Lexus revealed the 2021 LC 500 Convertible at last year's Los Angeles International Auto Show, and quite frankly, it wasn't a big surprise as the LC succeeded the second-gen SC (which if you can remember, came with a retractable aluminum hardtop —groundbreaking stuff at the time). It's been several months since the LA Auto Show and summer is already halfway over; however, the LC Convertible is finally hitting dealerships today and we were able to borrow the keys for a day to this "Infrared" test car to give you our two cents. We also don't like to squander content opportunities so we invited our good friend Jay Cray, who owns the Liberty Walk LC 500 to come down and hang with us in downtown Los Angeles for a spontaneous photoshoot.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT THE LC CONVERTIBLE
V8 ENGINE. Mechanically, the LC 500 and LC 500 Convertible are basically the same. Under that elongated hood is a 5.0-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine that's mated to a 10-speed Aisin gearbox with paddle shifters. It summons 471hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, which sounds like a lot, but remember this coupe is heavy (which we'll talk more about later). It's 0-60mph is roughly 4.6 seconds (.2 seconds slower than the coupe). It's nothing to brag to mama about (especially when she finds out how much you paid), but what we will say is that it shifts/accelerates surprisingly quickly and the exhaust and engine notes are purely seductive. It's hard not to keep the car out of Sport mode and below 3,700rpm because you just want to hear those eight cylinders purr.
DESIGN. Have you looked at this thing? The LC is a designer's masterpiece to admire, even three years after its launch. We still prefer the shape of the coupe but with the top down, we're not hating the 'vert by any means. There's not really a bad angle when looking at this car. The triple projector LED headlights and 3D-like taillights are striking. The body features a low nose, smooth lines all around, flush door handles and extra wide hips which house those massive 21-inch upgraded forged wheels. The entire exterior package is quite stunning and there's really nothing out on the road quite like it in its price range.
INTERIOR. Besides the roar of the V8 and its progressive design cues, our third favorite feature of the LC is its interior, and with the convertible, it shows even more. The heated and ventilated front leather seats are a far departure from your conventional luxury/sporty seat. They're quite cozy and look breathtaking when you're not sitting in them. The materials used throughout the interior trim are what you'd expect from a high-end luxury brand, while the upgraded 915-watt, 13-speaker Mark Levinson system makes any one of your favorite songs that much better. We will say that the touchpad navigation feels a bit dated, but we're certain that'll change soon with future models as it's often complained about by many Lexus customers and automotive journalists.
WHAT WE DON'T LIKE ABOUT THE LC CONVERTIBLE
SOFT TOP. How'd Lexus go from offering a retractable metal hardtop in the 10+ year-old SC430 to a cloth top for its 2021 flagship LC 500? Don't get us wrong, the experience is great with the top down, but the soft top (which takes 15 seconds to put up or down), sways on the cheap side.
OVERWEIGHT. The LC Convertible weighs 4,540 lbs (coupe weighs 4,371 lbs). It's a heavy chunk of metal and you begin to understand it needs all 471 ponies to get where it needs to go. Its cornering capabilities are also adequate. The handling doesn't feel agile and the steering isn't razor sharp, but that doesn't mean it's an absolute pansy when taking on winding roads. It's a night and day difference from its predecessor SC, and you'll still be able to tackle corners; however, proceed with a bit of caution and don't expect to set any lap records.
PRICE. It's important to remember the LC 500 isn't a supercar and we wouldn't even consider it a bonafide sports car. It's a luxury coupe/convertible with sporty traits, a grand tourer, a modern-day looker. The coupe's price starts at $92,500, which we felt was already high; however, the convertible comes in nearly $10K more starting at $101,000. The model we tested with all the mashed potatoes and gravy came in at $111,920 (that's Porsche 911 Cabriolet range!).
TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD
Our brains are wired to prioritize performance over everything else. For a car that surpasses the six-figure mark, there's a helluva a lot faster and fun options out there that naturally we'd choose over the LC 500 Convertible. With that said, it takes a certain type of enthusiast to favor a Lexus over a more popular Mercedes, BMW or Porsche, but that's not to say that Lexus didn't put together a great car. The LC offers an unforgettable experience in both coupe and convertible form with a sound and style that outshines other cars in its price range. It's a magnificent cruiser, something we'd drive up the coast of California on a weekend getaway; it's pleasing to the eyes, something that would break necks at a swanky Beverly Hill restaurant; and as our friend Jay Cray has shown us, it has a ton of potential when tuned and modified.
The transformation Jay Cray accomplished with a Liberty Walk widebody, Air Lift suspension, Rotiform wheels, Voltex rear wing and Armytrix exhaust shows just how much potential the LC has and how much more spectacular it can look. Of course, the cost of ownership doesn't come cheap, but if you do have the money to burn, you might just be able to get your hands on one of the most unique coupes/convertibles on the market today. Rumor has it that it could be one of the last Lexus vehicles ever offered with a V8.
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