2023 Lexus LC500 Coupe Review by Ben Lewis

There’s good design and then there’s great design. Recently Lexus asked if we’d like to test the LC 500, and it took a little looking to find out it’s been over 5 years since we were last in one.

So, does one of the most gorgeous cars we’ve ever tested hold up over time? Let’s find out!

Stunning is as Stunning Does

Well, in the past 5 years, we’ve seen pretty much of an overhaul of the brand, just about every SUV (UX, NX,RX, LX) are new, and the IS sedans got a big refresh. And they all are leaning on being sportier and more emotional. As a whole, a great effort – but for our money the LC is still the stunner.

This is a large vehicle. Yet it’s clearly a personal vehicle for two (more on that in a sec) and it gives off a feeling of indulgence. It’s making a clear statement about who’s behind the wheel.

Up front the large spindle grille that can be overpowering on some other Lexus models is spot on here – bold, but balanced, with a mesh effect that really pops. Addition functional venting on both sides add aerodynamic stability and cooling, while ultra-compact triple LED headlamps combined with L-shaped daytime running lights create a signature that’s unique and pure Lexus.

The profile is all about muscle. There’s a long hood, a steeply raked roof line that ends in a floating c-pillar. The fenders bulge out in massive flares, while a deep cut in front of the rear wheels give a thin waistline. Little details strike you – a katana blade trim that arches over the top of the windows, and the ultra-slim door levers that pop out as you press one end. The biggest piece of eye candy have to be the 21” polished forged alloy wheels that come as part of the Dynamic Handling Package – bold, bright, aggressive and seriously badass. We love them!

The rear continues the athletic theme – the roofline flares out and drapes over massive rear fender flares while a molded in rear spoiler and vent like lines below signature LED taillights echo the front end. Adding a little bling, the rear lower fascia has a metallic finish and large openings for the exhaust.

Our favorite part of our LC was the Flare Yellow paint, it has a stunning brightness to it, and looks very Ferrari-ish. And then when the light hits it just right it looks super deep and reflective. If the vehicles design wasn’t enough to get a double take, this special color makes it a complete jaw dropper. Still a stunner – and probably always going to be one!

Cockpit by Lexus

Inside is pure Lexus. Open the door and the first thing you realize is how long those doors are – you have to be careful opening them in a tight parking space. It’s worth the effort, though, as you lower yourself into Alcantara sport seats that are ultra-supportive and offer notable bolstering around the shoulders.

Lexus is all about the details and you immediately notice how great the steering wheel feels in your hand – Lexus varies the cross section around the circumference of the wheel to allow for variations in grip, while the hand-stitched leather wrapped shift lever is stubby and falls right to hand.

The instrument panel will be familiar to anyone who has driven an F Sport, with a large 9,000 rpm tach taking center stage, and the Lexus party trick – the tach slides over at the push of a button to reveal added driver info. Looking for access to driving modes? Two “ears” stick out of the instrument binnacle – fingertip close and great for serious driving.

Serving up info-tainment is a 10.3-inch TFT display which is nicely sized for an easy read. You can tell this is last-gen tech though, you still have to access things through a small touchpad on the center console, and it’s fidgety, frustrating, and you wish for a simple touchscreen – like many of the newer Lexus models.

The rest of the tech is up to date, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration on board. The Lexus Enform suite of connectivity including goodies like remote entry and engine start are included as well for added convenience.

Along with the tech is this palpable feeling of premium vibes, as the LC surrounds in you beautifully crafted and designed materials, with the center console creating a true cockpit that makes the driver feel special.  You’ll notice that the LC has rear seats, but they are for the smallest of children – you’d never want to put an adult back there. While our tester was outfitted in black leather, if you want to be more expressive, you can also opt for Toasted Caramel or Circuit Red leather.

Naturally-aspirated Goodness

You might expect some kind of turbo engine as is the norm these days, but Lexus keeps it wonderfully old school with a normally aspirated, 5.0-liter V8. It starts with a deep “whump” that turns heads and possibly wakes up neighbors!

It’s a powerhouse, too with an impressive 471 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft of torque. It’s an engine that loves to sing, and when you punch it, it reminds us of Mercedes AMG – muscle car meets high-end refinement. 0-60 in the mid 4’s means you enough power to keep up with just about anything on the road.

Making the most of that power is a 10-speed automatic, which snaps off quick shifts even in Standard mode, and Sport enhances the experience with quicker shifts, made easy with oversize paddle shifters. Having 10 cogs means you frequently enjoy hearing the engine run through the rpm range, and you always seem to be in the perfect gear at the perfect time.

It also helps you get decent fuel mileage, with a combined 19 mpg seeming quite reasonable considering the power, performance and weight of the LC. There is a hybrid LC model available, but we’d stay with the V8 – it completely suits this vehicle.

Although you are aware this is a large, heavy car, the response to steering is razor sharp, and perfectly weighted – it’s easy to point exactly where you want to go. When you’re tossing it around your favorite corner it feels like a smaller car, more like the Lexus RC coupe. Part of this handling goodness is due to the optional Dynamic Handling Package, which includes variable ratio steering, active rear steering and a Torsen limited slip differential.

We’d say this is performance without penalty – even on the huge 21-inch wheels the ride remains Lexus supple and comfortable, and the ride is hushed on the highway. Special note has to go to the brakes, with excellent feel and a firm pedal.

Is it Worth Breaking the Bank?

A vehicle like this is as much a passion purchase as a logical one. Our LC500 tester started at $93,450, and added a bunch of goodies, including Head Up display ($900), Mark Levinson Audio ($1,220), Flare Yellow paint ($595), and the big-ticket Dynamic Handling Package ($9,570). Add in $1,150 for destination, and we range the bell at $106,885. Time to buy a lotto ticket!

A Mercedes AMG E53 coupe comes in at $95,200 and building a comparable Porsche 911 will put you back a cool $133,000. If you love Lexus, we’d also point you to the RC F, with nearly the same power and superb driving experience, in a smaller package, coming in around $80,000.

Incredibly gorgeous, amazingly quick and with all the luxury and quality you could ever want, the 2023 Lexus LC 500 is simply superb!