Flagship coupes aren't in the showroom because they're hot sellers. It's usually the opposite – lot boys will be running feather dusters over their long hoods and racy rooflines for many a shift before someone actually writes a check for one. But when there's a sinuous Lexus LC coupe sitting pretty in the center of a dealer's showcase, suddenly the practical four-doors nearby look a little more appealing. And when the salesman casually mentions some of the shared technology, well, that ES or RX seems a bit more exotic than it might have otherwise. This is the halo effect a range-topper brings to its manufacturer, and it's one of the primary drivers that brought this big coupe to fruition. Big and quick and captivating, the 2019 Lexus LC certainly won't be mistaken for anything else as it commandeers the best real estate in dealer showrooms.
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2019 Lexus LC Overview
What's New for 2019
Though the LC debuted only a year ago, Lexus is already tweaking their flagship's finer bits. The 10-speed automatic transmission now uses revised shift points for smoother part-throttle shifts and more forceful gear changes when being run wide open. Engineers also updated the steering box tuning for added steering feel. In respect to standard features, buyers now get Apple CarPlay, navigation, voice command, and in-car wi-fi at no charge.
Choosing Your Lexus LC 500
Lexus builds every LC with a whole host of standard features. The biggest decision a buyer has to make is whether they want the V8 LC 500 or the hybrid LC 500h. Beyond that, only a five-package platter is offered to those dining at the finest seat in the Lexus house. The LC 500 begins at $93,225 after a $1,025 destination charge, while the LC 500h starts at $97,735.
As for those engines, it's a good bet that it's the V8 which will be the more popular engine here. Displacing 5.0 liters, it makes a stout 471 horsepower and a less-stout 398 pound-feet of torque. It's enough power to let the LC run from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but in 2019 that's hardly better than a base V8 Mustang. As smooth and sonorous as the Lexus V8 is, this is a flagship automobile that's wanting for a true flagship powertrain. Is the LFA's V10 still lying around somewhere?
Instead, the optional powertrain is a hybrid variant of Toyota Corporation's 3.5-liter V6. This powertrain isn't unfamiliar around the Lexus stables; it's been available for a while now in a number of Lexus models. Unlike other hybrid Lexus models, the 500h utilizes two different transmissions: a continously variable transmission as well as a four-speed automatic. Together, the two work in concert to provide a wide breadth of capability and effectively encompass all manner of driving styles. In the performance-oriented M mode, this setup works to mimic a 10-speed automatic, and shifts can be actuated by the paddle shifters. The 354-hp 500h can go as fast as 87 mph using only the battery, but Lexus is mum on the total distance that can be achieved with electric power alone.
The Lexus Safety System Plus suite of active-safety features comes standard on both iterations of the LC. It includes the whole gamut of today's active-safety technology, with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, intelligent high beams, lane keeping assist, and pedestrian detection all included.
Both the 500 and 500h come with the same level of standard equipment. On the outside, there's 20-inch wheels, triple-beam LED headlights, puddle lights, and electrochromic exterior mirrors with memory settings. The 500h also gets special blue hybrid badging.
On the inside, buyers will find a cabin appropriately crafted in the grand touring tradition. Ten-way power-adjustable front seats with memory function swaddle occupants, and leather upholstery, ambient lighting, aluminium pedals, an analog clock, and a lighted L-shaped dashboard ornament lend the car a highbrow vibe. Besides the standard black, the LC's innards can be upholstered in red, white, and caramel.
A 10.3-inch touchscreen controls all multimedia affairs; it boasts navigation, Apple CarPlay functionality, Amazon Alexa intergration, wi-fi, and a host of other Lexus Enform cloud-based services. It also manages the standard 12-speaker audio system, though the acclaimed Mark Levinson system is optional. It includes 13 speakers and pumps out a chest-thumping 915 watts. Other standalone options include 21-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, and a head-up display.
Both the 500 and 500h are offered with five distinct option packages. The $1,000 Convenience Package comes with intuitive parking assist as well as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The $250 All-Weather Package throws snow-belt buyers a bone with a heated and leather-trimmed steering wheel, a windshield wiper de-icer, and an electronic heater. A $1,790 Touring Package bundles the contents of the Convenience Package along with semi-aniline leather, an Alcantara headliner, and the Mark Levinson audio system.
The two available performance packages are simply called Sport and Performance, respectively. The Sport includes the contents of Convenience Package, eight-way power sport seats with Alcantara inserts, and a carbon fiber or glass roof; it costs $1,490 with a glass roof or $2,960 with the carbon roof. The $5,960 Performance Package includes active rear steering, variable gear-ratio steering, a speed-activated rear wing, and carbon-fiber door scuff plates. Note that it also demands purchase of the Sport Package with carbon roof, the limited-slip differential, and the Convenience Package. With all that, the price inflates to an even $10,000.
Of the two powertrains, we'd stick with the V8 LC 500. This is a car that is all about selfish and immersive experience, and it doesn't get more selfish or immersive than hitting the go pedal and hearing the muted bellow of eight cylinders working in tandem. As for options on the 2019 Lexus LC, the Touring Package is worth the price of admission. Besides the excellent Mark Levinson audio system, those semi-aniline leather seats are soft, supple, and rich in distinction. We'll take ours in Toasted Caramel.