This week, I bring you Lexus' flagship performance coupe, the 2020 Lexus LC 500. And wow can it move! It’s a sure-footed 471-horsepower V8-powered Grand Touring sports coupe with power that waits merely to be unleashed.
The LC 500 Coupe is in its second model year after arriving on the scene in 2018. It’s impressed from day one with its design, aforementioned V8 performance and Lexus’ hallmark smooth driving characteristics.
As you may remember, I recently spent a few weeks with the first-ever LC 500 Convertible. So I’m able to make a few comparisons, aside from the obvious fact the Convertible has a drop-top. Some of the notable differences are that the 2020 Coupe is a bit lighter than the drop-top, has more cargo space, and has an available speed-activated rear wing.
The LC 500 Coupe is sleek with a low and wide stance which speaks volumes about how it is going to feel behind the wheel. Its eye-catching Flare Yellow paint hue is new to the lineup for 2020 and it rides on upgraded 21-inch forged alloy wheels with optional wheel locks. A long hood flows down into a mesh grille flanked by Lexus’ signature arrowhead daytime running lights and triple beam LED headlights. Two-tone side mirrors and body-colored flush-type door handles adorn the sides.
This coupe is equipped with a Performance Package with an optional carbon fiber roof that Lexus says is designed to lower the center of gravity. (A glass roof is standard.) The chrome moldings of the floating roof slope down to a strong, slightly lifted tail end with LED tail lights. Unlike the convertible, the 2020 LC 500 Coupe’s center brake light is not integrated into the trunk lid.
The LC 500 Coupe’s driver-centric cabin is full of soft-touch materials from the dash to the door panels which have draping Alcantara door panel trim. The black interior also features satin metallic trim. The Performance Package nets 8-way comfortable Alcantara insert sport seats along with a matching headliner as well as carbon fiber door scuff plates.
Above the steering wheel, an LC 500 graphic animates on the 8-inch digital driver display screen when you press the push button start. The retractable tachometer shows you driver info which you can scroll by using steering-wheel mounted controls. The drive mode selector for the Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + modes is up high, to the right of the steering wheel. You’ll definitely want to use the paddle shifters, too, on the leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel.
A 10.3-inch split-screen features great resolution and graphics along with a backup camera with gridlines. It also houses your navigation and Lexus map quality is always great. There is a pinch and zoom function on the Remote Touchpad that you also use to make selections. The system comes with Apple Carplay and Amazon Alexa. Also, I’m a big fan of Lexus’ Dynamic Voice Command. It does a great job of finding the location you speak. Lexus’ optional 13-speaker mark levinson surround sound system sounds terrific as always.
You can control the climate, including the heated and ventilated seats, from the multimedia system as well as with physical controls on the center stack.
On the center console, you find a leather-wrapped gear shift knob, automatic brake hold and the rear wing control. The trackpad controls the infotainment system but you can also scroll through stations using physical controls.
Getting into the back seat is easy. Once you pull a lever on the front seat, they’ll move forward automatically. But be warned, even though Lexus clearly spared no detail back there, there isn’t a ton of room for occupants and head room is limited due to the sloping roof in the back. It’s not a place for tall people to be sure. A trunk gives you enough room for a few groceries, and while not huge, it offers more cargo space than the new 2021 convertible.
I’m not a huge fan of the sliding center console. I couldn’t quite get the hang of the opening mechanisms. You use one to slide it back - then another one to open it toward the driver. Inside there are 2 USBs.
The big story aside from looks with the LC 500 Coupe is its power and acceleration. Its naturally-aspirated V8 delivers 471-horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. The acceleration is amazing. Lexus books a time of 0 to 60 in 4.4-seconds, a hair faster than the convertible’s 4.6 seconds. Fair warning, you have to be super careful because you’ll be heading north over the speed limit in no time. (The V8 also has a great active exhaust note that will impress, but not annoy your neighbors.)
The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and effortlessly. It really just delivers an outstanding experience on the road and makes this coupe incredibly fun to drive.
The LC 500 Coupe is rear-wheel drive and this model is equipped with the optional limited slip differential. Handling feels great but on the looser side, this is not a vehicle geared towards cornering. I felt like handling might have been slightly tighter in the 2021 LC 500 Convertible. But to really be fair I’d need to drive them back to back. Performance brakes with aluminum calipers and high-friction pads are excellent.
The Coupe makes slightly better fuel economy than the convertible at 19 MPG combined vs the Convertible’s 18.
You’ll get a commanding view of the road ahead in the LC 500 Coupe thanks to its low hood line and the way the cabin is designed. Ride quality is great both in city and highway driveway thanks to adaptive variable suspension that handles potholes with ease. And by the way Lexus thinks of the passenger’s ride, too, with grab handles on either side.
The LC 500 comes with Lexus’ fantastic suite of driver assist features (Lexus Safety System+) that includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure with steering assist and adaptive cruise control.. I’m happy to report that Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is now standard on the LC lineup in 2020. This model also has optional intuitive park assist and an optional color head up display.
What You’ll Pay
My test model is $106,954 as equipped with the optional carbon fiber roof performance package, 21-inch wheels, head-up display and several other available features including the special Flare Yellow paint.
The 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe is a tremendously fun-to-drive, gorgeous performance coupe that also makes a great, head-turning daily driver if you don’t have to haul around passengers in the back seat.
2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe
- What I liked most: It’s looks matched by its V8’s simmering power.
- What I would change: There has to be a more user friendly console bin design.
- MSRP: Base $92,950; As equipped $106,954.
- Fuel Economy: 16 city/ 25 highway/19 combined.
- Fuel Tank: 21.7 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
- Dimensions: 187.4” long/ 75.6” wide/53” high.
- Weight: 4,280 lbs. (vs Convertible: 4,540 lbs )
- Trailer Towing: N/A.
- Miles When Tested: 7,977
- Official Color: Flare Yellow.
- Spare tire: Run-flat tires.
- Final Assembly Point: Aichi, Japan.
- 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe in a few words: A gorgeous performance coupe with heart-pounding acceleration.
- Warranty: Four-year/50,000-mile Lexus Limited Warranty. Six-year/70,000-mile Powertrain Warranty, Six-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation Warranty.
- Manufacturers website: Lexus