybrid powertrain make the LC 500h a standout sport coupe. Motivating the LC 500h is a combination of a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 and an electric motor. A continuously variable automatic transmission works in conjunction with a traditional four-speed automatic to send power to the rear wheels. The unique powertrain helps make the most out of the horsepower available, which is 354 hp for the total system. This hybrid feels quick on the road. In fact, it posted the same 0-60 mph time at our test track as the V8-driven LC 500. Plus, you get 30 mpg in combined city/highway driving, according to the EPA, which is fantastic for a luxury performance coupe and more than 50 percent better fuel economy than the LC 500.”
Concerning their test drives of the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h, Motor Trend says: “Lexus produced one of the grandest grand touring coupes extant. With their show-car sheet metal (in truth it’s an aluminum hood, front fenders, doors, and the trunk is made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CRFP) and classic long-hood short-deck grand touring proportions (front mid-engine actually), the LC 500 and the hybrid-powered LC 500h are indisputably gorgeous. They look like a million bucks. The LC 500 sounds fabulous especially from the outside, and that V-8 rumble is even delivered to the cabin with a resonance tube connecting the intake to the firewall.”
Motor Trend gives an A+ to both cars on their interiors and exteriors, calling them “as magnificent inside as out. There was simply no way around designing an interior as gorgeous as the LC’s exterior. Lexus did. The cockpit looks and feels like capital “L” luxury ought to. With the instrument panel’s latest version of thin film transistor (TFT) display technology – introduced in the Lexus LFA supercar, including its moving central ring – the sweeping lines of the dashboard blend beautifully into the contoured door panels. The leather-wrapped cocoon feeling is unique, even for sporty coupes. Titanium-toned metal elements look lustrous and rich, and beside the standard 10.3-inch TFT infotainment display is a clear panel covering a black one adorned with hundreds of tessellated “L” logos that is striking and elegant to say the least.”
LC 500h’s technology is extensive. Says Senior Green Car editor Sebastian Blanco: “Sitting in the comfortable driver's seat – available as a 10-way power seat standard or as a Alcantara Sport seat in higher trims – the LC 500h promises a lot with its tech-of-the-future-vibe. To change some of the settings, for example, you push a button that moves the entire speedometer over a few inches to reveal more real estate on an LCD screen. The first time this pointless-yet-cool thing happens, you think that perhaps you might just find the button to enter the Batcave if you look hard enough!”
The 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multi-information display provides immediate, simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems including Navigation. The new display offers a full-screen map for added convenience. The system also greets you with a customizable image when the ignition button is pressed. The voice-activated Navigation System can map millions of points of interest across the country and can display information in English, French or Spanish. In addition to offering up-to-date traffic and weather information, 3D city views, and simulated views of approaching highway junctions, it displays the current speed limit and can automatically identify nearby gas stations if you begin to run low on fuel.
Standard on “h,” Siri Eyes Free connects with your compatible iPhone, enabling you to access e-mail, send text messages and more. The Siri feature lets you search your portable music collection and use the results to create customized playlists. A 12-speaker Premium Sound System provides an immersive surround-sound experience. In addition to transferring phone numbers to your vehicle, and placing and ending calls with the touch of a button, Bluetooth audio technology offers the convenience of accessing and controlling your compatible device's entire music library and even streaming audio from websites – all while your device remains in your pocket or purse.
To minimize driver distraction, an optional full-color Heads-Up Display projects a range of essential navigation, safety and performance info directly onto the windshield—including audio, speed, current gear and rpm.
Lexus Enform Destination Assist offers 24-hour access to a live response center agent to help you locate a specific business, address or point of interest. If you're searching for a restaurant, the agent can help you narrow your choices by distance or type of cuisine, and remotely send the destination to your vehicle’s Navigation System.* The Lexus Enform Destination Assist is complimentary for the first year of ownership.
A SmartAccess key fob lets you lock and unlock your doors and start the push-button ignition—all without having to take your keys out of your pocket or purse. As soon as the sensors detect the presence of your SmartAccess key, the door unlocks when you touch a front-door handle.
Lexus Enform Remote mobile app helps you remotely start the engine, lock and unlock doors, check the status of doors and windows as well as your fuel level, and helps you find your vehicle in a parking lot. If you loan your Lexus to another driver, you can receive instant alerts if, for example, a preset speed or mile limit is exceeded. Lexus Enform Remote is complimentary for the first year of ownership.
Thanks to government incentives for low-CO2 vehicles in Europe, Lexus projects that 90% of its LC 500’s sold there will be hybrid versions. They’re hoping to bite off a sizable portion of the 2+2 luxury hybrid coupe market in the USA as well.
REWRITTEN MAY, 2021
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